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Deep Throat Revealed?

Is former FBI official W. Mark Felt Deep Throat? Looks that way. And I have to say I'm disappointed. There were so many more interesting possibilities ...

Updated: The MSNBC story has additional details.

Note: A few hours after I posted the original entry, above, Woodward and Bernstein (as well as the Post) confirmed that Felt was indeed DT.

More updates: The New York Times coverage, of course, is excellent. But for real in-depth coverage you have to go to the source. Today's Washington Post coverage is a must read (permanent link here). (Registration required for both--totally worth it in my opinion.)

Post staffer Hank Steuver writes what I've been thinking: "What could be more of a letdown than finding out who Deep Throat is? Finding it out in Vanity Fair?" The Post has also started a Deep Throat Revealed Blog.

And finally, you can read the Vanity Fair article here. It's also available in PDF format for a more magazine-like reading experience. I haven't had time to read it yet. I'll tell you what, though -- I'm more interested in how Vanity Fair got the story than I am about Felt himself.

Another update: Read the story behind the story -- how Vanity Fair scooped the Post on DT's identity -- in this Post story.


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The Losing 24-Hour Short Story

Remember the 24-hour short story contest sponsored by Writer's Weekly that I entered about a month ago? Well, in case you forgot, you can read that entry here.

Yeah, I told you I wouldn't win. So, as promised, I'm posting my story here. You can also read the winning entries here. I'd be curious to know what you think. But keep in mind that I wrote the story in one day and I haven't edited it since then. OK, I fixed one or two small things. God, I'm such a liar.

Small Sacrifices

From the very beginning, Susan understood that Harry was not a reader. She was aware that such people existed, although she'd never met any of them. People who weren't good readers. People who considered reading a chore. People for whom finishing a book took so long that by the time they'd finished it -- if they ever did finish it -- they'd forgotten what had happened at the beginning of the story. Yes, Susan knew that there were people like this and that Harry was one of them.

She liked him anyway.

When they first met, she thought maybe he didn't like to read because he hadn't tried to read the right books. So she bought him books about sports and adventures and she bought him collections of short stories and thrillers and the Harry Potter books that so many people of all different ages loved so much. These presents gathered dust on his coffee table until finally she picked them up and asked to borrow them, hating to see them go unread. And he would raise his eyebrows and give her that queer look of his, as if to say he suspected all along she'd only bought them for herself.

Which was partly true, of course. But still.

They were married quickly, within a year, because he'd gotten a job in Washington, D.C., they'd had a chance to buy an old house dirt cheap, and he had decided it would be better for both of them, legally speaking, if they were married when they bought it. It was a fixer-upper, a row house below 16th street, with two floors of potential and a damp basement. They packed their things in a U-Haul truck and left New England the day after the wedding ceremony, which was at the Town Hall in his home town. They had no reception and no honeymoon, unless you counted the 10-hour drive to D.C. (Which, if you'd been there, you would not.)

The first sign of trouble was when he complained that her boxes of books were too heavy, and said that she would have to leave them behind. She insisted on bringing them, though, saying she would carry the boxes herself. And she did carry them herself, down two flights of stairs from her old apartment and into the truck and then out of the truck and up two flights of stairs into the new house. He didn't relent, he never offered to help her, even though it was so much hotter and more humid than they were used to and her face was bright red and slick with sweat.

One night a few months after moving they were in bed together and she was reading a book and he told her to turn out the light and she murmured "just one more page and I'm done with this chapter" and he leaned right across her body and clicked off the light on her side of the bed. She'd laughed and turned it back on, thinking he was just teasing. But when the light illuminated his face she'd seen his wounded, angry eyes and had known he was not kidding. She smiled and said "Oh" and put the book down and leaned toward him to gather him into her arms but when she tried to kiss him he'd pulled away and rolled over and told her sharply that he was tired.

"Lights out," he said.

Confused, she'd turned the lights out.

The next time he pulled that trick she turned the light back on. But this time she wasn't smiling. This time she didn't care how he looked at her. Or didn't look at her.

"I have two more pages 'till the end of the chapter," she said, trying for a light but firm tone, as if he were a child who merely needed to be taught a lesson about being polite.

She was distracted from her reading by the tension radiating from his body, by the pout and the scowl that she knew he wore, even though she couldn't see his face.

The following night when she went to bed the lamp on her side of the bed was gone. And she knew right then that she had a decision to make. Would she take the easy way out? Or would she do this the hard way? The decision was complicated by the fact that, by this time, she was pregnant. She was still considering when he climbed into bed and, _click_, out went the one remaining light. He rolled over, his rigid back to her, and she lay awake in the dark, her book open on her lap right before her blinded eyes, and wondered what had ever possessed her to marry a man who didn't like to read.

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Years later, when her mother died, Chloe came home to plan the funeral and tend to the estate. She stayed in the townhouse below 16th street, which had become, over the decades, a fashionable neighborhood. A glass of wine in one hand, boxes and packing tape in the other, Chloe padded into the second-floor library, which was shelved from floor to ceiling in books. Her mother's daughter, she had read almost every volume in the room, save for some dusty old books in the far corner on the topmost shelf. As she ran her fingers along their familiar spines, she couldn't imagine parting with any of them. She dragged a stool over to the back corner and reached up for one of the dusty old volumes that she'd never read. These, at least, she might be able to sell.

She reached up and pulled down a book. When she did so, she noticed a large book with gold lettering lying on its side behind the others. She pulled it from its hiding place, dislodging other books as she did so. When she opened the cover, she discovered that a crude, square area had been cut out of the pages in the center of the book. Inside the hole she saw a glint of gold - a man's wedding band with an unusual scrolled design. She recognized the ring from photographs and realized that the severed finger must have belonged to her father, missing all these years. When she looked at that finger bone and the gold wedding band, she didn't really feel anything, mostly because she never knew her father -- he'd gone missing before she was even born.

The only thing her mother ever said about him was that he didn't like to read.

Things I Hate About My New Job

Don't get me wrong, I'm pretty damn happy at my new job. It's challenging enough to keep me engaged but not so hard that I could burst into tears at any moment. The closest I've come to crying so far was at the end of my first week, when one of the nice HR folks came into my office and said she just wanted to let me know how happy they were to have me here. Yeah, I welled up. I might have been a tiny little bit tired.

That having been said (as they say in reality television before they vote someone out of the game) here are a few things that I hate about my new job.

Weekend warriors. Now I have to do my errands on the weekends with all the other idiots. And yes, I count myself among them. Last weekend on the way home from the mall someone beeped at me to let me know that I was driving poorly. After trying to cram two week's worth of errands into one Saturday morning, I wished there was some way I could let the guy know that he was totally right.

Idiot drivers. Although I have an easy commute, I do have to share the road with the other idiots who are on their way to and from school and work. And yes, I count myself among them, too. At the end of the day I can go for three whole blocks without paying any attention whatsoever to what I'm doing. Pretty soon, as I get more used to the drive, I'll be able to get all the way home on autopilot. My advice: get out of my way and don't try to say I didn't warn you.

Being a fashion victim. You would think that a woman in her 30s would be perfectly capable of getting dressed in the morning and wouldn't have to try on three different outfits at a minimum. But you would be wrong. I have been working in my pajamas since 2000. It turns out I no longer know how to dress myself.

Performance anxiety. I've been working from home for so long I'd forgotten what it was like to go to the bathroom with other people in the room. People who are listening to what you are doing. People who might recognize your shoes.

Work stoppages. When my body senses it is in a foreign environment, it has the tendency to shut down production. When I'm at work, my body thinks I'm on vacation no matter how much coffee I drink. I used to know a girl who would sneak home from work to go to the bathroom. Now I'm on the verge of becoming that girl.

OK, sorry for the graphic descriptions of my, uh, driving skills. And don't tell me to put out my outfit the night before. Because I live in New England, and in order to plan your outfit the night before you have to have some inkling of what the weather is going to be like the next day.


Lucky Brains

You have to read this article in the science section of today’s New York Times, if only for wonderful lines such as “The late 19th and early 20th centuries were the ‘golden age’ of brain collecting,” and “They [the brains] see a lot of action in the elementary schools around here.”

Anthony!

Anthony Athanas, the owner of Anthony's Pier 4 and other restaurants in the Boston area, died on Friday at age 93.

Anthony's Pier 4 is the place to go in the Boston area for graduations, special birthdays, new jobs, and other big occasions and celebrations. It's also a mandatory stop on the campaign trail for Boston politicians and a major tourist trap.

The food is good but not great, the setting is dark and old-fashioned, the wait for a table is famously long, the service is spotty and the prices are outrageous. But there's also the spectacular views of Boston's waterfront, the foyer walls that are covered from floor to ceiling with photographs of celebrities and politicians who've dined there, and Anthony himself, who really was a Boston institution.

Anthony was a tiny little guy with a great big goofy smile. He was at the restaurant seven days a week, seating customers and watching over the waiters and darting in and out of the kitchen and making the rounds of the tables, chatting with customers and congratulating them on whatever they were celebrating.

The Boston Globe touched on some of the reasons that Anthony was a Boston institution in this article and in his obituary, but I don't think those articles totally capture what this consummate host was really like.

baker a

This picture was taken at my mother's 50th birthday celebration. See, that's the thing about Anthony Athanas--he wasn't just nice to politicians and celebrities. From Billy Bulger to Don Rickles to my own mom and dad, he treated everyone like they were his best customers.
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Future Sociopaths of America

I was recently at the pet store with the dog, when I felt a tug on the leash and realized she was trying to run away from something. Her tail was tucked between her legs, her little feet were scrambling for purchase on the slick floor, her belly was as low to the ground as I’ve ever seen it, and her eyes were as wide as saucers. She was terrified.

Meanwhile a boy, about 12 or 13 years old, was standing nearby doing that horrible loud fake-sounding laugh that boys that age do. I asked him what happened. “Oh, I made a growling noise like this,” he says—and at this he makes this really scary low growling noise, sending the dog back into a panic again. “HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!”

“You think that’s funny?” I said. “Scaring a little dog?” I was a little mad and so I probably sounded a little mean, but it's not like I smacked the kid or anything. Which, by the way, he totally deserved.

At this point two men came over and demanded to know what I was saying to their little bully. When I explained one of the guys said "OK, but he’s just a kid." And the tone in his voice suggested that I was the one with the problem. At this point I really should have walked away.

“Yeah,” I said, “But it’s a sign of something, you know?”

“A sign of what?” he said.

“Sociopathy?” I suggested.

“Are you saying he’s a sociopath?” (The guy is yelling now.)

“Well no,” I said. “Not yet.”
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You too, Shushy

This morning I got “shushed” by someone. I was standing in line at CVS, buying a pair of nude nylon knee highs (which, when you are as pale as I am, look more like suntan—they really need to come out with a shade called “pasty white” or “vampire” or something) and the guy asked me if I have a CVS extra care card and I said that I didn't, but would he give me the sales price anyway, as the knee-highs were buy one get one half off? And he didn’t say anything, so I repeated myself.

And then he put his finger to his lips and shushed me.

“Did you just shush me?” I asked.

“All I meant by it was that you don’t have to go on and on,” he said.

“Oh,” I said. “As long as that’s all you meant.”
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Posting by Email

So I've been working full-time for three and a half days now and I have never been so exhausted in my entire life. Since I can barely keep my eyes open on the drive home, I have no idea how I'm going to keep up with my blogging. I thought I'd try posting via e-mail, which should be quicker and easier than posting from the web. Unless, of course, it doesn't work ...

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Mmmmm, Toothpaste

Now that I'm a working jerk, I'm going to have to start reading Dilbert more regularly. Yesterday Dilbert creator Scott Adams started a "first day on the job" series. Click here for the first one, then click next. My first day of work was *nothing* like that, though. Well, except maybe for the stress hump.

You know what else is good? Toothpaste for Dinner. My favorites: Bigfoot is your new cubicle-mate and The first rule of work club.
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Creative Visualization II

Starting Something New



My mother's creative visualization is very powerful stuff. So I asked her to draw something for all of you who are about to embark on something new--whether it's a new job or a new phase in your life or even if your dream-come-true is still waiting for you somewhere down the road.

Here's to sunny days, peace, happiness, well-being and success in all of life's ventures and adventures.
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Reporters Flex Ethical Muscles

My friend RCAS sent me a link to this article on journalism ethics. Researchers at Louisiana State University, using the classic Defining Issues Test, found reporters to be more ethical than the average adult. Surprise, surprise: They're right up there on the ethical scale with doctors, medical students, seminarians and philosophers.

Obviously, unethical professionals, whether they are doctors, lawyers, politicians, priests or journalists, unfairly color people's perceptions of the profession as a whole. The vast majority of working journalists take great pride in their work and wouldn't knowingly do anything to damage their careers, their reputations, and their credibility. I believe that, just as I believe that not all cops are corrupt and abusive and not all lawyers are greedy and not all surgeons would leave their patient on the operating table to go cash their paycheck and buy some illegal drugs. These are the exceptions to the rule.

On the other hand, journalists as a group are pretty smart. They tend to know a little bit about a lot of things. Things like classic ethical scenarios, for example. I think it's likely that the typical journalists could take a scenario like this one and figure out the "right" answers. The same could be said for the seminarians and philosophers, who would of course be familiar with ethical scenarios, and who happened to score the highest of all groups.

What I'm saying is that I'm not surprised that the reporters* in this study can make ethical choices. The question is whether or not they do.

* (or anyone else)
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Watch, Bark, Repeat

I wonder what the dog will do all day now that I'll be at work all day? I'm thinking it will probably look a lot like this:


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The Gienna Club

In this picture there are two Taylors, a Lisa, a Sarah, a Destiny, and a Gienna. There aren't that many of us out there, you know. In fact, I bet there are more people named Destiny than there are named Gienna. So, can you guess which one of these sunny Midwestern Girl Scouts is the Gienna? Yeah, she's the one in the back with her arms folded defensively in front of her and a puss on her face. Poor Gienna. I want to tell her that someday she will be happy that she isn't a Taylor, a Lisa, or a Sarah. Although I have a hunch that she's already glad she's not a Destiny.
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Right Place; Wrong Time

About a week ago, I was standing beneath a magnolia tree looking up and marveling at how the pink petals glowed in the sunlight against the bright blue sky. I didn't have my camera with me and I forgot to go back.

And then I saw this photograph by ViSuaLLyMiNDeD. I loved it so much that I wanted to try it myself. I didn't think I was going to get as good a photograph as she did, but I wanted to at least try.

Anyway, It was a bright sunny day and the sky was a beautiful deep blue. But the tree was past its prime. Most of the petals had fallen from the tree and the ones that were left were limp and brown instead of pert and pink.

From a distance, the tree didn't look too bad:



But attempting a shot similar to the one that ViSuaLLyMiNDeD took didn't work at all:



Mostly because the majority of the petals were on the ground:



Lesson learned: Always bring the damn camera with you.
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A Rainy Day on the North Shore ...

... is still prettier than a sunny day anywhere else.



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