Friday, December 28, 2007

Dear Philip Seymour Hoffman:

I have seen almost every film you've made and have long thought you're one of America's finest actors, but your crackling portrayal of CIA agent Gust Avrakotos in Charlie Wilson's War is more flavorful than bacon and eggs and twice as satisfying. On behalf of smartypants Greeks everywhere, much thanks to you, Aaron Sorkin, Mike Nichols, George Crile, and, of course, Mr. Avrakotos.

Stop by some time and I'll introduce you to the bunnies.

Best to you and yours,
Litsa Dremousis

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Friday, December 21, 2007

When I was a kid and my mom would listen to Dolly Parton, my reaction was...

...usually "Mo-ther!" Throughout my pre-pubescent years and then junior high and high school, I loved Donna Summer and Elton John and then the Beatles and the Rolling Stones and the Who and then the Police and R.E.M. and Bob Dylan and could not figure out what my mom heard in this big-haired lady who was even more voluptuous than either of us. (I developed at ten. Yeah, I know.) Of course, as an adult, I've come to appreciate the lilting, soulful twang of Dolly's voice and songs and the warmth of her singular persona. Much like I did with my dad regarding Frank Sinatra, I retroactively apologized to Mom regarding Dolly. (I should note here that I have one of the few moms who pushed her kids to read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas when they were in college and, obviously, she was spot-on with that one, too. Mom's artistic radar is finely tuned.)

As I wrote a few weeks ago, I would be fine if it were already January 2nd. It's not that I'm holiday-averse, but in recent years I've become holiday-neutral. I enjoy sending and receiving cards and reconnecting with loved ones, but I haven't put up a tree since '04 and could do without the incessant carols and forced cheerfulness. However, this brief holiday greeting from the tinseled Ms. Parton is tastier than sugar cookie icing licked straight from the bowl and should warm even the frostiest heart:

Happy holidays, all!

Much love,

Sunday, December 16, 2007

If you're having a shit-laden day, I suggest reading...

...this piece on "locked-in syndrome" (total body paralysis, except for controlled eye movement) and the new breakthroughs that are turning thoughts into speech. The developments lend genuine hope, are scientifically invigorating, and shift garden variety crapitude into perspective. If I ran the world (and who's to say I won't?), Dr. Phil Kennedy, Dr. Frank Guenther, and their research peers would receive the kind of salary that (fuckwad) Alex Rodriguez apparently found insufficient.

From today's, "Scientists seek to help 'locked-in' man speak":

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Though I can think of a few he left off:

I often agree with Bill Maher's larger points--years ago in Salon he wrote one of my favorite political essays, excoriating the South for not supporting presidential candidates from the rest of the country, and telling them, essentially, to get the fuck over the Confederacy--but I think he's reflexively self-congratulatory, lacking in introspection, and seemingly, a bit of a douche. (Does anyone else remember when he mocked developmentally disabled kids on a segment of "Politically Incorrect"?)

Still, his new piece for Rolling Stone, "Dickheads of the Year: My Picks for the Biggest Assholes of 2007", should be added to school curriculums nationwide:

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Three new interviews worth your time and money:

1) Ricky Gervais talks to New York Magazine's Adam Sternbergh about the end of Extras, concocting the funny, and his loathing for those who perpetuate mediocrity:

2) In Blender's cover story, Jay-Z and Chris Norris discuss how the film, American Gangster, inspired Jay-Z's disc of the same name, why the instantaneousness of mp3s creates a disposable musical culture, and how money can blunt the power of racism:

3) My gifted and cherished friend, Eric Spitznagel, interviews Tina Fey in the current issue of Playboy, pages 47 through 54. (I'd provide the link, but it's print-only.) The result draws more blood than a drunk wielding a staple gun and unveils the kind of insight rarely seen this side of mukti.

Two of my favorite quotes:

"Will Ferrell tried to stab me once. We had been up all night writing skits for the guy from Dawson's Creek--James Van Der Beek. And you know, it was SNL, so we were all hopped up on goofballs, out of our minds on quaaludes and horse antibiotics. I foolishly made a disparaging joke about Will's skit. I was like, 'Really, dude? A hat salesman who's afraid of hats? That's the best you can come up with?' And he lunged at me with a letter opener. I remember thinking, This guy's a genius. It would be an honor to be killed by him."


"It's this weird fetish with ladies who look like erasers. Holes is holes, as I like to say, but I don't understand the cultural obsession with these weird mental children with orange skin and bleached-out Barbie hair and boyish hips and big fake choppers. They're so close to being trannies. I sometimes feel like, Who are these creatures? And they certainly don't exist only in this magazine. They're everywhere, and that's a reflection of our culture. It's like the difference in our food since the 1970s. It has become overprocessed with all the trans fats. Maybe we need to get organic with these ladies."


It's a Catch 22 whenever writers publicly discuss the impetus to write, the psychological effects of isolation, and the mechanics of the publishing industry. For the most part, those who don't write won't understand because they can't. And while I think it's wise to acknowledge the obstacles in any field, I think it's just as unwise to focus on them. So I don't agree with all the opinions expressed therein, but I'm delighted to see the The Nervous Breakdown getting the attention it deserves. Well done, Mr. Belardes!

Nick Belardes reports from Los Angeles for ABC affiliate, KERO Channel 23, on the literary site my compadres and I write for, The Nervous Breakdown:

Monday, December 03, 2007

Perhaps the most disturbing thing about the new allegations against Senator Larry Craig... that members of both genders seem willing to let him route around their privates. Unless he smells like lilacs and sweats money, I don't understand how this transpires.


Sunday, December 02, 2007

Or if I wore a shirt that says, "HELLENIC IN A HANDBASKET":

I snagged fresh egg rolls at the QFC deli and just popped them in the oven, drizzled w/ sesame and olive oils and surrounded by a julienned red pepper.

As I was about to toss the packaging, I noticed the brand logo (see above) and that the label proclaimed said contents, "ASIANTIZERS".

Admittedly, this is an 11 on the Obvious Scale and I'm on an important deadline and a bit punchy, but there is something so delightfully ridiculous about all of this that I could only be happier if Ronzoni deemed its noodles, "ITALIANDINNER".

Monday, November 26, 2007

"Good night, Mr. Bronson! Sleep tight!"

A commenter posted this clip on Jezebel today and while I've never really gotten into YouTube and think Jezebel, unfortunately, might be past its expiration date, this '70s Japanese commercial Charles Bronson did for the cologne, Mandom, might be the apotheosis of nut-studded cheeseball goodness:

Sunday, November 25, 2007

I happen to be reading (and for the most part, enjoying) Jon Krakauer's...

...Into Thin Air, so I was pleased to discover that Chris Elliott has spoofed ITA and other outdoor adventure tomes with his new "novel", Into Hot Air. He elaborates in an interview with the Seattle Times' Mark Rahner:

Is it January 1st yet?

Just checking.

Monday, November 19, 2007


1) I wrote "Fifty Questions for God" during the summer of 2003, when I was incredibly sick and it seemed as if I'd fallen out of time. It was originally published in the literary journal, The Kitchen Sink, in June 2005 and I posted it last week, in a slightly tweaked form, on The Nervous Breakdown:

2) About once or twice a week, someone lands on this blog after Googling "CFIDS". It's worth noting that in recent months, my mom (who has an acute form of fibromyalgia) and I have benefited from taking coenzyme q10 once daily. We're still symptomatic to the degree that we usually are, but we're able to do more within the course of the day. Detailed info on coenzyme q10 from the Mayo Clinic:

And because I had to explain CFIDS again this week to someone who really ought to know better by now, how about a refresher course from the Centers for Disease Control?

And from the CFIDS Association of America?

3) As everyone with an intact cerebellum knows, Mr. Alexie deservedly won the National Book Award last week. I raise my iced single soy mocha in cheer! Extra baklava forthcoming.

4) And this morning I discovered one of the more prescient quotes in recorded human history:

"In certain trying circumstances, urgent circumstances, desperate circumstances, profanity furnishes a relief denied even to prayer."--Mark Twain

Thursday, November 15, 2007

New York update:

As some of you know, I received extremely good news the third week of August, just as I was getting ready to move.

The truncated version is that within a week of one another, an agent at Linda Chester read one of my short stories, Googled me, read more of my work, discovered I'm writing a novel, asked me to send the first two chapters, then an agent at Levine Greenberg read one of my essays and did the exact same thing. I explained to my Esquire editor that I would need time to focus on my book and he sweetly replied, "We're like Motel Six. We'll keep the light on for you."

All meetings in New York last week went extremely well. I'm not being cryptic, but there is so much left to do and this isn't the forum in which to discuss it. As I've told TJ, Eric, and my mom, as I hard as I think this is going to be, it's going to be harder. I feel ready, though.

(Shhh, don't tell anyone: the bunnies write every word.)

Monday, November 05, 2007

Knowing one's place on the food chain and very old as opposed to recently dead bodies:

1) I watched an interview with Senator Joe Biden earlier today and while I generally like him, I couldn't help but notice he imbues each of his words with quasi-weighty melodramatic undertones. It's like he's Blake Carrington's heretofore undiscovered younger brother, Buck, and he's returned to to Denver to claim his rightful place in the clan. You can almost hear him intoning, "Damn it, Alexis, don't talk to me like I'm a ranch hand!" He insisted during the course of the tete a tete that he will be the nominee and that he won't accept the Vice President slot, but that, of course, is crap because almost no one besides his mom and eight other people views him as presidential and being one lodged piece of Beef Wellinton away from the top spot is better than playing craps with Harry Reid and Chris Dodd for the the rest of one's life.

2) From a scientific standpoint, the new pictures of the unmasked King Tut are fascinating. But they have been all the fuck over the news for the past 24 hours and while none of us would be okay with viewing photos of someone's neighbor lying in the morgue, we seem to be fine with looking at the Boy King's mottled flesh over our phad see ew and spring rolls because, after all, he's been dead a really long time. I feel like I missed a meeting on this one.

[I get on a plane in eight hours. Yippee!]

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Because tales of coitus-induced seizures never grow old:

I resurrected a short essay first published on The Black Table for The Nervous Breakdown. Originally called, "Seizure Sex", now in its slightly different form, it's titled "Halloween, 1993":

Sunday, October 28, 2007

"I'm not going to be happy until every human being on the planet has read something I've written"

Two years ago I interviewed Sherman Alexie for the second time. The interview was going to be a centerpiece of a theme issue for a magazine that I had written for a number of times before. The editors decided to scrap said theme and the interview hung in limbo for nine months before the managing editor killed it.

I've interviewed dozens of individuals from Wanda Sykes to Ron Jeremy and Alexie remains among my favorites, both because his art impacts my life and because he is boundlessly intelligent. He sends my mom the sweetest thank you notes when she sends him baklava, plus, he is the only person who's ever had the balls to write her and say, "Could you please send more?"

Alexie's new book, the autobiographical young adult novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian, was just nominated for a National Book Award. What follows is the introduction to and an excerpt from the interview that never ran. It went up this morning on the literary site I write for, The Nervous Breakdown:

Friday, October 26, 2007

Pop culture mysteries from the past 24 hours:

1) Why does each vocalist--male or female--featured on the soundtrack to any given episode of Grey's Anatomy sound like Dave Matthews with an estrogen patch?

2) How many of Satan's loads did Dane Cook have to swallow before he got booked into Seattle's massive Key Arena for his upcoming show?

3) Aaron Sorkin is one of the most astute writers in any medium, so why did no one associated with the marketing of his new play, The Farnsworth Invention, kill the um-yeah-no-shit tag line featured in its ads, "The turning point of the 20th century wasn't on television. It was television."?

4) Might we all agree that Carrie Fisher's guest star appearance last night on Tina Fey's wickedly brilliant 30 Rock indicates the possibility of a wise and loving God or universe? (This isn't a "mystery" so much as a question underscoring the potential commonality of all sentient beings.)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

"If goodness is assured an ultimate victory over evil, we are in a comedy, and I must say it is an ugly farce...

...considering how we suffer in the course of the contest."

Norman Mailer is interviewed by Michael Lennon in New York Magazine regarding their new book, On God:

Monday, October 22, 2007

Insightful comments my father made recently that touch, in part, on smoking

1) "Being a writer is like being a smoker. Deep down, you either are or you're not. And either way, you know it."

2) "I like that people in this neighborhood [Capitol Hill, where I recently moved] are unapologetic about smoking. You don't see them crouched and sheepish about it."

[Note: Dad quit smoking in 1974. Safe bet, however, that his version of an afterlife includes Kents.]

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I wonder who the dead woman was and why no one claimed her:

From Reuters via Yahoo!:

Notorious Dr. Crippen wrongly hanged, scientists say


By Michael Kahn

LONDON (Reuters) - It was sensational stuff that riveted a nation: A mild-mannered American doctor poisons then dismembers his unfaithful wife, flees England in disguise with his mistress -- and is caught, tried and hanged.

The problem is that the poisoned corpse that sent Dr Hawley Crippen to the gallows in London in 1910 was not that of his wife, according to new evidence found by U.S. researchers.

A team led by John Trestrail, head of the regional poison centre in Grand Rapids, Michigan, took mitochondrial DNA -- genetic material passed on through the mother -- from a tissue sample from the corpse kept in a London museum.

They then compared it with samples from three of Cora Crippen's female descendants, found after a 7-year search.

"That body was not Cora Crippen's," said David Foran, a forensic biologist at Michigan State University. "We don't know who that body was or how it got there."


Monday, October 15, 2007

"Do you mind changing it? I don't think the Seattle Channel is jizz-friendly"--a producer with A Guide to Visitors

The producers of the Seattle-based story-telling salon, A Guide to Visitors, are among the smartest and funniest individuals I've worked with in the arts. So when they asked me to resurrect a story I'd told onstage last year at the Rendezvous, only this time for the Seattle Channel, I said, "Yea!" even though I was still living out of boxes and had scant few clean shirts.

The show has aired a few times (Channel 21, if you're local) and it's archived online now:

Or if you are jizz-friendly, you can read the original version I wrote for the Black Table three years ago:

Friday, October 12, 2007

Yes, basically:

I had coffee with a new friend this morning and as we were leaving Top Pot, I noticed she was carrying a Believer tote.

"I've written for The Believer," I said.

She replied, "Yeah, I subscribed awhile ago and they sent this bag, but not the actual magazine. I hear they're like that."

"The inside-the-Beltway problem is a type of tunnel vision and a sense of narrow possibilities. It's also a fear of ..."

"...not being Serious with a capital S...In other words, it's much harder to damage your career by consistently supporting war and cruelty than by consistently supporting peace and love. The default position is 'bombs away.' The problem with the outside-the-Beltway mentality is an ignorance of what the actual human pressures and incentives are inside the Beltway, why politicians and pundits behave the way they do, and why that is not necessarily entirely attributable to their moral depravity."

Radar has a new interview with one of my very favorite writers, the ceaselessly compelling Hendrik Hertzberg:

Monday, October 08, 2007

And to everyone who has a ball sack:

This appears self-evident, but in case it's not:

Your testes and/or penis will not become disabled if you apologize without someone first drawing you a schematic illustrating why, perchance, an apology might be in order.

[The vaginal cabal does fucked up stuff, too. So not the point right now.]

Saturday, September 29, 2007

I'm doing outdoors stuff! (Sort of):

Very much looking forward to ReAct's staged reading of one of my favorite plays, the climbing-based drama, K2, tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. at Elliot Bay Book Company.


Friday, September 28, 2007

I was born at 10:47 p.m.:

"I came into the world at ten o'clock at night, and I've often thought that was the reason I turned into such a nocturnal creature. When the sun sets, honey, I feel more, oh, alert. More alive. By midnight, I feel fantastic. Even when I was a little girl, my father would shake his head and say, 'Let's just hope you get a job where you work nights.' Little did he know what was in store for me. It takes talent to live at night."--Ava Gardner, from Ava: My Story

Monday, September 24, 2007


When you're reading Heather Lewis' Notice--in many ways is a direct descendant of The Story of O in that it induces arousal and nausea in equal measure--and you can't get Jonathan Coulton's "Code Monkey" out of your head.

We're turning in early tonight.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Dear news directors:

I understand that news is a business and that you report to someone who eventually has to report to shareholders, but have you considered the possibility that a significant portion of the viewing public does not give a shit about O.J. Simpson's "latest mess"?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


When you groove on almost everything about someone but must contend with the fact he does not like Bob Dylan.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Hey, guy sitting next to me at Top Pot:

While I'm known for them almost as much as anything, it'd be a bit more genteel if you stared less obviously.

Thanks so much,

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Probably because, thus far, I have neither Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon nor George W. Bush on speed dial:

If you live in Seattle and yearn to be inside even though it's 80 degrees and startlingly beautiful out, come by the Rendezvous tonight at 7 pm for the latest installment of the awesomely awesome A Guide to Visitors storytelling series. It's being filmed for the Seattle Channel and will be televised subsequently and then archived online. So if I curse accidentally, which, as most of you know, I do frequently but on purpose, I will get bleeped and it will be preserved from now until the apocalypse.

Though if Bono can get away with it, why can't I?

More on the Seattle Channel:

Monday, September 10, 2007

But that's the beauty of this neighborhood:

There's been a dog barking outside my bedroom window for the last five minutes.

And a guy has been barking right back.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Today has been one of those days where...

...individuals who I thought could hold their shit together have, in fact, been unable to hold their shit together.

So it is with a heart full of gratitude that I thank the barrista who gave me the pink vanilla iced cake donut for free an hour ago.

Carnage has been averted.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


I had a dream last night wherein Patton Oswalt and I were eating turkey hoagies.

[Sidenote: Kitchen unpacked and cleaned. Woo hoo!]

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Dear "Family Values" Closet Cases:

If you could come out at the same so that all of us might get on with things, that would be swell.


Everybody Else


"When the police interviewed him later, the senator said that 'he has a wide stance when going to the bathroom' and that was why his foot may have touched the officer's, the report said."


In a much more serious vein:

Our family in Greece is deeply rattled, but unscathed.

Thanks, all, who have asked as to their well-being.


Notes from the move:

The new place is completely painted.

Everything in the bathroom is unpacked, the counters cleaned and the tub scrubbed.

I've put deck chairs on the balcony, so I can overlook the Space Needle and partake in outdoor mochas.

____ is pretty fucking great at ____.

Shelf paper has made me its bitch.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Garage sale!

I've placed ads in all the appropriate venues, but if you want to buy some of my stuff and/or bring me a mocha, feel free to stop by the garage sale I'm having at Mom and Dad's today (Saturday) from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. (If you know me and you live in town, you know where the folks are located. If you don't remember, call me on my cell.) I'm selling tons of clothes, books, jewelry, collectible mags (Madonna, Nirvana, et al), my dining room table and chairs, desk, bureaus, vinyl, and enough indie rock promo CDs to make the emotards cream their skinny jeans.

Fuck, I've got to get some sleep.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Dear Everyone Who Knows Me:

A few of you already know this, but the oft-discussed move occurs in three and a half weeks. I bought a place on the northwest part of Capitol Hill and to paraphrase the line from A Hard Day's Night, I really dig it and all the other pimply hyperbole.

I'm beat but wonderfully happy.

More very soon,

Monday, July 30, 2007

My newest piece for Esquire, "How About a Little Hope?", is here today:


How About a Little Hope?

Yes, yes, we know. The world is polluted, Iraq is an utter mess, NBA referees are crooked... Here are 20 quotes from scientists, actors, and convenience store employees who aren't so hopeless.

By Litsa Dremousis (more from this author)

7/30/2007, 8:03 AM

Jump to story

How About a Little Hope?

Photo illustration by Eric Gillin, images via iStockPhoto

We are all going to die. But while this is an unfortunate byproduct of still being alive, this fact has taken on a pervasive sense of doom over the last few years. It's not that we're going to die, it's that it's going to happen right now and in an incredibly painful way. Every day it's something new: Bird flu, global warming, terrorism, gun-toting school kids, crazy old Russians stockpiling newer nukes, poisonous Chinese toothpaste...

The list goes on and on. So why do most of us resist the urge to suck down a Vicodin Stoli and call it a day? The reasons are as elusive as they are myriad. American philosopher William James once asked, “Why should we think upon things that are lovely? Because thinking determines life. It is a common habit to blame life upon the environment. Environment modifies life but does not govern life. The soul is stronger than its surroundings.”

Perhaps we're compelled to live not merely because it is a biological imperative, but because we believe things will get better. Maybe hope -- like those cravings for the sex and red meat that will eventually kill us -- is hard-wired into our DNA. Or maybe, more so than anything, hopelessness is the ideological equivalent of legwarmers or the Segway: ostensibly modern, ultimately useless.

Since we're glass half-full people, we asked 20 subjects, What gives you hope? This is what they had to say:

• Patton Oswalt, actor, Ratatouille
• James Cartwright, commander, Navy SEALS
• Yellow Hawk, homeless man
• Sean Carman, attorney, Department of Justice
• Amy Sedaris, writer; actress, Shrek the Third
• Dr. Sylvia Lucas, neurologist and multiple sclerosis researcher
• Brad Listi, novelist, Attention.Deficit.Disorder
• John Roderick, guitarist, The Long Winters
• Ron Jeremy, porn star, All I Want for Christmas Is a Gangbang
• Will Napier, seven-year-old
• Kate Izquierdo, music critic, San Francisco Bay Guardian
• Randal Gage, television news executive, KOCO Channel 5
• Mistress Matisse, professional dominatrix
• Mary Rouvelas, attorney, American Cancer Society
• Kathleen Bresnahan, night-shift hostess, Denny's
• John Vanderslice, singer/songwriter, Emerald City, Pixel Revolt
• George Langley, actor, Enemy of the People
• Arthur Bradford, author; director, Dogwalker, How's Your News?
• Barfly, singer, Saturday Knights
• Sam Arefi, clerk, Union 76 gas station and food mart

"What gives me hope is the dreadful tread of history. Knowing how much closer we’ve been to the edge of destruction, and managed to pull back and save ourselves, means we’re probably going to do okay. I mean, we bounced back from the Black Plague, and the people who did it still believed in goblins. We’ve got iPods and Pinkberry now. We’re bulletproof."
-- Patton Oswalt, actor, Ratatouille

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“Nothing ‘gives’ me hope, but I have it. I hope that each of my two sons will grow up to be a better man than I am. Sure, there are other things I hope for but in the grand scheme, they aren't that important. Hope is what one can find within oneself in order to make sense of things and make it all worthwhile. A struggle, no doubt. But if you need someone or something else to give you hope, then you don’t really have it. You just have an excuse.”
-- James Cartwright, commander, Navy SEALS

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"The National Rifle Association gives me hope. Peace comes out of the barrel of a gun and whoever has the most bullets wins."
-- Yellow Hawk, homeless man

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“When someone is a spectacular failure on every level, it crushes my spirit. When the most powerful man in the world is an arrogant bully who is actually proud of his ignorance, why even get out of bed? But when great people make a small mistake, when they inadvertently reveal their humanity through some small blunder, that gives me hope. I already loved Hugh Grant, but when he was caught getting a $50 b.j. from a sidewalk hooker, he instantly became my favorite actor.”
-- Sean Carman, attorney, Department of Justice

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“What keeps me going? The feeling I got back in elementary school when Miss Parker had us plant seeds in the bottom of our Dixie cups and then days later we saw grass. That's hope in a nutshell.”
-- Amy Sedaris, writer; actress, Shrek the Third

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“What keeps me working these ridiculous hours is the hope that I can make a difference in peoples' lives when they have no hope. Medicine is not about curing disease. But it’s about providing hope, support, and relief while sickness resolves or comfort, compassion and ease if it cannot.”
-- Dr. Sylvia Lucas, neurologist and multiple sclerosis researcher

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“Hope is one of those wonderful lies that we tell ourselves: things will be better tomorrow. The truth is that things might not be better tomorrow. We might get hit by a bus tomorrow. Or an asteroid. Or a bullet train. And if that winds up happening, most of us are hoping for some sort of heavenly afterlife in the Great Beyond. And the interesting thing about this heavenly afterlife is that most of us imagine it as an eternal family reunion in the clouds, even though most of us don’t really like family reunions, and most of us don’t like clouds. And even if we do like family reunions, and we do like clouds, most of us wouldn’t want to be at a cloudy family reunion for eternity. Me personally? My sense of ultimate hope is more polytheistic in nature. I’m hoping for the reunion, certainly, and I’m hoping for the clouds. But I’m also hoping for some sunshine. And a beach. And eighty virgins. And Jesus’ cell phone number. And I’m hoping to be reincarnated as a rock star who also happens to be the fastest man alive. Because I believe it’s so important to stay positive.”
-- Brad Listi, novelist, Attention.Deficit.Disorder

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“The Constitution of the United States. It's still the best document of its kind, and written into it are exactly the kind of protections that ensure that no person or group of persons, no matter how diabolical or insane, can hijack the country for much longer than a decade”
-- John Roderick, guitarist, The Long Winters

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“What gives me hope is that I’ll have good heath. My dad is eighty-nine, quick-witted, healthy as an ox, and his mom lived to be in her mid-nineties. I have a pet tortoise named Cherry and her lifespan is one hundred and sixty. So God or Mother Nature wants us to live that long to keep tortoises company.”
-- Ron Jeremy, porn star, All I Want for Christmas Is a Gangbang

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“I hope to see penguins.”
-- Will Napier, seven-year-old

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“City life is a clash of concrete, temper and finance that does little to assuage my darkest social inclinations. But where there is struggle, there is regeneration. I live in hope, then, because despair precludes participating in the war against those who are complacent, those who are cruel, and those who wear deck shoes to the office.”
-- Kate Izquierdo, music critic, San Francisco Bay Guardian

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“The surprises keep things interesting. You can't predict how a sunset will flare over the horizon, how swimming in the sea under a warm blue sky will feel.”
-- Randal Gage, television news executive, KOCO Channel 5

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"Phrases like 'having hope' and 'what keep me going' to me seem of imply that one is under some sort of ongoing duress. What keeps me going is that I'm happy and I like my life. I don't think of it as having hope, I'm just...happy."
-- Mistress Matisse, professional dominatrix

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“I have hope because despite the rapes and murders, there are outpourings of love and sympathy afterwards. Even better, there are the everyday moments, like when I saw two men running with a handkerchief held between them. I found out later they were training for a marathon. One was blind, and the other was leading the way.”
-- Mary Rouvelas, attorney, American Cancer Society

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"I'm excited to go to college. That's my next big adventure. I'm modeling with Seattle Models Guild. I'm going to see where it goes. If college doesn't work out, I'll have modeling as a fallback."
-- Kathleen Bresnahan, night-shift hostess, Denny's

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“Caffeine gives me hope. Sometimes, when I brew my wicked strong Irish black tea just perfect, about halfway through the mug I feel a clear and overwhelming feeling of optimism. It didn't surprise me when a study a few years ago implied that suicide was much less likely among coffee and tea drinkers.”
-- John Vanderslice, singer/songwriter, Emerald City, Pixel Revolt

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“Most recently, what has given me hope comes from Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything where he makes the following observation about the human species: ‘For complex organisms, the average lifespan of a species is only about four million years -- roughly where we are now.’ Maybe our selfish little reign of terror is nearly at its end. Other than that, The Family Circus pretty much gets me out of bed everyday. ‘What are girl chipmunks called? CHICKmunks!’ Priceless.”
-- George Langley, actor, Enemy of the People

Return to top.

“As much as we talk about how everything's going to shit, it really isn't. Young people come along and take a look at things and will surprise us with new ideas. And I recently read Ishmael Beal's book A Long Way Gone. Even though it's filled with horrors and hopeless situations, at least there's this one guy who made it out and wrote this great book. When someone can produce something like that from the madness of his life, it gives me hope.”
-- Arthur Bradford, author; director, Dogwalker, How’s Your News?

Return to top.

“I actually have a tattoo on my left forearm of a cocktail bomb wrapped in a banner with the word ‘hope’ in it. Trying to articulate what that tattoo means usually just makes me sound nuts so I always leave it open to interpretation. What keeps me going is a desperate fear I might miss out on something amazing if I don't keep on truckin'. I mean, the Red Sox won a World Series. What's next? ‘Ghost riding the whip’ in the Olympics? Free wi-fi in Bakersfield? Oh yeah, and 2012. I want to see if the shit really hits the fan when the Mayan calendar expires in 2012. ”
-- Barfly, singer, Saturday Knights

Return to top.

"You know, after what my dad went through, what I do is not that hard. He escaped from Iran during the war with Iraq. He came here with, literally, twenty bucks in his pocket and now he owns a bunch of businesses. So I give myself hope. I wake up each day and say 'I'm happy.'"
-- Sam Arefi, clerk, Union 76 gas station and food mart


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Today we salute my cherished friend, Mr. Eric Spitznagel...

...who is not afraid to fly the dork flag very, very high regarding the (sure-to-be-awesome) Simpsons movie:

I'm not judging. I will be the exact same way when the Sex and the City film is released. (That's right. I said it.)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Or make-up sex and bowling:

I've been an R.E.M. fan since 1983 (my friends and I would pour over the lyrics on Chronic Town and Murmur with the intensity most people reserve for porn or the Bible) and an admirer of Marc Jacob's designs since before he had his own label, when he took over the Perry Ellis house when the latter died. Even with the impending move, I'm not selling my R.E.M. vinyl and the few Marc Jacobs pieces I've been able to afford are among my favorites. But perhaps, like pepperoni pizza and Green and Black chocolate, some things that are sublime individually should never be mixed.

The upcoming Marc Jacobs ads featuring Michael Stipe are a total crapfest:

There is absolutely no moral or logical reason...

...why prosecutors shouldn't have the option to seek the death penalty in abuse cases this venal and where the defendant's guilt is not in question:

From the Associated Press via CNN:

SAN DIEGO, California (AP) -- A former respiratory therapist was sentenced to more than 45 years in prison Wednesday for sexually preying upon some of the most defenseless patients at the hospital where he worked: children so sick they couldn't speak out.

Wayne Albert Bleyle had pleaded guilty to molesting five disabled children and taking pornographic photographs of others. Prosecutors said he targeted patients who were comatose, brain-damaged or too disabled to talk.

He allegedly told investigators he molested as many as half the children he treated in 10 years working in the convalescent ward at Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Bigger assholes than Lindsay Lohan's parents

I don't usually weigh in on Britney, Jessica, et al because they don't interest me, but Lohan is actually quite talented and perhaps has more in common with Robert Downey Jr. than, say, the Hilton sisters. I'm not underestimating the severity of Lohan's back-to-back DUI charges: my grandmother was permanently injured by a drunk driver and spent the rest of her life in crippling pain. But I have several friends and acquaintances who are recovering alcoholics and/or addicts. I know that addiction doesn't absolve morally or exonerate legally, but that it does explain the neurological underpinnings of certain behavior.

That said, could Lohan have been saddled with more craven and inept parents than her perpetually convicted father and her never-had-it-never-will mom? Yes, but only slightly. Individuals from various historical epochs who are/were bigger assholes than Michael and Dina Lohan:
  • Eva Braun: Hitler is the more obvious choice, but Braun willingly and repeatedly gave him beav. Which makes you wonder if she didn't occasionally pull trains with Weimar thieves and child peddlers: it seems unlikely she leapt straight from courting normal fellows to boffing one of the most evil men in history.
  • The two guys who asked if I wanted "one in front and one in the butt" and said they wanted to "give those curls a pull" when I was walking through Belltown last week on my way to meet TJ. If I could get Titus Andronicus on them--grind them into a pie and feed them to their loved ones--I would, unquestionably. Besides, I know several great musicians who would play a most raucous "Free Litsa!" show.
  • The Nazi soldier who shot at my father when he was a kid, thereby permanently lodging shrapnel in his leg. (Yes, I know, another Nazi, but there's room on this list for more than one.)
  • Ann Coulter. Not only is it okay to refer to Ann Coulter as a "cunt", it shouldn't be okay not to.
  • The person married to ______. See "Ann Coulter".
  • "Papa Doc" Duvalier, the deceased Haitian dictator and father to the only slightly less deranged "Baby Doc" Duvalier. "Papa Doc" would have his enemies decapitated then have their individual heads brought to him on a tray while he was in the bath, where he would stare into their eyes and meditate. You have to wonder from whence the initial impetus sprung, i.e. the first time he thought, "You know, I've got an idea..."
  • Anyone who says, "It's all good".

Monday, July 23, 2007

I'm in so much pain right now I can barely stand it and yet...

...I'm mustering the concentration to note that this is one of the most poorly written pieces of shit ever:

You know you wish you'd thought of it:

  • To stave off protracted economic instability, airlines should offer, at a slightly higher rate, flights that bar children under twelve. (I'd suggest charging parents of said kids more, but like swiping ecstasy for Dick Cheney's heart meds or throat-punching Seattleites who refer to New York as "too noisy", it would be illegal.)
  • If you don't like Regina Spektor and/or Elliott Smith, you don't get to vote.
  • In the eighteen months following a divorce, one relocates to a government-sponsored ranch in say, Wyoming, where therapy and beer are provided for free.
  • The stone-throwing scene from "The Lottery" is enacted against those who don't think Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby's recording of Cole Porter's "Well, Did You Evah!" is one of the high points of the twentieth century.
  • Free head and pizza for whomever cures CFIDS.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

One more reason I heart

I have a love/hate relationship with Gawker Media--sometimes I think they're spot on and others I think they're recklessly cruel--but their latest venture, Jezebel, is wickedly funny and the smartest of the bunch. Today's post on perceptions of curly hair makes me want to buy their editorial staff a round of blueberry-glaze donuts:

And if you haven't already, check out the unrelated but equally compelling

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Stuff I don't get:

  • Telling me you ate rabbit the other night
  • The guy with the "Free Tibet" and "Peace is Patriotic" bumper stickers who, while driving like a teeth-grinding meth head, cut me off on Market Street this afternoon
  • Jamie Lee Curtis' musings on Huffington Post
  • Healthy individuals with ample cash and no kids who prattle on that they don't know what they want to do with their lives, expecting sympathy instead of bemused disdain
  • Journey, then or now (seriously, David Chase, what the fuck?)
  • Writers who believe MFAs connote talent
  • My downstairs neighbor who beats off loudly (dude, you're solo: color within the lines)
  • Billy Corgan's sense of self-importance
  • "Vegetarians" who don't understand that "just eating fish" makes them carnivores
  • Anyone who doesn't think Wanda Sykes and Patton Oswalt are totally fucking hilarious
  • Deriving anything but time-warping boredom from wedding and baby showers
  • Giving a shit about Janet Jackson's weight

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Hitch

The introduction is unintentionally hilarious--why bother eating oatmeal for your cholesterol if you knock it back with Scotch, cigarettes and prosciutto?--but the man is staggeringly intelligent and remains one of my favorite writers. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Christopher Hitchens:

Monday, July 09, 2007

Another gem unearthed in the pre-move excavation:

Q: Does the glamour part of show business put you off?

A: No. Not at all. I love it. It's dress-up. I like all that. It would be awful to lose that. It's like the monarchy. I might not necessarily approve of what it represents, but I'd miss the hats.

--Emma Thompson, Vanity Fair, February 1996. (Interview by Kevin Sessums, photo by Annie Leibovitz.)

Thursday, July 05, 2007

At the risk of sounding ethnocentric...

...I'm appalled that such practices continue in any part of the world for any reason, whether it be religious, cultural, or economic. It's just wrong:

Thursday, June 28, 2007

On a blonde right-wing commentator

Humans die through one of five ways:
  • Homicide
  • Suicide
  • Accident (falling off the roof, etc.)
  • Weather (flood, hurricane, et al)
  • Illness
An affluent person in the Western world is most likely to succumb to the latter.

Said commentator enjoys making jokes about death in the Edwards family, which would be out of bounds for either party at any time, but seems particularly venal given the state of Elizabeth Edwards' cancer.

And yet, where Mrs. Edwards is, said commentator will one day be, in all probability.

Remember Lee Atwater?

Enough said.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Rainn King:

Today I encountered a real estate agent who didn't know the square footage of the condominium he was showing.

"I think it's around seven hundred," he said offhandedly.

"Do you know for certain?" I asked.

"No. I left the flyer in my car," he replied, visibly annoyed, as if I'd snatched a fry from his plate or flicked him in the balls.

Perhaps he was having an off-day or is the throes of an existential crisis, unsure if he wants to spend his finite time hawking overpriced conversion units that reek of Hungry Man Dinners and cat piss. But mostly, he seemed bad at his job, a walking refutation of social Darwinism. And also, kind of a schmo.

Which is why, tonight, I salute Rainn Wilson, a.k.a. Dwight Schrute on the U.S. version of "The Office". I have no idea what Wilson is like as a person (and for all I know, he's delightful), but that's not the point. In a world teeming with gas-siphoning scofflaws and pencil-chewing half-wits, the shruggingly disdainful and those who phone it in, Wilson embodies Schrute with the precision and vigor of a heart surgeon on Red Bull. He is, quite simply, good at his job.

And in all forms, good is worth noting.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

"I have no desire to go back to Iraq, but here, it's almost like a prison. I want stability, a house, car. I want to get married, to have a life."

Today is World Refugee Day:

I just watched President Bush explain on CNN...

...why he vetoed the embryonic stem cell research bill.

I won't address the intellectual and moral incongruity of a man seemingly untroubled by tens of thousands of Iraqi civilian deaths, yet protective of life in its least developed form. And I was going to be flip and joke that if it would cure CFIDS, I would support research that harvested arms and legs from my neighbors' kids.

But the underlying issue--more so than any religious underpinnings-- is that the man does not understand the exigency of circumstances for those who live with chronic illness, injury, or pain, nor how it impacts the lives of their friends, families, and lovers.

In a strange way, he's lucky.

I love the happy parts, too...

...but this might be excessive:

Could get interesting if they use (hardening chocolate syrup) Magic Shell, though.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Unless you're a communist or something

Turns out listening to the Pixies' "Here Comes Your Man", Outkast's "Hey Ya", the Who's "The Kids Are Alright", Oasis' "Up in the Sky", the White Stripes' "Hotel Yorba", and Weezer's "The Good Life" sequentially and at earbleed level is akin to 50 cc's of seratonin injected through the skull and directly into the cerebral cortex.

Occasionally, it is that simple.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Armistead Maupin Lives:

Salon's Laura Miller wrote of Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City books, "As with the Beatles, everyone seems to like Maupin's Tales--and, really, why would you want to find someone who didn't?"

Maupin's work is smart and engaging and tastier than picnic table cobler on a warm June night. The Night Listener and the TotC series were the best part of some otherwise hideous couchbound weeks in '02 and '03 and I'm delighted that his newest, Michael Tolliver Lives, is on stands now.

While I might never forgive the editor who declined to let me interview him and assigned a Q & A with a video-installation artist instead (yeah, I know), I did enjoy Maupin's recent tete a tete with EW:,,20041807,00.html

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Monday, June 04, 2007

"The sun struggles up another beautiful day/ And I felt glad in my own suspicious way...

...Despite the contradiction and confusion
Felt tragic without reason
There's malice and there's magic in every season..."

Goddamnit, Seattle. Again with the Tevas.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

My third piece for Esquire is here:

The Soul Singer in the Shadows

She was Miles Davis' second wife with a killer set of pipes and attitude to spare. For the first time in decades, Betty Davis talks about walking away from the business.

By Litsa Dremousis

5/31/2007, 10:01 AM

If you listen for it, it's there.
The faint hint of a growl, like a Bengal tiger rising from a nap. "It doesn't matter," she says when asked if she prefers to be called "Betty" or "Ms. Davis" and the voice is unmistakably that of the legendary funk songstress, the woman who roared "I said if I'm in luck/ I just might get picked up" at the start of her self-titled debut, Betty Davis, thirty-four years ago.

Light in the Attic Records has just re-issued Davis' first two discs, Betty Davis and 1974's They Say I'm Different, Molotov cocktails of sticky sex and unchained rhythmic propulsion. To support the re-releases, she agrees to what is only her seventh interview in the past three decades, conducted by phone from her home in Pittsburgh. She is engaged but reticent, politely and frequently answering questions with the fewest words possible. When asked if her epoch-defining years sometimes feel as if they happened to someone else, her reply is a single snare drum kick with zero elaboration: "Yes."


Thursday, May 24, 2007

Too fucking tired to concoct a witty headline using the word "filter":

My review of the Betty Davis reissues, Betty Davis and They Say I'm Different, is in the current print issue of Filter and online now:

I interviewed Annie Stela in the fall and it ran in Filter's Winter '07 print issue. It went online earlier this week:

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Best Sitemeter discovery ever:

Someone in Hsinying, Taiwan landed here tonight after Googling
"pull your shit together".

Intelligence and stupidity crop up everywhere, so you can't assume the Justice Department is...

...idiot-free, any more than you can assume the guy who rang up my organic tomato soup yesterday doesn't have Proust tucked in his messenger bag. (The latter is entirely possible: it's one of the things I like most about Seattle.)

That said, isn't there some sort of bar you have to clear, some nominal I.Q. requirement, that precludes the Justice Department hiring someone whose legal reasoning skills amount to:

"I know I crossed the line. But I didn't mean to."

Perhaps Monica Goodling's next job should involve a doodle pad and colored pens.

From Reuters:

[Sidenote: Yes, editor friends, I know there should be question mark outside the above quotation marks. It's ineffective in this context.]

Monday, May 21, 2007

Damned near perfect:

  • Mary J. Blige's vocals on "One" with U2
  • Fuji apples with Adam's Peanut Butter (creamy)
  • Traipsing through Washington Square Park when it's 72 degrees and sunny
  • Grabbing cashew chicken at Ballet 3 p.m. on a weekday when it's practically empty, accompanied by the new issue of Vanity Fair
  • Each item of clothing in which Ava Gardner was ever photographed
  • Adrian Lester's performance in Primary Colors
  • Patricia Bosworth's biography of Diane Arbus
  • Sinatra's Live in '57
  • Red Mill onion rings
  • Hemingway's depiction of friendship, love and rivalry among writers in A Moveable Feast
  • Reading Betty and Veronica comic books in the backyard as a kid
  • The birdnest in the tree near my front door
  • Aveda tangerine oil
  • Vincent Longo lipstain
  • That night

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I'm in the pre-move excavation process...

...and finding all sorts of ephemera accrued over the years. Thought I'd share this one:

From Mr. Eggers' June 2004 Spin Magazine column:

"So my question: Is there some genetic strain that runs through the Newsom family that makes them courageous, and even a little crazy? And is there any doubt that the two traits must always coexist? You never find courage without a touch of madness, and to live with madness in any quantity you must be strong as an ox."

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Because this one seems pertinent tonight:

"Everything I did in my life that was worthwhile I caught hell for."--Chief Justice Earl Warren

Monday, May 07, 2007

Elizabetha Regina, Head of the Commonwealth, Lord High Admiral, Supreme Governor of the Church of England, Deliverer of Cockpunches

I have nothing but disdain for liberals who believe hating George Bush is the same as articulating and embracing a cogent ideology. (I was at a party recently where the assembled basically stated that the U.S. had done nothing good in the past 50 years. Ignoring, of course, that this is merely an inversion of right-wing principles.)

That said, I think the current administration is corrupt and hubristic and venal. From the mangled execution of the Iraq war to NIH policy that classifies women in their menstruating years as "pre-pregnant" to the president's illogical tax cuts to the absence of habeus corpus after several years for Guantanamo detainees to the still-shocking fallout from Katrina to the Alberto Gonzales hearings to ignoring the science of climate change (and this, obviously, is an abbreviated list), the W. years have been, in many ways, an umitigated disaster.

Which is why it is my sincerest hope that, at tonight's White House dinner in her honor, Queen Elizabeth cock-punches George Bush with the full force of Zeus. Really, who better to pull this off than Britain's venerated monarch? Her own security detail, who probably view Bush as an uncouth and lobotomized ruffian, are unlikely to stop her. And what can the Secret Service do? Throw her to the parquet floor? Taze her? Abscond with her hat? She's the freaking Queen. Plus, she's 81 years old and unlikely to return to D.C. soon. It doesn't matter if she's crossed off Camp David's guest list. And with anti-U.S. sentiment at an all-time high in England, this presents a unique opportunity for Her Majesty to bolster favor among the Brits.

And if she nutmegs Cheney, I'll walk the Corgis for a year.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


1) Patton Oswalt's upcoming Werewolves and Lollipops is funnier than dog crap on your sister-in-law's Puma and smarter than a Richie Cunningham science project.

Order here:

2) The more someone purports to be enlightened, the more she or he will be a complete fucking douche nozzle when it comes to understanding chronic illness.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Sunday, April 29, 2007

From a back issue of BUST that had fallen behind my couch:

Jill Soloway for BUST:
Do you believe in the possibility of a feminist revolution, post-MySpace? I mean, do you think that there is something that's going to come after all this porno-ization of America?

Amy Poehler:
That's a good question. I don't know. We were just talking about those American Apparel ads. They're fucking gross, man. Look, I love beautiful girls too. I think everyone should be free to have their knee socks and sweaty shorts, but I'm over it. I'm over this weird, exhausted girl. I'm over the girl that's tired and freezing and hungry. I like bossy girls, I always have. I like people filled with life. I'm over this weird media thing with all this, like, hollow-eyed, empty, party crap. I don't know, it seems worse than ever, but maybe it's just because we're getting old.

"Then her cell was too small to stand up in, she recalled"

From yesterday's Associated Press:

Women Bear the Brunt of Tehran's Crackdown

By SCHEHEREZADE FARAMARZI, Associated Press Writer Sat Apr 28, 1:44 PM ET

BEIRUT, Lebanon - Iranian police shoved and kicked them, loaded them into a curtained minibus and drove them away. Hours later, at the gates of Evin prison, they were blindfolded and forced to wear all-enveloping chadors, and then were interrogated through the night. All 31 were women — activists accused of receiving foreign funds to stir up dissent in Iran.

All 31 were women — activists accused of receiving foreign funds to stir up dissent in Iran. But their real crime, says Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh, was gathering peacefully outside Tehran's Revolutionary Court in support of five fellow activists on trial for demanding changes in laws that discriminate against women." But their real crime, says Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh, was gathering peacefully outside Tehran's Revolutionary Court in support of five fellow activists on trial for demanding changes in laws that discriminate against women.

During her 15 days in prison, "I tried to convince them that asking for our rights had nothing to do with the enemy," Abbasgholizadeh told The Associated Press by telephone from Tehran. "But they insisted that foreign governments were exploiting our cause."


White House contact information:

Monday, April 23, 2007

Strangers, pull your shit together

This is one of those disconcerting stories because it underscores how dependent we are on those we don't know not to fuck up.

From today's Washington Post:

FDA Was Aware of Dangers to Food

Outbreaks Were Not Preventable, Officials Say

By Elizabeth Williamson

Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, April 23, 2007; Page A01

The Food and Drug Administration has known for years about contamination problems at a Georgia peanut butter plant and on California spinach farms that led to disease outbreaks that killed three people, sickened hundreds, and forced one of the biggest product recalls in U.S. history, documents and interviews show.

Overwhelmed by huge growth in the number of food processors and imports, however, the agency took only limited steps to address the problems and relied on producers to police themselves, according to agency documents.

Congressional critics and consumer advocates said both episodes show that the agency is incapable of adequately protecting the safety of the food supply.

FDA officials conceded that the agency's system needs to be overhauled to meet today's demands, but contended that the agency could not have done anything to prevent either contamination episode.


Friday, April 20, 2007

I haven't written here all week...

...because my news has been candy-coated delicious and it feels unseemly to relay it while so many are grieving. I think most of us remain a bit shell-shocked, too. Really, it's almost unfathomable that Manhattan received nearly eight inches of rain from Sunday to Monday and over 200 people died in four separate suicide bombings in Baghdad on Wednesday, and neither story was the lead because of the magnitude of horror out of Virginia Tech.

If, however, you need a laugh, I cede the floor to my friend, Mr. Spitznagel, and his poignant and fitting tribute to Kurt Vonnegut:

Thursday, April 12, 2007

"Single State of the Union"

My essay, "The Great Cookie Offering", is included in the Seal Press anthology, Single State of the Union. I'm reading tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m. at the University Bookstore along with fellow contributors Jane Hodges, M. Susan Wilson, Dana Rozier, Rachel Toor, and (pal) Michelle Goodman. Our editor, the estimable Diane Mapes, leads the ring.

See you there?


More about Single State of the Union:

Kurt Vonnegut 1922-2007

"Interviewer: You are a veteran of the Second World War?

Vonnegut: Yes. I want a military funeral when I die--the bugler, the flag on the casket, the ceremonial firing squad, the hallowed ground.

Interviewer: Why?

Vonnegut: It will be a way of acheiving what I've always wanted more than anything--something I could have had, if only I'd managed to get myself killed in the war.

Interviewer: Which is--?

Vonnegut: The unqualified approval of my community.

Interviewer: You don't feel you have that now?

Vonnegut: My relatives say that they are glad I'm rich, but that they simply cannot read me."

--From Vonnegut's 1977 self-interview with the Paris Review, reprinted in Palm Sunday, 1981

New York Times obit:

Monday, April 09, 2007

Annie; Imus

My Paste review of Annie Stela's January 29 Tractor Tavern show is here, two months after I turned it in:

Her album, Fool, is remarkable and everyone to whom I've given it has said, "She's fucking amazing!" To which I always reply, "Yeah, I know." Seriously, rest of world: get on board.

Re Don Imus calling the Rutgers women's basketball team "nappy-headed hos", I'm surprised no one has said, "'Nappy-headed', Don? Really?" It's a case--and no, I'm not reaching for a pun here--of pot-kettle-black. He's got a right to say what he wants--obviously--but what's particularly egregious about what he said is that it seems that no matter what a person who belongs to an ethnic minority accomplishes, there is still someone eager to cut them down, essentially, for being a member of an ethnic minority who is accomplished.

Imus' response to the fall out is completely irritating. I believe he is genuinely contrite, but he seems startled by the response to his comments. He's doing the Bill Maher/Dixie Chicks thing where he wants to say his piece, but he's thin-skinned in the face of opposition. I'm a liberal--no kidding--but I don't care what side you're on: speak out and don't be a fucking crybaby.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

"And It's Outta Here"

My friend, Caryn Rose, also has a story in the current issue of the lit journal, Hobart. Check out "And It's Outta Here":

Saturday, April 07, 2007

"Sandy Koufax 1964"

This was my twelfth and perhaps best trip to New York. I received a bunch of good news, I was (relatively) ambulatory, and I got to spend time with H and E--two of the greatest persons ever--simultaneously and for many days in a row.

Also, while I was gone, my short story, "Sandy Koufax 1964" appeared in the literary journal, Hobart:

Mad props once again to Sean Carman, (by far) one of the smartest editors with whom I've worked to date.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Various and sundry

1) I'm on my way out of town for the week and I get to see two of my very favorite people at the same time, which delights me, as such individuals are often spread out all over the place.

2) I've worked with some highly intelligent and talented editors along the way, several of whom have become friends or cherished acquaintances. Then there are the others. Besides the fact they placed the Northwest's most overrated band on the cover of the new issue, a noted music magazine seems to have culled its editorial staff exclusively from those who need shock therapy and those who have recently received it. I won't be writing for them again.

3) Found myself at the NW Crafts Center yesterday at Seattle Center (long story) and discovered that, apparently, the region was running low on clay jugs splashed intermittedly with blue and copper glaze and friezes of onion bulbs and starlings. And now the gap has been stopped.

Friday, March 23, 2007

"But it's like I'm stuck inside a painting/ That's hanging in the Louvre..."

Because this one is too often overlooked.
"Don't Fall Apart on Me Tonight" from
Bob Dylan's 1983 LP, Infidels:

Just a minute before you leave, girl,
Just a minute before you touch the door.
What is it that you're trying to achieve, girl?
Do you think we can talk about it some more?
You know, the streets are filled with vipers
Who've lost all ray of hope,
You know, it ain't even safe no more
In the palace of the Pope.

Don't fall apart on me tonight,
I just don't think that I could handle it.
Don't fall apart on me tonight,
Yesterday's just a memory,
Tomorrow is never what it's supposed to be
And I need you, yeah.

Come over here from over there, girl,
Sit down here. You can have my chair.
I can't see us goin' anywhere, girl.
The only place open is a thousand miles away
and I can't take you there.
I wish I'd have been a doctor,
Maybe I'd have saved some life that had been lost,
Maybe I'd have done some good in the world
'Stead of burning every bridge I crossed.

Don't fall apart on me tonight,
I just don't think that I could handle it.
Don't fall apart on me tonight,
Yesterday's just a memory,
Tomorrow is never what it's supposed to be
And I need you, oh, yeah.

I ain't too good at conversation, girl,
So you might not know exactly how I feel,
But if I could, I'd bring you to the mountaintop, girl,
And build you a house made out of stainless steel.
But it's like I'm stuck inside a painting
That's hanging in the Louvre,
My throat start to tickle and my nose itches
But I know that I can't move.

Don't fall apart on me tonight,
I just don't think that I could handle it.
Don't fall apart on me tonight,
Yesterday's gone but the past lives on,
Tomorrow's just one step beyond
And I need you, oh, yeah.

Who are these people who are walking towards you?
Do you know them or will there be a fight?
With their humorless smiles so easy to see through,
Can they tell you what's wrong from what's right?

Do you remember St. James Street
Where you blew Jackie P.'s mind?
You were so fine, Clark Gable would have fell at your feet
And laid his life on the line.

Let's try to get beneath the surface waste, girl,
No more booby traps and bombs,
No more decadence and charm,
No more affection that's misplaced, girl,
No more mudcake creatures lying in your arms.
What about that millionaire with the drumsticks in his pants?
He looked so baffled and so bewildered
When he played and we didn't dance.

Don't fall apart on me tonight,
I just don't think that I could handle it.
Don't fall apart on me tonight,
Yesterday's just a memory,
Tomorrow is never what it's supposed to be
And I need you, yeah.

Copyright © 1983 Special Rider Music


Friday, March 16, 2007

I agree with everything except the last one

This ran without a byline or I'd give the (prescient) author credit. Esquire's "A Guide to Picking New Music":

Good Signs

-- The album-cover art is suitable for framing.
-- The first ten seconds of song 10 are about as good as the first ten seconds of song 1.
-- The band has played Conan O'Brien.
-- The music is put out by any of the following labels: Bloodshot, Barsuk, Anti-, ATO, Lost Highway, New West, Nonesuch, Merge, or Sub Pop.
-- Not even the female band members are wearing makeup.

Bad Signs
-- On the album cover, the band looks like they're having a great time.
-- The band's name includes any number under 100.
-- Any of the band's songs features a long introduction marked by dissonance or silence.
-- The music is by a male singer-songwriter who uses his first, middle, and last names (with the exception of David Allen Coe, who is a fine musician).
-- Laser sounds.
-- Any letters in the band name, album title, or song titles are written backward or replaced by a number.
-- You're attracted to the woman who's singing (90 percent accurate).


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

"A Young Irene Dunne, Maybe"

My short story, "A Young Irene Dunne, Maybe" was published in the print version of the literary journal, Cranky, almost two years ago. Cranky recently expanded its web site and now the story is online, too:

Link to Cranky's archives:

Britain Proposes Law to Curb Greenhouse Gases

From today's New York Times:

Britain Proposes Law to Curb Greenhouse Gases

Published: March 13, 2007

LONDON, March 13 — As nations and politicians in many parts of Europe compete to burnish their green credentials, the British government today proposed laws requiring a 60 percent reduction in total carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.

If approved, the draft Climate Change Bill could affect many Britons in many ways. Government representatives might be summoned to appear before judges for failing to meet targets; households could come under pressure to switch to low-energy light bulbs and to install more insulation, and manufacturers could be asked to build televisions or DVD players without standby modes that consume energy even when the devices are not in use.