Friday, December 31, 2010

Word of the Day


I wonder how this compares to the dukhan.

From Riley.

By Any Other Name

To make copies at my college library, you had to sign out a little box that counted the number of pages. One day, just to amuse myself, I started using aliases: Fred Astaire, Lucille Ball, John Wayne Gacy. I was mildly disappointed when no one seemed to notice. So much for starting a trend.

More than 20 years later, I'm still at it, but the names have gotten a little more creative. If, in your travels through cyberspace, you come across a comment by any of the following, you can be pretty sure it's me. Especially if the comment is inappropriate.

Shaniqua Merriweather Post
Sonny von Droolow
F. Squat Pissgerald
Atticus Flinch, Esq.
Cookie Crackhouse
Lois Lame
Forrest Gimp
The Harlot Gimpernel
Justin Gimperlake
Ashtina Cripplegate
Paraplegis Philbin
Nancy Boy Grace
Closemary Rooney
Halista Clockfart
Perv Griffin
Perry Homo
Dizzi Arnaz
Bling Crosby
Bob Hopeless
Joyce DeWitless
Mario Van Feebles
Rev. Fairy Fallwell
Rev. Anal Roberts
Bentdick XVI

Bone Appetit

From Tom.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Overheard at the Lake

Dan, scanning a shelf: My god, they already have the George Bush book. George W. Fuckhouse Bush.

Overheard by: Miriam Webster

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Today's Top Story

From Derek.

Out in the Cold

When I was first diagnosed, I walked around thinking: Oh my god, I’m dying! How can that be? It seemed surreal, because I looked and felt in great health. Barely 30, I’d been a gym habituĂ© for years. I ate well, got enough sleep, and spent most of my waking hours in some type of motion. Furthermore, the timing and setting were all wrong: I’d just moved to San Francisco to be with Dan. It was scenic, sunny, beautiful. We were always biking and hiking. He was teaching me racquetball. It only began to sink in when I picked up my tennis racket for the first time in ages and discovered that I could barely hit the ball across the court.

You can’t really function with your head on the executioner’s block – at least I couldn’t – and the sense of immediacy gradually grew duller. I don’t live in denial; it’s more a state of deliberate myopia. At any given point in my progression, I’ve been grudgingly okay with the status quo, but I’ve trained myself not to contemplate the future. It’s a dark and scary place for me; even brief glimpses spark anxiety and depression. Better to focus on the present and count my blessings, something I rarely did before ALS.

Myopia might not be an option if my progression weren’t so slow. As it is, I often have the sense that my deterioration has plateaued. But whenever I’m lulled into cozy complacency, ALS has a way of bitch-slapping me back to reality and reminding me who’s running this ride.

The week before last, I caught a cold. Normally I’m not too aware of the decline in my breathing and swallowing, but the moment I got a little phlegmy it became uncomfortably apparent how compromised both were. With an easily blocked airway, clearing my throat became an exercise in terror, and what would have been a moderate annoyance for a healthy person proved truly harrowing for me – and a humbling reminder of my ever-increasing frailty.

I’m all better now. Well, not all better, but over my cold.

Far and Away

From Riley.

Monday, December 06, 2010

My Favorite Toy

A year ago today, we added a little Sparkle to our lives. Since her actual birthday was a mystery, we decreed it to be December 6th. So today she's nine.

Normally we celebrate canine birthdays with cheeseburgers, but when we did so a couple of weeks ago in memory of Zap, Sparkle threw up. In the middle of the night. In my bed. So we'll see.

Photo by Danny Leibovitz.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Duty Free

Hey teabaggers, are you sure this is what you want?

From Riley.

Little Riding Hoods

Suffice it to say, the bus was ruled by the law of the jungle: only the strongest and fastest survived. My generation never stormed the beaches of Normandy or got drafted to fight communism, but on that Twinkie-shaped nightmare we waged our own private Vietnam.

Daddy's Girl


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Late Show

Recent favorites from Sleep Talkin' Man:
"You're a cock and a fuck-up. Any further complaints can be directed toward my arse, where I'm sure you'll receive a warm response."

"You're a complete waste of space. Just go home and apologize to your mother's vagina."

"I don't need you in my life. Not when I've got chocolate."

"I curse you with my words! Taste the venom in my spittle!"

"I like the way you look. The way you walk. Your eyes... But your voice, dear god, your voice!"

"Why don't you stop looking for answers when your questions have as much weight as a turd floating out to sea."

Hell-o Kitty

Jeepers creepers.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Today's Top Story



From Peggy.


From a friend:
A holiday gift presented to my teacher friend from a little German boy:

When the teacher stared at it in shock the mother helpfully said, "it's for viping!" and made a wiping gesture.

The best part is that my teacher friend is under 5 ft and the German woman is [Amazonian]. When she demonstrated how to vipe it was at roughly her crotch level so the shorter woman could see. It's a sponge by the way. For cleaning little preschool tables.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Today's Top Story

White Fright

From Caroline.

You're Welcome

Examine the person who gave you the possible compliment. Do they have ulterior motives? Do they want to borrow money from you? Sleep with you? If one or both of these things is true, you may accept the compliment, as they are implicitly saying that you are either wealthy or do-able. Those are actually the highest compliments that can possibly be given. You should be very pleased with this.

Boom Box

An air-raid warden inside a shattered telephone box following a bombing raid in London during the Blitz of World War II, 1940. (George Rodger/Magnum Photos)

From Riley.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Today's Top Story


Plain & Fancy

A few years ago, at a public meeting Dan was attending for work, a woman rose to comment. She had no discernible accent ... except when saying the name of our city, which curiously caused her to become British for just a moment before reverting to Yankdom at the next word.

Alex-ahn-dria. So elegant. So posh. Who wouldn't want to live there?

We've been saying it that way ever since.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


I've always been grateful for my friends, and the more my world shrinks, the more I appreciate them. These are the people who entertain and enlighten me. They keep me engaged in the world despite my physical limitations. They make me want to go on.

One such person is Laura Hillenbrand, who serves me regular helpings of food for thought and makes me laugh at least once a day. She is such a presence in my life, it's surreal to think that we haven't been in the same room since our high school graduation, more than 25 years ago.

Like me, Laura is largely homebound due to ill health. Unlike me, she spends her time and talents productively, finding history's forgotten stories and telling them as only she can. Her first book, Seabiscuit, spent months atop the New York Times bestseller list (and gave me one of my favorite phrases ever: mighty shit Godzilla). It was such a good read that I worried whether she could match it when she started working on her next book. I should have known better.

Unbroken, which hit bookstores today, is the wildly improbable story of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner turned bombardier who survived a plane crash and 47 days at sea only to become a Japanese POW. Knowing that books are hard for me to handle, Laura kindly sent a digital copy, and I was delighted to find that her storytelling skills are sharper than ever. Unbroken is truly riveting -- and God knows I'm not given to idle praise. I've been hooked since the preface and had to tear myself away to write this. Now go buy a copy so we can talk about it.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Today's Top Story

From Riley.


I don't mind pictures of scenery (provided it's truly scenic), but most people don't seem to exercise any judgment at all when it comes to sharing photos. If the shutter clicked, the result is considered inherently worthy, even if it's blurry, dark, askew, ugly, boring, irrelevant, or utterly indistinguishable from the previous and subsequent shots.

Always Kidding

This site will never lack for material.

From Colleen.

From Christine.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Today's Top Story

Sarah Palin takes us for a ride
TLC’s approach to programming is, in a nominal way, educational; if you don’t know any little people, or kids whose legs are fused, or families with nineteen children, you don’t really know what their lives are like. The shows are extremely invasive, though; TLC’s programming is all about babies, weddings, and families in extremis, and yet there’s something inhumane at the center of it all. It panders to our curiosity, allowing us to gawk at its subjects for as long as they are willing to be gawked at—which may be longer than is good for them. When it comes to Palin specifically, there is the fundamental problem that some of us don’t want to see or hear any more of her than we have to. And there are those whose objections have a physiological basis as well as an ideological one: the pitch and timbre of her voice, the rhythms of her speech, her syntax, and the way she coats acid and incoherence with cheery musical inflections join together in a sickening synergy that distresses the listener, triggering a fight-or-flight reaction. When Palin talks, my whole being wails, like Nancy Kerrigan after Tonya Harding’s ex-husband kneecapped her: “Why? Why? Why?”

Infirmation Age

In the course of some online genealogical research, my friend Derek found this in the census form of a great-great-grandparent:

Monday, November 08, 2010

"The secret of life is to appreciate the pleasure
of being terribly, terribly deceived."

Oscar Wilde

Cut Down to Size

Naked in the kiddie pool, I assessed my French cousin and loudly announced that he was missing something. Whereupon the adults, laughing, informed me that the deficit was in fact mine.

I've felt incomplete ever since.

Fresh Produce

From Derek.

Friday, November 05, 2010

When I was young, we had a cousin in a wheelchair. She had problems with her kidneys. I think that wheelchair stayed with me. I was fascinated. Anyone with any disability or a deformity -- I am just drawn to things that are different. I've been dying to do a commercial for tampons or for cramp medicine, where I am bent over screaming in pain.


Sign Here

(303): My niece just called my sister in law a teabagger. I love NPR and it's corrupting influence on small children

Texts From Last Night

Cordon Boo

From Riley.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The Office

From a friend of a friend:
In my cube farm, I have clockwise: a person who is the only competent professional alive, and he's not afraid to say it. A nail clipper. A sunflower seed eater. In the shells. A cell phone addict, complete with yelling so the other person can hear. A cougher who on more than one occasion has stopped breathing. Or vomited. And people wonder why I wear headphones.

By the Light of the Moon

Yet another cheeky commercial we won't be seeing in the U.S.

From Zana.

Overheard at the Polling Place

Dan, nodding at albiness: There's that woman who's always so friendly to you and basically ignores me.

Michael: We're both despised by society. It's an unspoken bond.

Overheard by: Pariah Carey

Meography 101

From Derek.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Wisdom of Forrest Gimp

Now I understand why old people are so obsessed
with their bowel movements. It’s like money or sex:
the less you have, the more important it seems.

Jackals on the Prowl

Friday, October 22, 2010

Today's Top Story

Don Draper at home:

From Riley.

'You Can Feel Her Wind'

"She is blowing you."

From Derek.

Home Run

From a friend:
I have been reading a bio of Mickey Mantle, who often said hilariously crude things (usually to get people to leave him alone). When Yankee management sent out a questionnaire to former ballplayers asking them "What was your most outstanding experience at Yankee Stadium?" Mickey wrote, "I got a blow-job under the right field bleachers by the Yankee bullpen."

He added, helpfully, "It was about the third or fourth inning. I had a pulled groin and couldn't fuck at the time."


From Peggy and Colleen.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Wisdom of Forrest Gimp

It’s exhausting to be completely dependent on others.
Almost as exhausting as having someone
be completely dependent on you.


I woke up sweating in a straitjacket the other night.

That’s what it felt like, anyway. I was lying on my back, arms at my sides, the covers up to my chinny chin chin. When I tried to pull them down, my left arm stirred minimally, the right one not at all. Upright, I can usually use the left hand to help the right, like a child with a retarded sibling, but that night I got nowhere. In fact, the more I squirmed, the tighter the bind. It was like a full-body Chinese finger trap. Then I tried my legs, but they proved equally useless.

I sleep with a button on each side to summon Dan, but with my hands glued to my hips, they were hopelessly out of reach. Fortunately, he awoke on his own and set me free.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Today's Top Story

From Riley.

'Lez Continue'

"I love my husband very much, and you can
ask anyone on my softball team."

Meredith Quackster Birney!
"You came out of your mom looking like shit.
She thought you were beautiful. Don't know what
scared me most, your looks or her judgment."

Shit My Dad Says
Bazias, Romania: Bats fly in a cave by the river Danube.
(Daniel Mihailescu/AFP/Getty Images)

Source, by way of Riley.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sinny qua Non

This belongs in a strip mall with Duggar Family Planning and Milken & Madoff Investments.

From Kate.


Devo was showing a little lipstick on a walk the other day, so naturally a small child appeared out of nowhere.

"Why does your dog have that pink thing?" she asked.

"Because he's a boy," said Dan.

It turned out she was referring to a different pink thing entirely -- a skin tag on his leg -- but whatever.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wing Haven

We're visiting the Iglfolks this week, and yesterday I left the compound for the first time since Saturday, when we arrived.

The draw was Wing Haven, a quirky garden and bird sanctuary in an unlikely location: a residential area near downtown Charlotte. I'd heard rumors that there were some nice old neighborhoods within the city's numbing, soulless sprawl, but this was the first time I'd seen anything historic there since the Ramesses II exhibition when I was in college.

From a decidedly inauspicious beginning in 1927 - one city lot with a single tree in the red Carolina clay - the garden eventually grew to three densely planted acres, an oddly successful mix of manicured formality and natural landscape. With narrow, comically buckled brick paths, it wasn't exactly wheelchair friendly, but I took my time and saw almost all of it.

Photos by Dan.