Thursday, March 12, 2009

The news hole

The "news hole" is a term from my newspaper days, meaning that gaping maw of blank space that has to be filled with stories for each edition. The news hole is like a black hole, except you have to fill it with something.

Living in an information s
ociety, we are constantly in need of, um, information. I remember when Marilyn and I walked into a Borders after our first book was published. There it was, Disco Nixon, taking up an entire table, gleaming under spotlights and screaming, “Here I am!” And after not too long it was gone from its prominent place, lost on a shelf on the second floor, just another of the 50,000 books published in 1995. Fifty thousand! Who has time to read 50?

In the world of 24-hour news, including TV and cable TV as well as website after website, there is also a news hole. Madoff victims are helping fill it (and hey, I’m glad to see Bernie was led off to jail today). I have had some interesting requests for interviews -- French television, a chain of German newspapers, Fox News, Inside Edition, and Geraldo, among others. I've been turning them down, though a free trip to France might have swayed me on the first one, but it was not in the offing. My stepmother Cynthia is so tired of media requests that she doesn’t even reply to them any more. CBS News, who cares? Katie who?

I don’t particularly enjoy seeing myself on television, unless there is
a larger point to be gained from it, and that mostly doesn't seem to be the case. It’s interesting to be in this position, fielding these sort of calls and requests, getting a feel for what it’s like to be on the opposite end of the news hole. It involves a lot of inconvenience, with the added risk of being misquoted or portrayed inaccurately. The opportunities it creates are largely opportunities to be interviewed by more reporters.

But that’s not the big news around here. Marilyn and I are swamped with our home remodeling project, which is in one of the circles of Hell. While this will net us a nicer place to live, that’s not the purpose. We are preparing our home for sale. Bernie Madoff is making us free up our equity, such as it is. The contractor is here every day, creating noise and dust and requiring us to make a thousand decisions about everything, including the kitchen sink. So what’s more important to us than Geraldo is finding the right shower valve for the new tub in the master bath, running to Home Depot to pick up pavers for the downstairs patio, deciding whether the reverse osmosis faucet in the kitchen should be brushed nickel or brushed stainless steel.

Oh, yes. CLL is in there somewhere. I need to schedule a visit with my hem/onc in Scottsdale but that has to be coordinated with the arrival of our special-order shower pan for the hall bath, which we have to pick up down there next week sometime.

This house is our news hole. The remodel monster needs to be fed. And did I mention, speaking of feeding, that mice had chewed through the insulation and some of the wiring in our carport ceiling?

These are the issues I am living with front and center, surrounded by a jumble of boxes and furniture covered with dust, topped with that cherry known as sleep deprivation. Geraldo can wait.

A tip for fellow remodelers

If you want 10% off at Lowe's (and by extension Home Depot, since they accept competitors' coupons) get thee to a US Post Office and find a "moving kit." Inside there will be a Lowe's coupon for 10% off, good until June 30. (It's amusing to see that people are selling these on eBay, raiding post offices from coast to coast and making upwards of 20 bucks for lots of 10 coupons.)


Anonymous said...


I stumbled across your site by looking at information about Dr. Castro. My mother sees him. She was diagnosed with CLL two years ago. Yes, everyone said "no problem" as CLL is the type of cancer you want to get if you have to have it. What a laugh. She immediately began being plagued by hemolytic anemia (warm antibody). She's been treated with rituxan (one cycle last year) and as of February 2009 rituxan and bendamustine. She has been plagued with infections and has had 14 units of blood in the last 18 months. I hate to hear of your experiences but have to admit there is some comfort in reading another person's story which resonates with me and my mother. I guess misery loves company and it is somewhat comforting to know you're not alone. Best wishes for you and thank you for sharing your story.

Anonymous said...

Anon and David
I guess it depends at what stage you are diagnosed? My partner is high stage 1 - diagnosed 2 years ago and so far, wouldn't knew he had CLL. Only found out through blood tests for other things. He was 38 when diagnosed. Of course, I am aware that things will probably progress and symptoms will appear in time. Meanwhile, I keep reminding myself of living in the now and doing things now - you just don't know what the future holds. That applies to everyone, not just people with diagnosed illnesses. Make it count now. It's been a massive wake up call to me as I always put things off until the future but not anymore. Who knows? there is no guarantee I will be here tomorrow!
Best wishes

Anonymous said...


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debbiedoesraw said...

Hi David
I have CLL, dx 2 years ago. I turn 50 in May.
I have been able to lower my WBC using a raw foods diet.. come see what I am doing;