From: The Big Man In The Khaki Shirt And Riding Boots With His Arm Up A Cow’s “Thing”      

Then he started sweating and swearing. The man could keep a fierce string of swear words, sentences, phrases, paragraphs going for an hour. And he could do that in at least five languages. And he did that at a deafening level. Uncontested. Who dared stop The Big Man In The Starched-As-Plaster Khaki Shirt And Riding Boots when he got started? He started swearing at everything and everyone. Anything and not at anyone in particular. Just swearing. And then he saved a life.

From: ÚGENE        

Early afternoon, that Sunday, mother opened the door to a big, handsome stranger, whose bountiful swept back-gray hair matched his impeccable Saville Row gray suit. Also his radiant, toothsome smile. And all that matched his inexplicable infatuation with Monét and cantaloupes and some things stolen, we soon learned. Thus, a lifetime of life-lessons at the knees of that beautiful beast of a man began.

 From: PSYCHE AND SOUL         

Those who have a soul, have a place in their psyche where eidolons and ghouls do ongoing battle. Love, hate, disappointment, disinterest, deeds, misdeeds, action and non-action, always. Fine lines between them, obscured by biting reality. And how those all blur at any moment in time.

From: DROWNING AT 29,032 FEET          

Most life changing experiences are a lot like drowning. Only the first few minutes are uncomfortable. Then one can stand it for days.


Read the Bible and Somerset Maugham, lest you want to remain a simpleton!

 From: OUR VILLAGE IDIOT IS DUMBER THAN YOUR VILLAGE IDIOT (but he is OUR idiot). Dateline, Los Angeles, California. Most likely, the state’s worst air disaster occurred today when a small two-seater Cessna crashed into a cemetery early this morning in central Los Angeles. Search and Rescue workers have recovered 526 bodies so far and expect that number to climb as digging continues into the evening. ‘The crash and resulting fire was so bad,’ the L.A. County Coroner said in a statement issued at the scene, ‘that most victims had lost nearly all their flesh.”


 Humor is a delightfully elegant oxymoron. It is a marriage of the totally recognizable with the classically incongruous. Now, to the three things that puzzle me most that appear within the possibility of explanation.

By definition, understanding women is not one of those.

First, I figured out the “Immaculate Conception thing.” Really, folks?

Second, the missing sock in the dryer: a no brainer. Since that remains a mystery to most, well, let us keep some secrets from each other.

Next, one of the dumber things many of us ponder: why will the life-saving-plastic-baggie the deploys from the compartment above your head, in the event of a loss of cabin pressure, will not inflate? Why would those slick engineers not put a 40 cent expanding—spring into those, to give me the absurd hope that the now—oxygen—filled baggie will save my sorry behind, as I plunge toward earth at terminal velocity. I mean, terminal for me.


Although I have yet to attempt to digest what that means, I feel the same way about trying to identify the appeal of California cuisine: lovely to look at, great to talk about, eminently forgettable once consumed and the most compelling reason d’être for cheese burgers, I am absolutely resolved to use that somewhere.


Adolph Hitler was just an ordinary house painter.

Until he became the single best public relations expert in history. Also, the quintessential monster-poster, literally and figuratively, that defined “banality of evil”. The brilliant Hannah Arendt coined that in 1963. The pedestrian Steve Manning is screaming BEWARE in regards to same in 2022.

From: LETTER TO DR. SMITH (real name omitted to protect the writer)        

A quintessential trip from ignorance to arrogance, with nary a glance at intelligence.


You know, your Excellency, there are two sides to even the thinnest pancake. Let me give you one side of a “pancake” I saw last year while at the conspicuously pedantic Munich Airport: hundreds of gypsies, men, women, young and old, and children, clad in identical blue jumpsuits, no belongings, being marched single file onto an antiseptic Lufthansa jumbo jet as they were being deported to … nowhere. The blue jumpsuits did look a lot more period appropriate than grey and black stripes might have.

Romania is not Treblinka, but then it would really be in poor form to ask that Treblinka be reopened for just a few thousand gypsies, as historically consistent as that might be. It was the crowning symbolism of Germany’s progress: no striped uniforms, no cattle cars, uniform luggage and, of course, air conditioning. Allow me the latitude, Mr. Ambassador, to not argue whether those gypsies belonged in Germany in the first place. That is the irrelevant other side of this pancake.”


… And my infatuation with the “it girl” in my school, from a distance to be sure, two decade before she grew double-truck wide hips and a more then impressive behind. And long after I married the “it girl” of the decade.


Drawn to them, I recognized the first: sort of earthy, raw smell, the smell of runny brie.  Sometimes good, often bad, always looks better than it tastes. The second was much more obvious. Kind of “out there” smell, bold, audacious, sort of “I sure stink but I am worth it!”  If you have not yet guessed what that was yet, buy a mirror.

From: ONLY WOMEN BLEED        

Scribes of all kinds, from cave decorators on, toiling at their passions and craft, have been around, well, forever. I will not allow myself to devolve from my main theme into launching an angry diatribe about social and intellectual abominations such as Twitter. That gave birth to now two generations of inexorably unserviceable, mindlessly self-engrossed wannabe-writer-freaks. And pissant opinion makers.

Oh yes. Don’t ever judge a book by its cover.


My father. Relevant to this story was his insane commitment to his values and suicidal political beliefs. He paid for those with his body as well. But then, the big man was big on the Robin Hood thing, all the way around, and had the testicles of a Brahman bull when it came to that. And pretty much everything else. All that as he was just strong enough and aware enough to ride that horse and actually recognize and engage his kids, as if seeing them for the first time in three months.

Just after another torture session by our fascist—communist uber-lords.

From: NIKE AND HARVARD          

First, you buy into the concept that Rock And Roll IS music. Second, that hamburgers are really people food. Then give Harvard Law a ride.


I know to a 100% certainty that common sense is that what tells us that the earth is flat!

From: SJ Manning: On my mind…           

Mohammed Ali, one of the great poets and thinkers of our time, had the best line on the subject (or at least it is attributed to him): “I never went to bed with an ugly woman, but I sure woke up next to some.” Or as my extraordinarily sagacious father said, preceding Ali by decades: “At night, all cats are black.”

From: WHITE, RICH AND ANGRY          

We were—are—all created equal. And thus, derivatively, have the same opportunities. That is indeed the greatest myth fed to the one-billion-plus Americans before us, the quarter-billion-plus of “us” today, and the two—three billion American—wannabes, presently, God help us, only temporarily, living outside our shores.

From: ABOUT ME AND MINE         

As I wrote, a wicker basket, lined with a soiled blanket, with a crying infant and a pleading note comes to mind. Perhaps me.

From: ABOUT ME AND MINE          

Father… He was a moral rock, a man of genuine convictions. To this day, I believe he is the only person I have ever met who never experienced a moment of moral ambiguity, never had a moment of doubt about his convictions, was never ever situationally ethical.

A righteous and virtuous man. And a phenomenally skilled and armed intellectual snob.

From: ON CLASS          

Class: some people are born with it. Most who have it learn it at the knees of their parents, from friends, teachers, mentors, and others as they go through life. Some elect to make a life choice to lead a “class” existence and have the incredible fortitude to pull that off! Others, well, they are just not standing in any of those compelling lines.


So. How about that Trump guy?

Rude, crude, occasionally loathsome, ugly street brawler. Brash, gaudy, uncouth, way too smart to not cut a nice corner (any corner), ego the size of North Dakota, and the arrogance to withstand the torrent of hate, bile, invective, for years, from pseudo-thinkers, intellectually challenged talking—heads, and haters of all kinds. And situationally ethical intellectuals.

And the ally you crave if you are facing getting your balls cut off by somebody; a heck of an adversary when your balls are there for the taking.

From: HUNTED IN AMERICA          

Envy is a particularly corrosive emotion. Even more so when fueled, heck, legitimized by outside authority figures. I feel hunted in America.

It is astounding that in this land of opportunity—and there has never been nor is there anything like this anywhere else in the world—there is now a palpable, no, vertiginous track to institutionalized class distinction.

From: THE BIDET POLICE        

When I become king, with all the absolute power to do what I damned well want to, I will mandate a few things near and dear to my, well, everything. Mandate I shall: my right as absolute monarch. To start the list:

▸I will mandate a bidet in every home. I opine that will dramatically cut down everything from domestic violence to social ills to absenteeism in the workplace, reduce stresses on the health-care system, and avoid world wars.

▸I will run back the clock and cause Adolph Hitler to just remain the ordinary housepainter he was.

▸I will stage a mock execution of 98 percent of politicians beyond their first term.

▸I will contemplate a mock execution of all real estate brokers, other than my close friends who are real estate brokers.

Now, this is where you come in, mainly because my list (in my mind) is getting way supercilious.


©2022. Steven J. Manning. All rights reserved worldwide. Any reproduction, in part or whole, in any medium whatsoever is strictly prohibited.