Model Home

The best parts of Model Home, by Eric Puchner:

“They had lost this feeling, the way you might lose a favorite gift you were no longer attached to. It had not seemed an important loss at the time: Dustin was born, and if anything a deeper,more devout-seeming love took its place. Once, while they were bathing Dustin together in the sink of their apartment, washing his scabbed-up bellybutton and tiny, heartbreaking penis, Camille had turned to Warren with a look of such stunning affection that he had actually lost his breath. I will never be happier than I am now, Warren had thought. Seventeen years later, he realized how sadly prescient that was.”

“[The guy in the top hat] sprayed some PAM into a plastic bag and then stuffed it up to his face. He blinked his eyes wide when he was finished, like something hatching from an egg.”

“The place gave Lyle a sludgy, unreal feeling, as though she were watching soap operas on a beautiful day.”

“He looked like one of those football players whose popularity hinged on their willingness to eat strange things.”

“The fact that you could know someone almost intimately and then a year later not know him at all seemed to be at the heart of everything sad and fucked up in the world.”

Mortality, the Blog

This is the skull of a suspected vampire.

“At the time the woman died, many people believed that the plague was spread by ‘vampires’ which, rather than drinking people’s blood, spread disease by chewing on their shrouds after dying. Grave-diggers put bricks in the mouths of suspected vampires to stop them from doing this.”

Huh. I found her on Legacy Matters, a fascinating blog that’s mostly about death.

The link above is to the site’s “No Way to Go” section, which is worth a look, my friends. Here’s a Roald Dahlian photo of a priest who floated away with a bunch of helium balloons and was never found.

Given some of the more choice examples in the “No Way to Go” section, this one is looking like an unequivocally excellent way to go.

I prefer to think he just floated right on up, no waiting.

Pity the Fool, a Quotation

From a A Cup of Joe:

“I must learn to love the fool in me–the one who feels too much, talks too much, takes too many chances, wins sometimes and loses often, lacks self-control, loves and hates, hurts and gets hurt, promises and breaks promises, laughs and cries. It alone protects me against that utterly self-controlled, masterful tyrant whom I also harbor and who would rob me of human aliveness, humility, and dignity but for my fool.” — Theodore I. Rubin, MD


If you were next to me when I was reading this week’s The Week, these are the parts I would have read to you out loud:

-Car deaths rise 18 percent on election days in The States. So maybe mail-in ballots this year.

-Ottawa is looking to pass a law that would protect people who apologize from being sued. More apologies for everyone!

-Poland may become the first country to chemically castrate pedophiles.

-A Zimbabwean soccer team took a ritual-cleansing dip in a crocodile-infested river, and one of them didn’t come back out.

-Hooman Majd, who has often translated for Iranian President Mahmud Amadenijad, says Amadenijad never said there are no gay people in Iran. Instead, he said Iran has no openly gay culture.

-Doctors are trying to help Erik Ramsey speak again. Ramsey’s body is completely paralyzed, and doctors have implanted wires in his brain that can read brain signals, which computers can then translate into speech. Rad.

Mighty Love: Nothing But Bonfires

Nothing But Bonfires is written by travel writer Holly Burns, who grew up all over the globe and landed here in San Francisco. We met at Blogher, during the Mighty Haus launch party, and I was too wine-soaked to insist that she sit down and relay her entire life story. Check out her about page first, as her life story is a good one. An excerpt:

My favorite piece of punctuation is the parentheses, with the semi-colon taking a close second. Things I like include: oatmeal, going to the library, gold shoes, the word “brouhaha,” Trader Joe’s, beauty products with clever names, reliving scenes from My So Called Life in my head, black licorice, the page in Us Weekly where they say “Stars: They’re Just Like Us” and then show them looking zitty and doing laundry, San Pellegrino, Target, Mark Ruffalo, when people say things like “um, clean up in aisle three from all the names you just dropped,” German accents, free samples, people who can drive stick, hydrangeas, when the phone rings in the middle of the night and it’s just a wrong number and NOT someone on the other side of the world dying, men in pink shirts, and Nigella Lawson.

Mighty Love: Zulkey

Zulkey is a thinky humor site, and I met Claire Zulkey years ago at SxSW. It turns out she’s still smart, and funny, and good at getting it all down on paper. An excerpt.

Things I Have Learned About Vegetable-Matter-Based Packing Peanuts

1) They can be dissolved and thus washed down the drain

2) They taste like Pirate’s Booty

3) Demonstrating how I learned this makes people uncomfortable.

Mighty Love: A Cup of Tea and a Wheat Penny

I met Zan at the Mighty Haus launch party, and I wish I’d had more time to get to know her while she was in town. She writes over at A Cup of Tea and a Wheat Penny and lives in New York. An excerpt from her site:

They’re all readers down here in the tunnels, just like up on the buses. Only here they turn the pages faster.

An older couple embarks; the woman finds a seat. I stand to offer the man my seat, and he politely waves me back down.

‘You sit. You’d better finish your coffee, before you spill it.’

‘Sir, I’m not allowed to drink coffee on the train. You’re not even supposed to know I have it.’

A girl pulls a notebook hurriedly from her handbag, as if the thought might fly from her mind before she has a chance to capture it in its perfectly formed newborn state. She clicks open her pen and writes:

‘Download RADIOHEAD!!!’

With two underscores.

What’s Yours

Poem from the May 12 New Yorker:

One Can Miss Mountains

and pine. One

can dismiss
a whisper’s

and go on as

before as if
everything were

perfectly fine.
One does. One

loses wonder
among stores

of things.
One can even miss

the basso boom
of the ocean’s

rumpus room
and its rhythm.

A man can leave
this earth

and take nothing
–not even

with him.

Todd Boss

Worth Repeating

Catching up on a year’s worth of old magazine subscriptions. Some snips:

Julie Morgenstern in O Magazine — “If I ran out of time today, what would be the one thing that, completed, would give me the greatest sense of accomplishment and contribution?”

New Yorker Mar. 20 article “Pretty Things,” about Hedi Silmane models — “They seemed in imminent danger of getting laid.”

Dave Grohl in Esquire Nov. 2007 — “Anybody who has to focus on being real has a problem. It’s like having a panic attack over how you’re prone to panic attacks.”