Plutarch Was Not a Poet

This is at least 45 percent embarrassing.

Letter to the New Yorker, 4/25/10

To the editor:

I read Dana Goodyear’s profile of the chefs behind the Los Angeles restaurant Animal (“Killer Food,” 4/26/10) with pleasure. A few responses came up in the wake of my enjoyment of the piece, however, and I’d like to share them with you, mostly as a form of procrastination as I messily scarf a container of Pad Thai over my keyboard (“iPad Thai”) here in the empty Sunday-afternoon office

Goodyear’s piece is filed in the magazine’s “Letter from California” section, and it serves its designation well. The reporting feels legitimately Angeleno. I recognize the L.A. Goodyear describes. Madonna’s Escalade, Canter’s deli, Benedikt Taschen. The “multicolored sleeve tattoo,” the pretty girls, the girlfriend become wife. I believed it all. I know you were worried about effectively capturing this atmosphere, and I’m telling you to stop worrying. You nailed it.

In the first scene, at the Farmer’s Market, Dotolo and Shook (what names, by the way! And good call letting them speak for themselves. A lesser writer, or perhaps a writer with fewer word-count constraints, would have allusively riffed on how “Dotolo” evokes “Dorito,” and how “Shook” invokes the early stages in the process of deep frying a foodstuff. But letting these linguistic associations reverberate in the reader’s ear without broadcasting them — like sudden phantom echoes improving the church-organ’s glissandos—was a meisterstroake) seem super stoned. I think it’s all but explicit. They’re “eating a couple of burritos” — does this mean two burritos? One each? Or more? In any  case, It’s a fine ambiguity–a whole burrito, in most contexts, is already a lot of food, so the readerly tension that they may have had more than one each keeps us “hungry for more.”

But were they high at the Farmer’s Market? Or is it the case, as Emily Dickinson noted, that “We never know how high we are”?  We have to wait until close to the end of the story, when they’re catering a party for Tom Munro and champagne, for Shook to ask his line cooks, who have just finished setting up: “Want to go on a long walk off a short pier?”

He grabbed a lighter and the three of them set out jauntily down the alley.

If their befuddled, munchied time in the Farmer’s Market parking lot wasn’t explicit enough, this is all the confirmation the reader needs to know that these chefs enjoy smoking marijuana. And this manner of presenting their highness allows Goodyear to elegantly telegraph the fact that her subjects smoke pot without needing to outright state as much.

However: My daughter works in catering. Is this really the message the New Yorker wants to send to my beautiful daughter? Bethany is fourteen years old and a three-time “Culver City Caterer of the Year.” Does my daughter need to be “stoned” in order to enjoy the taste of duck fat sliding down the back of her tongue?

And when

one woman, when Shook finally had a chance to explain [what head cheese was], spat it out on the table and said, “Oh my fucking God, I’ve been kosher for thirty-two years,”

and Shook’s response is self-righteous merriment, how am I supposed to feel when I realize with a slow shock that the woman depicted in this scene is unequivocally my ultraorthodox wife of thirty-two years, who began keeping kosher on the night of our wedding?

(I don’t feel like doing anything today. Literally nothing. Not working, not not working, not smoking, not not smoking, not eating, not not eating, not community service — remember what Obama said after he was elected? We all need to offer ourselves to the community. If you’ve got hands, you can squeeze a stress ball, and that’s sometimes enough to change someone’s life forever –)


I read another of Goodyear’s Letters from Los Angeles — her profile of the brilliant LA Weekly food critic Jonathan Gold — another hip hedonist, another man who puts the “meatlover” back into the phrase “meatlovers’ pizza” (and in turn stevedores the words meatloafers and leftovers into that one [COPYEDITOR PLEASE STET PLURAL POSSESSIVE ON “MEATLOVERS'”])– on about half an hour of sleep, still drunk, in Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport. I’d need to go back in order to confirm that it’s pure fucking catnip from beginning to end, but that’s my memory of the piece. I chuckled uncontrollably into my 7 a.m. cheese sandwich when, on

the day he decided to find the city’s best espresso, [Gold] travelled with David Kendrick, who was then the drummer for Devo. After twenty-seven shots, Gold—sweating, trembling, and talking too loud—met up with [his wife] Ochoa and some friends for dinner. He started to panic and begged the group not to get dessert. When Ochoa ordered tiramisu, he burst into tears, ran out of the restaurant, and took the bus home.

I dipped my white iPod earbuds into my airport OJ so I could smear them across the pages of Dana Goodyear’s profile of Jonathan Gold when I read this. Then I passed the earbuds through my entire digestive tract, like R. Crumb’s ascetic brother Maxon does with those long, awful strips of tape in his Tenderloin apartment in Terry Zwigoff’s perfect 1994 documentary.

But isn’t there a sense that, for all its jaunty pleasures, Goodyear’s Animal piece is just a slim salty slice cleaved off of the real cut, her now six-month-old Gold profile? I imagine I’m wrong when I imagine Jonathan Gold giving Dana Goodyear Dorito and Shake’s email addresses, or even just telling her they’d make for a good story. L.A. is big. So is Mario Batali. It’s not magic that Goodyear happens to be in the restaurant when Batali, several other chefs, Mike Mills (I listened to Reckoning last night twice through, incidentally. Wotta gem), et al come in to Animal for the story’s  conclusion. She knows the ID of everyone in Batali’s nine-person party, down to their “magician.” So she must have come in with them. She wasn’t just sitting alone at a table before an untouched bowl of curried duck hearts waiting for New Yorker–worthy guests to walk in. I’d like to know: Was it awkward for Goodyear to get up from this crowded table and follow the waiter back to the kitchen with their order?


With respect and admiration,

Sasha H DeGwiid
San Francisco, Calif.

Paparazzo: Episode Six

Announcing Episode Six of Paparazzo, a radio show about culture broadcasting from Paris, France. Didn’t think this one was up to snuff, don’t think any of them are up to snuff, snuff is a distant impossibility, but thanks to the support of noted radio producer and power-DJ Baro “The Cloud Hammer” Palma, I’ve decided to free Episode Six from the hard-drive prison where it’s been mouldering for the past three weeks.

I stopped drinking coffee again. My brain floats belly-up in a thin broth of turkey.

[Listen to Episodes One, Two, Three Four, or Five.]


Hey Dullblog,

Didn’t get that much sleep last night. I’m stressed out at work but have hit a point in the “Jivamukti Flow” where I’m kinda waiting for my professional “tennis partners” to return my “serve” so there’s not a lot (urgent) that I can do. So here I sit, furiously sipping cold coffee, digesting different weird carbohydrates, looking into your eyes (via the web). Forcing my office to listen to Candlebox, Danzig, and Sponge. They’re into it.

Little angry scraps of language keep flonking into my perf-view (Nerf-sponsored perforated sex-glasses they were handing out free on the subway this morning. Vancouver is gorgeous in all this sunlight and snow, isn’t it?) and so I lumber up to the web-portal to press them into the blogfoam, where they hang suspended like “gorgeous” little James Cameronmuffins.


  1. Taco Town
  2. annoying woman talking loudly to her pre-verbal infant then singing along to “Poker Face” in coffee shop after her annoying mom-of-infant friends leave
  3. ‘infants coffee. infant gratification. infant shoop’
  4. very beautiful (uh) French-looking woman in Uggs and tights weeping gently on the 67 bus this morning. You can’t make this stuff up! We made brief, bloodshot eye-contact and then I went back to staring at the tiny design book a less-beautiful (SORRY, GUYS, THIS IS MY DIARY) woman was reading. Transferred to the 14 (pretty lazy these recent mornings; I’m turning into one of those morbidly obese guys you see waddling around with a cane and a beret and a wispy goatee and a halo of dried-out sections of the Sunday L.A. Times and a tent-like long-sleeved hawaiian shirt and megalithic jeans with an extra-long custom woven belt, supernaturally bad coffee/fish breath, fingers  two inches in diameter, loud/strong/wrong opinions about local special elections, delicately obliterating triple-stuffed TurkeyBerry sandwiches in shared public indoor spaces, bottles of emergency mustard rattling in a canvas totebag, etc).

Kidz Korner

BlogMan Sam sez: “Eat a tooth. Eat an MFA program. Eat a glass of orange juice, glass-first. Revisit New Mexico. Blame a cherry on the fire.”


If you arrived at this web-page by googling “what is heterosexual food?“, I’d just like to say:

Stick around!
Click around”!

I hope you enjoy my home-page!

And perhaps find the answer to your question.

Kind regards,



mostly because her name sounds like a Martin Amis character’s name. She also has nice hair

I accidentally shat in breadstixxxx’s oatmeal just now. I am going to go to jail on tax fraud. Jail is going to suck so badly, I’m worried.

this isn’t that bad, is it? I guess it is if you needed to dial 911 –



GET IT????

“Monty Pynchon”

why didn’t I buy this book directly from SPD when I was in Chicago?

I’m stressed out and not paying attention to this blog post

I’m never smoking pot again

My thoughts about “B. Francis’s new band” TBD. it’s not in bad taste that his wife is channeling kim deal, because… kim deals not dead. this single sorta sounds like “seether.” scratch it, she’s channeling Veruca Salt. I feel like I am very far from home, and I miss all my old homies, except I am at my desk, I am sitting at work, I am right where I should be — what gives, Lord?

at the Center for Curatorial Studies/
Hessel Museum of Art there is a show that opens this Sunday, April 19th.

Changing Light Bulbs In Thin Air
Including works by Christian Andersson, Tauba Auerbach, Brian Clifton, Zak Kitnick,
Runo Lagomarsino, Adam Putnam, Matthew Sheridan Smith, Mungo Thomson, and Garth Weiser.
A constellation of works by nine artists interested in shifts and breaks in the flow of comprehension and perception.
Curated by Summer Guthery

there is a free chartered bus on April 19th that leaves New York
from 10th Ave and 23rd St at 11:00am and returns from CCS at 4:00pm.