Friday, August 13, 2010

sing it, ted olson

And you thought Fox News lacked quality programming:

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

yours truly

Perhaps this has been covered elsewhere. Perhaps it's of little interest to anyone but that diminishing fraction of us who study words for a living. But the way a comrade signs her emails tells me a lot about the person, likely a lot that I'm just inventing and nothing about her real intent, but still.

First, "cheers." How did this catch on? We're not in a bar. Nor are we in Britain. I just sent you the sales sheet for the spring 2010 publishing season. Is that something to toast? I daresay nay.

Then there's "best." Not best wishes, not best regards. Just "best." This nearly always comes from someone with an MBA or on their way to acquiring one. I need not share further thoughts of mine on that sign-off then.

"Regards." What I like about this, as has recently been pointed out to me, is that in responding to someone who has repeatedly failed or blown off deadlines, your use of the clean, cold "regards" is tantamount to one big eff you. This is truth. Observe in your own irritated exchanges of the future.

All the rest work for me. I stole one from one of my fave folks on the planet, Askold Melnyczuk, who used to sign his letters to me with "all good wishes." I liked it so much, along with the energy it carried, that I just thieved it.

So if nothing else, this serves as notice. I plagiarize. We all do.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Some days the ethics of being a literary critic, while unambiguous, still pinch. Say your allegiances lie squarely within the gay community. You actively advocate for and advance arts of, by, for the LGBTQ community. You're assigned to review the nonfiction work of Emma Donoghue, best known as a fiction writer who not only happens to be a lesbian, but who locates queer identities centrally in much of her work.

You feel confident this will be a sympathetic review because you've enjoyed much of her fiction, even associate one of her short stories ('The Dormition of the Virgin'), "the diary of a nerdish English student on a mini-break pilgrimage to Florence," with an all-time high of personal contentment, the recollection still sweet of lolling around a Roman piazza as the sun set, reading her well-turned little tale as the crowd cleared out. You needed absolutely nothing more from life at that moment.

Given all that, a review would be just fine, a hoot. You sign on. You're pleased. That is, until you read the book. Inseparable is lacking and you are obliged to say so. This review, because it's critical, was hard to write. Still, I'm pleased to suggest that I may be the minority opinion. So don't just take my word for it. Read Kathryn Harrison on the matter as well. Even better, read for yourself and decide.

Friday, June 04, 2010

operation walk the dog

This may not sound at the outset like it has anything to do with dog walking, but it does. The rampant jeering at BP leads me to the obvious conclusion that we're monstrous for distancing ourselves from the oil companies. It's a breathtaking disconnect. Gentle reader, how many miles did you drive today? And how many of those miles could you have ridden your bike, taken public transit, or walked? For me, I'd estimate my week clocked in at well over 100 miles, with all last weekend's zipping around.

I've got a great bike. And the sole reason, as it has been for years, that I drive to work is so I can travel the six miles back home to walk my dog Stella at lunch without taking forty minutes by bike each way to do it. So. Does my budget stretch for a dog walker comfortably? Not without some changes. But I'm putting out the call anyway. I don't want to sit around lamenting the evil empire of BP while their fuel pump is snug in my tank.

Natural Resources Defense Council

[Photo credit: Kira Stackhouse]

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Monday, May 24, 2010

octopus dress!

1. Maude would approve.
2. How did this not go to Tilda first?
3. I want one. Or more.

That is all.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

the mad maudlin

We let Maude Madeleine go; she was seventeen years old. This sweet little feline was given three month to live in August of 2007, but she defiantly lived a healthy, bossy, private life until May 18, 2o10.

I didn't write much about her because she was the opposite of Stella in just about every way--she was brave and quiet, subtle, graceful, moody. She meowed me awake every morning, didn't want much to do with folks outside her very small tribe, and patiently acclimated each time I relocated us, all told probably around ten times. I miss her desperately.

She'll likely be one of those active spirits. So send your wishes her way.