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Monday, January 8, 2007

Fun with Dunces

posted by on January 8 at 9:09 AM

God knows I love a spirited back-n-forth with a Stranger reader, and while I don’t think today’s story will scale the operatic heights of the Freykis fracas, it’s still worth sharing.

It begins with a letter sent to Last Days from a male reader who had some quibbles with this week’s Chow lead by Chris McCann. The man signed his e-mail grievance with what looks like his real name, but for the sake of fair play, I’ll give him a pseudonym.

“Albert Einstein” writes:

Chris McCann’s first paragraph reads:

“Seattle is a city in crisis. The war rages in its neighborhoods and in the hearts and minds of its citizens. Do we want to embrace the idea of Seattle as a dense urban center or work to maintain the vision of our city as a collection of sprawling neighborhoods? Each side struggles daily to convince us that its urban vision is correct, honorable, sensible, while maligning proponents of the other Seattle as either retrograde or rash. “

If you could, try to explain to Chris that writing a lead-in paragraph that actually describes the restaurant he’s attempting to review will help retain readers, while at the same time make him sound intelligent.

“Albert Einstein”

My reply:

uh, yeah, but he’s reviewing two restaurants, and his existing lead-in paragraph sets up his discussion of both quite well.

thanks for writing.

david schmader
chow editor

His reply:

2 restaurents or 3, 3 dead troops or 300 it really doesn’t matter. It’s a very sloopy leadin paragraph.

My reply:


Einstein’s next email:

He’s actually reviewing only 1 restaurant and not two as you claim. How you got the idea that he’s reviewing 2 pizza places is beyond me, because it simply is not in print.

My reply:

he reviews both all-purpose pizza and tom douglas’ serious pie.

are you sure you know how to read?

Still waiting on a reply. I’ll keep you posted. (And here’s hoping “a very sloopy leadin paragraph” becomes standard copy-editor parlance.)

RSS icon Comments


In Mr. Einstein's defense, that opening paragraph is a bit dense. If I was browsing a paper for restaurant reviews and I bumped into vague, unspecific, unrestauranty language like that, I'd probably just skim past the article.

But I wouldn't go so far as to call it sloopy.

Posted by mattymatt | January 8, 2007 9:18 AM

I presume the over the top prose was something of a parody of the way many folks are passionate about the merits of one pizza versus another.
In any case I see nothing in the article's opening paragraph that in any way resembles or evokes a sloop. In fact it's anything but. With it's excessive and mostly irrelevant opening it seems more ketchy to me.

Posted by kinaidos | January 8, 2007 9:33 AM

yeah matt, but you're reading the stranger... so if dense opennings scare you, you probably just skip to the back page escorts anyway.

Which gives me and idea for a new column: I'd title it Fluff or The Fluff, or The Dish, with a clipart picture of a serving dish ... see how clever that is??? write an overly positive and braindead review, a la good housekeeping or O, of a really shithole restaurant. readers like AE would appreciate the candor and would be treated to some fine dining, and those of us who had the displeasure of experiencing said restaurant would get a laugh. it's win win.

I suggest you write up that tavern near Jackson and 5th Ave S where all the homeless drink at 6 am. They serve food, I hear good things.

Posted by seattle98104 | January 8, 2007 9:38 AM

On the other hand, Seattle98104, there is also writing, like the McCann article, that is over-wrought. Of course I'm sure that you've never read anything or had any desire to read anything light. Especially not a restaurant review! (gasp!)

Strictly Foucault, Althusser, Kant, Hegel, et al for one so wedded to dense and high-brow musings as you. Perhaps a professional journal or two? Because, of course, there is nothing between the hardest literature and escort advertisements.

Posted by dewsterling | January 8, 2007 10:03 AM

Do keep us posted on this stunning news item!

Posted by frederick r | January 8, 2007 10:40 AM

Hang on sloopy, sloopy hang on
Hang on sloopy, sloopy hang on

Sloopy lives in a very bad part of town
and everybody else, tries to put my sloopy down
Sloopy I don't care, what your daddy do
Cuz you know sloopy, girl, I'm inlove with you

and so I say now

Hang on sloopy, sloopy hang on
Hang on sloopy, sloopy hang on

What more can one say about such a sloopy paragraph?

Posted by Sachi Wilson | January 8, 2007 10:56 AM

My main confusion with the review is that Serious Pie feels neither professional, perfectionist, or coolly cosmopolitan. It's a half-underground den where you might share your table with strangers while eating delightfully charred pies. I can't believe that he didn't think that the restaurant made any attempt at coziness.

I haven't been to All Purpose Pizza, so maybe I'm missing the point of the propped up dichotomy between the new and old pizzerias of Seattle. Speculation that it's a parody of other over-involved pizza reviews might clear things up.

Posted by josh | January 8, 2007 11:05 AM

What a dunderhead - if this moron does his homework and sees that his insistance that there is only 1 pizza place reviewed in the article is wrong, i don't expect you'll get a reply.

Posted by longball | January 8, 2007 11:08 AM

Gawd i hope i'm wrong, though.

Posted by longball | January 8, 2007 11:09 AM

Iraq is like a pizza.

It's done. Time to pull it out and take it home.

Posted by Will in Seattle | January 8, 2007 11:36 AM

Thank you, Will.

Posted by David Schmader | January 8, 2007 11:54 AM

you're welcome. personally, I like my pizza like I like my women, hot, spicy, and with plenty of sauce.

Posted by Will in Seattle | January 8, 2007 1:06 PM

Seriously though, Schmader, could you arrange for a review of that tavern at 5th Av S & S King St? I also hear amazing things...

Posted by dzienkowski | January 8, 2007 2:31 PM

Albert, who cares about the restaurant review? Seattle is a city in crisis that no longer knows who it is. This is a much more important than pizza.

Posted by Sean | January 8, 2007 10:32 PM

i thought this review was clear and overall very good reading. i'll admit i'm a bit of a dunderhead and sometimes the chow section is over my head. (may i suggest a restaurant rating system of one happy face to five happy faces?) the last few weeks i've really enjoyed it, though.

Posted by jamier | January 9, 2007 10:27 AM

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