Departing 2023

Indignity Vol. 3, No. 202

Departing 2023
Shane: Masao Nakagami via Wikipedia. All others public domain/Wikipedia

The Year in Obituaries and Remembrances

HERE IS OUR year-end roundup of the people we memorialized this year—mostly with sorrow, though in one case the sorrow was strictly on behalf of everyone else who was unfortunate enough to have shared the planet with him.

Gordon Lightfoot, 1938–2023
My perception of Gordon Lightfoot took a turn for falsehood years and years and years ago when a co-worker told me that as a greenskeeper at a golf course in Canada, he met Gordon Lightfoot, and that he was a legendary drunk who drove his car onto the course.

Sinead O'Connor, 1966–2023
She was correct on the merits, on all accounts, so she never stopped having to pay for it.

Brooks Robinson, 1937–2023
The calendar said he was 34, entering the long, bright late afternoon of his career, but Brooks existed in an eternal present. He'd leapt high in the air—unbelievably high, with his unimpressive legs—with a wide-open grin for his teammates, when the Orioles finished off the Dodgers in 1966, and he'd never really come down.

Lori Teresa Yearwood, 1965–2023
What Lori bore witness to, drawing on her own journey into and out of homelessness, was that none of us is extraordinary enough to stand safely apart from the dehumanizing forces in our society—and, simultaneously, that every person is an extraordinary person, if you're willing to hear what they have to say.

Cormac McCarthy, 1933–2023
The unfamiliarity was a familiar sensation: it was what reading felt like when reading was new, before I'd learned almost all of the words that people were likely to put into books. McCarthy—especially the latter-day, even more popularly successful McCarthy of The Road and No Country for Old Men—was a propulsive storyteller, with at times a screenwriterly directness and urgency, but he was also the idiosyncratic obsessive putting on the page whatever prophetic digressions or archaic lingo he wanted to put there, decade after decade, whether anyone else cared to pay attention or not. The books were as accessible and as cryptic as the world itself was.

Henry Kissinger, 1923–2023
One plausible reading of Kissinger's blood-soaked career would be that he was fanatically, idiotically amoral—that he had fixated on the idea that morality and human rights were dangerously sentimental concerns for a superpower trying to shape the world to its interests, and that therefore prudence and realism demanded that he always steer toward the least moral, most inhumane options in sight. But that approach still demanded a moral compass, just one that pointed in reverse, which was how and why he consistently made sure, as with the Letelier assassination, to lie about what he'd done, or to have others lie for him.

Shane MacGowan, 1957–2023
Does an artist really need to destroy themself for art's sake? In between the role of the feral drunk that MacGowan inhabited his own public life and the feral drunk characters he inhabited in song, there was a subtle and incisive interpreter, able to wring heartbreak out of what sounded like bravado and vice versa.


New York City, December 26, 2023

★★★ The edges between the white clouds and the blue sky were blurred away. The sun was a rumor off below the buildings; the light was the light of coal season in China. Toward downtown the misty haze hanging on the chilly air was faded gold, with towers dissolving in it as they receded. Along the cross streets it was just smoky. A falcon, long-winged and flick-tailed, flitted from one cellular transmission antenna to another and then back again. In the afternoon glow in the bank vestibule, a rat made a hunching sprint across the carpet and vanished somewhere around the heaters.


THE READERS OF Indignity continue to supply us with Bluesky codes, for people who want to try the still-beta Bluesky social networks. If you haven’t already gotten a code from us, email and we will award Bluesky codes to those who respond, one per reader, first email, first served.


WE PRESENT INSTRUCTIONS for the assembly of sandwiches from A Calendar of Dinners, with 615 Recipes (stealth title: The Story of Crisco), by Marion Harris Neil, Published in 1921, now in the Public Domain, available at for the delectation of all.

The quality, as well as the quantity, of lard was diminishing steadily in the face of a growing population. Prices were rising. "The high-cost-of-living" was an oft-repeated phrase. Also, our country was outgrowing its supply of butter. What was needed, therefore, was not a substitute, but something better than these fats, some product which not only would accomplish as much in cookery, but a great deal more.

Egg and Anchovy Sandwiches
3 tablespoonfuls melted Crisco
10 anchovies
3 hard-cooked eggs
2 tablespoonfuls grated cheese
1 teaspoonful curry powder
1/2 teaspoonful lemon juice
Salt to taste
Brown bread

Bone anchovies, put them in basin or mortar with eggs, cheese, and one tablespoonful Crisco, and pound all well together. Mix remaining Crisco with curry powder, lemon juice, and salt to taste. Cut some thin brown bread, spread with curry mixture and layer of anchovy paste. Lay another piece of bread on top, and cut into fancy shapes. Arrange on a lace paper and garnish with watercress.

Sufficient for fifteen sandwiches.

Fried Egg Sandwiches
2 tablespoonfuls Crisco
4 hard-cooked eggs
2 tablespoonfuls cream
Salt, pepper, and red pepper to taste
2 rasped rolls
Fritter batter

Cut hard-cooked eggs free from shells into slices and pound Crisco and cream to a paste. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper. Cut rolls into thin slices, butter them, spread them with the mixture and make into small sandwiches. Dip each sandwich into some prepared fritter batter, and fry to golden brown in hot Crisco. Drain and serve hot.

Sufficient for twelve sandwiches.

Hudson Sandwiches
2 tablespoonfuls Crisco
1/2 lb. cooked meat
6 stoned olives
1 teaspoonful capers
2 hard-cooked eggs
Salt and pepper to taste
Crisp lettuce leaves
12 picked shrimps
Brown bread

Put through food chopper cooked meat, olives, capers, and yolks of hard cooked eggs, then add Crisco and seasonings. Spread mixture on slices of buttered brown bread, and stamp them out with a round cutter; sprinkle surfaces of sandwiches with chopped whites of eggs. Dish up in circular fashion. Put lettuce in center with shrimps and a few sprigs of parsley. This sandwich quite repays the trouble of making.

Sufficient for twenty sandwiches.

If you decide to prepare and attempt to enjoy a sandwich inspired by this offering, be sure to send a picture to


The second printing of 19 FOLK TALES is now available for belated Holiday gift-giving and personal perusal!

U.S. Postal Service media mail delivery takes an estimated 4 to 8 business days. For Eastern Orthodox shoppers, the author stands ready to hand-fulfill orders as they come in, even at the cost of dealing with that one clerk at the neighborhood post office whose whole thing is trying to start a fight with everyone who steps up to her window. Happy holidays!

HMM WEEKLY MINI-ZINE, Subject: GAME SHOW, Joe MacLeod’s account of his Total Experience of a Journey Into Television, expanded from the original published account found here at Hmm Daily. The special MINI ZINE features other viewpoints related to an appearance on, at, and inside the teevee game show Who Wants to Be A Millionaire, available for purchase at SHOPULA.

FLAMING HYDRA will launch in January of 2024. The FLAMING HYDRA Holiday Preview Spectacular, a rich sampling of the writing and art you’ll enjoy as a subscriber to the forthcoming daily newsletter, is available now for your inspection. FLAMING HYDRA is the work of 60 world-class talents, but that’s just one reason to subscribe. FLAMING HYDRA is a 100% cooperatively owned, ad-free publication with no owners and no investors; just a bunch of writers and artists working together and splitting the proceeds equally.

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