Bless you, Mr. Vonnegut...

Photo of Kurt Vonnegut by Fred R. Conrad of The New York Times

I learned at John Dufresne's blog that Vonnegut had died at 84 after a fall. So as to pass muster with the library cyberpatrol which sometimes blocks John, I 'll merely say, "Durn!" Katherine Graham died the same way and at the same age almost six years ago. In Vonnegut's memory, here's the saga of the faux 1997 commencement address from James S. Huggins (email--if you delete "FIXME"). And here's a poignant memorial from KurtVonnegut.com (2005, 2006), which is maintained by silkscreen artist Joe Petro III. (email)


John is thinking of travelling to a spa with fish in the bathtub to cure his psoriasis after reading this article in the Guardian. He may want to go grab some olive oil and/or vitamin E ampules to alternate with an aplication of Pretty Feet and Hands after he looks at this virtual tour of "Kangal psoriasis fishy treatment center" which Blue World Travel - Deren Koray Tourism--mentioned in the article--posted at its site. Or it could be a Short Story Waiting to Be Written. Here's its description of the accomodations:

A first class section having private bath, a minibar, ground based central heating system, spacious and well furnished rooms, internal telephone communication system is widely preferable for staying. A second class section rooms has also private bath however the rooms are more smaller, and having lack of features that A class offers. As a recommendation of our company, we encourage our patients to stay at A class section of the treatment center.

Unlike the other accommodation types, the center can be called as hotel however due to the strict rules of the treatment, patients must take healthy precautions like bringing their own belongings necessary for overnight stays such as towels, sleepers, soaps or shampoos. Those can also be obtained from mini market placed at the base level of the building....

Treatment center also boasts with the fresh and very clean weather all year round thanks to the isolated location from the main city. Also visitors and the patients gets the advantage of high altitude (1650 mt from the sea level), the sunny sky during the 280 days of the year. Due to the high level of altitude, the UV rays which is essentially good for the skin, gives a physical and side effect for the derm having psoriasis of the patients.


Speaking of sunny skies--it's cold and rainy as I write this--it was almost Spring on March 8 and House Commmittee on Foreign Affairs Chairman Tom Lantos (D-CA)'s thoughts must have been turning to the growing season (of discontent with the Administration) in this statement at the “Foreign Assistance Reform” hearing (video). I think this qualifies as the Quote of the Day.

Mr. Ambassador – in Administration policies by individuals who come from the corporate world, where the top-down approach is the preferred modus operandi, and are thrust into a Congressional climate where persuading members of Congress, recognizing its function as a coequal branch of government, is a more accepted modus operandi.

I call this “tycoonitis” – people who come from the top of the corporate ladder who consider Congressional suggestions, requests for information, and participation in decision-making as intruding on their turf.

Ambassador Randall Tobias, as the first-ever Director of Foreign Assistance, you have been on the job for over a year. Your task was to reshape -- carefully, delicately -- and to bring order to our country’s tangled thicket of assistance efforts overseas. Instead, it appears to many members of this committee, you took to it with a weed-whacker. And the results are predictably unfortunate....

We are not a potted plant watching the Administration function. We are part of the decision-making process.

Wonder what Lantos thinks about the recess appointments?