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.