Few people in this world have had more impact on my day to day life than Ruth Siems, the inventor of Stove Top stuffing, who died a couple of weeks ago.
Here's another comment that was just left on a post from long, long ago. (If I don't mention it here, chances are no one will ever see it, so I reproduce it here as a public service.)
The original post quoted the entry for "Atheist" from the first edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica (1768 - 1771) which I have always admired for its tone of withering, dismissive irony:
Atheist: a person who does not believe the existence of a Deity. Many people, both ancient and modern, have pretended to atheism, or have been reckoned atheists by the world; but it is justly questioned whether any man seriously adopted such a principle. These pretensions, therefore, must be founded on pride or affectation.The commenter objects:
I cannot believe the stupidity of this web log. How can you quote an article from the 18th century and pretend it can be still valid? Shouldn't we, then, be using the Napoleon Civil Code's sexist rules for marriage and divorce nowadays? Yes, it is ridiculous that everyone be demanding a regognition of their rights, and, yes, the expression "atheist rights" refers to a moronic ideal, but can't you respect---I'm talking to Mr. Joshua White, here--other people's beliefs and thoughts? Don't you even know what your country's constitution is about?In answer to the last question, probably not, in fact, but with regard to the Constitution it's my understanding that they came up with that in the 18th Century, too.
You might think that since we were able to put a man on the moon, we would have learned how to cure toenail fungus a long time ago. Really? The fact is that when the Apollo astronauts landed on the moon in 1969 — and for several decades thereafter — we had only cumbersome and largely ineffective therapies for this disgustingly earthy problem.
Larry Livermore has started a blogspot blog. The first post references my recent shows in New York, plus a range of other topics, including an account of the Potatomen "reunion" that I had to miss because I was playing in New Haven that night.
As for me, I'm back in California now, working on the painfully slow, perennial project of "getting my act together" and writing a second novel. I know I just may be crazy enough to make some real progress on that, as I have started dreaming about the characters. (These are terrible, terrible dreams, I might add.) If I could ever manage to sleep longer than two hours at a time, I imagine my dream self could figure it all out for me with no problem. As it is, though, the skittish, easily-distracted Conscious Doctor ends up having to do most of the work, which is why it can go so slowly. I wish I could just transfer the contents of my head to some specialists who would then turn it into text, which I could then skim and approve by making little check marks in the top right corner of each page. In my head, it's the best novel anyone ever read, I swear to God. What I'm saying is, I'm far too lazy to "make the dream a reality" all the way, but I'm faking it the best I can. Honest.
By the way, while I was in NY I saw the proof of the final cover of King Dork, with all the blurbs on the back (from Melvin Burgess, Ned Vizzini, John Green, Neal Pollack, and Ira Robbins.) It looked pretty cool, and surprisingly real.
I had dinner with Ira Robbins while I was there. It was totally fun, totally delicious, and he was totally nice, which it made me feel like some kind of big shot. I also did some "work" in a vacant office on the ninth floor of the Random House building, which made me feel like a different kind of big shot. I chatted with all the people who worked on that floor as they walked by with their coffee and thought: "this must be what it's like to have a real job," and it didn't seem all that bad, really. But I knew deep down that the best thing about that "job" was that I didn't really work there in the end.
Over a year ago, I post-quoted without comment a bit of an AP article about what appeared to have been a rather extravagant awards ceremony presented by the government agency in charge of airport security. It cost nearly half a million dollars, including $81,000 for plaques, $500 for cheese displays, and 'a "lifetime achievement" award for one worker with the two-year-old agency.'
Just today, someone stumbled on the post and had this practical objection to the derision implied by withholding comment:
That is less than a dollar per person for the cheese displays. I swear that people have no idea what things cost!!!!! What are they supposed to spend $10 for cheese display for 543 people.
Kendra attended the show the other night, and one of the songs I played ("Leave the Thinking to the Smart People") took her down memory lane:
My roommate freshman year hated that song. i played the hell out of it once i found out. apparently she thought i was insinuating that i thought she was stupid. the minute the song came on she'd start screaming, "i'm not dumb!!!" and then throw stuff and storm out of the room. this is just one facet of our experience. i can't hear the song without thinking about that.
If, for some reason, you want to see a solo set from me, along with the Specs and Kevin Army, here is your chance:
Wed. Nov. 9th at The Bottom of the Hill, 1233 17th at Missouri, San Francisco, CA, 8:30 pm.
Marlene Dietrich's ode to Ronald Reagan, written in her Paris hotel room on a portable typewriter that once belonged to Noel Coward:
A tense silence
Grips me Surrounds me
Grounds me to the
Messy floor Around me
No voice No wind No rain Just silence will remain
Around me What a fate
"Too late cried the Raven, Too late"
Speed-dating at the British Library:
The British Library is to hold its second ‘Mingle’ evening – an opportunity for anyone who is single, likes to talk and wants to make friends...
This is your chance to network with like-minded individuals and enjoy a drink at a private view of our 'Beautiful Minds – Capture the spirit of Nobel achievement' exhibition on Monday 5 December from 18.30 to 21.00.
Beautiful Minds looks at the history of the Nobel Prize, focusing specifically on 30 individual Prize-winners, over the whole range of six prizes – Peace, Physics, Chemistry, Economic Sciences, Physiology or Medicine, and Literature – from the past 100 years. What better backdrop for people who are bold, bright, bored and single to meet their match?