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shameless pleading





March 2014

Semper Ubi Sub Ubi


Hey, it’s still March. And it snowed here the other day, real whiteout conditions. So there.

Today is Spring-like, which seems to lift the birdies’ spirits but fills me with dread. There’s four acres, more or less, of grass out there that’s going to start growing, and I am utterly incapable of mowing it. Our only working mower is a little push machine, the aged garden tractor having at last given up the ghost, and I can’t convincingly walk across the room, so using that is not an option. Neither can we pay the $75 bucks per week, minimum, to have it done. We also have five, count ’em, five fallen trees scattered around the place, plus two that are ready to go. One would think that folks around here would like them for firewood, but apparently not, and tree services are ruinously expensive. I also am faced with having to buy dentures if I wish to keep eating, and that’s my priority (not that I have the money, but, y’know, just in terms of priorities).

The neighbors are already cranky about the fact that 3/4 of our land is wild brush, so this should be an interesting summer. Maybe I’ll just put a big sign in the front yard reading Fairfield County Pick-Your-Own Snake Farm.

Elsewhere, Richard Cohen, who is married to Meredith Vieira and has had multiple sclerosis nearly all his life, has been undergoing experimental therapy and reporting the experience on his blog. I admire his courage and hope it helps. My form (primary-progressive) doesn’t have any approved drug therapies, which is just as well, since I could never afford them and would be very leery of the documented side-effects even if I could.

Onward. I was browsing Netflix Instant recently, and came across a listing for John Huston’s last film, his 1987 adaptation of The Dead, which is, of course, the final story in the collection Dubliners by James Joyce. It’s widely considered one of the finest short stories ever written, and I still remember reading it for the first time decades ago. It stays with you. I’ve seen the film two or three times, and it’s a fine film, but the story, especially the last bit, is essentially unfilmable, and really demands to be read. Go on, I’ll wait here. (Whatever you do, don’t read the leaden synopsis on Wikipedia. It reads like a book report written by a sullen junior high student stuck in detention.)

Meanwhile, back at Netflix, I don’t know how I would have summed up The Dead in twenty words, but I sure hope I’d have done a bit better than:

“After a convivial holiday dinner party, things begin to unravel when a couple addresses some prickly issues concerning their marriage.”

Prickly issues… Oh, I get it. It’s the Irish version of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? with extra snow, right?

Speaking of Netflix Instant, people seem to have noticed that this kind of service (Hulu, Amazon Prime, Redbox Whatever, etc.) don’t exactly offer top-tier current fare (Netflix Instant Thinking About Adding Good Movie). There are apparently good reasons for this. Personally, I can do just fine without Gravity and the latest Seth Rogen crapfest if I can watch the entire run of The Rockford Files, the first eight seasons of Law & Order (Original Recipe), and such gooey schlock as the UK sci-fi-time-travel series Primeval (raptors in a shopping mall!) whenever I want for eight bucks a month.

Well, anyway, I’ll try to be on time in April. In the meantime, please consider subscribing or simply making a donation to our continued existence.

And now, on with the show….

2 comments to March 2014

  • Terry Rudra

    re ur post of March ’14 FYI
    U & ur friend w/ MS may be interested in this url Open the top vid on the homepage & watch an interview/presentation, with Dr Joel Wallach. I just recently also sent this to a friend w/ MS. Although it devolves later into an infomercial, at about :35 minute mark he mentions MS & an unconventional treatment/cure re a mineral. Joel is an MD, DVM and author of Dead Dr.s Don’t Lie & Rare earth Forbidden Cure. Hope its helpful.
    As you may be aware “approved drug therapies” must be approved not only for their supposed usefulness, but must also fit nicely inside the dominate-medical-paradigm’s political correctness and be patentable for bottom-line financial benefit. Forget ever seeing a simple, inexpensive drug company cure.
    Healthy thoughts,

  • J. Pastor

    I heard an interview the other day with a cellist with The Philadelphia Orchestra who was diagnosed with MS, and told that his only option would be to go on permanent disability.

    He was back with the Orchestra a few months later and hasn’t missed a day of work.

    His website is

    I am a bit skeptical, but my feeling is that if there’s even a shred of truth to the story it might be worth at least checking out.

    You don’t have to post this: I just thought that this would be the most effective way to get you the information.

    BTW, Cecil Adams at The Dope turned me on to your parents’ books a while back, and I’m pretty sure I also found about your site there. I’m assuming that you guys have crossed paths at some point, and it might please you that your family is highly respected by Mr. Zotti (rumored to be the person of whom Cecil is the alter ego).

    You do seem to be a magnet for misfortune, and while I don’t pray (I’m not sure that the prayers of agnostics would be effective, even if the prayers of believers were), I do hope things improve for you. Perhaps Mr. Cafaro’s experiences aren’t just due to random spontaneous remission, and there’s something to them.

    Finally, I emailed you a few weeks ago to ask you which of the subscription models did you the most good, but I assume you get scads of email and that my message drowned in the sea of spam. I’m not in the best of fiscal health myself, but we literary folks have got to stick together. Anyway, I could use the good karma. Let me know how best to apply my subscription dollars.

    -Jon Pastor

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