Thursday, April 13, 2006

When a Publicist Works Too Hard...

Sometimes all you can do is shake your head in disbelief. I offer the "Snark Attack!" in Lloyd Grove's column in today's NY Daily News:
Tonight's the second night of Passover - so it's hard to believe that even the most hapless publicist would send out a press release offering up Bill Downs, "one of the world's foremost experts on diet and nutrition," to discuss "the unspoken dark side" of the Seder: "Flatulence, irritable bowels, heartburn ... are common Passover conditions," Downs' flack explains. "Instead of reflecting on the Jewish people's exodus from Egypt, we end up struggling to contain the exodus of gas." Sadly, I have been assured that this release is not a hoax.

Who Let the Jews Out?

That's the musical question posed in the hilarious animated Passover greeting on the website for Sam Apple's equally hilarious--and poignant--book, SCHLEPPING THROUGH THE ALPS: My Search for Austria's Jewish Past with Its Last Wandering Shepherd.

Apple was on my "Travel with a Twist" panel last month at the VaBook Festival. I bought the hardcover as a birthday present for Darling Husband last year. It's now out in paperback.

Cogito Zero Sum

If for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, then there's someone out there who's been inordinately healthy the past couple of months. Because I have been inordinately unhealthy. Since early February, I have had pneumonia, shingles, an upper respiratory infection and, as of yesterday evening, the stomach flu. (It came on while I was putting the finishing touches on our Passover dinner. I had one sip of wine and a mini-bite of matzoh before going to bed.) Also, between the shingles and infection I fell and apparently cracked the bone at the bridge of my nose.

This being Passover, all I can say is DAYENU*!!!

The only bright side to all this (relatively speaking) is that, thanks to the Levaquin I took for the URI plus the flu, I've lost 10 lbs in the past 10 days. I do not, however, recommend this as a weight-loss method.

Edit: It was food poisoning, not flu. It's going to be a long time before I get my lunch again from the self-serve bar at the supermarket. At least I got a $30 gift card for my pains. The manager said he was sorry for "any inconvenience." I told him that this was way more than inconvenient.


Monday, April 10, 2006

The cup half-full

From Publishers Marketplace Deal Lunch:

Cathy Bueti's BREASTLESS IN THE CITY, a young woman's journey through diagnosis, treatments, dating and surviving breast cancer, to Larry Chilnick at Cleveland Clinic Press, by Coleen O'Shea of Allen O'Shea Literary Agency.

If we're going to reference a TV show in a book about breast cancer, I have an infinitely better title:


Remember you saw it here first, folks.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Stringing words together is hard

For those who think that anyone can write a short story, let me point you to the entries in Miss Snark's writing contest. The rules (see her April 2 post) were simple: 500 words max; extra points for using a list of 6 words & 5 phrases. Miss Snark apparently was overcome by the number of responses: 100+ in less than 24 hours. Though I think if she'd kept her head out of the gin pail, she'd have seen that her legions of adoring fans (her blog has had more than a half-million visitors since last July) would leap to the challenge. And quite a challenge it is, as you can see from the varying quality of the entries, which Miss Snark posted unedited. (Reminder: Spell check doesn't catch homonyms.) Fortunately, there are few clinkers. Some of the stories are stunningly imaginative and several are laugh-out-loud funny. Darling Husband and I shared a half-hour of domestic bliss yesterday evening, during which he prepared his famous Tofu Surprise while I read him some of my favorites.