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Your Man in Manchester, pt. 2

One should never base impressions of a place on the hotel, or the place where it’s located, but of course we do exactly that. New York? Gah, hated it. Stayed at the Edison, found a heroin addict under my bed, complained to management, they did NOTHING. One star for the entire teeming metropolis. I’m staying on a commercial strip in Manchester, and it’s one of those godless expanses with a Pep Boys and a Petco and a Taco Bell and a CVS and a ceaseless stream of cars that make crossing the street the equivalent of running across a field occupied by two armies bent on engagement.  

Looking for Local Color, I walked to the Mall of New Hampshire, an utterly ordinary place with all the usual stores, a food court where the “Cajun Grill” serves nothing but Asian food, and you sit in a small area listening to children shriek in the walled-off play area while TV screens overhead show fireworks blowing out of Katy Perry’s bosom. (Apparently they are not spectacular enough as is.) There were two youts at an adjacent table eating Dunkin’  Donuts – there are, by my count, four places serving Dunkin’ Donuts within three minutes of my hotel – and I asked if they were excited that their state was the center of national attention because of the primary. One, a young fellow whose entire face seemed devoted to putting forth his nose as his most memorable characteristic,  said he “wasn’t into politics,” and the other, a birdy little guy who possibly believed his wispy facial hair imputed a certain amount of menace,  said nothing, staring at the mesmerizing revelations displayed on his cellphone screen.

“How about Ron Paul?” I said. “He wants to legalize weed.” 

“Which one is he?” said Cellphone Boy, suddenly aware that he might have a ferret in this fight.

The one named Ron Paul, I wanted to say. “He’s the old cranky guy.”

“I saw his signs,” said Nose. “I thought it was just Paul. What was his name?”

“Ron Paul.”

“Huh. Thanks.”

I’d continue this story, except that A) there isn’t any more, and B) just got a text from Rob Long . . . oh. Well. My hotel isn’t good enough for a nightcap; we have to go down to the Radisson, where Mike Murphy might be drinking. Fun! Fistfights, maybe! Later.

LATER

Didn’t run into Mike, but did run into Frank Luntz, Pollster. He should change his name to Luntz-Pollster; that’s how he’s always introduced, anyway. Maybe Lunspolstar. But then people would say “Here to talk about how Gingrich’s numbers are moving up slightly and then sideways, and then up again, is Fox News contributor Frank Lunspolstar, Pollster.” Rob knew him; Rob knows everyone.

Before we entered the Radisson, I committed a sin. Can you see what’s wrong in this picture?

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There’s nothing wrong in that picture, except for the fact that it was taken. It is suspicious to take pictures of things if a person of authority cannot immediately discern your reasons for doing so. That’s not a charming clown giving a balloon to a little girl or a dog standing on his hind legs. Why are you taking a picture of this commonplace locale?

A cop wandered over and asked why I was taking a picture, then asked if we were press. I got out my magic press card, which explains why I am taking pictures: because I am member of the sanctioned, credentialed elite. Duh. This guy next to me? He has no card, and hence no justification whatsoever.

Which brings us to the greatest political ad ever. Yesterday’s Union Leader had a picture on the front page of a man whose boyhood dream was to attend the New Hampshire Primary – which is somewhat like having a teenage dream of being a towel boy at an orgy – but that wasn’t the real treat. It was this:

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He’s a Democrat, with a simple promise:

crap2.jpg

There are Democrats up here, by the way. This morning’s paper has an account of a local high school holding a caucus, just like they have in Iowa. There was one lone Obama supporter among the students quoted, and he said he thought the president needed another four years to complete his work. The child’s name?

Antoine Twaddle.

  1. Ben Domenech
    C

    “I Will Cut the Asinine Crap” is a fantastic slogan.

  2. King Banaian
    C

    James, as a son of the Queen City, I need you to go to the Red Arrow.  Heck, even Guy Fieri has gone there, so it’s got to be good, right?  No, seriously.  Go.  Get a grinder at Nadeau’s.  Pizza (and breakfast!) at Pappy’s.  These are a few of my favorite things, all within 10 minutes by car.  Seriously homesick right now, and craving a honey dip from Dunkin’s.

  3. Give Me Liberty

    That was really good you should consider doing this for a living. ;)

    Thanks for the updates. 

    By the way, Luns Polstar was my Swedish porn name in the 70′s, ironic.

  4. Crow

    Also missing home a bit, King Banaian.

    James, should you and the fellas happen to have occasion to wander down to the Gate City, I might recommend stopping by Kinsley St. Pizza (for a pizza or a sub) and Nashua Garden (for a sandwich, a beer, and a little atmosphere. Okay, yeah, Martha’s is good too, but everyone goes to Martha’s…..). There’s been a lot of “classier” restaurants that have moved into the area in the past few years, but these are a couple of favorites.

    I love Hayward’s Ice Cream too, but its not the right time of year for those folks. But the street-side corn cob and ice cream sales in the summer time, especially after a little league game at the diamond just up the road? Can’t be beat.

  5. Crow

    Also, “I will cut the asinine crap” is about as NH a slogan as I can think of.

    Pollsters, I hope you heard that.

    Additionally (pollsters!)…at dinner time? Really? Seriously? Are you calling me at supper time? With my family? Standby, shipmate. Stand the f by.

  6. tabula rasa

    Antoine Twaddle?  Sounds like a character out of Dickens.

  7. Paul J. Croeber

    Just a wee bit east of ya James on the edge of the NH seacoast….oh wait my phone is ringing yet again…it’s as we say, a pollstah (not Luntz..yet). Enjoy Manch Angeles! 

  8. Misthiocracy

    Rob Long is the guy at the party in Scott Pilgrim vs The World!!!

    Bwahahahaha!!!

  9. HVTs

    Mr. L, that is the only report from NH I’ve read that was worth the time invested.  Thanks! Please advise on how we can all get a vote placed on Bob Ely.  I know, I’ll buy those two stoners another dozen (each!) from Dunkin’ if they’ll flop themselves into a booth and pull the lever for Bob. Can you track them down? 

  10. RobininIthaca

    Antoine Twaddle – I thought that was some creative journalism.

  11. Matthew Gilley
    tabula rasa: Antoine Twaddle?  Sounds like a character out of Dickens. · Jan 7 at 2:41pm

    Nah, more like Tom Wolfe.  That’s a name I’d give to Charlie Croker’s pool boy.  (If this makes no sense, just read a few pages of A Man in Full.)

  12. Tom Jones

    Antoine Twaddle — Pure Dickens. I suppose if you think about it, the level of societal or political awareness among the average urban chap in Dickens’ time would be no higher than that of our Antoine of 2012. Still very depressing. 

    Lovely comments, James.

  13. tabula rasa
    Tom Jones: Antoine Twaddle — Pure Dickens. I suppose if you think about it, the level of societal or political awareness among the average urban chap in Dickens’ time would be no higher than that of our Antoine of 2012. Still very depressing. 

    Lovely comments, James. · Jan 7 at 5:08pm

    Apropos of nothing, when Gwyneth Paltrow named one of her kids Apple some wag said something like:  ”Now there’s a name that will assure that the kid gets the crap beaten out of it on the playground.”  Apple is girl I’m told, so maybe no beating, but you get the point.

    I have a feeling young Mr. Twaddle will have to develop a thick skin.

  14. Misthiocracy
    tabula rasa

    Tom Jones: Antoine Twaddle — Pure Dickens. I suppose if you think about it, the level of societal or political awareness among the average urban chap in Dickens’ time would be no higher than that of our Antoine of 2012. Still very depressing. 

    Lovely comments, James. · Jan 7 at 5:08pm

    Apropos of nothing, when Gwyneth Paltrow named one of her kids Apple some wag said something like:  ”Now there’s a name that will assure that the kid gets the crap beaten out of it on the playground.”  Apple is girl I’m told, so maybe no beating, but you get the point.

    I have a feeling young Mr. Twaddle will have to develop a thick skin. · Jan 7 at 5:20pm

    Best name I ever heard when I was in high school – Edison Legislator

  15. Dave Carter
    C

    Fantastic account, James!  Two things I actually like about New England:

    Dunkin Donuts can be found at service centers on the tollways or, failing that, someone there will be selling donuts, pastries, and danishes the size of a baby’s head.  

    Also, I’ve rarely met a cross person in either New Hampshire or Maine.  Evidently, they send them just south of the state line.

  16. Charles Starnes

    Just have to say how much I enjoyed the update – especially your writing.  Honestly, that post brightened up my evening – where I am stuck working on . . . some work.  Many thanks, Mr. Lileks.  Now, back to working on “Asinine Crap” . . .

  17. outstripp

    The Facebook link for this page is http://bit.ly/AnalDF.

    What does DF stand for?

  18. Severely Ltd.

    Babies-head sized danishes. You’re not giving me an appetite, Dave.

  19. FeliciaB

    Oh James.  I have a crush on you.  And be thankful I opted not to include the annoying animated emoticon.  

  20. Dave Carter
    C
    Severely Ltd.: Babies-head sized danishes. You’re not giving me an appetite, Dave. · Jan 7 at 7:57pm

    Well, after James’ allusion to “Octopus Foreplay,” all analogies, metaphors, and other whatchamacallits dim by comparison.  But gawd what a fun read it was!  

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