🎞 The Circle (2017)

Watched The Circle (2017) from STX Entertainment
Directed by James Ponsoldt. With Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, John Boyega, Ellar Coltrane.
A woman lands a dream job at a powerful tech company called the Circle, only to uncover an agenda that will affect the lives of all of humanity.

Even more interesting to watch this after the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal. It was sad to see the simplistic surface level only analysis of ideas in the film though.

Watched via Amazon Prime on big screen television through Amazon Fire Stick.

Rating: 

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🎞️ What If (2013) CBS Films

Watched What If (2013) from CBS Films
Directed by Michael Dowse. With Daniel Radcliffe, Zoe Kazan, Megan Park, Adam Driver. Wallace, who is burned out from a string of failed relationships, forms an instant bond with Chantry, who lives with her longtime boyfriend. Together, they puzzle out what it means if your best friend is also the love of your life.

A cute enough movie. I might suggest that this is a slightly new flavor of romantic comedy flavored by a dash of the Millennial generation. It took a bit to get past the melange of accents of the characters to realize that the story was set in Toronto, but in general there were some reasonable performances by all involved. The plot was a bit too vanilla and no one really took any chances to up the ante of the concept which could have made this much more memorable. In general, it was entertaining enough to sit through once, but I wouldn’t give this a second screening.

The dreadful release date gives me more of a clue why I’d never heard of this. I suspect it’d have done better as a limited release in the Spring or late Fall instead. This wasn’t a great movie, but was better than it’s box office performance indicated. The studio left some money on the table with this one.

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Brief Review of The Atlantic Interview Podcast

An awesome policy-focused and interview-based podcasts from one of the premiere news outlets of our day.

I’ve now listened to a dozen of the opening episodes of The Atlantic Interview and am enamored. It’s officially ensconced at the top of my regular rotation.

The weekly show, hosted by Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic’s editor in chief, features him doing a relatively in-depth interview of a single guest for about thirty minutes.

I almost look at this podcast as a far better version of some of the “Sunday shows” where the guest isn’t always so heavily guarded because it would be impolitic or that they’re lost in a sea of voices amongst a larger panel where they just can’t develop some longer coherent thoughts or theses.

To some extent, this podcast is starting to fill a hole in my daily schedule that was created by the disappearance of The Charlie Rose show late last year. The sad part is that, at only once a week, I’m going to wish I had a lot more when I’m done binge-listening to the short backlog I’ve got. On The Atlantic Interview I appreciate that the “thing guests may be selling” (book, article, show, film, etc.) takes a pointed back seat to the broader topic(s) at hand.

Much of the strength of what I’ve heard thus far stems from interviews with people that are slightly off the beaten path, but with serious messages and interesting viewpoints. They’ve all been journalisticly solid and almost always provide me with news, viewpoints, and subtle information that I didn’t have before. Another strength is that the show can give guests additional time and depth than they might receive on other traditional shows. The guests so far have been very smart, cogent, and interesting. Their selection has been well balanced for gender, topic, and general variety within the space the show occupies. The show has generally impeccable audio and production values.

While initial guests seem to have an air of familiarity with the host as the result of closer (disclosed) interpersonal connections, I suspect that even when the list of immediate friends in his Rolodex runs dry, the show will easily have enough value and gravitas to successfully run on long beyond this.

One of my favorite parts of these podcasts are the somewhat snarky bumpers that Goldberg puts onto the the end encouraging people to give reviews and subscribe. I kind of wish he’d let loose a bit more and inject some of this kind of snark into the interviews too. If nothing else, he’s at least having fun with a part of the show that would otherwise be typically painful to trudge through.

Suggestions

I’d love to hear more about education policy, health care, public heath, internet, and foreign policy. A few guest ideas I’d love to hear in this format: Tressie McMillan Cottom, Mike Morrell, Susan J. Fowler, César A. Hidalgo, Tantek Çelik, Ellen J. MacKenzie, and Ezekiel Emanuel. Continuing in the vein of interviewing the interviewers, which I find terrifically fascinating, I’d love to see Judy Woodruff, Fareed Zakaria, W. Kamau Bell, Trevor Noah, and John Dickerson in the future. These aside, I suspect that anyone that Mssr. Goldberg finds intriguing, I’m sure I will as well.

Additional Technical Commentary

I really wish their podcast had individual web pages for each episode so I could more easily email, share, or target individual episodes for people. It would also be nice if the main page actually had .mp3 versions of the audio embedded in them to make it easier to bookmark and share through services like Huffduffer.com. I really don’t know why podcasters insist on using third party podcasting services to hide their .mp3 files from the outside world–it’s literally their most important product! Stop it! I find the practice to be as irksome as newspapers that use Facebook as their primary means of distribution, and just like that case, they’ll regret it in the long run.

While Megaphone.fm is a nice hosting platform for the show, I’m not sure why a publication the size and scope of The Atlantic isn’t simply self-hosing their own content using their own URLs.

The content for the show is still a bit scatter-brained. The main page on The Atlantic has the best and most comprehensive meta-descriptions of episodes, while the Megaphone page has some nice individual episode artwork that The Atlantic doesn’t have or present. This is sure to cause uneven experiences for people depending on how they choose to subscribe.

I appreciate that some of the early episodes went to the trouble to have full transcripts and some additional snippet content and images. I miss these transcripts. I do know that doing this can be painful and expensive, though perhaps services like Gretta.com might have some technology to help. If they want to go crazy, it would be cool to see Audiogram functionality, which they could use instead of relying on Megaphone or some other platform.

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Book Review: Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die Author by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

Read Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die Book Cover Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die
Chip Heath, Dan Heath
Business & Economics
Random House Incorporated
January 2, 2007
Hardcover
291

A groundbreaking resource for those who need to deliver a memorable message introduces six key principles that help make messages stick--simplicity, unexpectedness, concreteness, credibility, emotions, and stories--and explains how to incorporate each of these factors into the creative thought process. 100,000 first printing.

An awesome and quick read. I love that in some sense, they actually use their own advice when writing this to make some of their own ideas a bit more sticky. I thought this was a good little read and provides some interesting and very useful and actionable ideas. Definitely worth reviewing over some of the ideas in the near future for some writing I have in mind. I’d definitely recommend it to marketing people and communicators. I’d also love to delve further into some of their references.

Finally publishing this publicly with all the Highlights, Quotes, Marginalia, etc.

Reading Progress
  • 12/28/17 marked as: want to read; “This seemed interesting in the library when I browsed by, so I picked it up. Seems a quick/easy read. Covers some interesting material related to ars memorativa which I may find interesting. They also make some references to schema within Hollywood, so that may be useful too.”
  • 12/28/17 started reading
  • 01/15/18 on page 69 of 291
  • 01/16/18 on page 164 of 291
  • 01/28/18 Finished book

Highlights, Quotes, & Marginalia

Introduction

Or is it possible to make a true, worthwhile idea circulate as effectively as this false idea?

Highlight (yellow) – Introduction: What Sticks? > Page 5

How many times have I thought of this very topic?
Added on Thursday, December 28, 2017 late morning

When we get advice on communicating, it often concerns our delivery: “Stand up straight, make eye contact, use appropriate hand gestures. Practice, practice, practice (but don’t sound canned).” Sometimes we get advice about structure “Tell ’em what you’re going to tell ’em. Tell ’em, then tell ’em what you told ’em.” Or “Start by getting their attention–tell a joke or a story.”
Another genre concerns knowing your audience: “know what your listeners care about so you can tailor your communication to them.” And, finally, there’s the most common refrain in the realm of communication advice: Use repetition, repetition, repetition.

Highlight (yellow) – Introduction: What Sticks? > Page 9

The common refrains, many of which can be useless.
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Which way will stick? And how do you know in advance?

Highlight (yellow) – Introduction: What Sticks? > Page 10

This can be the holy grail of teaching…
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What makes urban legends so compelling? […] Why does virtually every society circulate a set of proverbs? Why do some political ideas circulate widely while others fall short?

Highlight (yellow) – Introduction: What Sticks? > Page 12

Added on Thursday, December 28, 2017 late morning

This book is a complement to The Tipping Point [by Malcolm Gladwell] in the sense that it will identify the traits that make ideas sticky, a subject that was beyond the scope of Gladwell’s book.

Highlight (yellow) – Introduction: What Sticks? > Page 13

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Researchers discovered something shocking about the candy-tampering epidemic: It was a myth.

Highlight (yellow) – Introduction: What Sticks? > Page 14

I’ve always suspected that this was the case but never saw any evidence or reportage that back up this common Halloween myth. In fact, I recall taking candy to local hospitals for radio-graphic exams.
Added on Thursday, December 28, 2017 late morning

In other words, the best social science evidence reveals that taking candy from strangers is perfectly okay. It’s your family you should worry about.

Highlight (yellow) – Introduction: What Sticks? > Page 14

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Introduction: Six Principles of Sticky Ideas

Both stories highlighted an unexpected danger in a common activity: eating Halloween candy and eating movie popcorn. Both stories called for simple action […] both made use of vivid, concrete images that cling easily to memory […] and both stories tapped into emotion: [fear… disgust…]

Highlight (yellow) – Introduction: What Sticks? > Page 14-15

Many of these strike a cord from my memory training, which I suspect plays a tremendous part. Particularly the vividly clear and concrete details.
Added on Thursday, December 28, 2017 late morning

There is no “formula” for a sticky idea–we don’t want to overstate the case. But sticky ideas do draw from a common set of traits, which make them more likely to succeed.

Highlight (yellow) – Introduction: What Sticks? > Page 15

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… we an genetically engineer our players. We can create ideas with an eye to maximizing their stickiness.

Highlight (yellow) – Introduction: What Sticks? > Page 16

This isn’t far from my idea of genetically engineering memes when I read Dawkins back in the day…
Added on Thursday, December 28, 2017 late morning

  1. Simplicity […] Proverbs are the ideal. We must create ideas that are both simple and profound.
  2. Unexpectedness
  3. Concretness […] because our brains are wired to remember concrete data.
  4. Credibility
  5. Emotions […] We are wired to feel things for people, not for abstractions.
  6. Stories

[…] To summarize, here’s our checklist for creating a successful idea: a Simple Unexpected Concrete Credentialed Emotional Story. […] S.U.C.C.E.S.s

Highlight (yellow) – Introduction: What Sticks? > Page 16-18

This seems to be the forthcoming core of the book.
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It’s not as though there’s a powerful constituency for overcomplicated, lifeless prose.

Highlight (blue) – Introduction: What Sticks? > Page 5

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Sadly, there is a villain in our story. The villain is a natural psychological tendency that consistently confounds our ability to create ideas using these principles. It’s called the Curse of Knowledge.

Highlight (yellow) – Introduction: What Sticks? > Page 19

The example they give of the [music] Tappers and Listeners is great to illustrate the Curse of Knowledge.
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You can’t unlearn what you already know. There are, in fact, only two ways to beat the Curse of Knowledge reliably. The first is not to learn anything. The second is to take your ideas and transform them.

Highlight (yellow) – Introduction: What Sticks? > Page 20

The JFK pitch to get a man on the moon was a great example here.
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Introduction: Systematic Creativity

They found that 89 percent of the award-winning ads could be classified into six basic categories, or templates. […] (For the other templates,
see the endnotes.) […] Amazingly, when the researchers tried to classify these “less successful” ads, they could classify only 2 percent of them [using the previous 6 categories]. […] It appears that there are indeed systematic ways to produce creative ideas.

Highlight (green) – Introduction: What Sticks? > Page 22 & 24

This is some very interesting data. I should track this reference down. Particularly when they did the follow up of training groups in these methods (or not) and realizing that those with the templates did far better with minimal training.
Added on Thursday, December 28, 2017 late morning

Chapter 1: Simple

The [Army] plans often turn out to be useless.
“The trite expression we always use is No plan survives contact with the enemy,” says Colonel Tom Kolditz, the head of the behavioral sciences division at West Point.
“You may start off trying to fight your plan, but the enemy gets a vote. Unpredictable things happen–the weather changes, a key asset is destroyed, the enemy responds in a way you don’t expect.

Highlight (yellow) – Chapter 1: Simple > Page 25

aka Complexity…
Added on Thursday, December 28, 2017 late morning

So, in the 1980’s the Army adapted its planning process, inventing a concept called Commander’s Intent (CI).

Highlight (yellow) – Chapter 1: Simple > Page 26

The way to plan around complexity to some extent.
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It’s hard to make ideas stick in a noisy, unpredictable, chaotic environment. If we’re to succeed, the first step is this: Be simple. […]
What we mean by “simple” is finding the core of the idea. […] Finding the core is analogous to writing the Commander’s Intent.

Highlight (yellow) – Chapter 1: Simple > Page 27-28

Added on Thursday, December 28, 2017 late morning

The French aviator and author Antoine de Saint-Exupery once offered a definition of engineering elegance: “A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

Highlight (blue) – Chapter 1: Simple > Page 28

Added on Thursday, December 28, 2017 late morning

Highlight (yellow) – Chapter 1: Simple > Pages 28-46

Some interesting examples in the sections on “Finding the Core at Southwest Airlines”, “Burying the Lead”, “If you Say Three Things, You Don’t Say Anything.”, and “Decision Paralysis”
Added on Thursday, December 28, 2017 late morning

Proverbs are simple yet profound. Cervantes defined proverbs as “short sentences drawn from long experience.”

Highlight (yellow) – Chapter 1: Simple “A Bird in the Hand” > Page 47

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The first documented case in English is from John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress in 1678. But the proverb may be much older still.

Highlight (yellow) – Chapter 1: Simple > Page 47

Added on Thursday, December 28, 2017 late morning

J FKFB INAT OUP SNA SAI RS
vs
JFK FBI NATO UPS NASA IRS

Highlight (yellow) – Chapter 1: Simple “Using What’s There” > Page 51-52

Interesting example for both memory and a definition of information.
Added on Thursday, December 28, 2017 late morning

How does complexity emerge from simplicity? We will argue that it is possible to create complexity through the artful use of simplicity.

Highlight (yellow) – Chapter 1: Simple > Page 53

This is how most would probably argue and it’s the magic behind complicated things like evolution.
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Schemas help us create complex messages from simple materials.

Highlight (yellow) – Chapter 1: Simple “Complexity from Simplicity” > Page 55

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A great way to avoid useless accuracy, and to dodge the Curse of Knowledge, is to use analogies. Analogies derive their power from schemas:
A pomelo is like a grapefruit. A good news story is structured like a pyramid.

Highlight (yellow) – Chapter 1: Simple “Schemas in Hollywood: High-concept Pitches” > Page 57

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The high-concept pitches don’t always reference other movies. E.T., for instance, was pitched as “Lost alien befriends lonely boy to get home.”

Highlight (yellow) – Chapter 1: Simple “Schemas in Hollywood: High-concept Pitches” > Page 58

I’m not sure of the background of the actual pitch, but a little massaging really makes E.T. the tried and true story of a boy and his dog, but this time the dog is an alien! So again, it really is an analogy to another prior film, namely Lassie!
Added on Thursday, December 28, 2017 late morning

Good metaphors are “generative.” The psychologist Donald Schon introduced this term to describe metaphors that generate “new perceptions,
explanations, and inventions.”

Highlight (yellow) – Chapter 1: Simple “Generative Analogies” > Page 60

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Contrast Disney with Subway. Like Disney, Subway has created a metaphor for its frontline employees. They are “sandwich artists.” This metaphor is the evil twin of Disney’s “cast members.”

Highlight (yellow) – Chapter 1: Simple “Generative Analogies” > Page 61

Evil twin indeed. There’s nothing artistic about their work at all.
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Chapter 2 Unexpected

And if a well-designed message can make people applaud for a safety announcement there’s hope for all of us.

Highlight (yellow) – > page 64

Added on January 15, 2018

Most of the time, though, we can’t demand attention; we must attract it.

Highlight (yellow) – > page 64

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The most basic way to get someone’s attention is this: Break a pattern. Humans adapt incredibly quickly to consistent patterns. Consistent sensory timulation makes us tune out[…]

Highlight (yellow) – > page 64

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Our brain is designed to be keenly aware of changes.

Highlight (yellow) – > page 65

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This chapter focuses on two essential questions: How do I get people’s attention? And, just as crucially, How do I keep it?

Highlight (yellow) – > page 65

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…we have to understand two essential emotions–surprise and interest–[…]

Highlight (yellow) – > page 65

Added on January 15, 2018

And minivans deliver kids to soccer practice. No one dies, ever.

Highlight (yellow) – > page 67

Added on January 15, 2018

Our schemas are like guessing machines. Schemas help us predict what will happen and, consequently , how we should make decisions.

Highlight (yellow) – > page 67

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Emotions are elegantly tuned to help us deal with critical situations. They prepare us for different ways of acting and thinking.

Highlight (yellow) – > page 67

Added on January 15, 2018

For instance, a secondary effect of being angry … is that we become more certain of our judgements. When we’re angry, we know we’re right, as anyone who has been in a relationship can attest.

Highlight (yellow) – > page 67

Added on January 15, 2018

When our guessing machines fail, surprise grabs our attention so that we can repair them for the future.

Highlight (yellow) – > page 67

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In a book called Unmasking the Face, Paul Ekman and Wallace Friesen coined the term, “the surprise brow,” …

Highlight (yellow) – > page 68

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When our brows go up, it widens our eyes and gives us a broader field of vision–the surprise brow is our body’s way of forcing us to see more.

Highlight (yellow) – > page 68

Added on January 15, 2018

…when we’re angry our eyes narrow so we can focus on a known problem. In addition to making our eyebrows rise, surprise causes our jaws to drop and our mouths to gape. We’re struck momentarily speechless. Our bodies temporarily stop moving and our muscles go slack. It’s as though our bodies want to ensure that we’re not talking or moving when we ought to be taking in new information.

Highlight (yellow) – > page 68

Added on January 15, 2018

Researchers who study conspiracy theories, for instance, have noted that many of them arise when people are grappling with unexpected events, such as when the young and attractive die suddenly. […] There tends to be less conspiratorial interest in the sudden deaths of ninety-year olds.

Highlight (yellow) – > page 68-69

Added on January 15, 2018

What we see now is that surprise isn’t enough. We also need insight. But, to be satisfying, surprise must be “post-dictable.”

Highlight (yellow) – Section Hension and Phraug > page 70-71

Added on January 16, 2018

So, a good process for making your ideas stickier is: (1) Identify the central message you need to communicate–find the core; (2) Figure out what is counterintuitive about the message–i.e., What are the unexpected implications of your core message? Why isnt it already happening naturally? (3) Comjmunicate your message in a way that breaks your audience’s guessing machines along the critical counterintuitive dimension. Then, once their guessing machines have failed, help them refine their machines.

Common sense is the enemy of sticky messages. […] It’s your job, as a communicator, to expose the parts of your message that are uncommon sense.

Highlight (yellow) – Section Hension and Phraug > page 72

this could be done for the typical romantic ads about having a baby being a special time of life that’s cute and you don’t want to miss. really it’s traumatic and potentially life threatening and fragile. You HAVE to stop to re-adjust to your new life or you may end up losing your new precious someone (or worse, yourself.) Example is a California PSA ad that I heard on 3/13/18 on the radio.
Added on January 16, 2018

To make a message stick, you’ve got to push it beyond common sense to uncommon sense.

Highlight (yellow) – Section Tire Chains at Nordstrom > page 74

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“The lead to the story is ‘There will be no school next Thursday.‘”

Highlight (yellow) – Section Journalism 101 > page 76

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“But,” says [social psychologist Robert] Cialdini, “I also found something I had not expected–the most successful of these pieces [scientists writing for an audience of non-scientists] all began with a mystery story.”

Highlight (yellow) – Section Keeping People’s Attention / The Mystery of the Rings > page 80

Added on January 16, 2018

Mysteries are powerful, Cialdini says, because they create a need for closure. […] Cialdini began to create mysteries in his own classroom, and the power of the approach quickly became clear. He would introduce the mystery at the start of class, return to it during the lecture, and reveal the answer at the end.

Highlight (yellow) – Section Keeping People’s Attention / The Mystery of the Rings > page 81

Sol Golomb used to do this with brain teasers at the start of class, presumably to catch the attention of bored students who could puzzle on it during class. I also suspected he used it to help identify creative thinkers and students smarter than their classwork might indicate.
Added on January 16, 2018

Mystery is created not from an unexpected moment but from an unexpected journey. […] A schema violation is a onetime transaction. […] We would call it “first-level” unexpectedness. […]we’re asked to follow on a journey whose ending is unpredictable. That’s second-level unexpectedness. In this way, we jump from fleeting surprise to enduring interest.

Highlight (yellow) – Section Keeping People’s Attention / The Mystery of the Rings > page 82

Added on January 16, 2018

[Robert] McKee says, “Curiosity is the intellectual need to answer questions and close open patterns. Story plays to this universal desire by doing the opposite, posing questions and opening situations.” […] In McKee’s view, a great script is designed so that every scene is a Turning Point. “Each Turning Point hooks curiosity. the audience wonders, What will happen next? and How will it turn out?

Highlight (yellow) – Section Keeping People’s Attention / The Mystery of the Rings > page 83

Added on January 16, 2018

In 1994, George Loewenstein, a behavioral economist at Carnegie Mellon University, provided the most comprehensive account of situational interest. It is surprisingly simple. Curiosity, he says, happens when we feel a gap in our knowledge.

Highlight (yellow) – Section The “Gap Theory” of Curiosity > page 84

Added on January 16, 2018

Pokemon cards cause kids to wonder, Which characters am I missing?

One important implication of the gap theory is that we need to open gaps before we close them. Our tendency is to tell people the facts. First, though, they must realize that they need these facts. The trick to convincing people that they need our message, according to Loewenstein, is to first highlight some specific knowledge that they’re missing. We can pose a question or puzzle that confronts people with a gap in their knowledge. We can point out that someone else knows something that they don’t. We can present them with situations that have unknown resolutions, such as elections, sports events, or mysteries. We can challenge them to predict an outcome (which creates two knowledge gaps–What will happen? and Was I right?.

As an example, most local news programs run teaser ads for upcoming broadcasts. […] These are sensationalist examples of the gap theory. They work because they tease you with something tat you don’t know–in fact, something that you didn’t care about at all, until you found out that you didn’t know it.

Highlight (yellow) – Section The “Gap Theory” of Curiosity > page 85

Added on January 16, 2018

The improvement here is driven by structure, not content. Let’s face it, this is not a particularly interesting mystery.

Highlight (yellow) – Section The “Gap Theory” of Curiosity > page 87

Added on January 16, 2018

Research has shown that we are typically overconfident about how much we know.

The average participant failed to identify more than 70 percent of the best solutions identified by an expert panel. This failure is understandable; we wouldn’t expect any one person to be able to generate a database worth of solutions. However, when the individuals were asked to assess their own performance, they predicted that they had identified 75 percent. They thought they got the majority, but in reality they’d missed them.

Highlight (yellow) – Section Battling Overconfidence > page 88

He’s set up his own mystery here… What are the others? (ways to reduce demand for parking example)
Added on January 16, 2018

Eric Mazur, a physics professor at Harvard, came up with a pedagogical innovation known as “concept testing”. Every so often in his classes, Mazur will pose a conceptual question and then ask his students to vote publicly on the answer. The simple act of committing to an answer makes the students more engaged and more curious about the outcome.

Highlight (yellow) – Section Battling Overconfidence > page 89

Added on January 16, 2018

Overconfident people are more likely to recognize a knowledge gap when they realize that others disagree with the. Nancy Lowry and David Johnson [study] one grou, the discussion was led in a way that fostered a consensus. With the second group, the discussion was designed to produce disagreements about the right answer.

Students who achieved easy consensus were less interested in the topic, studied less, and were less likely to visit the library to get additional information.

Highlight (yellow) – Section Battling Overconfidence > page 89

think about this in terms of politics with the right versus the left and the effects on the public and news.
Added on January 16, 2018

Curiosity comes from gaps in our knowledge.

Highlight (yellow) – Section Gaps Start with Knowledge > page 90

Example of ABC’s NCAA football games and Roone Arledge memo about setting the stage for games
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Here’s the idea Ibuka proposed to his team: a “pocketable radio.”

Highlight (yellow) – Section Walking on the Moon and Radios in Pockets > page 94

similar to Bill Gates’ “a computer on every desktop”
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Loewenstein, the author of the gap theory, says it’s important to remember that knowledge gaps are painful. “If people _like_ curiosity, why do they work to resolve it?” he asks.

Highlight (yellow) – Section Walking on the Moon and Radios in Pockets > page 94

Questions about biology early on pushed me personally…
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Chapter 3 Concrete

Abstraction makes it harder to understand an idea and to remember it. It also makes it harder to coordinate our activities with others, who may interpret the abstraction in different ways. Concreteness helps us to avoid these problems.

Highlight (yellow) – > page 100

Not good for mathematics then is it?
Added on January 16, 2018

California is one of only five Mediterranean climate regions in the world. (The others are the fynbos of South Africa, the matorral of Chile, the kwongan of Australia, and, of course, the Mediterranean.

Highlight (yellow) – Section The Nature Conservancy > page 100

Added on January 16, 2018

How could TNC make the new strategy more concrete

Highlight (yellow) – Section The Nature Conservancy > page 101

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Here’s what the TNC did: Instead of talking in terms of land area, it talked about a “landscape.” … Five landscapes per year sounds more realistic than 2 million acres per year, and it’s much more concrete.

Highlight (yellow) – Section The Nature Conservancy > page 102

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Concreteness is an indespensable component of sticky ideas.

Highlight (yellow) – Section The Nature Conservancy > page 104

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Concrete language helps people, especially novices, understand new concepts. Abstraction is the luxury of the expert.

Highlight (yellow) – Section Understanding Subtraction > page 104

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Teachers take an existing schema–the dynamics of a six person ball game–and overlay a new layer of abstraction. [Using stick figures to count up players.] The researchers called this style of questioning Computing in Context. It is pretty much the opposite of “rote recall.”

Highlight (yellow) – Section Understanding Subtraction > page 105

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What is it about concreteness that makes ideas stick? The answer lies with the nature of our memories.

Highlight (yellow) – Section The Velcro Theory of Memory > page 109

this is exactly the underlying theory of the ars memorativa
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If the phrase, “Hey Jude” drew a blank, please exchange this book for a Beatles album. You’ll be happier.”

Highlight (yellow) – Section The Velcro Theory of Memory > page 110

HA! What a great little aside here.
Added on January 16, 2018

Highlight (yellow) – Section Brown Eyes, Blue Eyes > page 111

great example here of a teacher who used blue/brown eyes to discriminate on students in a classroom and making them sit in the back of the room.
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Instead, Elliott [the teacher] turned prejudice into an _experience_. Think of the “hooks” involved: The sight of a friend suddenly snearing at you. The feel of a collar around your neck.

Highlight (yellow) – Section Brown Eyes, Blue Eyes > page 113

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But if concreteness is so powerful, why do we slip so easily into abstraction?

The reason is simple: because the difference between an expert and a novice is the ability to think abstractly. […] And here is where our classic villain, the Curse of Knowledge, inserts itself.

Highlight (yellow) – Section The Path to Abstraction: The Blueprint and the Machine > page 113-114

Added on January 16, 2018

…the moral of the story is to find a “universal language,” one that everyone speaks fluently. Inevitably, that universal language will be concrete.

Highlight (yellow) – Section The Path to Abstraction: The Blueprint and the Machine > page 115

think about the problem of the engineers talking with the manufacturers on the floor speaking a common language
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Imagine how much harder it would have been to build a 727 whose goal was to be “the best passenger plane in the world.” [compared to it must seat 131 passengers, fly nonstop from Miami to NYC and land on a short sub-1 mile runway.]

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“Almost everything we [Stone Yamashita Partners, a small consulting firm in San Francisco] do is visceral and visual,” Keith yamashita says. The “product” of most consulting firms is often a PowerPoint presentation. At Stone Yamashita, it’s much more likely to be a simulation, an event, or a creative installation.

Highlight (yellow) – Section The Ferraris Go to Disney World in the R&D Lab > page 117

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The presence of the portfolio made it easier for the venture capitalist to brainstorm, in the same what that focusing on “white things in our refrigerator” [versus white things in general] made it easier for us to brainstorm.

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…Studzinski learned that moms and their kids valued predictability. […] But Hamburger Helper had more than thirdy different flavors, and moms struggled to find their favorites among the massive grocery-store displays. […] “Moms saw new flavors as risky,” she says.

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By making Saddleback Sam and Samantha a living, breathing, concrete presence in the minds of the members of the Saddleback Church, the church has managed to reach 50,000 real Sams and Samanthas.

Highlight (yellow) – Section Making Ideas Concrete > page 129

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Of the six traits of stickiness that we review in this book, concreteness is perhaps the easiest to embrace. It may also be the most effective of th traits.

Highlight (yellow) – Section Making Ideas Concrete > page 129

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Chapter 4 Credible

Ulcers are caused by bacteria. The researchers, Barry Marshall and Robin Warren, identified a tiny spiral-shaped type of bacteria [Helicobacter pylori] as the culprit.

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The medical community expects important discoveries to come from Ph.D.s at research universities or professors at large, world-class medical centers. Internists do not cure diseases that affect 10 percent of the world’s population.

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Let’s pose the question in the broadest possible terms: What makes people believe ideas?

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When we think of authorities who can add credibility, we tend to think of two kinds of people. The first kind is the expert–the kind of person whose wall is covered with framed credentials. […] Celebrities and other aspirations figures make up the second class of “authorities.” […] Why do we care that Michael Jordan likes… ..We care because we want to be like Mike,… We trust the recommendations of people whom we want to be like.

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This is why even horrible celebrity endorsements work for advertising.
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Can we find external sources of credibility taht don’t involve celebrities or experts? [Yes.] We can tape the credibility of anti-authorities.

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example of Pam Laffin, the anti-smoking icon who had emphysema by 24 and used her personal story to show the vagaries of smoking.
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[Greg] Connolly [director of tobacco control for the Massachussetts Department of Public Health] said, “What we’ve learned from previous campaigns is that telling stories using real people is the most compelling way.”

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The takeaway is that it can be the _honesty and trustworthiness_ of our sources, not their _status_, that allows them to act as authorities. Sometimes antiauthorities are even better than authorities.

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Take the teens of the Parkland Shootings in March 2018 as examples for moving the needle on the gun control debate.
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An expert on folk legends, Jan Brunvand, says that legends “acquire a good deal of their credibility and effect from their localized details.” A person’s knowledge of details is often a good proxy for her expertise. […] But concrete details don’t just lend credibility to the _authorities_ who provid them; they lend credibility to the idea itself. The Civil War anecdote, with lots of interesting details, is credible in _anyone’s_ telling. By making a claim tangible and concrete, details make it seem more real, more believable.

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In 1986, Jonathan Shedler and Melvin Manis […] created an experiment to simulat a trial. […] The jurors were asked to assess the fitness of a mother, Mrs. Johnson, and to decicd whether her seven-year-old son should remain in her care. […] So why did the details make a difference? They boosted the credibility of the argument. If I can mentally see the Darth Vader toothbrush, it’s easier for me to picture the boy diligently brushing his teeth in the bathroom, which in turn reinforces the notion that Mrs. Johnson is a good mother.

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…vivid details boost credibility. […] …we need to make use of truthful, core details. …details that symbolize and support our core idea.

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The use of vivid details is one way to create internal credibility–to weave sources of credibility into the ide aitself. Another way is to use statistics.

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“This approach is an ingenious way to convey a statistic.”

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Talking about BB example: One BB: This is Hiroshima. Lot’s of BBs, this is the world’s stockpile (paraphrase)
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The point was to hit people in the gut with the realization that this was a problem that was out of control. […] Statistics will, and should, almost always be used to illustrate a relationship. It’s more important for people to remember the relationship than the number.

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The soccer [team] analogy generates a human context for the statistics. it creates a sense of drama and a sense of movement. We can’t help but imagine the actions of the two players trying to score a goal, being opposed at every stage by the rest of their team. […] It relies on our schema of soccer teams and the fact that this schema is somehow cleaner, more well-defined, than our schema of organizations.

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Statistics aren’t inherently helpful; it’s the scale and context that make them so. […] The right scale changes everything.

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“A bag of popcorn has as much Vitamin J as 71 pounds of broccoli!” (We made this up.)

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I like that they made it J to make it feel false if retold.
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When it comes to statistics, our best advice is to use them as input, not output. Use them to make up your mind on an issue.

Highlight (yellow) – Section The Human-Scale Principle > page 147

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It’s the Sinatra Test: If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere. [example of Safexpress delivering the Harry Potter books in India]

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For an example that unites all three of the “internal credibility” sources–details, statistics, and the Sinatra test–we can turn to Bill McDonough, an environmentalist know for helping companies improve both the environment and the bottom line.

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selling chemical free fabric for Steelcase chairs
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Instead, the commercials developed a brand-new source of credibility: the audience. Wendy’s outsourced its credibility to customers. […] To use scientific language, Wendy’s made a falsifiable claim.

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[on examples: Snapple slave ship and circle K (Kosher) as a Klan ownership symbol] This is how testable credentials can backfire–the “see for yourself” step can be valid, while the resulting conclusion can be entirely invalid.

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It’s much more powerful to experience the effect for yourself.

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NBA aids example

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Chapter 5 Emotional

Mother Teresa once said, “If I look at the mass, I will never act. If I look at the one, I will.”

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When people think analytically, they’re less like to think emotionally. […] The mere act of calculation reduced people’s charity. Once we put on our analytical hat, we react to emotional appeals differently. We hinder our ability to feel.

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For people to take action, they have to care. […] Charities have long since figured out the Mother Teresa effect–they know that donors respond better to individuals than to abstract causes.

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The good news is that to make people care about our ideas we don’t have to produce emotion from an absence of emotion. In fact, many ideas use a sort of piggybacking strategy, associating themselves with emotions that already exist.

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Research conducted at Stanford and Yale shows that this process–exploiting terms and concepts for their emotional associations–is a common characteristic of communication. People tend to overuse any idea or concept that delivers an emotional kick. The research labeled this overuse “semantic stretch”.

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related to why typefaces seem “old” after a while.
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“Unique” used to mean one of a kind. “Unique” was special. […] Over time, associations get overused and become diluted in value; people end up saying things like “This is really, truly unique.”

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One woman told Thompson that her high school basketball coach sad that if his players ever won a sportsmanship trophy, they’d have to run laps.

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The called it Honoring the Game.

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The lesson for the rest of us is that if we want to make people care, we’ve got to tap into the things they care about. When everybody taps into the same thing, an arms race emerges. To avoid it, we’ve either got to shift onto new turf, as Thompson did, or find associations that are distinctive for our ideas.

Highlight (yellow) – Section Semantic Stretch: The Case of “Sportsmanship” > page 176

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In 1925, John Caples was assigned to write a headline for an advertisement promoting the correspondence music course offered by the U.S. School of Music. Caples had no advertising experience, but he was a natural. He sat at his typeswriter and pecked out the most famous headline in print-advertising history: “They Laughed When I Sat Down at the Piano…But When I Started to Play!”

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Caples says companies often emphasize features when they should be emphasizing benefits. […] The old advertising maxim says you’ve got to spell out the benefit of the benefit. In other words, people don’t buy quarter-inch drill bits. They buy quarte-inch holes so they can hang their children’s pictures.

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We get uncomfortable looking at Caples’s handiwork: Many of his ads are shady. Deceptive. The Magnetic Personality Kit may enjoy a conscience-free existence, but most of us aspire to a working relationship with the truth.

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Magnetic Personality Kit people are reminiscent of Donald J. Trump and his administration
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The first lesson is not to overlook self-interest. Jerry Weissman, a former TV producer and screenwriter who coaches CEOs in how to deliver speeches, says that you shouldn’t dance around the appeal to self-interest. He says that the WIIFY–“what’s in it for you,” pronounced wiffy-y–should be a central aspect of every speech.

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Teachers are all too familiar with the student refrain “How are we ever going to use this?” In other words, what’s in it for me?

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If you’ve got self-interest on your side, don’t bury it. Don’t talk around it.

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🔖

Highlight (yellow) – Section Cable TV in Tempe > page 180

synopsis: 1982 psychologists persuasion study of homeowners. Being told about the benefits of cable vs. imagining how cable will improve your live.
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Go back and count up the number of times the word “you” appears in each appeal.

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more in the second of imagining yourself….
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The Arizona study, though, took it a step further. It asked people to visualize the feeling of security they would get by using [the product].

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This is just how the mnemotechniques work
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The research paper, when it was published, was subtitled “Does Imagining Make it So?” The answer was yes.

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Compared with a typical mail-order ad, the “imagine cable television” appeal is a much more subtle appeal to self-interest. […] This finding suggest that it may be the tangibility, rather than the magnitude, of the benefits that makes people care. You don’t have to promise riches and sex appeal and magnetic personalities. It may be enough to promise reasonable benefits that people can easily imagine themselves enjoying.

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Maslow’s Pyramid, or Maslow’s Heirarch of Needs.

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Subsequent research suggests that the hierarchical aspect of Maslow’s theory is bogus–people persue all of these needs pretty much simultaneously.

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He’s clear about his leadership mission: “As I see it, I am not just in charge of food service; I am in charge of Morale.”

Think about that: I am in charge of morale. In terms of Maslow’s hierarch, [Floyd] Lee is going for Transcendence.

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It’s the attitude that makes the difference. […] Lee realizes that serving food is a job, but improving morale is a mission. Improving morale involves a creativity and experimentation and mastery. Serving food involves a ladle.

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So, sometimes self-interest helps people care, and sometimes it backfires. What are we to make of this?

Highlight (yellow) – Section The Popcorn Popper and Political Science > page 188

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1998, Donald Kinder, a professor of political science at University of Michigan, wrote an influential survey of thirty years of

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This has the example of firefighters needing a payout of a popcorn popper to watch fire prevention video
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And perhaps the most important part of the story is this: “Group interest” is often a better predictor of political opinions than self-interest. Kinder says that in forming opinions people seem to ask not “What’s in it for me?” but rather, “What’s in it for my group?” Our group affiliation may be used based on race, class, religion, gender, region, political party, industry, or countless of other dimensions of difference.

Highlight (yellow) – Section The Popcorn Popper and Political Science > page 189

and here’s where politics changed drastically in America after 1998
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A related idea comes from James March, a professor at Stanford University, who proposes that we use two basic models to make decisions. The first model involves calculating consequences. We weigh our alternatives, assessing the value of each one, and we choose the alternative that yields us the most value. This model is the standard view of decision-making in economics classes: People are self-interested and rational. [..] The second model is quite different. It assumes that people make decisions based on identity. They ask themselves three questions: Who am I? What kind of situation is this? And what do people like me do in this kind of situation?

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Instead, [Floyd Lee] helped create a kind of Pegasus identity: A Pegasus chef is in charge of morale, not food. You can imagine hundreds of decisions being made by staffers in the tent who think to themselves, What should a Pegasus person do in this situation?

Highlight (yellow) – Section The Popcorn Popper and Political Science > page 191

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MATH IS MENTAL WEIGHT TRAINING. It is a means to an end, (for most people), not an end in itself.

Highlight (yellow) – Section Clinic: The Need for Algebra and Maslow’s Basement > page 194

And for those that don’t, they are mathematicians.
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🔖 example about litter in Texas: “Don’t Mess with Texas”

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So far we’ve looked at three strategies for making people care: using associations (or avoiding associations, as the case may be), appealing to self-interest, and appealing to identity. …but we’ve got to watch out for our old nemesis, the Curse of Knowledge, which can interfere with our ability to implement them.

Highlight (yellow) – Section The Music of Duo Piano > page 199

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One of the exercises was intended to help the leaders articulate and refine the core mission of their organization. The questions put to the attendees were difficult ones: Why does your organization exist? Can other organizations do what you do–and if so, what is it you do that is unique?

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The mission to “preserve duo piano music” was effective and meaningful inside Murray Dranoff, but outside the organization it was opaque.

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It’s easy to forget taht you’re the tapper and the world is the listener.

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By asking “Why?” three times, the duo piano group moved from talking about what they were doing to why they were doing it.

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This tactic of the “Three Whys” can be useful in bypassing the Curse of Knowledge. (Toyota actually has a “Five Whys” process for getting to the bottom of problems on its production line. […] Asking “Why?” helps to remind us of the core values, the core principles, that underly our ideas.

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Put into wiki in IWC. Why webmention? Fundamental to the interconnection of the web and how it works. LINKS! {example of IDEO creating simulations that make people realize problems exist}
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simulations that drive employees to empathize with their customers.

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This realization–that empathy emerges from the particular rather than the pattern–bings us back full circle to the Mother Teresa quote… […] How can we make people care about our ideas? We get them to take off their Analytical Hats. We create empathy for specific individuals. We show how our ideas are associated with things that people already care about. We appeal to their self-interest, but we also appeal to their identities–not only to be the people they are right now but also to the people they would like to be.

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Chapter 6 Stories

Later, the group realized why the heart monitor misled them. It is designed to measure electrical activity, not actual heartbeats.

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The story about the baby appears in a chapter called “The Power of Stories,” in [Gary] Klein’s book Sources of Power. Klein says that, in the environments he studies, stories are told and retold because they contain wisdom. Stories are effective teaching tools. The show how context can mislead people to make the wrong decisions.

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The story’s power, then, is twofold: It provides simulation (knowledge about how to act) and inspiration (motivation to act). […] An emotional idea makes people care. And in this chapter we’ll see that the right stories make people act.

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🔖 Shop Talk in the Xerox Lunchroom

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🔖 The Un-passive Audience

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Maybe financial gurus should be telling us to imagine that we’re filthy rich; instead, they should be telling us to replay the steps that led to our being poor.

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what about Napoleon Hill’s popularity
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Why does mental simulation work? It works because we can’t imagine events or sequences without evoking the same modules of the brain that are evoked in real physical activity.

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Mental simulations help us manage emotions.

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Perhaps most surprisingly, mental simulation can also build skills. A review of thirty-five studies featuring 3,214 participants showed that mental practice alone–sitting quietly, without moving, and picturing yourself performing a task successfully from start to finish–improves performance significantly. […] Not surprisingly, mental practice is more effective when a task involves more mental activity (e.g., trombone playing) as opposed to physical actiivty (e.g., balancing), but the magnitude of gains from mental practice alone produced about two-thirds of the benefits of actual physical practice.

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Stories are like flight simulators for the brain.

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The more that training simulates the actions we must take in the world, the more effective it will be.

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What about math problems?
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We must fight the temptation to skip directly to the “tips” and leave out the story.

Highlight (yellow) – Section Clinic: Dealing with Problem Students > page 217

It’s also the value of the stories told in this very book! (Good to see them following their own advice.)
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And this is the second major payoff that stories provide: inspiration. Inspiration drives action, as does simulation.

Highlight (yellow) – Section Stories as Inspiration: The Tale of Jared > page 222

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The national advertising director, who had a lifetime of experience in trying to make ideas stick, wanted to walk away from the Jared story.

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Jared reminds us that we don’t always have to create sticky ideas. Spotting them is often easier and more useful. What if history teachers were diligent about sharing teaching methods that worked brilliantly in teaching students?

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Just as there are ad templates that have been proven effective, so, too, there are story templates that have been proven effective. Learning the templates gives our spotting ability a huge boost.

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Aristotle believed there were four primary dramatic plots: Simple Tragic, Simple Fortunate, Complex Tragic, and Complex Fortunate. Robert McKee, the screenwriting guru, lists twenty-five types of stories in his book: the modern epic, the disillusionment plot, and so on. When we finished sorting through a big pile of inspirational stories–a much narrower domain–we came to the conclusion that there are three basic plots: the Challenge plot, the Connection plot, and the Creativity plot.

These three basic plots can be used to classify more than 80 percent of the stories that appear in the original Chicken Soup collection. Perhaps more suprisingly, they can also be used to classify more than 60 percent of the stories published by People magazine about people who aren’t celebrities.

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The story of David and Goliath is the classic Challenge plot.

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There are variations of the Challenge plot that we all recognize: the underdog story, the rags-to-riches story, the triumph of sheer willpower over adversity.

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That [the story of the Good Samaritan] is what a Connection plot is all about. It’s a story about people who develop a relationship that bridges a gap–racial, class, ethnic, religious, demographic, or otherwise.

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Where Challenge plots involve overcoming challenges, Connection plots are about our relationships with other people.

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The Creativity plot involves someone making a mental breakthrough, solving a long-standing puzzle, or attacking a proble in an innovative way. It’s the MacGyver plot.

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In the history of the [Ingersoll Rand] Grinder Team, this story has become known as the Drag Test. The Drag Test is a Creativity plot that reinforced the team’s new culture. The Drag Test [dragging material behind their cars instead of traditional lab tests] implied, “We still need to get the right data to make decisions. We just need to do it a lot quicker.”

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“How wonderful! They’ve stolen my idea. It’s become their idea!”

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In 2001, he [Stephen Denning] wrote a very insightful book called The Springboard. Denning defines a springboard story as a story that lets people see how an existing problem might change. Springboard stories tell people about possibilities.

One major advantage of springboard stories is that they combat skepticism and create buy-in.

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The problem is that when you hit listeners between the eyes they respond by fighting back. The way you deliver a message to them is a cue to how they should react. If you make an argument, you’r implicitly asking them to evaluate your argument–judge it, debate it, criticize it–and then argue back, at least in their minds. But with a story, Denning argues, you engage the audience–you are involving people with the idea, asking them to participate with you.

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A springboard story helps us problem-solve for ourselves. A springboard story is an exercise in mass customization–each audience member uses the story as a springboard to slightly different destinations.

Highlight (yellow) – Section Stories at the World Bank > page 234

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🔖 example: Gary Klein taking stories out of a conference as an overview of what happened instead of pithy one-liners.

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Stories can almost single-handedly defeat the Curse of Knowledge. In fact, they naturally embody most of the SUCCESs framework. Stories are almost always Concrete. Most of them have Emotional and Unexpected elements. The hardest part of using stories effectively is makig sure that they’re Simple–that they reflect your core message. […] Stories hav ethe amazing dual power to simulate and inspire. And most of the time we don’t even have to use much crativity to harness these powers–we just need to be ready to spot the good ones that life generates every day.

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Epilogue: What Sticks

[In 1946, Leo] Durocher [coach of the Dodgers] pointed at the Giant’s dugout and said, “Nice guys! Look over there. Do you know a nicer guy than [Giant’s manager] Mel Ott? Or any of the other Giants? Why, they’re the nicest guys in the world! And where are thy? In seventh place!” As recounted by Ralph Keyes in his book on misquotations, Nice Guys Finish Seventh… [this quote] emerged as a cynical comment on life: “Nice guys finish last.”

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[Sherlock] Holmes never said, “Elementary, my dear Watson.”

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…in making ideas stick, the audience gets a vote. The audience may change the meaning of your idea, as happened with Durocher. The audience may actually improve your idea, as was the case with Sherlock Holmes. O the audience may retain some of your ideas and jettison others, as with [James] Carville [,who used had three phrases: “It’s the economy, stupid”, “Change vs. more of the same” and “Don’t forget health care”, only one of which stuck.]

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Ultimately, the test of our success as idea creators isn’t whether people mimic our exact words, it’s whether we achieve our goals.

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The barrier to idea-spotting is that we tend to process anecdotes differently than abstractions.

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…we can also put on Core Idea Glasses, allowing us to filter incoming ideas from that perspective.

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If you’re a great spotter, you’ll always trump a great creator. Why? Because the world will always produce more great ideas than any single individual, even the most creative one.

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[Talking about Chip’s student exercise in class:] In the average one-minute speech, the typical student uses 2.5 statistics. Only one studen in ten tells a story. Those are the spaking statistics. The “remembering” statistics, on the other hand, are almost mirror image: When students are asked to recall the speeches, 63 percent remember the stories. Only 5 percent remember any individual statistic.

Furthermore, almost no correlation emerges between “speaking talent” and the ability to make ideas stick.

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The stars of stickiness are the students who made their case by telling stories or by tapping into emotion…

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double entendre for this book as they’ve previously mentioned “tapping” out music….
Added on January 28, 2018

The first is decision paralysis–the anxiety and irrationality that can emerge from excessive choice or ambiguous situations. […] To beat decision paralysis, communicators have to do the hard work of finding the core.

Highlight (yellow) – Section More Villains > page 244

Added on January 28, 2018

Getting a message across has two stages: The Answer stage and the Telling Others stage. In the Answers stage, you use your expertise to arrive at the idea that you want to share. Doctors study for a decade to be capable of giving the Answer. Business managers may deliberate for months to arrive at the Answer.

Here’s the rub: The same factors that worked to your advantage in the Answer stage will backfire on you during the Telling Others stage. To
get the Answer, you need expertise, but you can’t dissociate expertise from the Curse of Knowledge. You know things that others down’t know, and you can’t remember what it was like not to know those things. So when you get around to sharing the Answer, you’ll need to communicate as if your audience were you.

Highlight (yellow) – Section More Villains > page 245

Added on January 28, 2018

There is a curious disconnect between the amount of time we invest in training people how to arrive at the Answer and the amout of time we invest in training them how to Tell Others. It’s easy to graduate from medical school or an MBA program without ever taking a class in communication. College professors take dozens of courses in their areas of expertise but none on how to teach. A lot of engineers would scoff at a training program about Telling Others.

Highlight (yellow) – Section More Villains > page 245

Added on January 28, 2018

For an idea to stick, for it to be useful and lasting, it’s got to make the audience:
1. Pay attention UNEXPECTED
2. Understand and remember it CONCRETE
3. Agree/Believe CREDIBLE
4. Care EMOTIONAL
5. Be able to act on it STORY

Highlight (yellow) – Section Making an Idea Stick: The Communication Framework > page 246

Added on January 28, 2018

We’ve seen ideas related to newspapers, accounting, nuclear war, evangelism, seat belts, dust, dancing, litter, football, AIDS, shipping, and hamburgers.

And what we’ve seen is that all these ideas–profound and mundane, serious and silly–share common traits. […] They laughed when you
shared a story instead of a statistic. But when the idea stuck…

Highlight (yellow) – Section John F. Kennedy versus Floyd Lee > page 250

Added on January 28, 2018

All they had were ideas.

And that’s the great thing about the world of ideas–any of us, with the right insight and the right message, can make an idea stick.

Highlight (yellow) – Section John F. Kennedy versus Floyd Lee > page 250

Added on January 28, 2018

Guide to highlight colors

Yellow–general highlights and highlights which don’t fit under another category below
Orange–Vocabulary word; interesting and/or rare word
Green–Reference to read
Blue–Interesting Quote
Gray–Typography Problem
Red–Example to work through

Syndicated copies to:

Valerie Alexander on How Women Can Succeed in the Workplace (Despite Having “Female Brains”)

This morning, at the Friday morning coffee meetup of Innovate Pasadena held at Cross Campus, I saw one of the singularly best and most valuable talks I’ve heard in a long time. Many of these types of speakers, while engaging or even entertaining, are telling the same tired stories and at best you learn one sentence’s worth of value. Definitively not the case this morning!!!

How Women Can Succeed in the Workplace (Despite Having “Female Brains”) by Valerie Alexander

Entitled How Women Can Succeed in the Workplace (Despite Having “Female Brains”) writer and speaker Valerie Alexander presented a brief discussion of human evolutionary history (a topic I’ve studied closely for several decades) that featured the difference in development of male and female human brains. Based on this and with a clearer picture of what broadly differentiates the sexes, Valerie then gave a multitude of highly relate-able examples from her professional life highlighting how women can simply take back control in the workplace to not only better succeed for themselves, but to also help their companies see their true value and succeed simultaneously.

Further, she also included some simple and very actionable advice (for men and women) to be able to make a better space within corporations so that they’re able to extract more of the value women bring to the workplace. Hint: Women bring a HUGE amount of value, and a majority of companies are not only undervaluing it, but they are literally throwing it away.

Not only were the messages tremendously valuable and imminently actionable by both women AND men, but she delivered it with fantastic confidence, grace, wit, charm, and warmth. In fact, I’d say it was not only strikingly informative, but it was also very entertaining. If you’re in the corporate space and looking to turn around your antediluvian or even pre-historic work culture (I’m looking ominously at you Uber and similar Silicon Valley brogrammer cultures), then jump in line as quickly as you can to book up what I can only expect is the diminishing time in her speaking and travel schedule.

Innovate Pasadena recorded the talk and I’ll try to post it here as soon as it’s available. Until then I will highly recommend purchasing her book How Women Can Succeed in the Workplace (Despite Having “Female Brains”), which I’m sure has not only the content of her lecture, but assuredly includes a whole lot more detail and additional examples than one could fit into such a short time frame. I also suspect it’s the type of book one would want to refer back to frequently as well. I’ve already got a half a dozen copies of it on their way to me to share with friends and family. I’m willing to make a substantial bet that for uncovering inherent value, this book and her overall message will eventually stand in the pantheon of texts and work of those like those of Frederick Winslow Taylor, Lillian Gilbreth, Frank Gilbreth, Dale Carnegie, Napoleon Hill, J.M. Juran, and W. Edwards Deming.


Psst… If the good folks at TED need some fantastic content, I saw a shortened 25 minute version of her hour-long talk. It could be tightened a hair for content and length, but it’s got exactly the tone, tempo and has the high level of presentation skills for which you’re known. Most importantly, it’s definitively an “Idea worth spreading.”

Innovate Pasadena has finally uploaded a copy of the video of Valerie Alexander’s talk:

Syndicated copies to:

📺 Watched Broadchurch (2013) Season 1 Episodes 1-8

Watched Broadchurch (Season 1) from ITV/BBC America
A seemingly calm and friendly seaside town becomes a town wrapped in secrets when the death of an eleven year old boy sparks an unwanted media frenzy. As the town's locals start to open up about what they do and don't know, it falls upon the police to catch the supposed killer. Creator: Chris Chibnall Starring: David Tennant, Olivia Colman, Andrew Buchan

I’m not sure exactly how I came across this, but I’ve just binged watched the first season (2013) of this great series. The second season from 2015 is also on Netflix already, and I’m thrilled to see that there’s already a season three from 2017 which hopefully will be available soon too.

In the same vein as the series Shetland, which I loved, this is a brooding small town, sea-side police drama. I suspect that many who appreciated Shetland as much as I did will love this. Those who haven’t seen either are recommended to do so if they’re drama/crime/mystery fans.

Broadchurch

While generally good, the cinematography here wasn’t as solid as it was in Shetland, but it certainly goes a long way toward creating the real character of the series. This particular season was much more like the last season of Shetland in that it’s an extended episode focusing on one case while many of the early episodes of Shetland were one or two-parters rather than an eight episode arc. The other big differentiator was that Shetland has a stronger focus on character amidst the case while this one is a tad weaker.

The casting was very solid and varied. Fans of the Harry Potter films will recognize several members of the cast passing through including lead David Tennant, who is probably best known by sci-fi fans from his decade long turn in Dr. Who. The acting was generally good, though there were a few missteps that could have been better. One small flaw revealed the ending to me in one of the middle episodes. It seemed a bit off to me that Tennant’s hair was an affected brassy color rather than a more darker natural color–it was definitely a choice.

The plot was pretty solid overall despite one or two pieces which were a bit too convenient (and far too coincidental), particularly in retrospective. The Jack Marshall story line outcome was painfully under-motivated and didn’t play as realistic to me, but the rest was well done including the gut punch ending in the final episode of season one. Given the complexity and nuance of as many characters interacting in such a small town, the overall arc is incredibly well done.

I can’t wait to power through the next season, and hope the third is available soon. Knowing the casting stays much the same, I’m really curious how the next two seasons are plotted.

I watched this on the 40″ Samsung in high def with Netflix routed through my Google Chromecast.

Syndicated copies to:

Review and notes from The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo

The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing Book Cover The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
Marie Kondo
House & Home
Ten Speed Press
October 14, 2014
Kindle e-book
226

Presents a guide to cleaning and organizing a living space, discussing best methods for decluttering and the impact that an organized home can have on mood and physical and mental health.

I originally picked this up on April 18th when my brother Steve had asked me if I could track down a copy for him. Last week another friend mentioned it at brunch with her recommendation, so I thought I’d give it a shot.

Kondo does an excellent job of highlighting the most important parts of the book as she goes along, so it’s rather easy to skim back through the book for important parts.

The basic gist is to get rid of everything in one’s home that doesn’t “spark joy” when physically holding it. It’s not too dissimilar to the philosophy set forward by designer/artist William Morris who once said, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”

Most of the book is devoted to some of the basic philosophy as well as recommendations about how to go about paring things down and storing them. In particular I found some of her ideas about folding things interesting and I was a bit surprised at how one can differently fold things to not only save space in drawers, but to also make them easier to see and choose.

I went so far as to watch some videos about how she folds:

This series of short videos and a few longer talks do a relatively good job of encapsulating the contents of the book.

An interesting thing I find in what I’m supposing is a translation from Japanese is that though the translation is strong, the flavor of the writer’s Japanese culture still burns through the philosophy and story of the work. To me these were some of the most interesting parts of her story.

Reading Progress
  • 05/06/17 started reading
  • 05/06/17 72.0% done; “A quick and breezy read with some simple prescriptive actions.”
  • 05/08/17 100.0% done
  • Finished book on 05/08/17

Highlights, Quotes, & Marginalia

Why can’t I keep my house in order?

If you tidy up in one shot, rather than little by little, you can dramatically change your mind-set.

Highlight (yellow) – Why can’t I keep my house in order? > Location 247

Added on Saturday, May 6, 2017

Tidying is just a tool, not the final destination. The true goal should be to establish the lifestyle you want most once your house has been put in order.

Highlight (yellow) – Why can’t I keep my house in order? > Location 300

Added on Saturday, May 6, 2017

Putting things away creates the illusion that the clutter problem has been solved. […] This is why tidying must start with discarding.

Highlight (yellow) – Why can’t I keep my house in order? > Location 320

Added on Saturday, May 6, 2017

…the space I live in is graced only with those things that speak to my heart.

Highlight (yellow) – Why can’t I keep my house in order? > Location 402

Added on Saturday, May 6, 2017

Finish discarding first

Start by discarding, all at once, intensely and completely

Highlight (yellow) – Finish discarding first > Location 407

Added on Saturday, May 6, 2017

The urge to point out someone else’s failure to tidy is usually a sign that you are neglecting to take care of your own space.

Highlight (yellow) – Finish discarding first > Location 620

Added on Saturday, May 6, 2017

In fact, that particular article of clothing has already completed its role in your life, and you are free to say, “Thank you for giving me joy when I bought you,” or “Thank you for teaching me what doesn’t suit me,” and let it go.

Highlight (yellow) – Finish discarding first > Location 698

\Added on Saturday, May 6, 2017

To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose.

Highlight (yellow) – Finish discarding first > Location 706

Added on Saturday, May 6, 2017

Tidying by category works like magic

You may have wanted to read it when you bought it, but if you haven’t read it by now, the book’s purpose was to teach you that you didn’t need it.

Highlight (yellow) – Tidying by category works like magic > Location 1013
This is essentially sacrilege to me, but then again most all books give me a spark of joy.

Added on Saturday, May 6, 2017

Storing your things to make your life shine

…storage “solutions” are really just prisons within which to bury possessions that spark no joy.

Highlight (yellow) – Storing your things to make your life shine > Location 1426

Added on Saturday, May 6, 2017

Never pile things: vertical storage is the key

Highlight (yellow) – Tidying by category works like magic > Location 1551

Added on Saturday, May 6, 2017

Never hang on to them in the belief that you might use them someday.

Highlight (yellow) – Tidying by category works like magic > Location 1602

Added on Monday, May 8, 2017

This is why I urge you to refrain from stocking up on things.

Highlight (yellow) – Tidying by category works like magic > Location ####
TOKUMNOTE

Added on Monday, May 8, 2017

This is why I urge you to refrain from stocking up on things.

Highlight (yellow) – Tidying by category works like magic > Location 1759
She’s talking about socks/stockings here. Pun intended? 🙂

Added on Monday, May 8, 2017

When you treat your belongings well, they will always respond in kind. For this reason, I take time to ask myself occasionally whether the storage space I’ve set aside for them will make them happy. Storage, after all, is the sacred act of choosing a home for my belongings.

Highlight (yellow) – Tidying by category works like magic > Location 1831

Added on Monday, May 8, 2017

The magic of tidying dramatically transforms your life

I truly believe that our possessions are even happier and more vibrant when we let them go than when we first get them.

Highlight (yellow) – The magic of tidying dramatically transforms your life > Location 2044

Added on Monday, May 8, 2017

Guide to highlight colors

Yellow–general highlights and highlights which don’t fit under another category below
Orange–Vocabulary word; interesting and/or rare word
Green–Reference to read
Blue–Interesting Quote
Gray–Typography Problem
Red–Example to work through

Syndicated copies to:

🎞 The Holcroft Covenant (Universal Pictures, 1985)

Watched The Holcroft Covenant from Universal Pictures, 1985
The son of a German General becomes part of a mysterious conspiracy to gain hidden Nazi funds.

Directed by John Frankenheimer. With Michael Caine, Anthony Andrews, Victoria Tennant, Lilli Palmer.

I expected far better than this from Frankenheimer and Caine. I didn’t realize until after watching it that it was made in the mid 1980’s. It plays far more like a 70’s plot including the music and the cinematography. I’ve not read the Robert Ludlum novel, though I suspect as is the case for others in his canon that the book was far better than the film version, particularly for late 70’s/early 80’s material.

I watched this as a poorly cropped and overly letterboxed version on Amazon Prime, so the quality was certainly lacking from that perspective.

While there was a reasonable amount of suspense throughout, it’s not the directing that creates the ride, but really the liberally applied music which, while not great, was probably the best part of the experience. Those interested in what sound can do for a plot should study this piece.

In all, the plot was a muddy and convoluted and didn’t play itself out well at all. Tom Cruise’s first Mission Impossible was clearer. Frankenheimer had a few nice films, but it’s middling fare like this that squarely peg him as passable journeyman for most of his career.

Caine had one or two nice quips in the picture and was serviceable, but didn’t have quite the personality that shines through in many other pictures. The overall cast was great, they just weren’t given much in terms of plot or dialogue.

Some of the highlight quotes for me:

[Spotting a car tailing them]
Noel Holcroft: Probably just another Sunday driver. But on the other hand, as it is Tuesday, why don’t you put your foot on the gas and see what happens.

Noel Holcroft: May I suggest, that it is extremely difficult for a man, in a gray flannel suit, to behave naturally, while riding on a horse in the middle of the night, waiting for someone to shoot at you!

Leighton: Oh, dear, oh, dear. Assumption, Mr. Holcroft, is, as they say in my profession, the mother of fuck-up.

Leighton: Naughty, naughty, Mr. Holcroft. You mustn’t speak to strangers. Could be harmful to the health.

Leighton: There’s a lot of villainous characters lurking about. I’m glad to say that most of them are mine.

Noel Holcroft: I have a friend who lives in the country, and it’s supposed to be an hour from 42nd Street. A lie! The only thing that’s an hour from 42nd Street is 43rd Street!

Syndicated copies to:

Annie (Sony, 2014)

Watched Annie from Sony Pictures, 2014
Directed by Will Gluck. With Quvenzhané Wallis, Cameron Diaz, Jamie Foxx, Rose Byrne. A foster kid, who lives with her mean foster mom, sees her life change when business tycoon and New York mayoral candidate Will Stacks makes a thinly-veiled campaign move and takes her in.

Finishing out the Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje 2014 mini-movie retrospective after watching Pompeii yesterday. What polar opposite characters in many senses. He didn’t seem as big or imposing here while he was positively brutal in the other.

The opening with the alternate red headed Annie would have played better if it was a tad more respectful to its own source material.

This incarnation of Annie was alright, but not as solid as the 1982 version. The update to a modern setting was relatively good, but New York didn’t feel much like New York. A part of the magic was missing and I’d suggest that it was the music that killed it for me. None of the singing felt live and all of it was auto-tuned even for actors for whom it probably wasn’t necessary. On top of this none of the classic songs from the book were understandable from a lyrics point of view, and this is sad since that’s where half of the story is hiding.

The other piece that was missing was the general chemistry between Annie and her benefactor. The ebullient joy of the 1982 Annie with the curmudgeon played by Albert Finney just overwhelmed the poorly developed relationship in this version.

This might have been better timed from a zeitgeist perspective if it had been released in Fall 2016 with more veiled references to Trump, though no one would have bought the rich-guy-with-a-heart ending.

Annie one sheet

🎞 Watched Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Watched Rogue One: A Star Wars Story from Walt Disney Studios, December 16, 2016
Directed by Gareth Edwards. With Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Alan Tudyk, Donnie Yen. The Rebel Alliance makes a risky move to steal the plans for the Death Star, setting up the epic saga to follow.

Some good entertainment all around, but not as gripping as past installments. Definitely worth the trip to see it on the big screen though.

The Tarkin CGId character was a bit distracting, but not so terrible because of the dim lighting in most of his scenes. His eyes never seemed to connect with his interlocutors which was annoying. He wasn’t as horrible as the Leia CGI character which went deep down into the uncanny valley in large part because of both the close up as well as the bright lighting.

The casting for the older characters from Chapter IV was reasonably good otherwise. The comedic conceit for the robot stole the entire show. I also wish there’d been more of Mads Mikkelsen who is just awesome in almost everything he does.

After a bunch of skin-of-the-teeth escapes throughout the movie, I am left wondering why the lead characters are left to fate at the end. Was it just to completely leave no thought of additional sequels for them?

Pacific Theaters 18, 322 Americana Way, Glendale, CA 91210

Screen 03

Seat: Row F, Seat 27a

 

Syndicated copies to:

Book Review: Son of Fletch by Gregory Mcdonald

Read Son of Fletch by Gregory Mcdonald (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard)
Son of Fletch Book Cover Son of Fletch
Fletch #10 (in the stories' chronological order #10); Son of Fletch #1
Fiction; Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
1993; ebook: April 19, 2010
e-book
241

Fletch has a son. He's a convict, a racist, a hate group organizer, and he's on the run after a prison break. Will Fletch help him out?

Plot

It was a dark and stormy night…

In eleven novels in the series, one of them was bound to start off like this, in a sense. Like most in the Fletch series, the story is off like a shot from the beginning, but then just a tad into the first act there’s another huge plot point (suggested by the title of the book) or known by the close reader who remembers Crystal Faoni who was a major (large?) character from Fletch’s Fortune.

I don’t know that I believed the convicts just taking Fletch’s word for where to hide out at the time, in part because the character development to make it plausible didn’t come until later. There was also a plot point involving the sheriff that I saw coming from a mile away that could/should have been much more subtle for a bigger surprise when it was revealed.

My biggest problem was that after some great build up I was expecting something really big or interesting from either Fletch or his son to close out the whole story. Sadly the end of the plot devolved in too quick and short a manner for a really satisfying pay off.

Of all of the Fletch books, so far this one seems to be the biggest influencer for the creation of portions of the movie Fletch Lives, which was otherwise made out of whole cloth based on the character. In some sense Cleavon Little’s character “Calculus Entropy” replaced Fletch’s son and big parts of the plot were heavily rewritten purely for entertainment’s sake.

Of all of the books which mention the seemingly ever-present Edward Arthur Tharp, Jr., this one seems to have more detail about it, particularly as in this story the book has finally been finished and it becomes a method by which Fletch and his son seem to probe each other about it. Oddly there was no mention or parallel between Fletch’s own mother as a writer and his having become a writer.

Character

Fletch’s girlfriend in this piece serves as pure plot and didn’t feel as multi-dimensional as she should have been given her role in the piece. She does serve well as the “better angel” as well as the gut reaction most readers will also be feeling through the story. But as always, one must just “trust” Fletch and his plan of where he’s going, even if he’s not sure himself.

Fletch himself seems to be much the same as we remember him, though I really wonder how and why he seems to have settled down into small town Tennessee life. Descriptions in the book make it sound like he’s still a man of the world, but somehow interesting people come to him instead of him going to see them. None of this really fits into the bigger character to me, but the story continues as if it doesn’t matter anyway.

Fletch’s son plays things very close to the vest, so his motivations and character aren’t really developed until much later in the piece, but in some sense he’s at least differentiated well enough from Fletch to be his “own man” here.

I liked that even the racists here were given some well done characterization so that despite their beliefs that one could actually feel bad for them in some sense. I will say it was relatively interesting to read in the timeperiod of the 2016 presidential election.

Summary

Overall this was a middle-of-the-road Fletch installment. (But still ranks relatively high on the mystery/suspense/detective genres). I suspect that it would have been more interesting to Fletch fans who hadn’t had an installment in a few years based on the time it was released. For a potential reboot of the series, or for kicking off a new series, it wasn’t a bad effort.

Reading Progress
  • 08/7/16 marked as: want to read; “The Rio Olympics reminded me that I’d gotten Carioca Fletch to read back in the 80’s and never got around to it, so I thought I’d come back and revisit the series.”
  • 11/26/16 started reading
  • 11/26/16 13.0% done; “Fletch has a son. He’s a convict and he’s on the run after a prison break. Will Fletch help him out?”
  • 11/28/16 25.0% done; “We’re off like a shot. Somehow it doesn’t seem terrifically believable that the escape convicts so easily take Fletch’s advice on where to hide, but he does a fantastic job of coralling them in the opeining.
    Some of the overt “Southernness” feels overdone to me, but perhaps it was the effect of Mcdonald’s many years living in Tennessee which had a tarnishing effect.”
  • 11/29/16 57.0% done; “We’re starting to go somewhere, but I can sadly already almost predict the ending. In particular, there was a ham-handed mention of a car that gave the whole thing away for me.
    Of all of the Fletch books, so far this one seems to be the biggest influencer for the creation of portions of the movie Fletch Lives, which was otherwise made out of whole cloth based on the character.”
  • 12/1/16 64.0% done; “This is where things begin to go sideways! Here comes the third act… Much of what I anticipated was going to happen has; the question now is how will he manage to extract himself (and his friends/family)?”
  • 12/03/16 Finished book

Highlights, Quotes, & Marginalia

“Some villains decided to take themselves a little vacation from the federal penitentiary up in Kentucky, Carrie.”
“Can’t blame ‘em,” Fletch said. “We’ve been advertising Tennessee as a vacation spot. Take yourselves off to Tennessee. Isn’t that the slogan?”

Highlight (yellow) Location 44-46

Added on Saturday, November 26, 2016 10:47:45 PM

“Mister Fletcher. Miss Carrie.”
“Howdy, Sheriff,” Carrie said.
“Don’t Francie let you take a shower-bath at home anymore?”
“Says I keep leavin’ wet towels on the bathroom floor. So she sends me out every time there’s a hard rain.

Highlight (yellow) Location 56-59

Added on Saturday, November 26, 2016 10:47:59 PM

A few months before, two of the county’s cars had smashed into each other, in a parking lot.

Highlight (yellow) Location 112-112
Poor storytelling form here.

Added on Saturday, November 26, 2016 10:51:46 PM

“I don’t have a gun,” Carrie said. “What do I do if the wolf comes by?”
“What you charmin’ Tennesseans always do.”
“What’s that?”
“Say, ‘Hydy, Mister Wolf. How’s your pa?’”
“Which paw will I be askin’ about in this case? Right, left, front, back?”

Highlight (yellow) Location 124-129

Added on Saturday, November 26, 2016 10:53:09 PM

At first Fletch saw only the back of a soaking wet, lean male in his early twenties. The back of his denim shirt had stitched on it FEDERAL PENITENTIARY/TOMASTON. Fletch tisked. “You kids. You can’t wear anything without some sort of an advertisement or a slogan on it. Wouldn’t the usual beer logo or ‘YALE’ do just as well?”

Highlight (yellow) Location 217-220

Added on Saturday, November 26, 2016 10:59:30 PM

“It’s like being a beautician in the land of the ugly!”

Highlight (yellow) Location 381-382

Added on Saturday, November 26, 2016 11:26:14 PM

🔖 Bookmark on Location 537
Added on Sunday, November 27, 2016 11:50:34 PM

“Idea is, they could have Ms. Carrie hostage in one room while you’re sweet-talkin’ us.” “Me? Sweet-talk anybody?” Fletch grinned. “I understand.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 555-557

Added on Sunday, November 27, 2016 11:51:44 PM

“You got any of those Tharp paintings, Mister Fletcher?” “No. I guess I ran the price of them up too high for me to afford ‘em.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 561-563

Added on Sunday, November 27, 2016 11:52:12 PM

In this life, who are the bastards?” Jack muttered, “The fathers, or the sons?”

Highlight (yellow) Location 702-703

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 12:01:53 AM

“You escaped from a maximum-security federal penitentiary after only five weeks?”
“I didn’t like it there,” Jack said. “Noisy. Food could have been better. I’d read all the books in the library.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 715-717

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 12:02:55 AM

Ever since you wrote the book Pinto: The Biography of Edgar Arthur Tharp, Junior. That was a big success, wasn’t it?”

Highlight (yellow) Location 739-740

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 12:04:44 AM

“Big book,” Jack said. Fletch said, “It took a while.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 743-744

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 12:05:15 AM

“You believe in straight lines, don’t you?”
“Nature does not love the straight line,” Fletch said. “Man is compelled to it.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 769-771

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 12:08:03 AM

People here don’t really, really believe frogs drop from the sky in a hard rain.

Highlight (yellow) Location 815-815

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 12:11:08 AM

“I could sit here forever,” Carrie said, “feeling you inside me. What would you do if I sat here forever?” On his back, Fletch shrugged. “Send out for Chinese, I guess.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 841-843

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 12:13:45 AM

“Everything all right?” she asked. “All things being relative.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 851-852
Ha! Relative. Nice double entendre.

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 12:14:46 AM

“E=MC2!” Such was Carrie’s expletive. She considered the theory of relativity the most outlandish thing she had ever heard of.

Highlight (yellow) Location 897-898

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 12:17:26 AM

🔖 Bookmark on Location 910
Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 2:06:45 AM

good, Fletch.

Highlight (gray) Location 951-951

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 2:10:25 AM

Turning, Kriegel went to Jack and clasped him by the shoulders. “This man is your father! Why didn’t you tell me? He is one of us! We are saved!” “Praise the Lord,” Fletch said.

Highlight (yellow) Location 974-975

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 2:12:50 AM

🔖 Bookmark on Location 1003
Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 2:23:23 AM

Kriegel took a few steps toward Carrie and Fletch. It seemed his intent to take them by the hands. Fletch stuck his hands in the pockets of his shorts.

Highlight (yellow) Location 1008-1010

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 7:51:05 PM

“Shit,” she said. “He’s your son, all right. Clear as a church bell on a crisp night. He’s got your body.” “Oh, don’t say that,” Fletch said. “Last time someone said that about me and someone else, one of us got shot through a window.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 1024-1027

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 7:52:34 PM

“You going to get married?” “These days you marry a woman and two lawyers. Beds just aren’t that big.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 1055-1057

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 7:57:47 PM

“Hey.” Jack trotted behind the horse. “You’re riding a horse barebacked in shorts.” “Yeah,” Fletch said. “Just like a Native American.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 1087-1089

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 8:17:39 PM

“Ah, Fletch. Don’t think of yourself as a Yankee anymore. You’re about gettin’ over it.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 1136-1137
Like it was a disease

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 8:32:04 PM

Jack had been amazed to see Fletch come out of the henhouse carrying eleven eggs. “Wow!” he said. “You make your own eggs!” Then he said, “They’re dirty!” Fletch said, “You think they were hatched already scrambled with milk and butter?” Jack grinned. “I was hatched sunnyside up, I was.” “I see,” Fletch said. “So you scrambled yourself.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 1138-1142

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 8:33:12 PM

“For a guitar picker, you sure know some different scales.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 1226-1226

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 8:55:04 PM

Having been a print journalist, and someone who had written a book, Fletch persisted in believing there was not much future in electronics, generally.

Highlight (yellow) Location 1260-1261
But what about his technology platform in the prior book (Fletch and the Man Who)?

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 9:00:35 PM

We’re as slick as a boxer after the tenth round.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 1339-1339
should have been noting these. this is the 20th of these goofy similies…

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 9:12:36 PM

“Describe him.” “Hispanic.” “I’m prepared to call that a good arrest, aren’t you?” “Absolutely.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 1356-1358

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 9:14:19 PM

One way and another, Fletch had learned the importance of creating a diversion.

Highlight (yellow) Location 1370-1370

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 9:14:59 PM

Arms akimbo, Carrie said, “What are you? Only God and you know that, and I suspect you’re confused.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 1405-1406

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 9:17:38 PM

“Besides,” Carrie answered in a milder tone, “generally, Fletch doesn’t hold much stock in simple questions. He says, when you ask a question all you get is an answer to the question, not the truth. He says, to get the truth it’s best to wait and watch and listen.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 1436-1438

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 9:19:58 PM

“Oh, yes,” Carrie said. “Fletch calls you the tactile generation. For short, he calls you the scabpickers. What you know, what you do isn’t important, only what you feel.

Highlight (yellow) Location 1450-1452

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 9:21:24 PM

By golly, Ms.

Highlight (yellow) Location 1479-1480
Consistency of chapter opens?

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 9:26:55 PM

“All three hundred and fifty pounds of white and naked flab you all call Leary is dead to the world out on the back lawn,” Fletch said. “I swear, if we drag him down to the roadside, the slaughter truck will pick him up for the glue factory without even stopping to ask which nature of beast he is.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 1487-1489

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 9:28:48 PM

apolitical

Highlight (gray) Location 1518-1519

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 9:31:49 PM

“Come, come,” Fletch said. “Jack and I will be with you. What have you to fear? You know Jack is a karate expert. And I? Don’t even ask. Never have I met man or beast to make me tremble in nose or lip.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 1544-1546
I love the stilted language here to poke fun of the racist

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 9:35:15 PM

Pity if you escaped prison just for a zoological experience in a ditch.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 1551-1552

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 9:36:00 PM

If biff came to bang, Fletch would be interested to see what John Fletcher Faoni would do.

Highlight (yellow) Location 1554-1554

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 9:36:18 PM

“Yes, I see,” Kriegel said. “Wasn’t it Julius Caesar,” Fletch asked, “who said something about divide and skinny through?” “He said, ‘All roads lead to Rome.’” “That, too,” Fletch agreed. “Quite a phrasemaker, that Caesar feller. I knew you know your military history.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 1569-1573

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 9:37:18 PM

stanchions

Highlight (orange) Location 1612-1612

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 9:40:25 PM

Fletch shouted at Leary, “Now, hold on to that little cow!” Standing, with his feet spread, Leary grabbed the bull calf’s tail. As Carrie started the truck down the driveway, Leary’s boots slipped in wet manure already on the floor of the pickup truck’s bed. He landed on his ass. On the manure. Both his hands still held on to the bull calf’s tail. “Hold on to it!” Fletch ordered. “It’s shittin’ on me!” Leary yelled halfway down the driveway. It certainly was.

Highlight (yellow) Location 1614-1620

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 9:41:31 PM

Then Fletch watched Jack choking with laughter. “Oh, hello.” Fletch slapped Jack on the back. “How are you feeling?”

Highlight (yellow) Location 1625-1626

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 9:43:13 PM

Jack smiled. “Shall I sing a few bars of ‘Let the Punishment Fit the Crime’?”

Highlight (yellow) Location 1640-1641

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 9:44:52 PM

Jack said, “I’m amazed at the way you have kept us all weak, incapacitated.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 1643-1644

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 9:45:37 PM

In the backseat, blinking slowly, Kriegel was waking up. The guitar was propped up on the seat beside him. Their shapes were similar. The guitar had the more attractive neck.

Highlight (yellow) Location 1669-1670
awesome description

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 9:47:33 PM

Kriegel asked, “Who is this Professor Josiah Black?” Neither Fletch nor Jack answered. Kriegel insisted. “What did you mean by ‘Josiah Black’?” Fletch did not answer. “It comes from an old American song, sir,” Jack answered. “What’s the name of the song?” Jack said, “‘Ol’ Black Joe.”’ “‘Ol’ Black Joe’?” Kriegel spluttered. “You called me an old, black Joe? Is that supposed to be funny?” “I had to tell him something, didn’t I?” Fletch asked. “Couldn’t say you are Santa Claus now, could I?”

Highlight (yellow) Location 1685-1693

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 9:52:48 PM

“I mean, don’t you realize you are the most despised person on earth?” “Who, me?” “You are the intelligent, educated to some degree, I gather, well-off, middle-aged, heterosexual white male. On this earth, you are distinctly the minority. Yet you and your kind have made the world, as we know it, what it is. For centuries, you have created the religious and political institutions, the businesses, the wars, laws that protect and suit you to the exclusion of others, while exploiting all people of color, Indians, Negroids, Orientals, even those less fortunate than yourself of the same tribe, the laborers, as well as all women and children.” “Wow.” Fletch well knew these sentiments. He had been confronted with such often enough. “And all this time I thought I was just gettin’ along best I could.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 1698-1705

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 9:53:56 PM

“What, your being thirsty? Chew buttons.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 1722-1722

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 9:55:17 PM

There is no place from the Balkans to the city of Los Angeles where tribal wars are not raging. Am I right? Humans basically are tribal, Mister Fletcher, something your government does not understand. There is the individual. There is the family. There is the tribe.

Highlight (yellow) Location 1736-1738

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 10:01:05 PM

“That tribalism is being used, around the world, by a lot of would-be tinpot demagogues and dictators, warlords, simply to grab power and all the good things for themselves. That that is what really goes on in the world, among whites, blacks, Orientals, women, children, always has and always will: power-mongering based on individual greed.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 1758-1761

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 10:02:48 PM

“Ummm.” Fletch smiled at Jack. “Not the first time I’ve noticed that those who lecture, frequently don’t listen.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 1772-1773

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 10:04:30 PM

Racism has taken off its coat,” Fletch said.

Highlight (yellow) Location 1782-1782

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 10:08:04 PM

“Best-laid plans,” Carrie said, “often get screwed up.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 1838-1838
Reference To a Mouse by Robert Burns: “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft a-gley.”

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 10:11:26 PM

The place looked like a wacky seven-year-old boy’s idea of heaven.

Highlight (yellow) Location 1881-1882
great description of a klan encampment

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 10:15:49 PM

“You came to my house to involve me.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 1936-1936

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 10:20:02 PM

“Joe Rogers’s wife.” Jack sat to Carrie’s right. “Sheriff Joe Rogers?” Fletch asked. “Yeah,” Carrie said. Fletch said, “Must be a coincidence.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 1969-1973

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 10:22:46 PM

Hello, Andy. How’s your head bone?”

Highlight (yellow) Location 1975-1975

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 10:23:07 PM

The governor of California has issued a statement reminding people that most of California is not affected by earthquakes at all. I suspect that bit was written for him by the Chamber of Commerce goaded by amusement park operators.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 2003-2005

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 10:25:31 PM

Always he had noticed builders in this area of the South never left trees, or any source of shade, in their parking lots. Trees are pretty, give shade, lessen the need for air-conditioning, but golly gee, take up as much as a square foot of ground space.

Highlight (yellow) Location 2110-2111

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 10:34:09 PM

Apollonaris

Highlight (yellow) Location 2121-2121

Added on Monday, November 28, 2016 10:34:52 PM

🔖 Bookmark on Location 2179
Added on Tuesday, November 29, 2016 12:34:21 AM

I hate to accept their food.

Highlight (yellow) Location 2180-2181

Added on Tuesday, November 29, 2016 1:37:20 AM

She tasted her chili. “Yee! It tastes like chopped horned toads and ketchup! These foreigners don’t even know how to make respectable chili!”

Highlight (yellow) Location 2187-2188

Added on Tuesday, November 29, 2016 1:38:15 AM

shifts

Highlight (yellow) Location 2196-2196

Added on Tuesday, November 29, 2016 1:39:41 AM

“Fletch, the license plate is from our county.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 2227-2228
Major tell that Sheriff didn’t pick up escapees

Added on Tuesday, November 29, 2016 1:42:35 AM

She’s out of pocket.

Highlight (yellow) Location 2262-2263
I’m curious about where/when this phrase originated with the meaning of being “not available”? Perhaps with the invention of the cell phone that could fit into a pocket? Or earlier with a pool reference?

Added on Tuesday, November 29, 2016 1:45:17 AM

“This kid could be as crazy as a groundhog on ice.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 2269-2270

Added on Tuesday, November 29, 2016 1:46:16 AM

“I suspect it’s not every man’s dream to discover his son is a cop-killing, escaped convict, racist, hate-group organizer.”

Highlight (blue) Location 2276-2277

Added on Tuesday, November 29, 2016 1:46:53 AM

“I always want to know the truth.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 2282-2282

Added on Tuesday, November 29, 2016 1:47:18 AM

“I am Commandant Wolfe!” “I’m Shalom Aleichem.” Fletch stuck his thumb toward Carrie. “This is Golda Meir, as a girl.” “Doctor Kriegel has warned me of your sense of humor, Mister Fletcher.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 2316-2319

Added on Tuesday, November 29, 2016 1:49:27 AM

🔖 Bookmark on Location 2326
Added on Wednesday, November 30, 2016 1:45:26 AM

“Ah, Fletch! You’re not going to give me that one-world crap, are you?”

Highlight (yellow) Location 2326-2326

Added on Wednesday, November 30, 2016 1:45:35 AM

Softly, Fletch said, “Since the beginning of time, a few have taken the fact of economic competition, no matter how great the resources, and used it to create hatred and violence to satisfy their own greed.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 2328-2330

Added on Wednesday, November 30, 2016 1:45:56 AM

“How can I object?” Jack said. “I am a result of selective breeding. Aren’t I?”

Highlight (yellow) Location 2351-2352

Added on Wednesday, November 30, 2016 1:48:02 AM

🔖 Bookmark on Location 2352
Added on Thursday, December 1, 2016 12:08:04 AM

“My, my,” Fletch said to Carrie. “This is being taped.” “‘Vanity, vanity,’” Carrie said. “‘All is vanity.’” “More than that,” Fletch said. “Like their predecessors, they are carefully documenting their own history.” “So later they can deny it, right?”

Highlight (yellow) Location 2365-2369
very remniscent of Trump

Added on Thursday, December 1, 2016 12:08:59 AM

Ethnic cleansing. Separatism.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 2392-2393

Added on Thursday, December 1, 2016 12:11:21 AM

In the wasteland of Karoo, South Africa, Orania is the name of the headquarters of the Afrikaner Resistance Movement.

Highlight (yellow) Location 2453-2454

Added on Thursday, December 1, 2016 12:15:46 AM

There, standing, staring at them, openmouthed was their friend, the sheriff, Joe Rogers.

Highlight (yellow) Location 2490-2490

Added on Thursday, December 1, 2016 12:18:53 AM

I’ll believe that when catfish meow and climb trees.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 2500-2500

Added on Thursday, December 1, 2016 12:19:44 AM

If it were not the nature of these people to blame others for their ills, Fletch reasoned, they would not be here.

Highlight (yellow) Location 2546-2546

Added on Thursday, December 1, 2016 12:22:23 AM

I mean, get the E=MC2 out of here!”

Highlight (yellow) Location 2576-2576

Added on Thursday, December 1, 2016 12:25:09 AM

🔖 Bookmark on Location 2576
Added on Saturday, December 3, 2016 1:29:41 AM

🔖 Bookmark on Location 2686
Added on Saturday, December 3, 2016 2:05:44 PM

Fletch heard Toninho say,

Highlight (yellow) Location 2710-2711
Quick reference back to Carioca Fletch

Added on Saturday, December 3, 2016 2:11:09 PM

“Animals? These aren’t the chosen people?” “No. You are the chosen people, Mister Fletcher. All this I do for you.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 2756-2757
Sounds like something Jesus would say

Added on Saturday, December 3, 2016 2:16:10 PM

“Never judge a leader by his followers.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 2759-2759

Added on Saturday, December 3, 2016 2:16:18 PM

“We are just using these fools, these psychotics, toward an end.” “‘Using’ them,” Fletch repeated. “Of course. Using them. I wish I didn’t have to. There are many reasons you should be grateful, supportive toward my efforts.” “Sorry, I never carry my checkbook.” “Where would these psychotic fools be tonight, what would they be doing if they were not here bashing each other’s brains out?” “Home baking cookies?” “They have to belong to something, something bigger than they are, something secret, of which they can be secretly proud. By their natures, these fools are gang members. They are incapable, you see, of standing on their own, as individuals. We’re just taking advantage of their natures. We direct their energies. We organize them. They need the discipline we give them.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 2762-2771

Added on Saturday, December 3, 2016 2:17:11 PM

Jack said to Fletch: “What do you know? I’ve killed a cop.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 2888-2888

Added on Saturday, December 3, 2016 2:26:54 PM

Sabotage Corps is

Highlight (gray) Location 3082-3083
typo extra line return

Added on Saturday, December 3, 2016 2:44:09 PM

And you know the one thing people never can remain silent about is silence.” Andy remained silent.

Highlight (yellow) Location 3246-3247

Added on Saturday, December 3, 2016 3:01:35 PM

Carrie quoted Fletch: “‘We’re all mysteries awaiting solution.’” Fletch said, “We’re all histories awaiting execution.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 3303-3304

Added on Saturday, December 3, 2016 3:05:12 PM

“God! We’ll never get rid of that damned body!”

Highlight (yellow) Location 3347-3348

Added on Saturday, December 3, 2016 3:07:54 PM

Jack had awoken in time to set up the sound system for The Reverend Kriegel’s religious service, prayer meeting, sermon, harangue, newly scheduled for eleven o’clock.

Highlight (yellow) Location 3357-3358

Added on Saturday, December 3, 2016 3:08:54 PM

The Reverend Kriegel then had said a few words over the grave. To the men’s amusement, he commented on the appropriateness of “burying the cook cheek to jowl with roasted beef.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 3362-3363

Added on Saturday, December 3, 2016 3:09:39 PM

we will take just the men you have here—having chosen a small, fairly isolated city, in the Southwest, South, Midwest, West, it doesn’t matter—gather intelligence on it, turn off its power and water, attack it in force, and liberate from that town’s banks and other businesses what I think you Americans call ‘cash money.’

Highlight (yellow) Location 3465-3468

Added on Saturday, December 3, 2016 3:28:45 PM

Fletch realized he had the advantage. She was backlit by the fading light in the window behind her. The attendant had closed the door behind Fletch. He could see her amazing outline. She couldn’t see him at all.

Highlight (yellow) Location 3558-3559
Interesting use of “amazing”

Added on Saturday, December 3, 2016 3:36:02 PM

“If you had raised a son, he would have rebelled against you, dissented, probably become the opposite of everything you are and everything you stand for. Sons do that.” “Some sons, I guess.” “Your son would have. I’m certain your son would have. Not knowing you, Jack adores you.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 3605-3608

Added on Saturday, December 3, 2016 3:39:43 PM

“His name is John Fletcher Faoni?” “Yes.” “Who’s John?” “You wanted more of Irwin Maurice maybe?”

Highlight (yellow) Location 3625-3627

Added on Saturday, December 3, 2016 3:40:56 PM

Strooth

Highlight (orange) Location 3690-3690

Added on Saturday, December 3, 2016 3:45:38 PM

“I’m not clucking.” It was getting dark outside and Fletch’s mind was settling on pizza. “I’m expostulating.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 3695-3696

Added on Saturday, December 3, 2016 3:46:12 PM

For a moment, Fletch was unsure whether it was Wolfe’s idea to shoot at Jack and Fletch, or to shoot himself.

Highlight (yellow) Location 3882-3883
What a dull ending if this is it.

Added on Saturday, December 3, 2016 4:07:43 PM

“I’ve heard that about you. You once reported a murder to your editor and asked him to tell the photographers to give the widow time to get home to report the murder.” “Did I?”

Highlight (yellow) Location 3899-3900

Added on Saturday, December 3, 2016 4:08:48 PM

Fletch said to Jack, “A woman named Slavenka Drakulic, a victim of the most recent Balkan ethnic-cleansing wars, wrote in The New York Times Sunday Magazine: ‘We are the war. I am afraid there is no one else to blame. We all make it possible. We allow it to happen. There is no them and us. There are no numbers, masses, categories. There is only one of us and, yes, we are responsible for each other.’”

Highlight (yellow) Location 3977-3980

Added on Saturday, December 3, 2016 4:13:28 PM

While Jack studied his ticket, Fletch said to Jack, “A woman named Slavenka Drakulic, a victim of the most recent Balkan ethnic-cleansing wars, wrote in The New York Times Sunday Magazine: ‘We are the war. I am afraid there is no one else to blame. We all make it possible. We allow it to happen. There is no them and us. There are no numbers, masses, categories. There is only one of us and, yes, we are responsible for each other.’” “Got a pen and piece of paper?” Jack asked. “In the glove compartment. Just thought that quote might add something to your story, if it fits in anywhere.” “How do you spell her name?” “By golly. The kid can even work pen and paper!”

Highlight (yellow) Location 3977-3984

Added on Saturday, December 3, 2016 4:14:06 PM

“I doubt you’d attempt anything without accomplishing it. Even murder.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 4005-4005

Added on Saturday, December 3, 2016 4:15:13 PM

His new T-shirt had a logo on it which read: WHY HUG THE ROAD WHEN YOU’VE GOT ME? He had a choice of either that logo or a beer advertisement.

Highlight (yellow) Location 4009-4010

Added on Saturday, December 3, 2016 4:15:45 PM

Carrie answered. “Hello?” “Hello.” “Where are you?” “I’ll be home in a few minutes.” “That’s good. Hey, Fletch! Guess what?” “What?” “I made a firecracker cake!” Fletch said, “Oh, boy.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 4017-4023
After a half dozen mentions of the stupid firecracker cake, this is almost funny now.

Added on Saturday, December 3, 2016 4:16:37 PM

Guide to highlight colors

Yellow–general highlights and highlights which don’t fit under another category below
Orange–Vocabulary word; interesting and/or rare word
Green–Reference to read
Blue–Interesting Quote
Gray–Typography Problem
Red–Example to work through

Syndicated copies to:

Book Review: Fletch Reflected by Gregory Mcdonald

Read Fletch Reflected by Gregory Mcdonald (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard)
Fletch Reflected Book Cover Fletch Reflected
Fletch #11 (in the stories' chronological order: #11); Son of Fletch #2
Gregory Mcdonald
Fiction; Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
1994; e-book: April 11, 2006
Kindle e-book
226

Receiving word from an old flame who has recently become engaged to a billionaire inventor's son, Fletch and his newfound son, Jack, learn that a member of the billionaire's household staff may be targeting her future father-in-law for murder.

Character

Oddly, even after two books with Jack as a character, there isn’t very much differentiation between he and a young Fletch. I do feel like he’s a bit more reserved and not quite as ascerbic in his humor, but there’s just something missing to make him a completely differentiated character. I had missed Crystal, so it was nice to have her back, but she didn’t seem to have the same sort of spark or confidence, which I missed from her earlier appearance in Fletch’s Fortune. Fletch himself seems to have slowed down a bit, but he also wasn’t taking the lead in this either. I don’t think there was a single adverse reference to Irwin Maurice by Fletch in the entire text, yet there was one neutral to positive mention of it by Fletch, followed by a questioning disparagement of it by Jack.

I did like the Mortimer character and his long time hatred for Fletch, though some of the dialogue read/played more comedic than as a more appropriate brewing hatred. There is some scant background about Mortimer’s character and past with Fletch, but it could potentially play out as another entire Fletch backstory in itself. Without a really well motivated plot, I’m not sure I’d want to read that prequel though.

Plot

There is only the slightest of pauses between this book and the prior Son of Fletch. Except for the denouement of action in the prior book, this one simply picks up with what’s happening on the following day. Unlike most in the Fletch series where the plot gets off like a shot on page one or page two, the motivation for the major plot of the book doesn’t drop until about a fifth of the way in. Also different from most in the series, this book has a primary plot which follows Jack while there’s a secondary plot following Fletch and Crystal. I presume that Mcdonald meant for the two books about Jack to be a spin-off of sorts and so maybe he was changing the model a bit?

While I appreciated the close out of what Fletch did to help Crystal after the last installment and the Mortimer character did provide some entertainment, I could have done without the B plot here. I’d have preferred more action with Jack and maybe even Fletch on the “compound”. There is an interesting juxtaposition between the compounds of the last book and this book in terms of their functions and socioeconomic statuses within the two works.

The ultimate murder of Radleigh was unfulfilling though Fletch did get a few nice rejoinders as a result. The ending nearly mimiced the all-too-quick wind down of Son of Fletch and was generally underwhelming for me. I suspect the general problem with the piece overall, was that Jack didn’t really have to work too hard at hiding himself and wasn’t directly in danger at all during the entire piece which left some of the suspense out. Leaving all of the suspense on Radleigh’s shoulders just didn’t do enough for me.

Summary

While relatively entertaining, this is one of the least interesting and motivated stories in the Fletch canon. I’d rank it toward the bottom of the pantheon, though it was at least more fun to read than Fletch Too, which was just painful.

Reading Progress
  • 08/7/16 marked as: want to read; “The Rio Olympics reminded me that I’d gotten Carioca Fletch to read back in the 80’s and never got around to it, so I thought I’d come back and revisit the series.”
  • 12/04/16 started reading
  • 12/06/16 11.0% done
  • 12/07/16 12.0% done
  • 12/09/16 14.0% done
  • 12/18/16 22.0% done
  • 12/19/16 49.0% done; “This one immediately follows Son of Fletch, literally by few hours. It didn’t start out with the same type of bang that most of the Fletch series has, instead it was about 20% into the story before we knew quite what ride we were on. Now that’s it’s going, it’s as interesting as most Fletch tales.”
  • 12/20/16 78.0% done
  • 12/22/16 100.0% done; “I think this was the first (and only) in the Fletch series with an A and a B plot going on simultaneously. There wasn’t as much mystery or whodunnit as past books despite the number of suspects in something like Fletch’s Fortune. The ending was relatively interesting and certainly unexpected. I wouldn’t say it was very satisfying. I’d rank this one toward the bottom of the series overall.”

Highlights, Quotes, & Marginalia

“I know your name is Jack Faoni. The weekend we spent together you had me call you Fletch.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 25-25

Added on Sunday, December 4, 2016 1:02:47 AM

“We didn’t do all that much talking, as I remember. We went at each other like bear cubs.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 62-63

Added on Sunday, December 4, 2016 1:04:53 AM

🔖 Bookmark on Location 68
Added on Sunday, December 4, 2016 1:14:22 AM

“Chester Radliegh. He invented the perfect mirror.”
“Oh, yeah. The guy who straightened out our left from our right, right from left when we look at ourselves in a mirror.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 74-76

Added on Sunday, December 4, 2016 3:34:12 PM

“Boxers appreciate his mirror, too.”
“They do?”
“They don’t get blindsided so much these days. Haven’t you noticed?”
“Guess I haven’t.”
“More fights go the whole ten, fifteen rounds now.”
“Is that good?”
“Think of the philosophical, psychological, to say nothing of poetic ramifications of the perfect mirror. I mean, for centuries we were seeing ourselves wrong, weren’t we? Not as others saw us, as they say.”
“Do we ever, anyway?”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 79-87

Added on Sunday, December 4, 2016 3:35:06 PM

“Oh. You called to invite me to your wedding? I’ll send a present. Shreds of my flannel shirt, as a keepsake, or a dust-cloth, whichever you need the more.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 93-94

Added on Sunday, December 4, 2016 3:35:57 PM

“This place is so big, there are so many people wandering around, you wouldn’t even be noticed.”
“Yeah, I do a pretty good imitation of a potted palm.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 112-114

Added on Sunday, December 4, 2016 3:37:09 PM

“…Sounds homey enough. Does it come complete with pricks?”
“Homey enough if your last name is Windsor.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 156-158

Added on Sunday, December 4, 2016 3:40:22 PM

“What did you say your relationship is with Mister Fletcher?”
“Relationship?” Jack would be damned before he would state his “relationship” with the member of the Board of Directors of Global Cable News, Consulting/Contributing Editor Irwin Maurice Fletcher.

Highlight (yellow) – Location 219-221

Added on Sunday, December 4, 2016 3:45:18 PM

“Things are tight here now, Jack. There’s so much competition in this business. We have difficulty, you see, in persuading all American businesses they should spend as much as eighty percent of their gross income on advertising. A few still resist the idea.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 262-264

Added on Sunday, December 4, 2016 3:48:01 PM

wallahs

Highlight (orange) – Location 280-280
He really does love this word.

Added on Sunday, December 4, 2016 3:49:18 PM

“I know what I’ve heard. One never knows what’s true.”
“One doesn’t?” Jack’s mouth was dry. “Isn’t that what this business is about?”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 283-285

Added on Sunday, December 4, 2016 3:49:42 PM

“As a journalist, never be the rooster who believes it is only his crowing which brings up the sun.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 323-324

Added on Sunday, December 4, 2016 3:52:32 PM

“But gee, Dad, it really crimps the vanity, you know? I coulda been a see-leb-pretty.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 356-356

Added on Sunday, December 4, 2016 3:54:36 PM

“What are you going to do now that GCN has given you your walking papers?”
“Visit an old girlfriend in Georgia.”
“How close an old girlfriend?”
“She’s getting married. To someone else.”
“The best kind.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 377-380

Added on Sunday, December 4, 2016 3:56:07 PM

“Why? Doesn’t sound like there’s a story there.”
“Does there always have to be a story?”
“You’ve got to keep yourself in Pepsi and pizza, boy.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 387-390

Added on Sunday, December 4, 2016 3:56:42 PM

“‘To collect characters for the long ride,’” Jack quoted.
“Isn’t that what I’m supposed to say at this point?”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 396-397

Added on Tuesday, December 6, 2016 1:59:01 AM

“How is Carrie?”
“Didn’t I just say? She’s crazy. She likes you. She loves me.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 407-409

Added on Tuesday, December 6, 2016 2:00:27 AM

“Just wanted you to know where I’ll be,” Jack said. “Tell my mother, please.”
“Sure,” Fletch said, turning the van left at the intersection. “Call if you find work.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 409-411

Added on Tuesday, December 6, 2016 2:00:33 AM

“Blair didn’t give you a job?”
“He gave me what he called ‘fatherly advice,’ to wit: get lost.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 421-422

Added on Tuesday, December 6, 2016 2:01:42 AM

🔖 Bookmark on Location 426
Added on Tuesday, December 6, 2016 2:03:09 AM

She was an enormous mound of mostly useless flesh in an outsized nightgown and bathrobe.

Highlight (yellow) – Location 430-430

Added on Wednesday, December 7, 2016 1:44:38 AM

“What did he say to you?” Fletch smiled.
“He told me to be careful not to let you fall on me again.”
After looking at Fletch a moment from the bed, Crystal laughed. “This time, I’d crush you to death.”
“Flatter than a manhole cover.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 446-449

Added on Wednesday, December 7, 2016 1:46:01 AM

“You’re back like the second half of a hurricane on a seaside resort!”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 461-461

Added on Wednesday, December 7, 2016 1:46:53 AM

coaxial sword

Highlight (yellow) – Location 474-474
Great description of a cable news network!

Added on Wednesday, December 7, 2016 1:48:21 AM

“…One thing I absolutely will not do for you is serve as your pallbearer. We’ll have to plant you with a crane.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 493-494

Added on Wednesday, December 7, 2016 1:50:00 AM

“I have done something about it.”
“What have you done? Send out for Chinese?”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 495-496

Added on Wednesday, December 7, 2016 1:50:23 AM

“Crystal, the public cannot afford you. Not you and schools and the police and fire departments, too.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 502-503

Added on Friday, December 9, 2016 12:59:19 AM

“Mortimer.”
“Hi, Mister Mortimer. This is Fletch.”
“Who?”
“I. M. Fletcher.”
“Oh, no.”
“Did I call you at a bad time?”
“Yeah. I am not dead yet.”
“How have you been otherwise?” Fletch was using the phone in the handicap van. He had not left the front driveway of Blythe Spirit.
“Well enough to hang up on you.”
“Oh, don’t do that.”
“Why not?”
“I might have something interesting to say.”
“You always do. That’s why I’m hanging up. I’m too old to be interested in anything you have to say.”
“Come on, now.”
“Last time I listened to you is how I got so old.

Highlight (yellow) – Location 513-525

Added on Friday, December 9, 2016 1:00:24 AM

“…I’d rather be in jail. I would have known what I was doing in jail. What am I doing in Wyoming? There would have been more people I know in jail. We would have had a lot to talk about. I don’t know anybody in Wyoming. All the people here talk about is something they call beef cattle and the twelve deadly sins.”
“Seven.”
“Seven what?”
“I think it’s considered there are only seven deadly sins.”
“In Wyoming, they got twelve.”
“It is a big state.” “I can’t figure out whether Wyoming is big or just empty.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 532-539

Added on Friday, December 9, 2016 1:02:33 AM

“… Tell them all about my great life spent watching the mountains in Wyoming not move.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 545-545

Added on Friday, December 9, 2016 1:04:14 AM

“Beef cattle. Two legged beef cattle. That’s all they have out here: beef cattle. Four legged beef cattle, two legged beef cattle.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 550-551

Added on Sunday, December 18, 2016 2:08:33 PM

“… The other one, the sixteen year old, Ricky, actually thinks his muscles are pretty, if you’d believe it.”
“Doesn’t every sixteen year old?”
“The only opponent that interests him is in the mirror. And he likes him too much to get close. Even though they’re both wearing deodorant. Can you believe that? Ever hear of a boxer who insists on wearing underarm in the ring?”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 559-563

Added on Sunday, December 18, 2016 2:09:35 PM

Crystal asked, “Where are you taking me?”
“Wyoming.” There was a long pause. “Fletch? Is that you, Fletch?”
“You were expecting Charon maybe?”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 591-594

Added on Sunday, December 18, 2016 2:11:37 PM

“You can see out the windows. Nice scenery?”
“Yeah. The back of billboards.”
“All the fronts say is KEEP AMERICA BEAUTIFUL.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 615-617

Added on Sunday, December 18, 2016 2:12:58 PM

“I see. And you’re not much on farm laboring, I expect. It’s dry work, all right. I escaped a farm when I was a kid.” The man slapped the side of his stomach. “I wanted to wear a white shirt and have a gut.” He laughed. “See? I’m a success!”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 653-655

Added on Sunday, December 18, 2016 2:15:52 PM

“Is this The Magic Kingdom?” Jack asked the blue-and-white uniformed guard.
“You almost got it right,” the guard said. “You got a pass?”
“Yeah.” Jack handed the guard his laminated pass. “Winnie the Pooh dropped his.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 704-707

Added on Sunday, December 18, 2016 2:19:22 PM

He had entered the sort of world God might have created if He had money, to use an old wheeze.

Highlight (yellow) – Location 718-719

Added on Sunday, December 18, 2016 2:20:27 PM

“You count that as three possible attempts on his life.”
“There was a fourth, this morning.

Highlight (yellow) – Location 800-802
We’ve finally come to the motivating plot about 20% of the way into the book. usually it’s on page 2 if not before.

Added on Sunday, December 18, 2016 2:31:07 PM

🔖 Bookmark on Location 883
Added on Monday, December 19, 2016 10:11:19 AM

“Is modern man ever more relaxed than when whizzing along a highway at the speed of a hurricane?”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 890-891

Added on Monday, December 19, 2016 10:12:00 AM

“Chester Radliegh lives in Georgia.”
“Ah, the state that originally banned lawyers. And slavery. First came the lawyers. Then slavery. Things haven’t changed much since.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 899-900

Added on Monday, December 19, 2016 10:12:41 AM

“His family always had been in either the ministry or banking.”
“There’s a difference?”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 912-913

Added on Monday, December 19, 2016 10:13:52 AM

Thanks for your work, my good man. I’ll practice ’Git Along Little Dogies’ so I can sing it for you next time. In the key of Lee Marvin.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 1000-1001

Added on Monday, December 19, 2016 10:20:07 AM

“Radliegh,” Crystal said after the van had gone another ten miles. “First he creates the perfect mirror, then he tries to create the perfect image. The first was scientifically possible—”
“And the second,” Fletch said, “is a goose’s chase.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 1008-1010

Added on Monday, December 19, 2016 10:20:35 AM

“Plants; weeds,” she continued muttering at the soil: “Just like children.” She pinched a dead leaf off an azalea. “Nurture some plants beautifully, give them everything they want and need, and some of them just curl up ugly. Beat some weeds to death and they just keep popping up, growing, proliferating. If we had genuine respect for character, we’d cultivate weeds and send the plants to mulch.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 1016-1019

Added on Monday, December 19, 2016 10:21:38 AM

“I don’t even want to go to heaven,” Mrs. Houston said as she dug her fingers into the soil, “unless they have some work for me to do there.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 1041-1042

Added on Monday, December 19, 2016 10:23:11 AM

“For sure, you’re the sickest thing I ever saw in a health store.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 1364-1365

Added on Monday, December 19, 2016 10:53:29 AM

While they talked, Fletch picked up all the wastepaper from their store-bought dinner and placed it in a nearby rubbish bin. Whether the American people realize it or not, Fletch thought, we are eating our trees.

Highlight (yellow) – Location 1765-1766

Added on Monday, December 19, 2016 1:00:39 PM

I swanee down the back.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 1951-1951
What does swanee mean here? I’ve never heard this as a verb. A river yes, but never a verb.

Added on Monday, December 19, 2016 1:28:23 PM

🔖 Bookmark on Location 1959
Added on Monday, December 19, 2016 1:28:58 PM

🔖 Bookmark on Location 2141
Added on Tuesday, December 20, 2016 7:09:55 PM

“… Most people, I figure, never do anything unusual, they just go along with whatever it is, mediocrity, corruption, because they can’t stand the idea of being unique, alone, isolated.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 2284-2285

Added on Tuesday, December 20, 2016 7:28:33 PM

“There are gay members of Congress now.”
“Not from Georgia. Not at this time, there aren’t,” Shana said. “Sodomy laws have been removed from the books so recently here you can still see the dust from the eraser.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 2403-2405

Added on Tuesday, December 20, 2016 7:37:16 PM

“What happens to a black hole when it disappears?” Radliegh smiled. “You mean, what happens to the information within?”
“I don’t know what I mean.”
“It would be fun if it elongated into a line so narrow that its cut length would be a speck so small it might be invisible.”
“Why would that be fun?” Jack asked.
“Because it might help define the indefinite we’re prone to think of as the infinite.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 2656-2661

Added on Tuesday, December 20, 2016 10:26:20 PM

“Your grandmother, the defective novelist,” Fletch said.

Highlight (yellow) – Location 2711-2711

Added on Tuesday, December 20, 2016 10:30:28 PM

“So pleased to meet you, Doctor Fletcher.”
“No doctor at all,” Fletch said. “Not even a patient. Call me Irwin.”
“Irwin?” Jack muttered. “Since when Irwin?”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 2718-2721

Added on Tuesday, December 20, 2016 10:30:58 PM

Enjoying the flora and fauna of the garden paths, Fletch said, “Gridlock in paradise. Could it be otherwise? I’ve always suspected Adam and Eve sinned out of pure boredom.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 2764-2765

Added on Tuesday, December 20, 2016 10:34:00 PM

“You must not spend all night every night reading. Man does not live by literature alone. You need sleep.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 2858-2859

Added on Tuesday, December 20, 2016 10:40:12 PM

Mortimer answered the phone. “Hello? Oh, my God, it’s that Fletcher bird. I thought we got rid of you, Fletcher. Please at least tell me you’ve left the state of Wyoming?”
“I’ve left the state,” Fletch said.
“That’s the best thing I’ve heard about Wyoming since I’ve been here—you’ve left.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 2862-2865

Added on Tuesday, December 20, 2016 10:40:47 PM

“I seem to remember you on the ground, on your back.”
“I tripped.”
“That’s what Schmeling said.”
“What happened to gratitude?”
“It came in last in the last race at Hialeah. Hasn’t been heard from since.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 2882-2886

Added on Tuesday, December 20, 2016 10:42:06 PM

“… She’s waiting for a mare to drop her filly.”
“Why would a Mayor drop cream cheese?”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 2923-2924

Added on Tuesday, December 20, 2016 10:44:18 PM

🔖 Bookmark on Location 3117
Added on Thursday, December 22, 2016 1:48:37 AM

Fletch said, “I killed Chester Radliegh.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 3130-3130

Added on Thursday, December 22, 2016 1:49:30 AM

“Tell me the one about why the turtle crossed the road.”
“To get to the Shell station.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 3130-3132

Added on Thursday, December 22, 2016 1:49:46 AM

“… An obdurate man, no matter how brilliant, is an idiot.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 3138-3138

Added on Thursday, December 22, 2016 1:50:19 AM

“Doctor Radliegh died after dinner.”
“How? Did someone kill him?”
“Yeah. I did.”
“How did you do that?”
“Just by talking to him.”
“Mister Mortimer said no one should ever listen to you.”
“He’s right, I guess.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 3232-3237

Added on Thursday, December 22, 2016 1:57:55 AM

Fletch yawned again. “Thanks died at Hialeah, or something.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 3244-3245

Added on Thursday, December 22, 2016 1:58:51 AM

🔖 Bookmark on Location 3270
Added on Thursday, December 22, 2016 4:35:25 PM

“He spoiled it. He killed it with care.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 3305-3305

Added on Thursday, December 22, 2016 4:37:45 PM

oriole

Highlight (orange) – Location 3321-3321
I suspect he meant oriel: “A bay window in an upper story, supported from below by projecting corbels, or brackets of stone or wood.” This typo appears twice in the text.

Added on Thursday, December 22, 2016 4:38:39 PM

He asked his father, “This guy any good?”
Fletch said, “If he were any stupider he’d need a bar code.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 3349-3350

Added on Thursday, December 22, 2016 4:40:35 PM

“Homey,” Fletch commented. “Makes me want to ask when my flight to Tulsa leaves.”
“Do airlines still give out that kind of information?” Jack asked.
“Not voluntarily,” Fletch answered. “Or reliably.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 3362-3365

Added on Thursday, December 22, 2016 4:41:34 PM

I couldn’t sell a ticket to a nun

Highlight (yellow) – Location 3568-3568

Added on Thursday, December 22, 2016 4:54:40 PM

At that moment, Fletch did not expect to be listening to a sixteen-year-old boxer in Montana recite poetry to him by long-distance telephone.

Highlight (yellow) – Location 3579-3580

Added on Thursday, December 22, 2016 4:55:34 PM

“Oh, no.” Jack put the car in gear.
“I work for the truth.” Slowly he drove the little car around the groups of people in the semicircular driveway.
“Humph,” Fletch said. “Good line.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 3877-3879

Added on Thursday, December 22, 2016 5:38:03 PM

“Where did you get an airplane like that?” Slowly, Jack drove Fletch toward the airplane. “The Smithsonian? Don’t they miss it?”
“I bought it from a friend. He needed the money.”
“And you learned to fly it?”
“Not really. I use a road map and stay out of traffic.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 3927-3931

Added on Thursday, December 22, 2016 5:42:16 PM

🔖 Bookmark on Location 3950 – Finished!
Added on Thursday, December 22, 2016 5:45:35 PM

Guide to highlight colors

Yellow–general highlights and highlights which don’t fit under another category below
Orange–Vocabulary word; interesting and/or rare word
Green–Reference to read
Blue–Interesting Quote
Gray–Typography Problem
Red–Example to work through

Syndicated copies to:

Book Review: Fletch’s Fortune by Gregory Mcdonald

Read Fletch's Fortune by Gregory Mcdonald (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard)
Fletch's Fortune Book Cover Fletch's Fortune
Fletch #3 (in the stories' chronological order: #7)
Gregory Mcdonald
Fiction; Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
1978; e-book: March 2002
Kindle e-book
256
Amazon.com / Overdrive

He hadn't been a practicing journalist for years, although people remembered him and he still has a few contacts. And he's pretty sure he hasn't paid his dues to the American Journalism Alliance anytime recently. But somebody has.

Enjoying himself on the French Riviera, developing a killer tan, and sleeping with the neighbor's wife, Fletch is feeling pretty flush. But when CIA agents Eggers and Fabens show up with a little more information about Fletch than is comfortable and an invitation to the A.J.A. convention, how could he refuse?

So he finds himself enlisted as a spy among his peers. But before he can even set up his surveillance, there's a murder. And almost everybody's a suspect because a lot of people were employed by Walter March, and most of them had a reason to hate him.

Fletch’s Fortune has a great high concept plot, which is really saying something for Fletch novels which all seem to have a high concept start from a sprinting position. It also allows for a fairly closed setting and lots of satire. The fact that Fletch is somehow both journalist and not journalist allows for some interesting dynamics.

For a parlor-type mystery, there were almost too many characters/suspects, but given the potential size of the conference, I’ll let Mcdonald take a flier on it as he did an excellent job fleshing out each of the characters to make them unique enough to stand on their own without giving up too much. I also suspect that he may have thought of cute little character descriptions over one afternoon and then assigned them to people as they appeared–some of them are really delicious particularly:

The man’s shoulders were little more than outriggers for his ears.

One of my favorite constructs in this book that sets it apart from others in the series were the conference session titles being used deliciously as chapter openers. Many of them provide some hilarious counterpoint to the plot and certainly add to the humor of the overall piece.

Another interesting turn was the romantic portion of the plot in which one of Fletch’s unfortunate choices of pseudonym finally gets him into trouble, though not in the way in which one might otherwise suppose. The sub-plot with Freddie was hilarious and tense without actually coming to a final head. (Writing this after I’ve now read Fletch and the Man Who makes me even more glad that it didn’t. Their relationship is like the unrequited Sam/Rebecca pairing in the NBC television series Cheers, which this book preceded by several years.)

The humor at Crystal’s expense was all great if perhaps maybe even too much, though it was done with enough warmth that it’s obvious that Fletch is doing his part in the nicest way. (Now that I’m in the midst of Son of Fletch, it’s interesting to think back on his relationship with Crystal.)

This book read very quickly and was well plotted though the ending was perhaps all too quick. I would have preferred a slower unfolding in the third act. At least in this one, we get the payoff in the end of seeing some of Fletch’s machinations coming to a head all at once–something we didn’t get to see in Fletch when he set both of his ex-wives up to unwittingly move in together with each other while thinking that they were getting back together with him.

This is sure to rank at the top of my favorite Fletch novels by the time I’m done with the series.

Reading Progress
  • 08/7/16 marked as: want to read; “The Rio Olympics reminded me that I’d gotten Carioca Fletch to read back in the 80’s and never got around to it, so I thought I’d come back and revisit the series.”
  • 09/23/16 marked as: currently reading
  • 09/23/16 14.0% “As usual, a great zinger of an opening… Mcdonald knows how to open a first act.”
  • 09/24/16 22.0% “Things have slowed down a smidge, but the forward momentum of the murder investigation begins to move things along a bit.”
  • 09/28/16 53.0% “Making good progress, hope to finish tomorrow. There are certainly some interesting characters here, though perhaps feeling like too many, particularly since most seem to potentially have committed the murder.”
  • 09/29/16 100% “The second half read incredibly fast. The plot particularly began unfolding in the end almost too quickly. I wish the last act could have lasted a bit longer. I really enjoyed the Crystal character and the snide banter she continually spouts with Fletch. The wrap up with Freddie was generally unexpected, but delicious in its oddity in the larger canon. There was surprisingly little talk of Fletch’s ex-wives or even of his potentially adding another to the collection. Some of my favorite jokes were the chapter headings of the schedule of the conference along with even funnily named rooms in which the sessions were taking place.I’ll hope to write a longer review shortly.”

 

Highlights, Quotes, & Marginalia

“C.I.A., Mister Fletcher.”
“Um. Would you mind spelling that?”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 26

“The name’s Arbuthnot,” Fletch said. “Freddy Arbuthnot.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 33
Yet another of Fletch’s many pseudonyms.

“Coffee?”
“If we wanted coffee,” said Fabens, standing up, “we would have made it ourselves.”
“Part of the C.I.A. training, I expect,” Fletch said. “Trespass and Coffee-Making. A Bloody Mary? Something to raise the spirits on this Sunday noon?”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 52

Trans World Airlines

Highlight (yellow) – Location 97
Apparently he’s got stock in TWA. (The original Fletch book also referenced TWA.)

“Yet here you are, living in a villa in Cagna, Italy, the Mediterranean sparkling through your windows, driving a Porsche … unemployed.”
“I retired young.”
“In your lifetime, you have paid almost no federal taxes.”
“I had expenses.”
“You haven’t even filed a return. Ever.”
“I have a very slow accountant.”

Highlight (yellow) – Location 121

“Did you have a nice flight?”
“No.”
“Sorry to hear that. Why not?”
“Sat next to a Methodist minister.”
“What’s wrong with sitting next to a Methodist minister?”
“Are you kidding? The closer to heaven we got, the smugger he got.”
“Jesus, Fletch.”
“That’s what I say.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 178-182

Added on Friday, September 23, 2016 11:03:45 PM

“They weren’t gentlemen.”
“Sorry to hear that. We usually send only our finest abroad. I haven’t made it yet.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 233-234

Added on Friday, September 23, 2016 11:09:42 PM

“I’m working on a book about Edgar Arthur Tharp, Junior.”
“You’re working on a book about an American cowboy painter in Italy?”
“It brings a certain perspective to the work. Detachment.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 347-349

Added on Friday, September 23, 2016 11:19:44 PM

“What’s your name?”
“I. M. Fletcher.”
“Fletcher? Never heard of you. Why so pompous about it?”
“Pompous?”
“You announced your name, I am Fletcher. As if someone had said you weren’t. Why didn’t you just say, Fletcher?”

Highlight (yellow) Location 354-357
I noticed this in the last book too. Surprised he didn’t make more ‘I’m’ jokes.

Added on Friday, September 23, 2016 11:22:21 PM

“You have nice hands.”
“One on the end of each arm.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 363-363

Added on Friday, September 23, 2016 11:23:56 PM

“Arbuthnot,” she said.
“Arbuthnot?”
“Arbuthnot. Fredericka Arbuthnot.”
“Freddie Arbuthnot?”
“You’ve heard of me?”

Highlight (yellow) Location 373-375

Added on Friday, September 23, 2016 11:25:49 PM

Helena Williams pushed the mental button for A Distraught Expression.

Highlight (yellow) Location 429-430
Mcdonald also makes references to people putting on a face in Fletch and the Man Who, particularly when describing the political candidate there. (Annotation added on 12/1/16)

Added on Friday, September 23, 2016 11:32:02 PM

“Now you must tell me all about yourself, Fletch. Whom are you working for now?”
“The C.I.A.” He looked openly at Freddie Arbuthnot. “I’m here to bug everybody.”
“You’ve always had such a delightful sense of humor,” Helena said.
“He’s bugging me,” Freddie muttered.
“I’ve heard that joke,” Fletch snapped.

Highlight (yellow) Location 452-455

Added on Friday, September 23, 2016 11:38:07 PM

“Would you children like to share a room?” Helena asked.
“We are sort of crowded—”
“Definitely not,” Fletch said “I suspect she snores.”
“I do not.”
“How do you know?”
“I’ve been told.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 456-458

Added on Friday, September 23, 2016 11:38:42 PM

episcopally

Highlight ( orange ) Location 461-461
One doesn’t see this word often, much less in an adverbial form.

Added on Friday, September 23, 2016 11:39:31 PM

🔖 Bookmark on Location 494
Added on Friday, September 23, 2016 11:45:44 PM

pellucid

Highlight (orange) Location 546-546

Added on Saturday, September 24, 2016 9:20:59 AM

“I was pregnant.”
“How could anyone tell?”
“Pardon me while I chuckle.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 595-597

Added on Saturday, September 24, 2016 9:30:50 AM

“What else do you know about the murder, Crystal?”
“That it’s going to be the best reported crime in history. There are more star reporters at Hendricks Plantation at this moment than have ever been gathered under one roof before. In fact, I suspect more are showing up unexpectedly, simply because of the murder. Do you realize what it would be worth to a person’s career to scoop the murder of Walter March—with all this competition around?”

Highlight (yellow) Location 617-619

Added on Saturday, September 24, 2016 9:33:09 AM

sybarite

Highlight (orange) Location 630-631

Added on Saturday, September 24, 2016 9:34:51 AM

“Experts,” he said, “are the sources of opinions. People are the sources of facts.”

Highlight (blue) Location 644-645

Added on Saturday, September 24, 2016 9:37:09 AM

“Did you tell the other reporters about him?”
“No.” She said, “I guess it takes nine times being asked the same questions, for me to have remembered him.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 707-709

Added on Saturday, September 24, 2016 9:51:06 AM

“Good night, sweet Princess.” He turned out the bedside lamp. “Dream sweet dreams, and, when you awake, think kindly on the Bumptious Bandit! ‘Daughter, did you hear hoofbeats in the night?’” He left a light on across the room, to orient her when she awoke. “‘Father, Father, I thought it were the palpitations of my own heart!’”
Letting himself out, the telephone information sheet firmly in hand, Fletch said, “‘It were, Daughter. Booze does that to you.’”

Highlight (yellow) Location 776-779

Added on Saturday, September 24, 2016 9:58:07 AM

🔖 Bookmark on Location 780
Added on Saturday, September 24, 2016 9:58:25 AM

audiencé

Highlight (gray) Location 874-874

Added on Sunday, September 25, 2016 3:07:52 PM

“The Administration has decided not to ignore us completely,” Crystal Faoni said, “just because we’ve taken to stabbing each other in the back more openly than usual.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 890-891

Added on Sunday, September 25, 2016 3:14:47 PM

“My, my,” Fletch said of his marvelous machine, “it walks, it talks, cries ‘Mama!’ and piddles genuine orange juice!”

Highlight (yellow) Location 961-962

Added on Sunday, September 25, 2016 3:45:05 PM

“I take it we’re not sleeping together?”
Fletch said into the phone, “Who is this?” It was 1:20 A.M. He had been asleep a half-hour.
“Damn you!” said Freddie Arbuthnot. “Damn your eyes, your nose, and, your cock!”
The phone went dead. It wasn’t that Fletch hadn’t thought of it. He knew she’d washed her knees.

Highlight (yellow) Location 1082-1086

Added on Sunday, September 25, 2016 4:20:42 PM

🔖 Bookmark on Location 1087
Added on Sunday, September 25, 2016 4:21:06 PM

“I. M. Fletcher?”
“One of us is.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 1272-1273

Added on Tuesday, September 27, 2016 8:19:06 AM

“Will you be needing equipment, sir?”
“I guess so. Also a partner. Playing tennis alone takes too much running back and forth.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 1274-1275

Added on Tuesday, September 27, 2016 8:19:25 AM

“Hendricks. H, as in waffle.”

Highlight (blue) Location 1309-1309

Added on Tuesday, September 27, 2016 8:22:30 AM

You’re unemployed?”
“Presently unencumbered by earned income.”
“You have no outlet?”
“Only the kind you can flush.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 1320-1322

Added on Tuesday, September 27, 2016 8:23:38 AM

“That was a little song I was taught. As a child.” She was blushing more. “The ‘Wash Me Up’ song.”
“Oh!” Fletch said. “There is a difference between boys and girls! I was taught the wash-me-down song!”

Highlight (yellow) Location 1387-1389

Added on Tuesday, September 27, 2016 8:37:12 AM

“Would you please go get dressed?”
“Why are people always saying that to me?”

Highlight (yellow) Location 1397-1398

Added on Tuesday, September 27, 2016 8:37:53 AM

bonhomie

Highlight (orange) Location 1521-1521

Added on Tuesday, September 27, 2016 8:48:54 AM

“Hey, Bob. We’re supposed to be journalists, aren’t we? Journalists live it up. I saw a movie once.…”

Highlight (yellow) Location 1572-1572

Added on Tuesday, September 27, 2016 8:52:22 AM

The man shook hands as would an eel—if eels were familiar with human social graces.

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Added on Tuesday, September 27, 2016 8:53:46 AM

Other journalists referred to Lewis Graham as “the Reader’s Digest of the air.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 1591-1592

Added on Tuesday, September 27, 2016 8:54:41 AM

Trouble was, his colleagues read the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Atlanta Constitution, the Los Angeles Times, Time, Newsweek, Foreign Affairs, and the Old Testament as well as he and could identify the sources of his facts, insights, and understandings, precisely, night after night.

Highlight (yellow) Location 1589-1591

Added on Tuesday, September 27, 2016 8:55:07 AM

He painted quite a picture. Sailing off into the sunset, hand in hand with his childhood sweetheart, sitting on his poop or whatever it is yachts have.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 1633-1634

Added on Tuesday, September 27, 2016 8:59:44 AM

catamaran

Highlight (yellow) Location 1635-1635
Mcdonald seems to like these boats, or they’re the only kind he knows??

Added on Tuesday, September 27, 2016 9:00:22 AM

“How do,” the Major said.
“Do I have the honor of addressing Irwin Maurice Fletcher?” The drawl was thicker than Mississippi mud.
“Right,” said Fletch.
“Veteran of the United States Marine Corps?”
“Yes.”
“Serial Number 1893983?”
“It was. I retired it. Anyone can use it now.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 1679-1683

Added on Tuesday, September 27, 2016 9:04:23 AM

“Anyway, this here sharp-eyed old boy—he’s from Tennessee—I suspect he was pretty well-known around home for shooting off hens’ teeth at a hundred meters

Highlight (yellow) Location 1687-1688

Added on Tuesday, September 27, 2016 9:05:00 AM

“Major, do you have a point? This is long distance. You never can tell. A taxpayer might be listening in.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 1699-1700
Mcdonald shows a bit of his upbringing and time period here. He seems to have a “hangup” (pun intended) about telephones as this mirrors some of the snide remarks made in the original Fletch with Alan Stanwyk’s dad’s conversation about telephones.

Added on Tuesday, September 27, 2016 9:05:59 AM

You asked the question. You could wear an elephant down to a mouse.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 1819-1819

Added on Tuesday, September 27, 2016 9:14:22 AM

🔖 Bookmark on Location 1888
Added on Tuesday, September 27, 2016 9:20:03 AM

“Now I’ve got the Fletch story to cap all Fletch stories! Tousle-headed Fletch kneeling by his bed, lisping, ‘Now I lay me down with sheep’!”

Highlight (yellow) Location 2080-2081

Added on Wednesday, September 28, 2016 5:54:39 PM

Crystal said into her parfait.

Crystal does a lot of talking to her food. In fact, in general, Mcdonald seems to be having way too much fun with Crystal’s food obsession.
Highlight (yellow) Location 2230

putting us up in their best hotel, which had the ambience of a chicken coop,

Highlight (yellow) Location 2245-2245
great description

Added on Wednesday, September 28, 2016 6:08:57 PM

🔖 Bookmark on Location 2307
Added on Wednesday, September 28, 2016 6:14:56 PM

Would you care for some coffee?”
“I don’t use it.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 2313-2314
In the 80s drug culture this sounds interestingly illicit.

Added on Wednesday, September 28, 2016 9:14:17 PM

What’s keeping the wolf from the door?”
“My ugly disposition.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 2319-2320

Added on Wednesday, September 28, 2016 9:14:56 PM

WOMEN IN JOURNALISM:
Face It, Fellas— Few Stories Take Nine Months to Finish
Group Discussion
Aunt Sally Hendricks Sewing Room

Highlight (yellow) Location 2387-2390

Added on Wednesday, September 28, 2016 9:21:31 PM

“Of course I’m at the Star. Would I be home with my god-awful wife if I could help it?”
“Ah,” Fletch said. “The Continuing Romance of Jack and Daphne Saunders. How is the old dear?”
“Fatter, meaner, and uglier than ever.”
“Don’t knock fat.”
“How can you?”
“Got her eyelashes stuck in a freezer’s door lately?”
“No, but she plumped into a door the other night Got the door knob stuck in her belly button. Had to have it surgically removed.”
Fletch thought Jack remained married to Daphne simply to make up rotten stories about her.

Highlight (yellow) Location 2460-2465

Added on Wednesday, September 28, 2016 9:27:05 PM

“Okay. You want background or gossip at this point?”
“Both.”
“Walter March was murdered,”
“No foolin’.”
“Scissors in the back.”
“Next you’re going to say he fell down dead.”
“You’re always rushing ahead, Jack.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 2480-2484

Added on Wednesday, September 28, 2016 9:29:08 PM

“How do I know? If it is true, it happened at a dangerous age for Rolly—fifteen or sixteen—I forget which. Loves and hatreds run deep in people that age.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 2507-2507

Added on Wednesday, September 28, 2016 9:30:59 PM

The world’s greatest practitioner of the sufferin’-Jesus school of journalism.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 2512-2513

Added on Wednesday, September 28, 2016 9:31:31 PM

“If that’s an ivory tower, I’m a lollipop.”
“I can lick you anytime.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 2542-2543

Added on Wednesday, September 28, 2016 9:33:59 PM

“Sure, Jack, sure. Anything for ‘old times’ sake.’ “

Highlight (yellow) Location 2561-2561
Typo: there’s an extraneous single quote, and the closing double quote is facing the wrong direction.

Added on Wednesday, September 28, 2016 9:35:19 PM

🔖 Bookmark on Location 2628
Added on Wednesday, September 28, 2016 9:41:04 PM

Fletch said, “Oh. Well, you haven’t identified yourself.”
The man shook his head. “I.R.S.,” he said. “I.R.S.”
“But what do I call you?” Fletch asked. “I? I.R.? Mister S.?”
“You don’t need to call me anything,” I.R.S. said. “Just respond.”
“Ir.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 2756-2759

Added on Wednesday, September 28, 2016 9:58:00 PM

Fletch looked at I.R.S. The man was almost entirely Adam’s apple.

Highlight (yellow) Location 2773-2774

Added on Wednesday, September 28, 2016 9:59:48 PM

The man’s shoulders were little more than outriggers for his ears.

Highlight (yellow) Location 2774-2775

Added on Wednesday, September 28, 2016 10:00:00 PM

“Crystal? I’m going to say something very, very rotten to you.”
“What?”
“The dining room is still open for breakfast.”
“Rat”

Highlight (yellow) Location 2789-2791

Added on Wednesday, September 28, 2016 10:01:07 PM

“As a matter of personal curiosity, may I ask why you have not filed returns?”
“April’s always a busy month for me. You know. In the spring a young man’s fancy really shouldn’t have to turn to the Internal Revenue Service.”
“You could always apply for extensions.”
“Who has the time to do that?”
“Is there any political thinking behind your not paying taxes?”
“Oh, no. My motives are purely esthetic, if you want to know the truth.”
“Esthetic?”
“Yes. I’ve seen your tax forms. Visually, They’re ugly. In fact, very offensive. And their use of the English language.

Highlight (yellow) Location 2799-2805

Added on Wednesday, September 28, 2016 10:02:47 PM

wallahs

Highlight (orange) Location 2807-2807

Added on Wednesday, September 28, 2016 10:03:19 PM

Address by Horsch Aldrich

Highlight (yellow) Location 2868-2869
What do you know? An Aldrich made it into the story! A long lost relative apparently…

Added on Wednesday, September 28, 2016 10:10:24 PM

“Almost everyone here has made a point of telling me how important he or she is. Such a lot of important people. The seas would rumble and nations would crumble if I kept any of you out of circulation for many more minutes than I had to.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 2908-2909

Added on Wednesday, September 28, 2016 10:20:52 PM

“Right,” Crystal said solemnly to her fruit salad. “News does not happen unless a reporter is there to report it.”
“For example,” said Fletch, “if no one had known World War Two was happening.…”
“Actually,” Crystal said, “Hitler without the use of the radio wouldn’t have been Hitler at all.”
“And the Civil War,” said Freddie. “If it hadn’t been for the telegraph.…”
“The geographic center of the American Revolution,” Fletch said, “was identical to the center of the new American printing industry.”
“And then there was Caesar,” Crystal said. “Was he a military genius with pen in hand, or a literary genius with sword in hand? Did Rome conquer the world in reality, or just its communications systems?”

Highlight (yellow) Location 2913-2919

Added on Wednesday, September 28, 2016 10:22:25 PM

Did you try those blueberry muffins this morning?”
“I tried only one of them,” Freddie said.
Crystal said, “The rest of them were good, too.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 2921-2923

Added on Wednesday, September 28, 2016 10:23:22 PM

“It’s been like trying to sing ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ while your head’s stuck in a beehive.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 2925-2926
Creative description

Added on Wednesday, September 28, 2016 10:23:48 PM

Neale was paying more attention to the remainder of his salad than Crystal would do after trekking across a full golf course.

Highlight (yellow) Location 2954-2954

Added on Wednesday, September 28, 2016 10:26:39 PM

“Oh, yum!” said Crystal. “Who cares about death and perdition as long as there’s chocolate cake?”

Highlight (blue) Location 2963-2963

Added on Wednesday, September 28, 2016 10:29:10 PM

Who’d ever want to kill the Vice-President of the United States? One could have a greater effect upon national policy by killing the White House cook.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 3228-3229
Your Superfluous Excellency?

Added on Wednesday, September 28, 2016 11:25:46 PM

And while the General was making this big entrance, landing in a helicopter on the back lawn, the Vice-President of the United States was arriving at the front of the hotel in an economy-size car—completely ignored.”

Highlight (yellow) Location 3231-3232

Added on Wednesday, September 28, 2016 11:26:18 PM

Bushwa

Highlight (orange) Location 3418-3418

Added on Thursday, September 29, 2016 12:13:05 AM

“‘Live like journalists,?’ ” Fletch quoted. “‘Disgusting.’ ”

Highlight (gray) Location 3444-3444
The comma and quotes here need to be tweaked.

Added on Thursday, September 29, 2016 12:18:30 AM

Guide to highlight colors

Yellow–general highlights and highlights which don’t fit under another category below
Orange–Vocabulary word; interesting and/or rare word
Green–Reference to read
Blue–Interesting Quote
Gray–Typography Problem
Red–Example to work through

Syndicated copies to:

Book Review: Fletch and the Man Who by Gregory Mcdonald

Read Fletch and the Man Who by Gregory Mcdonald (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard)
Fletch and the Man Who Book Cover Fletch and the Man Who
Fletch #6 (in the stories' chronological order: #9)
Gregory Mcdonald
Fiction; Mystery and Suspense
Vintage Crime/Black Lizard
August 1, 1983; re-released September 1, 2004
e-book
226

“A girl jumped off the motel’s roof. Five minutes ago.” "Give it to me straight. Does the girl have anything to do with us? I mean, with the campaign? The presidential candidate?" "It's your job, Fletch, to make damned sure she didn't." FLETCH and the Man Who When Fletch arrives as the new press representative for Governor Caxton Wheeler’s presidential campaign, he isn’t sure which mystery to solve first: what his new job actually is or why the campaign has been leaving dead women in its tracks. FLETCH and the Man Who He finds himself on the other side of the press, a human shield deflecting the questions he is asking himself. Are the murders just coincidence, or is a cold-hearted killer looking for a job in the White House? FLETCH and the Man Who When the campaign shifts into high gear, Fletch’s skills are working overtime in a desperate bid of his own to find the killer and to make sure the governor doesn’t lose any more votes.

I’m slowly nearing the end of the entire Fletch series, but they still manage to stay relevant and interesting. Fletch and the Man Who is certainly no exception. In fact, I might argue that it is not only still very relevant to modern culture, but that it has actually ripened with age.

Caxton’s Technology Platform

The most interesting portions of the book were the prescience of the role of technology in modern life that were described within it. Mcdonald wrote this in 1983 long before the advent or ubiquitization of satellite communications, cellular phones, desktop computers, and even the internet. Yet somehow the discussion being pushed by the lead presidential candidate in the story feels very forward thinking and is highly relevant even today. Given the rise of Twitter and Facebook, it may actually be more interesting and relevant today than when the book was written in the early 1980s. Interestingly it feels like we have yet to figure out where technology is taking us. This book brings up a lot of philosophical ideas that we’re still heavily grappling with and on even deeper levels. Some of the mentions of religion and politics are all still alive and well in the modern political scene (though Communism/Marxism have died and disappeared after this book was written) and are just as touchy in their relation to technology. The recent presidential campaign certainly highlighted some of these technology issues, particularly with relation to the effect on political communication via fake news and Facebook. Mcdonald takes aim at the idea of “truth” within a political campaign and having a well informed electorate.

Political Satire

There is some really great satire on politics in the book. Oddly, not much of it originates with Fletch or his views on life. While there are a handful of good zingers that Fletch delivers in his wry signature fashion, this book seemed like a major departure in that the supporting characters take on the typical Fletch role of smartasses. This felt interesting and almost natural from a storytelling point of view as Fletch himself actually throws off his typical rebel character mantle to “join the establishment” and run interference for the presidential candidate’s press corps. Most interesting to me a lot of the mentions about politics still play as well today as they did 30+ years ago.

Other observations

We meet one of Fletch’s old war buddies and learn a few new pieces of backstory that flesh out his character a bit more, which is something I didn’t expect as much of at this point in the series.

There isn’t as much sexual tension in this as in some of the past works, but Freddie Arbuthnot makes a reappearance and really forces Fletch to work overtime for her approval. This seemed more interesting to me than some of Fletch’s past sexual exploits which seemed to come too easily for him. It’s more interesting to see him have to work at creating a relationship, particularly with a woman who had previously thrown herself at him.

Of interest to me with regard to the plotting and the reveal at the end was that there were a nice number of potential suspects. Better, despite my decade+ affair with Law & Order and similar procedurals on television, there was just enough psychological subtlety and distance that the reveal of the killer was not only well motivated but also hidden enough to be entertaining right up to the end. (No spoilers here…)

One thing I did miss was the complete lack of phony characters invented by Fletch as cover stories. To my recollection there were none in this installment. I did however notice that a despicable character in the plot had the name Hanrahan which was (probably not coincidentally) one of the fictional names that popped up in a cover story Fletch spun in the film version of the first book:

Well now, you know that and I know that, but… somebody’s bucking for a promotion. Probably that pederast Hanrahan. I don’t know. All I know is if I don’t go back with something, you and your son-in-law are going to be the scapegoats of the week.

This book would have been out and available well in advance of the May 31, 1985 release of the film.

There were a few tidbits that could have been better resolved at the end (what was Caxton really doing during those disappearances?), but overall, this was a very satisfying and interesting read. It’s certainly made me think about politics and the philosophy of technology in a different way than I have been recently, and for that this may have been to me the most interesting book in the series so far. Some of the philosophy in particular deserves additional thought and study, and may motivate me to actually re-read this one.

Fletch and the Man Who
Fletch and the Man Who
Reading Progress
  • 08/7/16 marked as: want to read; “The Rio Olympics reminded me that I’d gotten Carioca Fletch to read back in the 80’s and never got around to it, so I thought I’d come back and revisit the series.”
  • 11/03/16 started reading
  • 11/03/16 02.0% done
  • 11/05/16 03.0% done
  • 11/08/16 04.0% done
  • 11/11/16 08.0% done
  • 11/20/16 18.0% done
  • 11/21/16 21.0% done; “Fletch has a new job, and like usual, the first few minutes of the book throw us right into a riveting high concept. Where we’re ultimately headed is anyone’s guess…”
  • 11/22/16 22.0% done
  • 11/23/16 35.0% done; “Usually Fletch is the one with all the sharp, ascerbic statements, but in this installment I’m noticing that he’s the tame one and everyone else is somehow playing the part he usually does.”
  • 11/24/16 56.0% done
  • 11/25/16 Finished book; “There’s some great stuff in the last half of the book about Wheeler’s platform that is eerily prescient of the situation we now find ourselves in with regard to a heavily internet connected world and who owns it. It’s also an odd feeling reading this after experiencing what’s recently happened in the 2016 presidential election and it’s ensuing results.”

Highlights, Quotes, & Marginalia

On a presidential campaign, all the crises are biggies. You’ve only got a few minutes to learn that.
Highlight (yellow) – Location 26-27

Added on Thursday, November 3, 2016 11:39:44 PM

tout
Highlight (orange) – Location 41-41
This is a great word that’s usually only used in horse racing settings. I suspect that it’s second most-oft used setting is politics, so it’s certainly at home here.

Added on Thursday, November 3, 2016 11:41:19 PM

“I knew you had something other than pretzels between the ears.”
“Potato chips.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 75-76

Added on Thursday, November 3, 2016 11:44:42 PM

“Going my way?” he asked.
“No,” she answered. “I’m on my way up.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 91-92

Added on Thursday, November 3, 2016 11:46:06 PM

“You don’t read Newsworld?”
“My dentist doesn’t subscribe.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 104-105

Added on Thursday, November 3, 2016 11:46:52 PM

“You don’t read the Newsworld Syndicate?”
“Not on crime. Gross stuff, crime. Reports on what the coroner found in the victim’s lower intestine. I don’t even want to know what’s in my own lower intestine.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 106-108

Added on Saturday, November 5, 2016 11:06:02 PM

“You couldn’t have gotten here that fast from New York or Los Angeles or—or from wherever you hang your suspicions.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 132-133

Added on Saturday, November 5, 2016 11:07:46 PM

“The Press is The People, sir.”
“Funny,” said The Man Who. “I thought the government is.
Highlight (yellow) – Location 163-164

Added on Saturday, November 5, 2016 11:10:36 PM

The living room was decorated in Super Motel. There was a bad painting on the wall, oil on canvas, of a schooner under full sail.
Highlight (yellow) – Location 166-167
Fletch always does enjoy commenting on art, and this bit of satire about the sameness of motel rooms is no different in allowing him some commentary.

Added on Tuesday, November 8, 2016 2:16:39 AM

“Motels and gas stations expect even presidential candidates to pay their bills. It’s the American way.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 186-187

Added on Friday, November 11, 2016 9:36:20 PM

they’d desert us faster than kittens leave a gully in the January thaw.
Highlight (yellow) – Location 190-191

Added on Friday, November 11, 2016 9:37:00 PM

“Working on a book,” Fletch said.
“On politics?”
“On an American western artist. You know: Edgar Arthur Tharp, Junior.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 219-221

Added on Friday, November 11, 2016 9:39:22 PM

“Isn’t American politics a crusade of amateurs?”
“Who said that?”
“I did. I think.”
“You’re wrong. But it has a nice ring to it.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 229-232

Added on Friday, November 11, 2016 9:40:09 PM

“I understand the job of press secretary is to keep paintin’ the picket fence around the main house. Just keep paintin’ it. Whatever’s goin’ on inside, the outside is to look pretty.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 281-282

Added on Friday, November 11, 2016 9:46:35 PM

“Where’d you get the money?”
“You can save a lot of money by not smoking.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 296-297

Added on Friday, November 11, 2016 9:48:09 PM

“And do you have any good ideas?”
“Just one, for now.”
“And what would that be?”
“To be loyal to you.” Fletch grinned. “Until I get a better offer. Isn’t that what you just said politics is all about?”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 304-307

Added on Friday, November 11, 2016 9:48:48 PM

“Don’t know how the press will accept him,” the governor said. “Fletch looks like breakfast to someone with a hangover.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 332-333

Added on Friday, November 11, 2016 9:51:55 PM

Ups
Highlight (gray) – Location 519-519
Should have been “lips”.

Added on Sunday, November 20, 2016 9:38:17 AM

“You know how to make the best of a bad situation, Fletch. And a presidential campaign is one bad situation after another.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 535-536

Added on Sunday, November 20, 2016 9:52:16 AM

“Walsh, you’ve been drinking.” She stood up only partway.
“Had to spend some time in the bar, Mother. Something happened. This girl—”
Doris Wheeler slapped her son, hard.
Highlight (yellow) – Location 563-566

Added on Sunday, November 20, 2016 9:58:41 AM

“Well,” Walsh finally said, “I’m glad I gave you my lecture on loyalty, before you saw that.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 574-574

Added on Sunday, November 20, 2016 9:58:55 AM

“Dearly beloved,” said the governor.
“Now you’re leaving out Arbuthnot!” said Joe Hall.
“All creatures great and small?” asked the governor.
“Why’s that man up there calling us a bunch of animals?” Stella Kirchner asked Bill Dieckmann loudly. “Trying to get elected game warden or something?”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 585-590

Added on Sunday, November 20, 2016 10:00:49 AM

“Good morning,” Fletch said. “As the governor’s press representative, I make you the solemn promise that I will never lie to you. Today, on this bus, we will be passing through Miami, New Orleans, Dallas, New York, and Keokuk, Iowa. Per usual, at midday you will be flown to San Francisco for lunch. Today’s menu is clam chowder, pheasant under glass, roast Chilean lamb, and a strawberry mousse from Maine. Everything the governor says today will be significant, relevant, wise, to the point, and as fresh as the lilies in the field.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 610-614

Added on Sunday, November 20, 2016 10:05:24 AM

“Is it true you saved Walsh Wheeler’s life overseas?” Fenella Baker asked.
“That’s another thing,” Fletch said. “I will never evade any of your questions.” He turned the microphone off and hung it up.
Highlight (yellow) – Location 624-627

Added on Sunday, November 20, 2016 10:06:40 AM

“How does it feel to be an adversary of the press?” From her seat on the bus, Freddie Arbuthnot grinned up at Fletch.
“Some people,” announced Fletch, “think I always have been.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 628-630

Added on Sunday, November 20, 2016 10:07:28 AM

“You’re a help.”
“You’ll never make it.”
“I know it.”
“That’s all right.” She patted him on the arm. “I’ll destroy you as painlessly as possible.”
“Great. I’d appreciate that. Are you sure you’re up to it?”
“Up to what?”
“Destroying me.”
“It will be easy,” she said. “Because of all those conflicts in yourself. You’ve never tried to be a member of the establishment before, Fletch. I mean, let’s face it: you’re a born-and-bred rebel.”
“I bought a necktie for this job.”
She studied his solid red tie. “Nice one, too. Looks like you’re already bleeding from the neck.”
“Got it in the airport in Little Rock.”
“Limited selection?”
“No. They had five or six to choose from.”
“That was the best?”
“I thought so.”
“You only bought one, though, right?”
“Didn’t know how long this job would last.”
“Glad you didn’t make too big an investment in your future as a member of the establishment.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 655-671

Added on Sunday, November 20, 2016 10:12:26 AM

“The definition of a press representative. You are game as fair as any, seasoned, roasted, carved, and chewed.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 686-687

Added on Sunday, November 20, 2016 10:13:54 AM

“We’re being overcome by machines.” Freddie sat up again. “They’ll have their day. Or so they predict. And they’re always right. Right?”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 748-750

Added on Sunday, November 20, 2016 10:19:14 AM

Your Bookmark on Location 811

Added on Sunday, November 20, 2016 11:50:32 PM

“Vic Robbins! Upton’s advance man?”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 839-840

Added on Monday, November 21, 2016 12:01:09 AM

speechwriters Phil Nolting and Paul Dobson
Highlight (yellow) – Location 831-831

Added on Monday, November 21, 2016 12:01:26 AM

Lee Allen Parke
Highlight (yellow) – Location 827-827

Added on Monday, November 21, 2016 12:01:49 AM

Barry Hines, the campaign’s communication chief
Highlight (yellow) – Location 833-833

Added on Monday, November 21, 2016 12:01:59 AM

Flash Grasselli
Highlight (yellow) – Location 869-869

Added on Monday, November 21, 2016 12:02:51 AM

Michael J. Hanrahan
Highlight (yellow) – Location 906-906
His last name is the same as the pederast’s name in the film Fletch during the Poon scene; it also would have been written in time to have been read and included into the movie.

Added on Monday, November 21, 2016 12:06:32 AM

scabrous
Highlight (orange) – Location 919-919

Added on Monday, November 21, 2016 12:07:43 AM

He put his chin up at Fletch, who was still on the stairs of the campaign bus, and tried to give Fletch a penetrating look with bloodshot eyes, each in its own pool of poison.
Highlight (yellow) – Location 925-926
great bit of language for a vile character

Added on Tuesday, November 22, 2016 4:20:14 AM

Even Hanrahan’s neck was turning red. “You know how many readers I got?” he shouted.
“Yeah,” Freddie said. “Everyone in the country who can’t read, reads Newsbill. Big deal.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 948-950

Added on Tuesday, November 22, 2016 4:22:00 AM

Dr. Thom spoke with extraordinary slowness. “Anyone trying to handle the press can have anything he wants from me: poisoned gas, flamethrowers, machine guns, hand grenades. If I don’t have such medical and surgical tools on hand, I shall secure them for you at greatly reduced rates.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 968-971

Added on Tuesday, November 22, 2016 4:24:11 AM

“Do you really think so? Neither the substance of America’s favorite sport, politics, nor the substance of America’s favorite food, the hot dog, can bear too much analysis. If the innards of either American politics or the American hot dog were too fully revealed, the American would have to disavow and disgorge himself.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 976-979
similar to Bismark on laws and sausage

Added on Tuesday, November 22, 2016 4:25:06 AM

Fenella Baker and Betsy Ginsberg. I had been talking with Bill Dieckmann
Highlight (yellow) – Location 1006-1007

Added on Wednesday, November 23, 2016 12:07:07 AM

Of course, if I ever come across a lawyer lying on the sidewalk, I’ll tread on his face.”
“You don’t like lawyers either?”
“Even lawyers’ mothers don’t like lawyers. If you do a survey, I think you’ll find that lawyers’ mothers are the strongest advocates of legal abortions in the land.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 1013-1017

Added on Wednesday, November 23, 2016 12:08:02 AM

“Ask me some questions.”
“Ask anything?”
“Anything your heart desires. You know a man more from his questions than from his answers. Who said that?”
“You just did.”
“Let’s not make a note of it.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 1081-1084

Added on Wednesday, November 23, 2016 12:13:37 AM

The governor was smiling. “The American people don’t want anyone with deep convictions as President of the United States. People with deep convictions are dangerous. They’re incapable of the art of governing a democracy because they’re incapable of compromise. People with deep convictions put everyone who disagrees with them in prison. Then they blow the world up. You don’t want that, do you?”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 1098-1101

Added on Wednesday, November 23, 2016 12:15:01 AM

“Didactic but not dogmatic is the rule for a good politician. Who said that?”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 1110-1110

Added on Wednesday, November 23, 2016 12:15:43 AM

poltroon
Highlight (orange) – Location 1128-1128

Added on Wednesday, November 23, 2016 12:16:59 AM

Then Fletch said in a rush, “Ideology will never equalize the world. Technology is doing so.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 1136-1136

Added on Wednesday, November 23, 2016 12:17:41 AM

“Yeah, but Newsbill’s readers are too ashamed to identify themselves to each other.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 1166-1167
This sounds a lot like many Trump supporters before the election. They wouldn’t identify until after-the-fact.

Added on Wednesday, November 23, 2016 12:19:22 AM

“Arbuthnot and Hanrahan.” The governor was smoothing his jacket. “Sounds like a manufacturer of pneumatic drills.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 1262-1263

Added on Wednesday, November 23, 2016 12:25:09 AM

“Are we at the right school?”
“Oh, yes,” the governor said. “They couldn’t have played ‘America’ that badly without practicing it.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 1322-1324

Added on Wednesday, November 23, 2016 12:34:41 AM

“What kind of a story did some of you find to phone in? I saw you at the phone.”
“You don’t know?”
“No idea.”
“Some press rep. you are. You ever been on a campaign before?”
“No.”
“You’re cute, Fletcher. But I don’t think you should be on this one, either.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 1336-1341

Added on Wednesday, November 23, 2016 12:36:05 AM

“I used to pray in school,” Roy Filby said from the seat behind Betsy. “Before every exam. Swear like hell afterward.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 1356-1357

Added on Wednesday, November 23, 2016 12:37:18 AM

To Betsy, Fletch said, “I have a question for you, okay?”
“The answer is yes,” she said. “Anytime. You don’t even have to bring a bottle of wine.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 1382-1384
What a way to proposition someone…

Added on Wednesday, November 23, 2016 12:39:17 AM

Fletch too wondered why Fenella Baker’s face didn’t itch. Surely some of that powder had been on it since the days of Jimmy Carter.
Highlight (yellow) – Location 1401-1402

Added on Wednesday, November 23, 2016 12:40:26 AM

Freddie said. She continued reading Jay Daly’s Walls.
Highlight (green) – Location 1442-1442
Walls is a work of fiction from 1981 in which “Frankie O’Day, an incurable graffiti writer, has to deal with pranksterish friends, an alcoholic father, and a new romance.”

Added on Wednesday, November 23, 2016 12:43:07 AM

“Yes. Drinking rum toffs.”
“What’s a rum toff?”
Highlight (orange) – Location 1495-1496
I suspect he’s making a reference to rumptopf (or rum pot) here

Added on Wednesday, November 23, 2016 12:47:17 AM

“Somebody in a presidential family ought to marry a Ginsberg. We do nice table settings.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 1525-1526

Added on Wednesday, November 23, 2016 12:53:21 AM

“Irwin!” Roy Filby echoed. “I’d rather see one than be one!”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 1532-1532

I read this little snipe at Fletch (and the ubiquitous mention of his disliked first name) as a blatant reference to the Gelett Burgess nonsense poem Purple Cow first published in 1895. One will note the reference comes via verbal transmission rather than direct as the line is slightly modified.

I never saw a Purple Cow,
I never hope to see one;
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I’d rather see than be one. [1]

Added on Wednesday, November 23, 2016 12:53:41 AM

“How did you know my name is Irwin?” Fletch asked.
The bus driver said: “Just guessed.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 1551-1552

Added on Wednesday, November 23, 2016 12:54:59 AM

“Guess they don’t think too badly of bribing schoolchildren.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 1569-1569

Added on Wednesday, November 23, 2016 2:04:32 PM

“Sweet Wheat, the breakfast cereal that makes kiddies yell for more.”
“Yell with the toothache,” Paul Dobson said. “They’re yelling because it makes their teeth hurt!”
“Make ’em hypertensive with sugar at breakfast,” Phil Nolting intoned, as if quoting, “then slap ’em down at school.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 1572-1576
Could these two have been the inspiration for Larry and Ed on the television show The West Wing?

Added on Wednesday, November 23, 2016 2:05:14 PM

“I don’t think the American people are apt to consider an older man handing out coins to little kids as Beelzebub.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 1623-1623

Added on Wednesday, November 23, 2016 2:08:55 PM

“Who was the first one to say ‘If you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen’?”
“Uh—Fred Fenton?”
“Who was he?”
“Cooked for Henry the Eighth.” The governor gave him a weird look. “Buried under the chapel at the Tower of London. Forgot to take the poultry lacers out of roast falcons.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 1638-1642

Added on Wednesday, November 23, 2016 2:10:20 PM

“… It used to be that what happened in New York and Washington was important in Paramaribo, in Durban, in Kampuchea. Nothing was more important. Well, things have changed. Now we know that what happens in Santiago, in Tehran, in Peking is terribly important in New York and Washington. Nothing is more important.”
Fletch said: “Wow.”
“… The Third World, as it’s called, is no longer something out there—separate from us, inconsequential to us. Whether we like it or not, the world is becoming more sensitive. The world is becoming covered with a network of fine nerves—an electronic nervous system not unlike that which integrates our own bodies. Our finger hurts, our toe hurts and we feel it as much as if our head aches or our heart aches. Instantly now do we feel the pain in Montevideo, in Juddah, in Bandung. And yes, my friends in Winslow, we feel the pains from our own, internal third world—from Harlem, from Watts, from our reservations of Native Americans …”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 1705-1713

Added on Wednesday, November 23, 2016 2:19:01 PM

“… You and I know there is no theology, no ideology causing this new, sudden, total integration of the world. Christianity has had two thousand years to tie this world together … and it has not done so. Islam has had six hundred years to tie this world together … and it has not done so. American democracy has had two hundred years to tie this world together … and it has not done so. Communism has had nearly one hundred years to tie this world together… and it has not done so.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 1718-1722

Added on Wednesday, November 23, 2016 2:20:04 PM

“… You and I, my friends, know that technology is tying this world together, is integrating this world in a way no theology, no ideology ever could. Technology is forming a nervous system beneath the skin of Mother Earth. And you and I know that to avoid the pain, the body politic had better start responding to this nervous system immediately! If we ignore that which hurts in any part of this body earth, we shall suffer years more, generations more of the pain and misery of spreading disease. If we knowingly allow wounds to fester in any particular place, the strength, the energies of the whole world will be sapped!”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 1742-1746

Added on Wednesday, November 23, 2016 2:23:02 PM

At the edge of the platform, The Man Who shook hands with the congressperson as if he had never seen her before, keeping his arm long, making it seem, for the public, for the photographers, he was greeting just another well-wisher.
Highlight (yellow) – Location 1755-1757

Added on Wednesday, November 23, 2016 2:31:09 PM

Your Bookmark on Location 1766

Added on Wednesday, November 23, 2016 2:32:14 PM

“What did the governor say?” Kirchner asked.
“Well,” Fletch said, “roughly he said the world is getting it together despite man’s best ideas.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 1831-1833

Added on Thursday, November 24, 2016 12:34:30 AM

“Part of the process of a political campaign is to go around the country listening to people. At least, a good politician listens. You said something this morning that struck me as eminently sensible. Something probably everybody knows is true, but no one has yet said. Probably only the young have grown up with this new reality in their guts, really knowing it to be true.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 1862-1864

Added on Thursday, November 24, 2016 12:36:52 AM

“There’s a difference between ideas and facts,” the governor said. “The people of the world will be better served with a few facts.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 2003-2005

Added on Thursday, November 24, 2016 4:15:48 PM

Your Bookmark on Location 1991

Added on Thursday, November 24, 2016 8:01:08 PM

The governor narrowed his eyes. “Is it crap?”
Doris Wheeler’s voice became that of a reasonable lecturer. “Caxton, you know damned well the farmers and merchants of Winslow, of the U.S.A., do not want to hear about the Third World. They want to hear about their taxes, their health programs, their Social Security, their defense, their crop subsidies. The voter is a totally selfish animal! Every time the voter hears the name of a foreign country, he thinks it’s going to cost him money.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 2023-2027

Added on Thursday, November 24, 2016 8:08:02 PM

“Used to hear you through the wall in Virginia. Key of C in the morning, F at night.”
“I take a cold shower in the morning.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 2100-2102

Added on Thursday, November 24, 2016 8:19:55 PM

“Get the space, baby. Get the network time and the newspaper space. Builds familiarity. Recognition of the candidate, you know? What the candidate is actually saying or doing is of secondary importance, you know?”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 2146-2148

Added on Thursday, November 24, 2016 8:23:45 PM

statesmanship has no place on a political campaign. A campaign is punch and duck, punch and duck. Fast footwork, you know? Always smiling. The voters want to see fast action. Their attention won’t hold for anything more.
Highlight (yellow) – Location 2159-2161

Added on Thursday, November 24, 2016 8:27:10 PM

“Longer than that, I. M., longer than that. Something ol’ Vic taught me, and it’s always proved to be true: statesmanship has no place on a political campaign. A campaign is punch and duck, punch and duck. Fast footwork, you know? Always smiling. The voters want to see fast action. Their attention won’t hold for anything more. From day to day, give ’em happy film, and short, reassuring statements. If you really try to say anything, really ask them to stop and think, they’ll hate you for it. They can’t think, you know? Being asked makes us feel inferior. We don’t like to feel inferior to our candidates. Against the democratic ideal, you know? The candidate’s just got to keep giving the impression he’s a man of the people—no better than they are, just doin’ a different job. No one is ever elected in this country on the basis of what he really thinks. The candidate is elected on the basis of thousands of different, comfortable small impressions, not one of which really asks the voters to think.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 2158-2166

Added on Thursday, November 24, 2016 8:28:31 PM

Eulogies to a relationship never need encouragement from the listener.
Highlight (yellow) – Location 2186-2186
Fantastic aphorism

Added on Thursday, November 24, 2016 8:30:11 PM

“Wow, a presidential campaign. What’s it like, Fletch?”
“Unreal, man. Totally unreal.”
“I believe you. On television you were wearing a coat and tie.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 2264-2267

Added on Thursday, November 24, 2016 8:36:02 PM

“I’m doin’ my best, Mr. Persecutor. It’s like trying to put out a fire in a circus tent, you know? I can’t get anybody to admit there is a fire.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 2302-2303

Added on Thursday, November 24, 2016 8:38:44 PM

“Sent any woe-begones to jail lately?”
“Two yesterday. No outstanding warrants on you, though. I check first thing every morning.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 2326-2328

Added on Thursday, November 24, 2016 8:41:16 PM

“California can always use a few more people who wear suits.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 2330-2330

Added on Thursday, November 24, 2016 8:41:30 PM

“Simple enough deal,” Fletch said. “Tit for tat.”
“Tits for that,” Judy said.
Highlight (yellow) – Location 2410-2411

Added on Thursday, November 24, 2016 8:49:38 PM

There are some old books in the cabin—Ellery Queen, S.S. van Dyne. He reads them sometimes, in bed.
Highlight (yellow) – Location 2517-2517

Added on Friday, November 25, 2016 2:43:29 AM

“Why shouldn’t I help them out?” Flash Grasselli asked reasonably. “I’m bigger than they are.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 2556-2557

Added on Friday, November 25, 2016 2:46:51 AM

Abruptly Walsh sat up in his chair. “You’re always making jokes. Is that how you escape?”
Slowly, carefully, Fletch said, “No. That’s why the chicken crossed the road.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 2703-2704

Added on Friday, November 25, 2016 2:58:20 AM

“As sure as God made anchovies.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 2711-2711

Added on Friday, November 25, 2016 2:59:21 AM

“I take from the unhealthiest doctor I could find. He’s a wreck. Fat as the federal budget. He smokes like a public utility; drinks as if he has as many different mouths as a White House source. When he breathes, you’d think someone is running a caucus in his chest. Thought he’d be easy on me. Tolerant. Relaxed. Not a bit of it. Still he gives me that old saw, ‘Don’t do as I do; do as I say.’ I guess I should. Already he’s invested in a burial plot, he tells me. And he’s only thirty-two.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 2868-2872

Added on Friday, November 25, 2016 3:10:08 AM

Campaigns at first need idealism and youth. Once the primaries are won, cynicism takes over and idealism gets a bus ticket home. You don’t mind being used?”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 2909-2910

Added on Friday, November 25, 2016 3:14:29 AM

“You look like your heart just sat down and took off its shoes.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 2947-2947

Added on Friday, November 25, 2016 3:17:32 AM

Your Bookmark on Location 2998

Added on Friday, November 25, 2016 3:22:48 AM

“I’m talking about the gathering and dissemination of information,” the governor said, “instead of weapons.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 3004-3005

Added on Friday, November 25, 2016 12:57:58 PM

Fletch had been in funeral processions that went faster.
Highlight (yellow) – Location 2989-2989

Added on Friday, November 25, 2016 1:00:02 PM

“Through this technology, the people of this earth are beginning to recognize each other, know each other, and realize their commonality of interest.
Highlight (yellow) – Location 2993-2994

Added on Friday, November 25, 2016 1:03:51 PM

Lansing Sayer wasn’t getting much into his notebook.
“Am I wrong to think that most of the bad things that happen on this earth happen because people don’t have the right facts at the right time? It’s all very well to believe something. You can go cheering to war over what you believe. You can starve to death happily over what you believe. But would wars ever happen if everybody had the same facts? There is no factual basis for starvation on this earth,” Governor Caxton Wheeler said softly. “Not yet, there isn’t.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 3012-3016

Added on Friday, November 25, 2016 1:12:03 PM

“Facts are facts,” said The Man Who. “I’m not talking about faith, belief, opinions. I’m talking about facts. How come most children in this world know Pele’s every move playing soccer, know every line of Muhammad Ali’s face, and yet this same technology has not been used to teach them the history of their own people, or how to read and write their own language? How come a bank in London can know, up to the minute, how much money a bank in New York has, to the penny, but a kid in Liverpool who just had his teeth bashed out doesn’t know three thousand years ago a Greek analyzed gang warfare accurately? How come the governments of this world know where every thermonuclear missile is, on land, under land, on sea, under sea, and yet this technology has never been used for the proper allocation of food? Is that a dumb question?”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 3018-3024

Added on Friday, November 25, 2016 1:14:56 PM

Anyone who thinks he’s absolutely right is capable of anything, including murder.
Highlight (yellow) – Location 3097-3098

Added on Friday, November 25, 2016 1:55:45 PM

“So this is how you live.” Freddie looked around his hotel room. “Your suitcase is dark brown. Mine is light blue.”
“Yeah,” Fletch said. “That’s the difference between boys and girls.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 3161-3163

Added on Friday, November 25, 2016 2:03:34 PM

“Got to make clothes last on a trip like this.”
“I never wear that jacket.”
“Then why do you carry it?”
“That’s the jacket I carry.” He pointed to one on the unmade bed. “That’s the jacket I wear.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 3190-3193

Added on Friday, November 25, 2016 2:06:12 PM

“Relationships between men and women can be nice. I guess.” He watched her from the chair where he was sitting. “Can’t say you never had one, Freddie.”
“I live out of a suitcase, Fletcher. All the time. Anything that doesn’t fit in the suitcase can’t come with me.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 3202-3205

Added on Friday, November 25, 2016 2:07:24 PM

“Next to Solov, Maxim Gorky would seem a fun date.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 3293-3293

Added on Friday, November 25, 2016 2:14:13 PM

“Guess you got to take that chance, jackass. If I can’t print something that looks like answers, I’m going to print something that looks like questions.”
“Oh, I see,” Fletch said brilliantly. “That’s why people refer to what you write as questionable. ’Bye, Mike.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 3328-3331

Added on Friday, November 25, 2016 2:17:07 PM

Your Bookmark on Location 3333

Added on Friday, November 25, 2016 2:18:05 PM

“Young people always think it’s clever to disparage our institutions.”
“It’s not?”
“Politically, it’s suicide. As I said last night. You can knock the institutions on their goddamned asses,” her voice grated, “as long as you always give them lip service. That’s the only reality.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 3426-3429

Added on Friday, November 25, 2016 3:23:19 PM

“I wouldn’t vote for your husband for dogcatcher!” the driver shouted. “He doesn’t know a bitch when he sees one!”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 3472-3473

Added on Friday, November 25, 2016 3:29:59 PM

The wind, the sound of traffic in the parking lot, the noise of jet airplanes passing overhead made the governor look like a frantic, laryngytic opera singer.
Highlight (yellow) – Location 3492-3493

Added on Friday, November 25, 2016 3:31:58 PM

to draw up a sort of international constitution guaranteeing that no one—no nation, no political party, no group—gets to control too large a share of the new technology.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 3753-3755

Added on Friday, November 25, 2016 4:21:02 PM

Bushwa
Highlight (orange) – Location 3808-3808
Mcdonald has used this at least once before in another Fletch book

Added on Friday, November 25, 2016 4:28:09 PM

Buy him a one-way ticket to Tashkent.
Highlight (yellow) – Location 3936-3936

Added on Friday, November 25, 2016 7:24:10 PM

Cason’s
Highlight (gray) – Location 3957-3957
Was this meant to be Caxton’s?

Added on Friday, November 25, 2016 7:25:34 PM

“Yeah,” Fletch said to Freddie Arbuthnot in the airport terminal. “I lost my job again.”
“You’re good at that.”
“I think it’s what I do best.”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 4330-4333

Added on Friday, November 25, 2016 8:02:31 PM

“Gee, Freddie.” He took the tickets away from her and shoved them into his own pocket. “Why do you want to make a mystery out of everything?”
Highlight (yellow) – Location 4391-4392

Added on Friday, November 25, 2016 8:11:08 PM

Your Bookmark on Location 4448
Finished with book

Added on Friday, November 25, 2016 8:11:22 PM

Guide to highlight colors

Yellow–general highlights and highlights which don’t fit under another category below
Orange–Vocabulary word; interesting and/or rare word
Green–Reference to read
Blue–Interesting Quote
Gray–Typography Problem
Red–Example to work through

References

[1]
Gelett Burgess , “The Purple Cow,” Academy of American Poets, 06-May-2005. [Online]. Available: https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/purple-cow. [Accessed: 26-Nov-2016]
Syndicated copies to:

A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond

A review about a book with a charming bear you can't help but love despite his foibles and penchant of getting into trouble.
A Bear Called Paddington Book Cover A Bear Called Paddington
Paddington Bear
Michael Bond
Juvenile Fiction
Harper Collins
July 22, 2014; Original release in 1958
e-book
176
Overdrive

Paddington Bear had traveled all the way from darkest Peru when the Browns first met him in Paddington Station. Since then, their lives have never been quite the same . . . for ordinary things become extraordinary when a bear called Paddington is involved. First published in 1958, A Bear Called Paddington is the first novel by Michael Bond, chronicling the adventures of this lovable bear. Paddington has charmed readers for generations with his earnest good intentions and humorous misadventures. This brand-new edition of the classic novel contains the original text by Michael Bond and illustrations by Peggy Fortnum.

The beginning of the book felt like an uphill battle to read. Perhaps it was too much set up and not enough character? The character shines through more brightly later on in the stories toward the end. The opening was also a lot more initial set up and seemed to be a beginning of a larger plot which didn’t turn into anything while the final chapters were more or less stand-alone vignettes with their own internal mini three act structures. I think I preferred these smaller self-standing stories to the beginning. In form and structure, the book was more like a collection of short stories about Paddington than it was a novel with its own three act structure, which is what I had expected. As a result of this, I’m surprised that Paddington was made into a movie instead of a television show.

Paddington gets himself into the same types of trouble a typical 3-6 year old would in not understanding the culture, mores, and standards around him. In this sense the book falls into a category similar to Amelia Bedelia, who perennially doesn’t understand colloquialisms and other homophones. The difference is that, because he’s a cuddlier small bear, he’s cuter and thereby one is prone to be more forgiving than they would be of a child or of a grown woman who’s so dense that she apparently doesn’t have any linguistic intelligence at all.

Because Paddington is a bear and not a young child, the family also allows him to do things by himself that no sane parent would allow a young child to do: go to the market by themselves, wander around in a crowded theater unattended, float out into the ocean without a keen eye being kept on them. It’s this slight change which allows our young bear to get into far more trouble than a human youngster might.

Toward the end, I began to read using rapid serial visual presentation (with Spritz), and the language and quirks came through just as well as any other parts of the book. I did find myself picking up my Kindle Paperwhite to highlight a few choice passages and funny parts for later reflection though. There was a nice prologue with some interesting observations by the author several decades after he wrote the original. With a bit of thought, some of these make great advice for budding authors.

In sum, an entertaining an charming book whose self-contained chapters lend themselves well to bedtime stories.

Reading Progress
  • 05/27/16 marked as: want to read; “I’d watched the recent film version during the late Spring and thought I’d circle back around and read this again to see how closely the film followed the story. I haven’t read it since I was a child in maybe 3rd or 4th grade.”
  • 09/06/16 started reading
  • 09/08/16 ??.0% done;
  • 10/01/16 18.0% done;
  • 10/02/16 22.0% done;
  • 10/26/16 33.0% done; “The plot moves somewhat slowly and the action is mostly what one would expect from a 5 or 6 year old–except that it’s a bear–but the charming language and the way in which is told makes all the difference. Bacon in a suitcase–indeed!”
  • 10/28/16 47.0% done;
  • 10/30/16 70.0% done;
    Chapter 5: Paddington and the “Old Master”
    The pledge and the turn are reasonably well executed, but the prestige is lacking a bit.
    Chapter 6: A Visit to the Theater
    It’s episodes like this that make me wonder why they turned Paddington into a movie instead of a TV sitcom.”
  • 10/31/16 Finished book;
    Chapter Seven: Adventure at the Seaside
    The set up for this was short and sweet and the ending was what we’ve come to love in a Paddington story.
    Chapter Eight: A Disappearing Trick
    This is just hilariously charming. I do wish the uncivil neighbor had been better set up in a prior story, but the short treatment done here is sufficient for the hilarity that ensues with Paddington attempting a magic show.”

Highlights, Quotes, & Marginalia

Chapter One: Please Look After This Bear
It said simply, PLEASE LOOK AFTER THIS BEAR. THANK YOU.
Highlight (yellow) on page 4 | Location 53-53 | Added on Tuesday, September 6, 2016 10:45:06 PM
“You can’t just sit in Paddington Station waiting for something to happen.”
Highlight (yellow) on page 4 | Location 51-51 | Added on Tuesday, September 6, 2016 10:45:15 PM
“How’s that to be going on with?”
Highlight (yellow) on page 6 | Location 91-92 | Added on Thursday, September 8, 2016 12:44:27 AM

“Things are always happening to me. I’m that sort of bear.”

Highlight (blue) on page 9 | Location 127-127 | Added on Thursday, September 8, 2016 12:48:39 AM
Chapter Two: A Bear in Hot Water

“That’s the trouble with being small—no one ever expects you to want things.”

Highlight (blue) on page 13 | Location 194-194 | Added on Tuesday, September 6, 2016 7:48:41 PM

– Your Bookmark on page 16 | Location 231 | Added on Tuesday, September 6, 2016 10:43:26 PM
if the water didn’t get much less, at least it didn’t get any more.
Highlight (yellow) on page 18 | Location 265-265 | Added on Saturday, October 1, 2016 7:35:31 PM
“If Mrs. Bird sees this, I don’t know what she’ll say.”
“I do,” exclaimed Jonathan. “She says it to me sometimes.”
Highlight (yellow) on page 19 | Location 290-291 | Added on Sunday, October 2, 2016 3:49:58 PM

– Your Bookmark on page 19 | Location 288 | Added on Sunday, October 2, 2016 3:50:49 PM

– Your Bookmark on page 25 | Location 369 | Added on Wednesday, October 26, 2016 8:14:38 PM
Chapter Three: Paddington Goes Underground
The man sniffed suspiciously and called across to an inspector. “There’s a young bear ’ere, smelling of bacon. Says he made a mistake at the bottom.”
Highlight (yellow) on page 26 | Location 387-388 | Added on Wednesday, October 26, 2016 11:33:23 PM
Chapter Four: A Shopping Expedition
Modom
Highlight (orange) on page 31 | Location 465-465 | Added on Friday, October 28, 2016 1:35:17 AM
Don’t see this word often in America, much less the Anglicization Madam or Madame
“I’ll have one for worst if you like,” he said. “That’s my best one!”
Highlight (yellow) on page 31 | Location 468-469 | Added on Friday, October 28, 2016 1:36:00 AM
Paddington trying to keep his old hat.
Paddington had a very persistent stare when he cared to use it. It was a very powerful stare. One which his Aunt Lucy had taught him and which he kept for special occasions.
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Bears were rather unpredictable. You never quite knew what they were thinking, and this one in particular seemed to have a mind of his own.
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– Your Bookmark on page 33 | Location 491 | Added on Friday, October 28, 2016 1:41:19 AM

– Your Bookmark on page 34 | Location 517 | Added on Friday, October 28, 2016 7:58:30 PM

“I think,” said Paddington, “if you don’t mind, I’d rather use the stairs.”
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Chapter Five: Paddington and the “Old Master”
“That bear gets more for his ten pence than anyone I know,” said Mrs. Bird. “I don’t know how he gets away with it, really I don’t. It must be the mean streak in him.”
“I’m not mean,” said Paddington indignantly. “I’m just careful, that’s all.”
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“I don’t mind him just thinking,” said Mrs. Brown, with a worried expression on her face. “It’s when he actually thinks of something that the trouble starts.”
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Originally it had been a painting of a lake, with a blue sky and several sailing boats dotted around. Now it looked like a storm at sea. All the boats had gone, the sky was a funny shade of gray, and half the lake had disappeared.
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Only Mrs. Bird had her suspicions when she found Paddington’s “spots” on his towel in the bathroom, but she kept her thoughts to herself.
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“I think,” said Paddington to the world in general, “they might have stood it the right way up. It’s not every day a bear wins first prize in a painting competition!”
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Chapter Six: A Visit to the Theater
But it’ll be an experience for him, and he does like experiences so.
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Commissionaire
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Judy started to help him off with it.
“Mind my marmalade sandwich!” cried Paddington as she placed it on the ledge in front of him. But it was too late. He looked round guiltily.
“Crikey!” said Jonathan. “It’s fallen on someone’s head!” He looked over the edge of the box. “It’s that man with the bald head. He looks jolly cross.”
“Oh, Paddington!” Mrs. Brown looked despairingly at him. “Do you have to bring marmalade sandwiches to the theater?”
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Chapter Seven: Adventure at the Seaside
Paddington gave him a hard stare. “You said there was a bird,” he said. “And there wasn’t.”
“I expect it flew away when it saw your face,” said the man nastily. “Now, where’s my pound?” Paddington looked at him even harder for a moment. “Perhaps the bird took it when it flew away,” he said.
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The man looked serious. “And you say he can’t swim?” he asked.
“He doesn’t even like having a bath much,” said Judy. “So I’m sure he can’t swim.”
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The man looked at the picture. “We could send out a description,” he said dubiously. “But it’s a job to see what he looks like by that. It’s all hat and dark glasses.”
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This is hilarious thinking that people aren’t going to notice a small bear with such a costume amongst people.
“What’s going on at the pier, chum?”
Without stopping, the man looked back over his shoulder and shouted, “Chap just crossed the Atlantic all by ’isself on a raft. ’Undreds of days without food or water so they say!” He hurried on.
The lifesaving man looked disappointed. “Another of these publicity stunts,” he said. “We get ’em every year.”
Mr. Brown looked thoughtful. “I wonder,” he said, looking in the direction of the pier.
“It would be just like him,” said Mrs. Bird. “It’s the sort of thing that would happen to Paddington.”
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Chapter Eight: A Disappearing Trick
Paddington thought this was a good idea, especially when he was told that bears had two birthdays every year—one in the summer and one in the winter.
“Just like the Queen,” said Mrs. Bird. “So you ought to consider yourself very important.”
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“I shall have a lot of ‘thank-you’ letters to write.”
“Perhaps you’d better leave them until tomorrow,” said Mrs. Brown hastily. Whenever Paddington wrote any letters, he generally managed to get more ink on himself than on the paper, and he was looking so unusually smart, having had a bath the night before, that it seemed a pity to spoil it.
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“Well,” said Mr. Brown, “so long as you don’t try sawing anyone in half this evening, I don’t mind.”
“I was only joking,” he added hurriedly as Paddington turned an inquiring gaze on him.
Nevertheless, as soon as lunch was over, Mr. Brown hurried down the garden and locked up his tools. With Paddington there was no sense in taking chances.
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Mr. Curry had a reputation in the neighborhood for meanness and for poking his nose into other people’s business. He was also very bad tempered and was always complaining about the least little thing which met with his disapproval. In the past that had often included Paddington, which was why the Browns had not invited him to the party.
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“For this trick,” he said, “I shall require an egg.”
“Oh, dear,” said Mrs. Bird as she hurried out to the kitchen, “I know something dreadful is going to happen.”
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“For my next trick,” said Paddington, “I would like a watch.”
“Are you sure?” asked Mrs. Brown anxiously. “Wouldn’t anything else do?”
Paddington consulted his instruction book. “It says a watch,” he said firmly.
Mr. Brown hurriedly pulled his sleeve down over his left wrist. Unfortunately, Mr. Curry, who was in an unusually good mood after his free tea, stood up and offered his. Paddington took it gratefully and placed it on the table. “This is a jolly good trick,” he said, reaching down into his box and pulling out a small hammer.
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“You ought to be ashamed of yourself, telling lies in front of a young bear!”
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“You know, Henry,” said Mrs. Brown as they watched Paddington go up the stairs to bed, looking rather sticky and more than a little sleepy, “it’s nice having a bear about the house.”
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Postscript (by Michael Bond)
I realized I had a book on my hands. It hadn’t been written with any particular age group in mind, which was fortunate, because until then I had always written for adults, and if I had consciously aimed at a young audience I might have “written down,” which is a bad idea. Anyway, I agree with Gertrude Stein: a book is a book is a book, and it should be enjoyable on all levels.
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This is a brilliant bit of advice to writers of all stripes, but particularly children’s writers. Most of the best YA and children’s literature I’ve read didn’t pander down to their audience.
you never know quite what bears are thinking, and he was right. You feel you can trust them with your secrets and they won’t pass them on.
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This is an interesting insight into Paddington’s character and is somewhat similar to my comments above about what makes having a talking bear that seems somewhat common interesting in these stories rather than just a young child which would have made the stories very bland and unbelievable.
Another thing about bears is that one perceives them in the wild lumbering around on two legs, so they are already halfway to being human.
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Another bit which makes the stories slightly more plausible psychologically.
The first book in a series is always the most fun to write. The world is your oyster, and you can go wherever your fancy takes you. However, at the same time you build in certain parameters which are there for all time.
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Again great advice for writers, particularly those writing a multi-part series.
Paddington was, and always will be, very real to me. He has his feet firmly on the ground, and he has a very strong sense of right and wrong. So much so that when I come up against a problem in my own life, I often ask myself what he would do.
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WWPD?!
Each time I boarded a plane I knew it wouldn’t be long before he would be asked up to the flight deck. On one occasion I left him up there, strapped into a spare bucket seat while the crew explained the controls. A little later on, I received a second message asking if I would mind him staying up there because he wanted to practice landing the plane. I didn’t tell the other passengers!
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Guide to highlight colors

Yellow–general highlights and highlights which don’t fit under another category below
Orange–Vocabulary word; interesting and/or rare word
Green–Reference to read
Blue–Interesting Quote
Gray–Typography Problem
Red–Example to work through

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