Welcome to 2013! As we look forward to a new year all wide-eyed and hopeful, let’s tie up a few loose ends from the waning days of 2012:

PORTLAND IS in the national news again, and not in a positive way. Hot on the trail of the Zumba madam case (which promises to drag on into 2014 if the snail’s pace of prosecutions continue) and comedian Louis C.K.’s smack talk of a Portland hotel in early December comes this Dec. 31 award from Gawker.com: “The Most Obnoxious Letter to the Editor of a Book Review of the Year.”

The winner of that dubious distinction is Elizabeth Peavey of Portland, who wrote to The New York Times imploring authors to either learn the “craft” of oral interpretation of literature or stop reading their works aloud.

“Oral interp is an art, one that requires study and practice,” Peavey writes. “Writers are often the worst interpreters of their work because they think just saying the words is enough. … As someone who has been in the field for over 30 years — as a student, competitor, coach, university lecturer, slam poet, author and performer — I beseech all writers who want to speak their words out loud to either learn the craft or, please, put a sock in it.”

I reached out to Peavey for a response, and she said she never intended the letter, which she “wrote in a nanosecond and sent off,” to be a swipe at authors. Rather, she hoped to raise awareness of their need to learn how to better read their works, and is glad her letter has facilitated discussion about it.

But she’s taking the Gawker award in the same spirit in which she wrote the letter: Tongue firmly in cheek.

“I never win anything, so it’s pretty exciting to close the year out with an award,” she said with a laugh. “I’ve made a career out of being obnoxious. I’ve been writing an obnoxious column since 1995.”

To read Peavey’s full letter, go to tinyurl.com/obnoxiousletter. To read Gawker’s response, go to tinyurl.com/obnoxiousletterresponse.

COMIC BOOK FANS worldwide are outraged at the death of Peter Parker, who has been spinning webs and nabbing crooks with snappy one-liners as Spider-Man since 1962. Marvel Comics killed off poor Pete in “Amazing Spider-Man” No. 700, released on Dec. 26.

Actually, it was only Peter’s mind that died, as it was swapped with Doctor Octopus before the dear doctor’s decrepit body stopped breathing. So now Spidey’s archenemy is running around as Spider-Man.

Before you too get all worked up, let me remind you of the heroes that Marvel has killed off and/or brought back from the dead in the past decade: Captain America, Marvel Girl, Thor, Hawkeye, the Vision, Ariel, Cable, Colossus, Toro, Bucky, the Human Torch (both the original and the Fantastic Four member), Captain Britain, the Mimic, the Wasp, the Punisher, Hellcat, Ant-Man, Mockingbird, Hercules, Longshot, Forge, Psylocke and the entire Alpha Flight team.

WE ALREADY have a nominee for the 2013 Darwin Awards. On New Year’s Day, a paparazzo who thought he was getting juicy photos of Justin Bieber getting pulled over by the California Highway Patrol in Los Angeles was struck by a car as he was crossing the street after snapping some shots. Turns out it wasn’t even Bieber in the car, but one of his friends.

A GERMAN magazine celebrated former President George H.W. Bush’s Dec. 29 release from the intensive care unit of a Houston hospital by declaring him dead.

According to The Associated Press, the magazine, Der Spiegel, accidentally ran a pre-written obituary it had prepared in the event of Poppy’s death on its website. After Internet users noticed the gaffe, the magazine quickly removed the post and Tweeted an apology.

Deputy Managing Editor Rod Harmon may be contacted at 791-6450 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: RHarmonPPH


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