Thursday Evening Open Thread: Hope for the Rest of Us

I tend to approach cooking the way I do nuclear physics — it’s a very important occupation that should be left to those who enjoy that kind of work. But the Smitten Kitchen slow-roasted tomatoes have enriched my life & that of the Spousal Unit, so there’s a cookbook on my Winter Solstice gift list this year. From the NYTimes, “Self-Taught Cook, Best-Selling Cookbook“:

… Increasingly she turned to writing about the recipes she was trying as her interest in cooking deepened in parallel to her relationship. Nine years later Mrs. Perelman, who never trained as a chef or even worked in a restaurant, has an established cooking blog,, and she’s extended her franchise with “The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook,” which was published in October by Knopf.

The book made its debut at No. 2 on The New York Times’s best-seller list for hardcover advice and miscellaneous. It has been in the Top 5 ever since, putting Mrs. Perelman in glorified company with writers like Ina Garten of “Barefoot Contessa” fame and the chef Thomas Keller.

Mrs. Perelman said she is as surprised as anyone. “Don’t ask me what I am doing there, I really don’t know,” she said, laughing.

Transferring readers — even loyal ones — from a blog to a book is tricky business. Editors say there is no magic formula for knowing which bloggers have audiences that are invested enough in them to purchase an expensive hardcover when much of the material is available free online…

Mrs. Perelman, 36, offers no easy explanations for how she has persuaded some 75,000 fans to pay $35 (list price) for recipes similar to the ones she gives away on her blog. She has no real hook for her Web site except that she does everything from a tiny kitchen in her Manhattan apartment, which has appeal to young urbanites who can relate to the cramped quarters.

Lexy Bloom, a senior editor who acquired the book for Knopf, a division of Random House, said Mrs. Perelman was a good choice because she “is a terrific writer and storyteller” and has an unusually tight bond with readers. She is, Ms. Bloom said, “a woman who has become, in a 21st-century way, a dear friend of theirs.” …

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88 replies
  1. 1
    Xecky Gilchrist says:

    Well done, her!

    I’ve only tried a few recipes from Smitten Kitchen, but they’ve all been fabu – Spaghetti with Tomato-Butter-Onion sauce and Apple Sharlotka I’ve made several times each. Yum.

    Her writing style is way too precious for my taste, but the recipes and photography make up for it.

  2. 2
    cathyx says:

    I wish I could leave the cooking up to someone who likes to do it.

  3. 3
    hitchhiker says:

    Um, just watched the end of Love Actually . . . cannot even describe how much I love those sweet small captures of people greeting one another at Heathrow.

  4. 4
    lamh35 says:

    I’m always late but how did I miss this video. it has over 2mill views on you tube already
    DMX – “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” Remix;sns=tw

  5. 5
    Yutsano says:

    @Xecky Gilchrist: I freely confess to knowing nothing about her. Which is a shame as she’s my aunt’s favourite food blogger. I might do some more researching when I get home from work.

  6. 6
    lamh35 says:

    @hitchhiker: favorite “contemporary” Christmas movie…EVER! Hugh Grant and Colin Firth, and Liam Neeson & Alan Rickman in the same movie!!!

  7. 7
    Bago says:

    Not to sound like a blues song, but holy crap has this been a weird week. Christmas is coming the usual family business applies, but the girlfriend got cancer and got laid off in the same week. It’s a grim month, and juxtaposing the emotional tides a bit overwhelming. Just wanted to share.

  8. 8
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    One of my closest friends is a chef/caterer, and I’ve been helping her write and compile a cookbook. It’s tremendous fun, not only from the food standpoint, but from the “capturing her personality and cooking philosophy in an accurate yet non-pretentious way” standpoint as well. But looming behind all the work are the questions of, “Will anybody want this? Will a publisher want this?” And there’s only one way to find out. But hell, even if it never gets beyond our circle of friends, it’s a pretty cool project.

  9. 9
    debg says:

    I slow-roast big tomatoes, according to Crescent Dragonwagon’s teachings in The Passionate Vegetarian, and they’re unbelievable. Will have to check out this lady too.

    @Bago, sorry about the rough week, and especially the GF’s cancer. Best wishes.

  10. 10
    Concerned Citizen says:

    Smitten Kitchen kicks ass. Check out the winter squash recipes I had 8 zillion butternut from the CSA and used them heavily.

    My favorite food blog is Kenji at Serious Eats. That guy convinced me to spatchcock a turkey this year for Thanksgiving. It was awesome.

    For a good spatchcocking:

    his rss:

  11. 11
    debg says:

    @lamh35: And this is why I can’t enjoy hiphop. Loved the guy’s energy and rhythm, but too many unplanned key changes and missed notes. Sorry, I’m a choral singer myself for recreation, and it’s no fun singing along to hiphop. I’ll take my snobby self home now.

  12. 12
    Maude says:

    Speaking of stress. Your girlfriend has had a rough time. I hope she regains her health, that’s number one.

  13. 13
    Bubblegum Tate says:


    Have you seen the DMX/Reading Rainbow combo? It’s, uh, NSFW for language, but it cracks me up.

  14. 14
    SuperHrefna says:

    @Bago: Hugs! You have a lot to deal with right now, and I’m sending you some good vibes to help you face it. And an XKCD cartoon, Two Years:

  15. 15
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Editors say there is no magic formula for knowing which bloggers have audiences that are invested enough in them to purchase an expensive hardcover

    If Tunch wrote a book, I would totes buy it.

  16. 16
    Hill Dweller says:

    I will never understand why Maddow continues to bring Andrea Mitchell and Dan Rather on her show. They are both awful, and bring nothing but contradictory “analysis” to the show.

  17. 17
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Big hugs to you and your girlfriend. Don’t know what else to say right now, but {{{{{Bago and girlfriend}}}}}

  18. 18
    SuperHrefna says:

    I’ve got the Smitten Kitchen book on my wishlist too (unlike you Anne Laurie I *love* to cook :-) but the one I’m really longing to unwrap is Vegan Eats World, the new cookbook from Terry Hope Romero, Isa Chandra Moskowitz’ sometime co-author. I love their recipes and this new volume looks utterly luscious:

  19. 19
    lamh35 says:

    @debg: music choice like most live of artistic pursuits are puerly subjective in most cases. but I’d lik to point out, that Hip Hop also includes Lauren Hill who both sing and raps. Mary J Blige is considered the queen of Hip Hop Soul. Both of whom carry carry a wicked tune.

  20. 20
    lamh35 says:

    @Bubblegum Tate: haven’t seen that m going to look for it

  21. 21
    Mnemosyne says:

    For folks who like to keep their recipes electronically (or need to, because otherwise you’ll never remember which goddamned cookbook it’s in), I highly recommend Paprika, which lets you browse for recipes from the app and download them into your own cookbook.

    And for Apple haters, it comes in an Android version, too.

  22. 22
    Bago says:

    @debg: Check out LTJ Bukem and M.C. Conrad.

  23. 23
    Mnemosyne says:


    Yeah, that’s pretty much the crappiest week possible (especially for her). Hopefully the two things weren’t related, though I suppose if they were, you could always sue since you can’t fire or lay someone off for having cancer.

    IIRC Darkrose is going through the same thing with her girlfriend right now, and greenNotGreen is undergoing chemo, so at least there should be advice available to you if you need it.

  24. 24
    waratah says:

    @Mnemosyne: I love my Paprika.

  25. 25
    Lyrebird says:

    @SuperHrefna: That does look very tantalizing. Have you cooked anything from her Viva Vegan? (on my own wish list)

    ETA: good thoughts going out to Bago & GF!!

  26. 26
    catclub says:

    @SuperHrefna: I love the mouseover.
    I would be the same way.

  27. 27
    JGabriel says:

    So John Boehner and the Republicans won’t tell us what specific spending cuts they want, but lookee here, they’re all set to tell us all the specific details of the temper tantrum they’re gonna throw if they don’t get their way.

    Jonathan Weisman @ NYT:

    If no deal is reached, Republicans are increasingly talking about a more hostile outcome in which the House passes legislation that extends tax cuts for the middle class, sets relatively low tax rates on dividends, capital gains and inherited estates, and cancels the across-the-board defense cuts, but leaves in place across-the-board domestic cuts.
    Then House Republicans would engage in what Mr. Boehner, in a private meeting with them last week, called “trench warfare,” a running battle with the president on spending, first as the government approaches its statutory borrowing limit early next year, then in late March, when a stopgap government spending bill runs out.

    I guess we know now what the GOP really wants: trench warfare.


  28. 28
    J.W. Hamner says:

    I’m a fan, though I haven’t checked out her book yet. Her success is a testament to what you can do with passion, a distinct voice, and good food photography. Early on in her career I think she encountered a fair amount of jealous grumbling since she doesn’t really write her own recipes… and so the trained chefs trying to blog wondered why she should be getting a gajillion page views while they didn’t. Nowadays I think (hope?) that people realize how hard what she does really is.

  29. 29
    Culture of Truth says:

    Tunch’s cookbook should be titled



  30. 30
    TaMara (BHF) says:

    Oh, sure I miss one deadline and you guys all zip over to smitten kitten.

    Who by the way I love. Another one that is really fun is The Pioneer Woman. Good cooking with a side of snark.

    And my cookbook wish list is Colorado Cache – my friend Alton (not that one) surprises me with recipes out of it all the time.

  31. 31
    catclub says:

    @TaMara (BHF): Think of this as an homage to the food goddess.

  32. 32
    RossinDetroit, Rational Subjectivist says:

    I’m suddenly in mexico again.

  33. 33
    J.W. Hamner says:


    My wife got Vegan Eats World out of the library recently but we haven’t made anything from it yet. We have cooked from Viva Vegan though, and I thought it was quite good. Made tofu chicharrones that we put into pupusas.

    The most surprisingly good vegan cookbook I’ve made things from is actually Chloe’s Kitchen. She’s the vegan who won Cupcake Wars and her recipes are very simply but really really good (double the recipes if you want leftovers though, because one of the reasons she’s so skinny appears to be a tendency to eat like a bird).

  34. 34
    SuperHrefna says:

    @Lyrebird: Yes, Viva Vegan is such a fab cookbook! I love her way with plantains – before I’d never had Latin style plantains, I always associated them with African cooking (and loved it when my Nigerian friends made plantains with hot sauce! MMMMMmmmm)

    Another cookbook I’ve got my eye on is the sheer food pr0n of What Katie Ate: I’m giving this one to my (omnivorous) mother this year (And I’m planning on reading it cover to cover when my mum isn’t using it :-)

  35. 35
    Downpuppy says:

    Oh, foo. It’s all about the equipment. Isn’t anyone going to enrich McMegans Amazon account?

    She is, after all, a legend in her own mind. Even though her comment section has dried up since the move to the Beast, along, we have to suspect, with the difference between Senior Editor & Special Correspondent pay.

  36. 36
    Mnemosyne says:

    We’re having our big holiday potluck at work tomorrow and I’m bringing … Stouffer’s frozen lasagna. Because no one wants homemade food from the person who just took two days off with the flu.

  37. 37
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    Since it’s an open thread, I’ll pose a question that popped into my mind while browsing imdb. Best actor never nominated for an Oscar? I’ll start with Alfred Molina.

  38. 38
    amy c says:

    I generally dislike food blogging. I have a terrible relationship with food, and like most people I come to the internet to escape my problems, not to look at artful photographs of my problems. But even my cold little food-grinch heart can see the charm in Smitten Kitchen.

  39. 39
    SuperHrefna says:

    @Downpuppy: She is so pathetic and Not A True Cook. The final word on ESSENTIAL kitchen equipment was written by Old Scrote (and if you only ever read one English cookbook, please do make it his! You’ll get some good recipes and a better understanding of my native culture) and his list still stands firm. You need a knife, a stone, a chopping board, a cooking pot, a cooker & a refrigerator:

  40. 40
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    I just discovered this site, whatthefuckshouldimakefordinner?, which has a cookbook for sale as well. And it’s pretty fucking funny.

  41. 41
    redshirt says:

    @RossinDetroit, Rational Subjectivist: You should start a blog: Where in the world besides Detroit is RossinDetroit?

    I’d read it. Hope you’re gettin’ miles, bro.

  42. 42
    J.W. Hamner says:

    Whoops, got stuck in moderation… forgot about the 2 links or less rule. Little help?

  43. 43
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Hill Dweller:

    I will never understand why Maddow continues to bring Andrea Mitchell and Dan Rather on her show. They are both awful, and bring nothing but contradictory “analysis” to the show.

    Because they have Teh Gravitas. I would love to get an off-the-record discussion from her about what she thinks about these village elders and morning Ho. Of course, she used to have Uncle Pat the Nazi on until he finally stepped too far over the line.

  44. 44
    Downpuppy says:

    @Spaghetti Lee: Sam Elliott.How is it possible he was overlooked for Roadhouse AND The Big Lebowski?

    There are a lot of great actors who did their best work on TV or stage,or like Sam, around stagecoaches.

  45. 45
    Roger Moore says:


    You should start a blog: Where in the world besides Detroit is RossinDetroit?

    Then he could hook up with Carmen Sandiego.

  46. 46
    redshirt says:

    I don’t know if this will rock anyone’s world, but it rocked mine. On my own, with no guidance, I created “The Southwestern Lasagna”.

    Typical lasagna recipe with ricotta and pasta and etc, except throwing layers of spicy guacamole with hot peppers and hot cheeses mixed in with the mozzarella, and also the marinara sauce was mixed with a spicy salsa.

    The end result was a cheesy lasagna with an awesome kick. It was (is – I made two trays) incredible, if I do say, which I just did. Damn – yay me!

  47. 47
    Anonymous says:

    I’ll try this one more time, then I’ll move on. In Anne Laurie’s open thread this morning, I posted a question about a case of possible plagiarism. I got replies from a handful of people, including arguingwithsignposts and SiubhanDuinne. I was then asked by Jerzy Russian to name names so people could check the evidence out for themselves (and told by Steve that he suspected I wasn’t on the up-and-up).

    So in a later comment, I gave links to the articles in question. I realize that a fair amount of time has elapsed between my initial comment and the later ones, so people might have missed the reply.

    But obviously I can’t keep posting in every open thread about this. Look, if anyone has further comments about this, particularly if you’ve actually read the articles, I guess comment in that thread (the Thursday Morning Open Thread: Good News). Otherwise, I’ll try to figure out what to do next, given that I have not yet had a single person be willing to read the articles and straightforwardly tell me if the article in Reason amounts to plagiarism or not. Thanks.

  48. 48
    SuperHrefna says:

    @redshirt: That does sound really good! I’ll have to try that sometime. I’d be tempted to try it with an arrabbiata sauce, and maybe some black beans.

  49. 49
    dance around in your bones says:

    I’mma just a gonna whine right now – it’s my birthday (fifty-fucking-nine)and my husband died a year ago and I just ………….well. I had a nice birthday dinner (enchiladas con chile verde) with my adult kids………..

    aw, shit – I guess I just want to whine. I watched the Hurricane Sandy Rock-a-thon last night and it made me so depressed I had to go to YouTube and watch videos of all those bands back in the day when they were young.

    I ended up watching Keith Moon’s last 24 hours and while it made me sad it also made me think “What the hell? He lived life the way he wanted to and died in his sleep”.

    Anyway, those are my thoughts for tonight.

    I’mma sad.

  50. 50
    Tim in SF says:

    I made this two nights ago. It may be the best dessert I’ve ever had. I’m a good cook, but this was so good I couldn’t believe I did it myself. The description is true – it’s several orders of magnitude better than anything we currently call “pudding.”

    If you are at a high altitude, don’t bother. Your butter/sugar mix will never reach the right temperature, and the big deal of this recipe is getting it to and keeping it at the right temperature for a few minutes.

  51. 51
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Anonymous: Did you check out any sites that compare texts for similar words and phrases, like turnitin? There are some others, but I’m not familiar with them so much. I haven’t read through each article, but you might put both in a word document or google doc and highlight the passages that you think are the same. Then you could perhaps e-mail Columbia Journalism Review, who have been known to write about stuff like that. Also, there’s an ethics person on staff at you might contact.

    For instance, here’s a new article about plagiarism on the poynter site. Silverman isn’t the ethics person, but might be someone to e-mail.

  52. 52
    NotMax says:

    @Spaghetti Lee

    Edward G. Robinson
    Myrna Loy
    Fred MacMurray
    Marilyn Monroe
    Joseph Cotten

  53. 53
    Mnemosyne says:

    @dance around in your bones:

    I think living with your kids is getting you down and you need a vacation from them and the grandkids. Just IMO, of course.

    @Tim in SF:

    What is it with butterscotch right now? Everywhere we go, they have some kind of butterscotch dessert that the server swears is, like, the best ever!

    ETA: Butterscotch is 2012’s salted caramel.

  54. 54
    redshirt says:

    @SuperHrefna: Yeah! Why not substitute any Mexican recipe into lasagna form? It would all work. Cheddar cheese, grilled peppers, diced tomatoes, hot sauce galore. Yum! I like using honey with every cheese based dish, FYI.

  55. 55
    ruemara says:

    I love Smitten Kitchen, I hope her book is in the local library soon. I just wonder what will be different. Besides, I think half the reason it’s popular is her photography, the other is her beautiful baby boy.

  56. 56
    dance around in your bones says:


    You’re probably right but I have no option just now. Fuck.

    I love my kid + son-in-law + grandkids but gawdamn the grandkids are exhausting. They all gave me big hugs and love today on my birthday.

    It’s a dilemma. Anyway, Happy Birthday to Me. Ha!

  57. 57
    SuperHrefna says:

    @dance around in your bones: Kids are exhausting. Especially when you are grieving, for your husband & for the life you had together. Hugs, and know that things will get better in time. Fifty-nine isn’t old any more, not with modern medicine around, & there are a lot more fun & exciting adventures out there with your name on them, it’s just that grieving takes time. Way more time than anyone ever wants it to.

  58. 58
    Anonymous says:

    @ arguingwithsignposts: If you can recommend a specific site, that’d be great. My initial searches are more one-sided: if you have a document that you wish to check against everything, it will do a check. But a specific check against another document doesn’t seem doable. And I did find other sites, but they charge for the software.

    I will try Craig Silverman at Poynter (I guess Romanesko is no longer there). But commenting at Balloon Juice about this is about as “broad” as I’m willing to go without hearing from someone who’s actually read both articles and who’s willing to tell me that the Reason article amounts to plagiarism or embodies a breach of journalistic ethics. I mean, no one, not even the most risible Reason writer, deserves to be accused of this publicly without the accuser being sure.

  59. 59
    dance around in your bones says:


    Well, 59 FEELS old to me……I never thought I would feel this way, and I have always loved kids but dang I feel like I have been there, done that. Even though I love my grandkids, a LOT.

    Broke my hip this year, too – it’s just been a sucky year.

    Thanks for the kind words though – that’s why I love Balloon Juice. Such nice people :)

  60. 60
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Anonymous: Romenesko isn’t going to check the articles for you. You could copy/paste both articles in a google doc and highlight the portions that you think are questionable. Do a find on exact phrases, for instance. Both articles are a little tl;dr (too long; didn’t read) for me to try to wade through to find what you have a problem with. But if you put it in a google doc, you could e-mail poynter, CJR and I’d even take a look at it.

  61. 61
    Anonymous says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: Look, fair enough. Let me consider this (although I have to say I am concerned that this could amount to a copyright violation) and I’ll post to these threads if I decide to go ahead with this.

  62. 62
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Anonymous: It would fall under fair use if you’re commented or critiquing. You don’t have to post here if you’re worried about copyright. You could just e-mail links to the google doc to whoever you want to send it to. And you’re probably right about not accusing someone unless you have some strong evidence. That could be a lawsuit waiting to happen.

    Also, chances are if the person has plagiarized once, they’ve plagiarized numerous times.

  63. 63
    slag says:

    So I was checking out LGM because, you know, actual content and whatnot, and I saw this:

    Balloon Juice is gazing at its navel(and pets)…

    Hehe. Don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone.

  64. 64

    @Mnemosyne: I was just trying to remember the name of that after you had mentioned it before. Thanks.

  65. 65
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    Fuck me. Anonymous, I responded to you, but the comment is in moderation, and I’m not going to try to figure out what’s the offending word. FYWP. Check back later to see if it came out of mod.

  66. 66
    Anonymous says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: Will do. And thank you for your suggestions.

  67. 67
    Anonymous says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: Okay, that I could do. I just e-mailed Craig Silverman, and floated the Google Docs idea, if he doesn’t want to read the whole articles (or knows someone like that).

    I have to work for another 2 hours, and what I will do after that is to excerpt specific passages (I will post in this thread and link to it in the other) that caught my eye.

  68. 68
    Mnemosyne says:

    @dance around in your bones:

    That’s why I’m thinking “vacation” rather than trying to change your entire living situation. Even a long weekend away will do you more good than you think, especially if you spend it exactly the way you want to. Even if that means you end up sitting in your bathrobe watching basic cable and eating room service for three days.

  69. 69
    dance around in your bones says:


    My best friend (who lives in Canada) is talking about a road trip in February (we’ve done this before) and I think it may be just what I need…..her old doggie just died and, well, my husband, so we could both use a getaway.

    I think I may just need this right now.

    Thanks for your support and encouragement. I tend to be turtleish in my ways – hide in my shell and all.

  70. 70
    HobbesAI says:

    I’ve read both articles and am not seeing any cause to label the Reason article plagiarism.
    Is there a specific section or quote which seems particularly troublesome to you?

  71. 71
    Mnemosyne says:

    @dance around in your bones:

    Yes! Road trip! Is there any vacation more American (or Canadian) than that? You should totally go.

  72. 72
    danah gaz says:


    I just successfully revived my PS3 from the dreaded “Yellow Light of Death”.

    It is a launch edition/backward compatible machine so it’s not easy to replace. It’s also older, and the repeated heating and cooling of the motherboard had *finally* caused the solder under the CPU and GPU chips to break loose.

    I stripped the thing down to the motherboard – no easy task in itself – and reflowed the solder by heating the chips with a heat gun.

    I put the entire thing back together (after reapplying thermal pads and paste) – even harder than taking it apart and it actually works. I’m pretty surprised.

    so, yay!, twice.

    Once for my resurrected and rare PS3.

    And second because that’s among the most difficult things I’ve ever done with regard to repairing computer hardware.

    =) I bought myself a classic game to celebrate (GTA san andreas)

  73. 73
    dance around in your bones says:


    You know what’s funny ? Last time we did the road trip was when Thelma and Louise came out….we visited my mom and she wanted us to see what we thought about the movie…so we saw it all together and me and my friend LOVED it. So……oh well, let’s not think about that.

    Though I wouldn’t mind meeting Brad Pitt on that road trip. But he wouldn’t get my dinero. I hope…..

  74. 74
    Anonymous says:

    @HobbesAI: Okay, here goes. I should note that the Reason article uses several more examples that are also found in the Village Voice article. Both articles cite The Pain Relief Network extensively. The Reason article does not acknowledge the existence of the Village Voice article.

    The Village Voice, Nov. 2003

    In Roanoke, Virginia, pain specialist Dr. Cecil Knox and two of his associates were accused of operating what federal prosecutors call “a pill mill.” Prosecutors alleged that Knox overprescribed OxyContin and methadone to increase the profits of his financially struggling operation and that this contributed to the deaths of eight patients. Armed agents in flak jackets raided Knox’s office. “They all came in with guns drawn,” a clinic employee who was present during the raid reported to the Pain Relief Network. “I thought I was going to die. My husband was helping out that day, and a DEA agent came in and pointed a gun at his head and said, ‘Get off the phone now.’ “

    Reason, Aug/Sep 2004

    On February 1, 2002, Cecil Knox was seeing patients in his Roanoke, Virginia, clinic when more than a dozen federal agents burst through the doors with guns drawn. Helmeted, shielded, and wearing bullet-proof vests, they terrified waiting patients and employees. One worker later told the Pain Relief Network, a patient advocacy group, she thought she and her husband, who was helping her in the office that day, would be shot. She looked on in horror as an agent put a gun to his head and ordered, “Get off the phone! Now!”

    The Village Voice, Nov. 2003

    But the September arrest of northern Virginia’s Dr. William Hurwitz—a respected if controversial pioneer in high-dosage pain treatment—galvanized opposition among physicians and patients to the DEA’s harsh approach. Hurwitz, a leading specialist in his field, was arrested on federal drug-trafficking charges, accused of prescribing excessive quantities of OxyContin to addicts who he knew were selling the drugs on the street. The 49-count indictment alleges that his prescribing practices led to the death of three patients and bodily harm to two others. Federal prosecutors have depicted Hurwitz, a contentious figure who has had his license suspended three times by medical boards, as no better than “a street-corner crack dealer . . . who dispensed misery and death.” After initially being threatened with the death penalty, Hurwitz now faces life in prison.

    Reason, Aug/Sep 2004

    William Hurwitz, a McLean, Virginia, internist and prominent pain specialist, received similarly heavy-handed treatment when he was arrested last fall. Hurwitz, who is Jewish, was visiting his children on Rosh Hashanah eve when federal agents descended upon his ex-wife’s house in McLean and took him away in handcuffs. As with Knox, the government froze Hurwitz’s assets; his bail was set at $2 million. He was charged with 49 felony counts, including drug trafficking resulting in death or serious injury, conspiracy, and running a criminal enterprise.
    Like Knox, Hurwitz attracted attention largely because of his OxyContin prescriptions. Attorney General John Ashcroft said “the indictment and arrests in Virginia demonstrate our commitment to bring to justice all those who traffic in this very dangerous drug.” Prosecutors said Hurwitz was “no better than a street corner crack dealer” who “dispenses misery and death.”

    The Village Voice, Nov. 2003

    In South Carolina, physician Deborah Bordeaux was convicted earlier this year under a federal drug-kingpin statute and is currently awaiting sentencing. She faces up to 100 years in prison as a major drug dealer for dispensing opiates to patients suffering from chronic pain at a Myrtle Beach clinic, where she had worked for only two months. Dr. Benjamin Moore, who worked at the same clinic, committed suicide in July 2002 rather than testify against his co-workers.

    Reason, Aug/Sep 2004

    The tremendous pressure that such charges bring to bear is illustrated by the 2002 federal indictment of eight doctors who worked at the Comprehensive Care and Pain Management Center in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Threatened with hundreds of years in prison and fearful that his wife (an employee) could also be indicted, clinic owner Michael Woodward pleaded guilty and testified that he had schemed with the other doctors, including Deborah Bordeaux, to sell drugs. South Carolina is a conservative state, and Woodward had seen his clinic repeatedly attacked in the news media. The Woodwards may also have feared that their young children could lose both parents to long prison terms.
    Another clinic doctor, Benjamin Moore, told Siobhan Reynolds, founder of the Pain Relief Network, that he and his colleagues had done nothing wrong. When he, too, found that he faced life in prison, he pleaded guilty in desperation. But according to his brother, he could not go through with testifying against co-workers he believed to be innocent. Instead he hanged himself from a tree in his mother’s backyard.

  75. 75
    Scamp Dog says:

    @Anonymous: I’d say no to the plagiarism. The articles talk about some of the same incidents, which makes them similar, but it didn’t seem to be word-for-word copying.

  76. 76
    HobbesAI says:

    @Anonymous: My algorithms suggest this does not rise to the level of actionable plagiarism.

  77. 77
    Anonymous says:

    @Scamp Dog: Okay, fair enough. I don’t like how the Reason author imputed the worst possible motives to the liberal press in rejecting his/her story, because I think that the truth was that the Reason article covered enough of the same ground as the Village Voice article did months earlier, and that’s why they decided to pass on it.

    But that’s not the same thing as plagiarism, and given your and HobbesAl’s assessments that you’re not seeing plagiarism, I’m happy to let the matter drop. As I said, the Reason writer has been and continues to be an advocate for better drug (and other) policies.

    And to all who replied: thank you on this. I am genuinely glad to get a sanity check and have my misconceptions corrected about things like this. I’m going to go now and do some thinking about how and why I let myself assume the worst.

  78. 78
    Anonymous says:

    @HobbesAI: Also fair enough. Incidentally, this wasn’t some sort of reverse-jujitsu thing or anything like that to make someone else look bad. I actually thought that this was a case of probable plagiarism, and I was wrong.

    I’ve been told that the Reason author has written some good books about various issues. I’m going to buy one as penance.

    Also: can you divulge what algorithms you use? Are they open-source, or proprietary, or what?

  79. 79
    Tim in SF says:

    @Mnemosyne: @Tim in SF:
    What is it with butterscotch right now? Everywhere we go, they have some kind of butterscotch dessert that the server swears is, like, the best ever!
    ETA: Butterscotch is 2012’s salted caramel.

    I think butterscotch is salted caramel, but the caramel in butterscotch is ever-so-slightly burnt. That’s what it tasted like to me, anyways. And that’s what the recipe tries to achieve.

    I try to make at least one thing out of my Cooks Illustrated when it arrives. I opened it at random to the recipe I posted and made it that evening. It’s really, really good. Fun to make – you have to keep the thermometer in there and watch it like a hawk. It’s like defusing a bomb or something. :-)

  80. 80
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Tim in SF:

    I would love to try and make candy, but I’m pretty sure my ADHD is a severely limiting factor in doing it successfully. I’m more than willing to eat my share of what other people make, though!

    ETA: G once told me I couldn’t make marinara sauce again until I explained how I’d gotten it onto the ceiling. And we do not have low ceilings. He eventually got over it.

  81. 81
    HobbesAI says:

    @Anonymous: They’re so secret even I’m not alowed to know how I work.

  82. 82
    Tim in SF says:

    @Mnemosyne: I would love to try and make candy, but I’m pretty sure my ADHD is a severely limiting factor in doing it successfully.

    It’s pudding, not candy. And it only takes 30 minutes, start to finish (plus another ten minutes on either side for prep and cleanup).

    I felt like a mad scientist making it. And the results were stellar. STELLAR!

  83. 83
    Anonymous says:

    @HobbesAI: Got it. And because I didn’t say it before: thanks for running the passages through the plagiarism code. This was the sort of help I was looking for.

    But enough about this topic. Why the hell did danah gaz buy a Playstation 3 instead of an X-Box or a gaming PC, like normal people do? We all agree that he’s weird, right?

  84. 84
    danah gaz says:

    @Anonymous: It’s a 100% divx compliant DLNA client/Blu Ray player with a bluetooth remote and full HDMI support. On the rare occasion that I have nothing better to do (or the more likely event that my little sister is visiting) I can put a game in it. I don’t like the XBox for a media appliance. MS has a history of trying to pick pockets after purchase, and being dodgy and proprietary as far as media formats and delivery protocols.

    When I get bored of it, I’ll mod it and run linux on it because the Cell BE chip is neat.

    And yes, I’m weird.
    And that’s *Ms.* Nerdy-as-fuck to you, boy.

  85. 85
    Xenos says:

    @Anonymous: This case of unattributed use falls in a gray area. If it were academic writing if zould be unacceptable – a clear case or rephrasing a source, to the effect that there was not much original research or thinking that went into the article.

    If it were legal writing it would be quite legit – you cite for authority, not for intellectual honesty. Your client wants the most effective writing, not necessarily the most original. It is tacky to not give credit, and your client might question your bills, but not a problem of ethics.

    The gray area is because this is journalism… the problem is that a lazy researcher is getting paid for recycling another’s work. Then again, this is a wingnut welfare publication, where everything is spun to make a larger point, much like in legal writing, and intellectual honesty is neither the writer’s nor the editor’s concern.

    In any case, the statute of limitations for semi-plagiarism must have run out after 8 years, no?

  86. 86
    Anonymous says:

    @Xenos: As far as the statute of limitations go, certainly it has been a while. If people had come to the conclusion that it was plagiarism, that would have complicated things: I would then have to weigh the age of the articles versus the severity of the infraction.

    But if this is a gray area at worst, then I think it’s best to let it go.

  87. 87
    Anonymous says:

    @danah gaz: I get what you’re saying about Microsoft’s proprietariness (if that’s a word). But you’ve got to admit that the PS3, despite winning the HD vs. Blu-Ray wars, doesn’t have as many titles as the X-Box. The PS3-only titles aren’t that great (although if The Last Guardian ever comes out, I’m buying a PS3 right away).

    I’m sorry I thought you were a guy; the extra “h” at the end threw me. I get the opposite from time to time: sometimes people who only read my name and don’t Google it first will make a 50-50 guess and assume I’m a girl. Now that I’ve made the wrong guess with you, I’m sentencing myself to not complaining about that the next 5 times it happens to me.

  88. 88
    danah gaz says:

    @Anonymous: “doesn’t have as many titles as the X-Box.”

    Not true. At least not true of mine. Mine plays PS3 games (whose catalog is not as stunted as it used to be, your talking point is dated) – it also plays PS2 games (whose library absolutely dwarfs that of any console ever made – and which has many games I’ve quite enjoyed, and Playstation 1 games.

    “The PS3-only titles aren’t that great ”

    Nonsense. Metal Gear Solid 4 is an amazing game. The XBox 360 does not have the hardware capabilities to run it.

    Finally, as I mentioned, I didn’t buy it primarily for gaming. I bought it primarily as a media appliance – where it clearly dominates the XBox 360, and somewhat because I think it’s got a interesting architecture. All things considered, I’m pretty happy with it. Enjoy your xbox, and/or PC or whatever. My best PC is a digital audio workstation for making music. I refuse to create a gaming PC because I don’t like the idea of spending $300 on a new graphics card every six months.

    As far as the gender mix up – it’s okay, it happens. =)

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