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Okay, everyone on your feet…and let’s hear some applause for Alan M!

Marc Cooper and Alan Mittelstaedt
Blogfather, Marc Cooper and guest blogger, Alan Mittelstaedt at a PEN USA Awards dinner

After ten days at the grassy and bucolic writers’ paradise that is Bennington,
I lost all of my contemplative calm by straying for a couple of frenetic but interesting days to Washington D.C. (More on that later.)

Now, it’s great to be glad to be back in our flawed but vital town.

In the meantime, the excellent Alan Mittelstaedt has:

1. Challenged the mayor to wear an Antonio-Cam
so we can see how he’s REALLY spending all those 20-hour work days

2. Caused a citywide stir by theorizing convincingly about who’s orchestrating the leaks
that have effectively set fire to the career of LA’s City Attorney.

3. Given deserved slaps upside the head to both the mayor and the LAPD chief—among others—for knuckling under to the police union and refusing to go to bat for Gloria Romero’s EXTREMELY WORTHY anti-police secrecy bill, even though they originally backed the thing.

4. Broken stories on: the closing of Monty’s Steak House in Pasadena and….

5. .. Been well ahead of the rest of the LA pack in announcing the very cheering hire of David Zahniser by the Los Angeles Times…


As a consequence, I’m trying to lure Alan into contributing to WLA on a far more regular basis
. Will have news on that soon. ‘Till then, look for him to stick around through the weekend….and, with any luck, for a lot longer.



  • You’re too kind, Celeste. Thank you. Blogging’s a blast. Reminds me of the good ‘ol days when I dreamed of buying ink by the barrel. And it’s an honor to be pictured here with the source of our inspiration, Mr. Cooper.

  • YAAAAAAAY, Alan! [Insert whistle shriek and hand clapping here.] Bravo!

  • Celeste, I don’t mean to tell on people, but Alan didn’t write on his pictures like you do.

    Did Marc get that tie from Brooks Brothers, and why is Alan wearing only a T-shirt under his jacket?

    Anyway, Alan did a good job…for a liberal.

  • Yo Woody… I” have u know that is one of my many Hugo Boss ties! I believe I own one short from BB and have worn it once!

    Alan did a wonderful job and is, in fact, the real inspiration to all of us. But thank God the pic was wfrom waist up only… we’ll leave it to the imagination as to what Big Al was or wasn’t wearing for bottoms.

  • Richard, Vermont was gorgeous. My first time there. Green everywhere you look, with fireflies at night and temperate weather, broken occasionally by fabulous thunderstorms—just so you’d know the weather gods were awake and paying attention. Loved it. And, hey, I’m no pushover in assessing great scenery since, for me, Vermont has to compete with Montana’s Flathead Valley in my head, which ain’t an easy competition. But the Bennington area certainly had its own beauty.

    What I was doing there, actually, is beginning the process of getting a belated Masters in Creative Writing at Bennington’s low-residency MFA program—and, since it can be, to some degree, project-based, using it as a strategy to get me to complete my American Family book (and, we hope, be better at writing it). The program requires five “residencies” meaning you show up for 11 days on campus twice a year.

    This will mean I’ll be in time-management hell for the next two years, and it ain’t cheap, but…I’m actually fairly stoked by the whole deal.

    Anyway, long answer to a short question.

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