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Call him Ceiling Fan Man. Call him Sticker-Shock Guy. Or even Ignacio Finkelstein, Roller-Rink King. Lane Filler, columnist for the Spartanburg Herald-Journal, is all this and more in his new Hub City book, Ask Mr. Smartypants. Filler is, quite simply, one of the funniest newspaper columnists writing in America today, a feat made more impressive by the fact that he is not, strictly speaking, a humorist. He is also one of the most innovative political and philosophical thinkers around, a feat made more impressive by the fact that he injects mirth into nearly every topic, no matter how serious. When Filler addresses parenting or marital relations Man vs. Household the laughter comes fast and furious, but an insightful observation or a sobering reminder often lurks, as well camouflaged and as powerful as a knockout punch. By the same token, when Filler takes on a political giant or a sacred cow, he nearly always grants us a hint of humor to help make the medicine go down. And he is fearless. When a mass-marketed mouthwash begins turning his teeth black, Filler makes Crest go on the record explaining why. Readers will find it heart-stoppingly funny.
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Lane Filler has been a reporter, columnist, and assistant city editor at the Herald-Journal in Spartanburg, South Carolina, since 2005. He was previously at the Wilkes-Barre (Pa.) Times-Leader. In a ten-year career, he has covered numerous topics, including politics, sports, food, and government. In 2004 he covered the war in Iraq as an embedded reporter with the 109Th Field Artillery unit of the Pennsylvania National Guard. He began his career as a general assignment reporter at the Kingstree News. He was born in New Jersey, raised in South Carolina, and attended the University of South Carolina and Simon s Rock of Bard College, where he earned a degree in theater. Filler has been the recipient of several journalistic honors, including a third-place finish in the 2006 National Headliner Award contest. He lives in Spartanburg with his wife, Angela, and daughter, Quinn.Review:
I am happy to report, after reading this incisive, surprisingly touching, and very, very funny collection that the Lane Filler I know is alive and well and writing in Spartanburg. Don't let the good manners fool you; once a wiseass, always a wiseass. --Josh Lieb co-executive producer, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Lane Filler is so funny, he could write a column about the history of stucco walls and pack it with eight solid laughs ... One time, when a reader called in with a tip, Lane writes, I smelled a Pulitzer. Or Camembert. I smelled something. You know what I smell? Comedy. The sweet fragrance of comedic insights into life. I encourage you to breathe deep some Lane Filler. --A.J. Jacobs author of The Year of Living Biblically
Spartanburg Herald-Journal columnist Lane Filler addresses parenting, politics, popular products and more in "Ask Mr. Smartypants," published last month by Hub City. Familiar, gentle humor is the rule for most of the 69 columns reprinted here, but Filler hets serious from time to time, too, as in "And now the victim has a name," a remembrance of a murdered friend, a waitress: "She was short and shapely. You never knew what here hair would look like from week to week" braids or cornrows, blond or black, straight or bouncy....She sang like a wounded frog. That's what I keep remembering: Shan belting out 'Happy Birthday,' for customers she'd just threatened to throttle, horribly off-key, a big grin on her face. She was unusually, even extravagantly alive, and now she's dead." --The State newspaper, Columbia, SC
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