Archive for January, 2013

Flannery O’Connor

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

Years ago, I read the story A good Man is Hard to Find at the recommendation of a friend. I remember staying up late to finish it, and fighting the urge to call my friend to berate her for failing to warn me about the story’s brutal impact.

Now I’ve just read Flannery O’Connor’s second novel,The Violent Bear it Away with no prompting from anyone and no one to blame for my distress except for the writer’s merciless vision and brilliant prose. Her writing is peculiar, terrifying, and exhilarating. (If you’re thinking about writing fiction, it will certainly take the wind out of your sails.)

Flannery O’Connor is now officially my idol. She is fearless in going after her characters and relentless in probing their twisted relationships with god and/or morality.

Here’s what the poet Robert Lowell says: ”Much savagery, compassion, farce, art, and truth have gone into these stories. O’Connor’s characters are wholeheartedly horrible, and almost better than life. I find it hard to think of a funnier or more frightening writer.” 

I could not agree more. If you’re looking for a book to remove you from your everyday reality and you’re not afraid to explore the dark Southern Gothic heart of the heart of darkness, you could not do better than “The Violent Bear it Away.”  

Let me know if you read it, or if you have any recommendations for me.

Peplum Pants

Monday, January 21st, 2013

Finally! How did we live without peplums on our pants? Now all my pants look so drab and minimalist.

“A flounced peplum puts a ladylike touch on a pair of high-waisted alice + olivia pants, cut from figure-hugging mid-weight jersey. Exposed back zip.” $275

Wouldn’t they look great on a job interview, or a first date?

Homeless Fashion and So Much More

Friday, January 18th, 2013

This get-up comes from the new collection by InAisce, designed by a New Yorker called Jona.

Here’s how Trendland describes the collection:

 Jona of InAisce developed a unisex line of clothes that melds the lines between mythical and avant garde fashion. Drawing on homelessness as inspiration for the collection “Seeking Aether” transports us to multiple landscapes. 

And here’s CoolHunting, raising the stakes:

The line’s sinuous draping and streamlined silhouettes, however, effortlessly melded into androgynous geometry, garnishing a unisex following and establishing InAisce as a transcendent force. Blurring the lines between sartorial ingenuity and mythical intrigue, InAisce explores “homelessness” as a transient quest in search of one’s origins with “Seeking Aether.”

Note the difference between homelessness and “homelessness.” Subtle but telling!

I’m going to “garnish” the CoolHunting “writer” with the Most Pathetic Journalism of the Week™ award, for not knowing the meaning of the word garnish.  She was thinking of “garner” but even that would have been pretentious. Better to stick with “earning a following” or “acquiring a following.”  In any case, G words are not interchangeable, girl!

Can somebody make me a cute little MPJOTW™ thingie that I can use for this coveted new award?* Just send it to sisterwolf666@gmail    xoxo
*Thanks to Sue Davis!

When Can We Talk About Depression?

Thursday, January 17th, 2013


Like everyone else, I am heartbroken by the loss of Aaron Swartz, 26, who hung himself last week. He was by all accounts an amazing person. He used his brilliance in technology to advance the cause of a free internet.  He was a passionate activist whose antics led to serious charges that could have ended in decades of jail time.  Naturally, there is cause to question and condemn the over-zealous prosecutor who seemed intent on punishing Aaron in the worst way possible. Living under this threat and its attendant stress must have been difficult.

But nobody in Aaron’s world seems to want to talk about depression. Maybe they feel that being driven to suicide by the dark forces of the corporate-government complex is more noble than a loss in the struggle with clinical depression. In forums and editorials about Aaron’s death, those who bring up Aaron’s admitted depression are scolded with “Now is not the time!”

But now is the time. Now is always the time. If you don’t understand depression, here is a good place to start. If you want statistics on college suicide, go here.  Read about the stigma of depression in the tech world here. Read Aaron’s blog post about his depression here. You already know that more US soldiers now die from suicide than in combat.

Suicide is preventable. Not in every case, obviously. But awareness and education and the dedication of friends and loved ones can and does make a difference. This website,, is the first step in learning  how you can help and what words to use with a friend who might be thinking of ending his life. is another good resource.  Feeling hopeless and seeing no end in sight can make death seem like the only option. Empathy and affection can persuade the depressed person that things can change.

I wish I could have comforted Aaron Swartz until he felt strong enough to go on. I wish I had stayed up with Max and held his hand until the beginning of a new day. We can’t go back in time but we can try our best to break someone’s fall if we are mindful and courageous enough to make the effort.


Intermezzo My Ass

Monday, January 14th, 2013

Intermezzo was a movie starring Ingrid Bergman, and of course it’s a musical term. Now it’s also a drug for people who wake up in the middle of the night. I’ve seen ads for Intermezzo at least ten times tonight while watching TV. In the last week, I must have seen the ad 100 times. I almost know the side effects by heart. (In depressed patients, there is a risk of suicide. Not suicidal ideation, but suicide.)

You might also drive, eat or engage in “other activities” while not fully awake, without remembering the event the next day. Other abnormal behaviors include aggression, confusion, hallucinations and agitation. Common side effects are headaches, nausea and fatigue.

Is it worth all this shit for a few hours of drugged sleep? It is right to market Intermezzo as a brand new drug when it’s just Ambien at a lower dose?  Why this deluge of  TV commercials? I can answer the last question:

“Facing lower-than-expected demand for sleep drug Intermezzo, Purdue Pharma and Transcept Pharmaceuticals are broadening the commercial strategy to include DTC and a larger selling force.

Intermezzo is a sublingual version of Sanofi’s blockbuster insomnia pill Ambien (zolpidem). But the new formulation, approved in November 2011 and introduced earlier this year, has had a lethargic launch. Hence, the firms are rolling out a $29-million DTC ad campaign and, for the first time, tapping into Purdue’s analgesics sales force of 525 reps to call on PCPs and retail pharmacies. Another 90 contract reps will detail specialists.

“There are a few ads for Lunesta out there, but the market has been fairly quiet,” said Transcept president/CEO Glenn Oclassen on a conference call this morning. “So we get to take fullest possible advantage of that and believe this level of expenditure will be sufficient to get the impact being sought.” (more here)

Oh no, the ad is playing again RIGHT NOW! Unbelievable.  I won’t be happy about this until the lawsuits start rolling in.

A Poll for the Ladies

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

Which one do you want more?


The Unbearable Softness of Being

Monday, January 7th, 2013

I went to see my psychiatrist when he returned from his three week vacation. Before I could make a peremptory statement about my hair, he said brightly: “New Hair!”

He had no idea what I’ve been through, hair-wise. This is the new corrected hair, a desperate follow-up to the horror of the Real Housewives hair. It is so much better, right? But still a shock to my system and a challenge to my identity.

I started to say something about the hair and he continued happily, “It’s a softer look.”

Naturally, I took umbrage and we talked about hair and self-image for the rest of the psychiatric hour.

I don’t want a softer look, first of all, because that implies that my former look was hard, or harsh. I don’t want a softer look because I don’t want to project “softness.” If I have to project anything, I would choose tough. Then he confused me further by calling my former look “forbidding.” I argued that I wasn’t trying to look forbidding but merely “attractive.”

Then we had to define the audience I wanted to appear attractive to. I explained that I wanted to be attractive to the guy in the next lane if I wanted to cut in front of him. If I’m attractive, he will smile and gesture me into his lane. Being attractive is a tool in one’s social arsenal.

We talked about black hair and red lipstick, which I defended as a classic look, citing Snow White, Betty Page, and Veronica in “Archie” comics.  If you have black hair and pale skin, you need to work with what you have. You’re not going to be a California blond, after all. The way I look is pretty consistent with how I looked at eighteen. Clearly, in the eyes of my shrink, I looked like a kooky Goth or maybe a biker/dominatrix.

I had to deconstruct my appearance and think about the message it sends to the world. We are all attempting to project something with our hairstyles and fashion choices. I’d rather not think about it but I discovered that above all I want to look attractive, while still being true to who I think I am. I want to look fuckable and intriguing but I don’t want to look fashionable and I don’t feel comfortable in prints or high heels. I don’t want a Softer Look. I hate change. If I’m not projecting the right Me, I will have to dye my hair black and find a new way to distract myself from the bludgeoning pain of existence. I will also have wasted a fucking ton of money.

Thoughts, confessions, insults?