A plethora

If you do a Google Image Search on “pumpkin throwing up,” you’ll find many options to choose from.

Amy Wallace: “The Last Email Garry Shandling Ever Sent Me”


Another moving tribute:

I will never forget calling my editor at GQ after spending my first four hours with Garry Shandling. I was sitting in my car outside Garry’s house in Mandeville Canyon. “I feel like I’m going to cry,” I said into the phone. The connection I’d just had with Shandling was so intense that I distinctly remember the lump in my throat, and my marveling at it being there. The interview had gone well – startlingly so. I interview famous, smart people all the time. And Garry was a funny, famous, smart person. He’d made me laugh. So why did I feel like bawling?

I didn’t actually cry that day back in 2010, but I’m crying now. Garry Shandling died? The world has lost a brilliant mind—the comic genius (an overused word that is entirely justified in this case) who created The Larry Sanders Show and, in a very real sense, countless shows that followed it, from Seinfeld to The Office to Curb Your Enthusiasm and beyond. And I’ve lost a wise, perceptive friend. “Make the spiritual search more important than the problem,” he told me once. Better than anyone I know, he understood that the search was the destination, that messiness was better than tidiness, that the complexity that makes us suffer also is the source of all beauty.

[The Last Email Garry Shandling Ever Sent Me / Amy Wallace / GQ]

This may shock you: Hillary Clinton is fundamentally honest 

Jill Abramson, former executive editor, New York Times:

I would be “dead rich”, to adapt an infamous Clinton phrase, if I could bill for all the hours I’ve spent covering just about every “scandal” that has enveloped the Clintons. As an editor I’ve launched investigations into her business dealings, her fundraising, her foundation and her marriage. As a reporter my stories stretch back to Whitewater. I’m not a favorite in Hillaryland. That makes what I want to say next surprising.

Hillary Clinton is fundamentally honest and trustworthy.

That’s my opinion as well. The Clintons have been surrounded by a smokescreen generated by their political enemies, who twist and distort innocent facts and minor offenses to make the Clintons appear dishonest. In fact, they are quite honest – by political standards.

Those last three words are mighty important. They’re honest people in a dirty business, where you have to be dirty to succeed.

Of all of Hillary Clinton’s political opponents over the years, only Bernie Sanders brings up what’s really the worst thing about her: A vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote to preserve the status quo: More big money in politics, more big institutional solutions to everything,  more imperialism.

Hillary Clinton’s two biggest problems are that “vast, right-wing conspiracy” (to use her phrase) and her secretiveness. Much of that secretiveness is understandable. When there really is a conspiracy out to get you, you’re going to act paranoid. But it’s unacceptable in a President. It’s been bad in Obama, and it would likely be worse in the Clinton White House.

But I’ll vote for her anyway. What are the alternatives?

This may shock you: Hillary Clinton is fundamentally honest [Jill Abramson – The Guardian]

Writer Gary Shteyngart writes a brief, moving tribute to his friend Garry Shandling

Several years ago, I was about to fly from LAX to Hawaii’s Big Island. The flight attendant came over and asked me, “Mr. Shandling, would you care for water, juice, or champagne?” I laughed. In high school, kids used to call me Garry Shandling, presumably because our names have some similarities and because I was always trying to be funny. I was about to tell the flight attendant, “Just call me Gary,” which is what I say whenever anyone is about to mangle my last name. And then I looked at the empty seat next to me and it dawned on me. My seatmate for the next six hours was going to be the man whose hair style I had tried to copy through most of high school, with much hair mousse and little success. The man I wanted to be if I ever grew up, because he made people laugh while he told them the truth, which, back in the late eighties and early nineties, was still a novelty.

Shandling plopped into the window seat. He was, like most male celebrities I’ve met, perfectly muscular and trim. He had three books with him, whose titles I now forget, and I think he intended to read all of them during the long flight. I mentioned the similarities in our names, and for the next six hours we couldn’t stop talking. I can’t even remember about what. I drank nervously, trying to time my jokes along with his. My jokes were straining and full of strategies; his were effortless—not jokes at all but bulletins from a complicated man travelling through a particularly funny band of the space-time continuum. We were staying at different resorts, and he invited my then-fiancée and me to dinner at his place.

[Garry Shandling’s Benevolent Spirit / Gary Shteyngart / The New Yorker]

When these guys move house, they REALLY mean it

B8878251Z.1_20160328160215_000GFFF7IDR.2-0_r900x493The San Diego Union-Tribune has an article and slideshow about the house that was moved by truck from Hillcrest on the way to eventually rest in Chula Vista.

A roughly 11-ton Hillcrest house was lifted off the ground and on to a semi-truck using hydraulic jacks Monday morning with plans to eventually move it to Chula Vista.

Sold for $1, a developer plans to rent out the property, along with five other old homes, on a lot he owns. Homeowner Anne Wilson said it was cheaper for her to sell her house than demolish it.

“It’s been a wonderful house,” she said outside her two-bedroom, one bath home on Vermont Street.

Wilson, who bought the 800-square-foot home in 1993, recently decided to knock down the place and build a new, three-floor house with the top floor to be used as a rental.

Garnell Fitz-Henley “has bought a dozen used homes and found new uses for them over the last 17 years,” working with developers.

He said it makes more sense to reuse homes then tear them down because of all the materials that would just go into a landfill. Also, he said the talent and energy of original laborers on the home is lost when it is destroyed.

Sold for $1, Hillcrest home heads south [Phillip Molnar – The San Diego Union-Tribune]

Garry Shandling and Jerry Seinfeld joke about life and death in a video released just weeks ago

Shandling appeared on Jerry Seinfeld’s “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” in an episode titled “It’s Great That Garry Shandling Is Still Alive.”

“So it turns out I had a hyper parathyroid gland that was undiagnosed because the symptoms mirror the exact same symptoms an older Jewish man would have,” Shandling says, “which is lethargic, you get puffy, you get heavy, you think you kind of want a divorce but you’re not married.”

They talk and joke about getting older, look back on what it was like starting out, their careers doing sitcoms in the 90s, death, and Robin Williams’ suicide. Shandling makes a joke about his own suicide note.

It’s funny, sad, and poignant. Shandling and Seinfeld seem to be having a good time.

[It’s Great That Garry Shandling Is Still Alive / Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee]

“My Heroic and Lazy Stand Against IFTTT”

Imagine if your sewer pipe started demanding that you make major changes in your diet.

Now imagine that it got a lawyer and started asking you to sign things.

You would feel surprised.

This is the position I find myself in today with IFTTT, a form of Internet plumbing that has been connecting peaceably to my backend for the past five years, but which has recently started sending scary emails.

Maciej Ceglowski, who develops the excellent Pinboard.in online bookmarking service says IFTTT, an Internet service that connects things to other things, wants him to use a proprietary API to connect his thing (Pinboard.in) to their thing (IFTTT). They’re requiring him to agree to onerous terms of service, too, he says.

In a nutshell:

IFTTT wants me to do their job for them for free

They have really squirrely terms of service

Ceglowski is an excellent writer, and this is an outstanding rant. I’m keeping my pitchfork and torch at the ready, but waiting to hear what IFTTT has to say before I brandish them.

I’ve been using Pinboard for years, and using Pinboard in conjunction with IFTTT almost as long. I’d dislike for them to have a falling out.

My Heroic and Lazy Stand Against IFTTT [Maciej Ceglowski – Pinboard Blog]


Charlie Jane Anders learns vital storytelling lessons from Buffy the Vampire Slayer


I’ve been taking a break for a month from creative writing, due to a heavy travel schedule. But now the schedule has lightened up so it’s time to get back into it.

Also, time for a “Buffy” re-watch.

Like Charlie Jane, we came to “Buffy” late. Our first episode was Season 3, the episode where Spike comes back to town and he’s bereft because Drusilla dumped him. It was one of the show’s best episodes by far, and a great choice for first. Genre TV often doesn’t work out that way — you’ve been hearing people rave about some fantastic program and you pick an episode at random and you dive in and it turns out to be one that even the show’s die-hard fans think is a steaming turd. (“Brain? What is brain?”)

A friend says “Buffy” shows that if you mix two or more cliches, you can get something fresh and original. Vampires, vampire hunters, Chosen Ones, and high school emo are all cliches. But a show about an emo high school girl vampire hunter? Brilliant!

Giles’ character was terrific. He was a cartoon English expat at first. I know expat Brits, even a couple who live in Southern California. None of them resemble Giles. None of the English people I know in England are like Giles. No English people anywhere in the world are anything like Giles. But as “Buffy” played out we saw that Giles’ manner was a conscious persona, compensating – perhaps overcompensating – for a dark past.

Still: Tweeds? In Southern California? Maybe you could get away with that in winter but even then you have to pick your days.

Oh, hell, Giles was a cartoon. But he was great anyway.

Spike turned out to be compensating in the opposite direction. His Cockney accent sounded fake because it was.

But back to Charlie Jane: The more I read about her writing philosophy, the higher her novel climbs on my to-be-read list.

[10 Vital Storytelling Lessons I Learned From Buffy the Vampire Slayer / Charlie Jane Anders / io9]

FBI Drops iPhone Case Against Apple After Outside Hack Succeeds

The Justice Department asked a federal judge in California court to vacate its petition to force Apple to help it hack the phone. “The government has now successfully accessed the data stored on Farook’s iPhone and therefore no longer requires the assistance from Apple Inc. mandated by Court’s Order,” the filing reads.

The filing doesn’t elaborate on the method used, nor does it hint at any of the information revealed. What it means is that the FBI has achieved a method to access the data stored on the phone, circumventing its security features.

While this case is now moot, there “may well be similar conflicts down the road,” a Justice Department spokeswoman says.

FBI Drops iPhone Case Against Apple After Outside Hack Succeeds [Arik Hesseldahl – re/code]