Another Use for Bacon

March 29th, 2010 | Oddments, Other Projects, The Artistic Condition, Wild Kingdom

I ran out of suet for the woodpeckers recently, and they started hammering on the house. Holly, who is nothing if not resourceful, came up with the plan to make some out of our old bacon grease. I thought it would be a big mess, but it’s working out pretty well. (Hanging the laundry in the rain is not working out very well at all.)

Take a handful of semisolid hogfat. Mix in some of that banana granola that wasn’t very good. Stick it in the birdfeeder, and presto! Hours of fun for all concerned.

163 Responses to “Another Use for Bacon”

  1. Jen says:

    Here’s why the bacon creates so much obsession: it’s like heroin…

    http://www.endprohibition.ca/group/endprohibition/bacon-and-cheesecake-alter-brain-heroin

  2. meg says:

    Next time you’re in town, the dollar store has it… it’s where I usually get mine. Because you’ll run out of bacon grease eventually.

  3. …sorry the video isn’t processed yet. youtube is really really slow. I should have waited to post, but usually it only takes 5 minutes or so. It’s been a couple hours now, and still nuthin.

  4. Cheryl says:

    I do this with the fat from boiling poultry carcasses for stock. The birds don’t seem to mind being cannibals.

  5. butchysmurf says:

    no need to worry about the ethics of waiting for the right story element. it’s all in the waiting and the seeing. thanks for the video.

  6. Acilius says:

    “Is this unethical?” That’s an interesting question. Since you’ve made the edits very obvious, I’d say you’ve shown adherence to a very strict documentary ethic. So if your ethical concern is about your relationship to the viewer, you’re covered- you certainly are not tricking us into believing that we are seeing events as they happened.

    On the other hand, if you are concerned about your relationship to the birds, matters may be more complicated. You are using the birds to tell your story, not waiting for them to give you their story. I don’t really believe that we are obligated to treat each bird as an end in him/herself, but it’s an interesting thing to think about.

  7. Dr. Empirical says:

    I agree with Acilius. You’re not trying to trick us. You didn’t buy a bird on ebay and release it next to the feeder so you could film it, you didn’t lace the bacon grease with heroin so the birds would keep coming back, you didn’t even morph Holly into some sort of twisted bird-creature with propriatary James Cameron software.

    You made truth accessible.

  8. Ready2Agitate says:

    All who are hungry – let them come and eat!

    love the cameo by Dr. W. at the end. ;)

  9. maxine says:

    I think they deserved a little side of your recent maple syrup adventures. you can also make more suet by adjusting the suet/granola ratio…way more granola…I was especially curious to see more of the cat watching the birds…

  10. Antoinette says:

    My mom used to make dishes of bacon grease mixed with birdseed for our feathery friends. I saw one a the fellas I used to keep company with munching on this mixture while he was waiting for me. I never let on to him, but from then on my mom would fix snacks for Mark because she was worried he was hungry. My mom was a good lady.

    Just lately I’ve been setting out quartered apples slathered with peanut butter and rolled in seed. All the critters seem to like it.

  11. Ian says:

    Is it unethical? You want to be true? Honest about the reality? It is impossible to completely represent truth to the viewer as you have no control over the interpretation of the viewer.

    Besides, the viewer already has reality. I’ve always thought that art cannot really represent reality in its entirety. It can only be selective of moments and the viewer is seeing it filtered through what you perceive the reality to be.

    The only analogy I can think of is the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle (for the layman). What you observe, you change.

    For me, the role of the artist has always been to distill the essence of what they perceive from the reality, and show us their interpretation of it. To show us what they have observed from this life, and how they interpret it.

  12. DeLand DeLakes says:

    Alison,
    Did you hear about your old friend Ricky Martin? Gawker’s reporting on the subject is funny enough to bear repeating:
    “Though long believed to be the hips-swivelingest, child-adoptingest, Miami-livingest, women-never-datingest straight pop star in town, Ricky Martin has revealed today, on his website, that he is a gay person who does gay things.”

  13. Bechadelic1 says:

    You and Holly are the coolest ever. Also loved the short but obviously eager-to-hunt appearance made by Dr. W, at the end.

    I’m still trying to find out what food in the wild suet substitutes. So far I’ve been told that suet’s a high source of energy for wild birds and that they love it. But say there’s a space of wilderness with no human beings around to build or fill bird feeders, what do the wild birds eat there, since I know they are not secretly killing off large animals to satisfy their lard-lust.

  14. NLC says:

    In keeping with the combined spirit of both geologists and recipes –and while they neither include bacon nor are appropriate for birds– have I ever mentioned [these]?

    (Since this is the first day of passover, I feel obligated to ask: Are trilobites kashrut?)

  15. Alex K says:

    @14 / Bechadelic: “Lard-lust” FTW.

    @15 / NLC: Show me the circumcision scar on the trilobite, then we’ll discuss it.

  16. Kate L says:

    I just had to come to the public library and log on the DTWOF blog. I was minding my own business, when suddenly I thought, “I smell BACON!”.

  17. Acilius says:

    This afternoon I was walking past the philosophy department. I overheard two students saying “he really tears into Bacon.” I missed a beat or two before I realized they meant Sir Francis.

  18. Ian says:

    Happy Passover? I was told that it was traditional at Jewish New Year to say “next year in Jerusalem”. What should us ignorant gentiles say at Passover?

    Easter is on my mind at the moment. I’m planning to make Simnel Cake for Easter Sunday, which I’ve never made before. I don’t know if we transported it to the ‘States.

    To get this back on topic, I’ve also agreed to make bacon and egg pie as well …

  19. Minnie says:

    Grubs and bugs are high in fat.
    The local delicacy in Bucaramanga, Colombia, is ants, and they do taste buttery.
    Ants were out of season when we were living there, but some local pals brought us some that they’d picked up on the black market.

  20. Minnie says:

    Acilius, my Scottish mother used to make us each a Simnel cake on Mothering Sunday, 1/2-way through Lent. She said it was the one day of the year the child factory-workers had free, to go home and see family.

  21. Ready2Agitate says:

    Thank you, Ian! #19

    Happy Passover! is correct. The Yiddish (and Hebrew) word for Passover is “Pesah” (rhymes with “pace ahhh”) — or, more correctly, “PesaCH,” if you can manage the guttural “ch” at the end. “Happy Pesach!” is another Passover greeting.

    If you’re even more ambitious, “Chag Sameach” is the traditional greeting. Chag (sounds somewhere between “hug” and “hog”)- again with the guttural “ch” at the beginning – means festival; Sameach (sounds like “sum may ahhh”) means Happy/Joyous.

    “Next year in Jerusalem!” — dates to the fact that Passover is one of three Jewish pilgrimage holidays. At our seder, we say “next year may all people be free!”

    ps This is the beginning of the Jewish agricultural year, but not technically the Jewish New Year (which is Rosh Hashanah in the fall). This is a “feast” holiday that occurs on the first full moon of spring.

    So when I see my Jewish kinfolk, I just say “Happy Passover,” “Happy Pesach” or “Chag Sameach.” To throw in one more, a Yiddish greeting, is “A Zisn Pesach!” (a sweet Pesach!)

    So: Happy Passover! to H_o_H, Feminista, and all the other Jewish dykes and dyke allies on this blog.

    Ian – thanks for asking!

    And now: back to bacon! ;)

  22. Ian says:

    @R2A(22): You’re welcome, and thanks for the explanation! I think I might stick to “Happy Passover” or “Happy Pesach”. I’m not brave enough to attempt “Chag Sameach”.

    Thanks for explaining about Passover being at the first full moon after Spring. I never know whether to be proud or not, as the British church decided when Easter should be celebrated. As you know, it should really be during Passover week (at the end I think), but it was decided that it should be the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring equinox. Which is clear as mud, but probably made sense in the 7th century.

    And now, back to bacon! I’m going to make a bacon and egg pie for dinner.

  23. Acilius says:

    @Minnie #21: I’m not sure why you addressed that to me particularly, but it’s an interesting story. Thanks very much!

    Perhaps all comments should now end with “And now, back to bacon!” Not only here, but on every blog.

  24. Bechadelic1 says:

    @ Alex # 16
    What does FTW mean?

  25. Calico says:

    #25 – I think it means, “for the win.”

  26. Calico says:

    Since this is also a food-themed link, I want to ask y’all if you have ever heard of a Canadian chef named Lynn Crawford.
    I recently discoved videos for her foodnetwork.ca show called “Pitchin’ In”, and when I saw my first PI video, I thought, “Sister”?
    Yep, turns out she has had a girlfriend/partner for 13 years or so.
    Watch and enjoy! : )

  27. Calico says:

    Discovered, that is. Ta-hi-ka-waka-whoops! : )

  28. --MC says:

    Minnie @ #20 — I am totally naming my new band “Black Market Ants”.

  29. judybusy says:

    For all the Twin Cities denizens: for your pleasure at Crema Cafe: Organic Maple Bacon ice cream with Fischer Bacon. They’re on 34th and Lyndale. Today, with the high around 75, would be a perfect day to sit in their lovely courtyard enjoying the ice cream!

  30. Alex K says:

    @19 / Ian: Passover greetings — “Next year in Al-Quds” has its adherents.

    The best butcher in the neighbourhood has stopped carrying (smoked, streaky) dry-cured bacon. It’s now bought in; it’s salt-cured and oozes white coagula in the pan; and it’s so flabby that the wholesalers have to cut it thick, which means to get it properly crispy means a half-hour of hovering and flipping and bad language. So nice it once was, to walk in, to queue, to say once one reached the vitrine to the man (there are butcheresses, with bright eyes, strong hands, and little straw boaters!, but the question is always “Butcheress than who?” and I am so easily distracted erotically that… well, that when I see them I can not frame a request coherently, I just Give Up) “Can you dial that down a bit? Thinner, maybe twelve slices to the inch?” as he stood at the meat slicer with the flitch in his hand. A sigh, please, everyone, for the good things that are gone.

    In May, however, I travel to Hungary again. I have paid EasyJet the nine quid necessary to check a hold bag. That hold bag will hold bacon. Csaszarszalonna. And lots of it. Rejoice, barbecuties! Summer is almost here, and so is good bacon! Even if I have to cut it thin myself.

  31. Alex K says:

    @26 / Calico: Spot-on. Yay “lard-lust”!

  32. Marj says:

    #15 NLC: Trilobites? Crustacea, surely? Therefore no more kosher than a prawn…

    Chag Sameach; also Happy Pagan Spring Rites!

    Easter~Oestra=Anglo-Saxon fertility Goddess.

  33. NLC says:

    Next year at hairball_of_hope’s place!

  34. Alex, you’re having a bacon orgy before it’s even there!

  35. makky says:

    Maybe I’m jus yakking, but the bag of granola in video looked like the Bear Naked banana nut granola I bought last wk. I ended up throwing out the last 20%…after all the good stuff i.e. almonds and bananas dissapeared. Also as I recall there was some WHITE sugarin this product! Now that would seem to be unfair/unjust healthwise to the birds?

  36. Ian says:

    @AB(36): For some reason I’m reminded of the scene in Hot Shots (I watch quality films you know) where Topper Harley fries bacon and eggs on Ramada’s stomach …

  37. Ginjoint says:

    Antoinette, I’m STILL laughing at that story of your former boyfriend snacking on the bird treats, and your mother’s subsequent alarm. It’s like someone accidentally munching on the potpourri instead of the hors d’oeuvres at a cocktail party or something.

    And “lard-lust”…I’ll remember that one for a while…

  38. j.b.t. says:

    Ah, lard… vitamin D galore! One of the many sad ill-health effects from eating a low-fat diet is vitamin D deficiency. I get organic lard from Wholefarmcoop.com – a great source for local, sustainably raised farm products here in MN. They drop off your order at area churches – “congregationally supported agriculture.” Though you don’t have to belong to a church to order…(whew!)

    R2A, thanks for the Passover info.

    Judybusy – thanks for the tip on Crema! I’m so there for the bacon ice cream!!!! And can you believe this weather?? We deserve it.

    xo,
    j.b.

  39. Minnie says:

    Acilius, I apologize – should have been addressed to Ian.
    Just had a couple of slugs of maple syrup, so mind now in gear. I do like your name though.

  40. Ready2Agitate says:

    oh thx for that clarification, Gjoint! – when I initially read Antoinette’s tale, I mistook ‘one of the fellas’ to mean one of the BIRDS! (who mama later named “Mark”). I need to take sentence completion again, it seems… (that or get more sleep!)

  41. hairball_of_hope says:

    Oy, where to begin?

    Chag Sameach, y’all. Surely the ghosts of Gaelic and Saxon will help our UK friends with the ‘ch’ sound. Sort of a language pentimento in English. You’ve got it in you, you can do it. A good cold helps with the pronounciation too. It’s the sound one makes while clearing phlegm from the back of the throat. Our Germanic-speaking friends need no such help, there’s plenty of ‘ch’ ‘ch’ in those languages, all cousins to Yiddish, itself derived from 15th century Germanic languages, with a bunch of Slavic, Eastern European, and Hebrew words thrown in for good measure.

    Ian, what to say for Passover? The usual refrain during the Seders of my youth, as the reading of the Haggadah dragged on, “Speed it up, we’re hungry!” Or simply, “Dayenu! Let’s eat!”

    Inside joke there… Dayenu means “enough,” and there’s a traditional song during the Seder called Dayenu which is long and tongue-twisting and the kids get silly singing about how just one of the miracles G_d has wrought would have been enough, and then there’s another miracle, and another, etc. and the song just keeps going on and on, perhaps inspiration for the infomercial line, “But wait, there’s more!” or perhaps inspiration for Shari Lewis’ song with Lambchop, “This is the song that never ends…” And when it FINALLY ends, we all shout, “Dayenu!” in relief.

    Thanks for the shoutout, R2A, and howdy to the rest of the minyan… cybercita, bean, Liza, freyakat, Jain, Aunt Soozie, and I’m sure I’m forgetting a few more. Marj, maybe?

    Yeah, the trilobites (the originals) were Crustacea, not kosher, they’d need scales and fins to be edible. The bakery version of the trilobites wouldn’t be kosher for Passover because of the leavening agent (baking powder), and perhaps the candy dots (corn starch?), but substituting currants or raisins for the eyes would be simple. They’d be fine the rest of the year, but they are milchig (dairy), can’t be served for dessert after a fleishig (meat) meal. Six hour wait on that, according to the usual über-observant religious authorities, unless you substitute non-dairy margarine for the butter (some margarines have dairy ingredients for flavor, gotta read the label and look for the relevant kosher inspection agency markings on the package to be sure). Alex, you’ll be looking a very long time for a circumcision scar on a trilobite, first you’d have to wait for it to evolve a schlong. (Smack me.)

    Next year at my place, NLC? I’ll have to start cleaning NOW. Ganesh, help me!

    Alex, UK Customs or Agriculture don’t confiscate food when you return? US Customs and Ag Dept sure do. No meat products can come in, and most fruit and plants get confiscated upon arrival to the mainland. No unpasteurized cheeses either. In Puerto Rico (which is a US Commonwealth, no passports necessary for US citizens), Ag Dept doesn’t even let fruit get on the plane. One trip I ate a whole bunch of bananas before my flight instead of letting them grab it. Customs does allow roasted coffee in, but they scrutinize it very closely. I had no idea why my Italian espresso beans were getting the third degree at Customs. I later found out that drug couriers hide their stash in coffee because it confuses the drug-sniffing dogs.

    Marj is dead-on about our conjoined mythologies and symbolisms at this time of year. The calendars are also all related. The Eastern Orthodox churches didn’t adopt the Gregorian modifications, so they celebrate Easter on a different date from the Catholics and Anglicans. The Julian and Gregorian calendars are solar, while the Jewish calendar is lunar. Keeping track of the Gregorian leap year is easy (add one day every fourth year, except in centenary years which are evenly divisible by 400). The Jewish calendar is a 19 year cycle with full, deficient, and leap years. There’s actually a leap month, Adar II (pronounced A-dar Shay-nee) that gets added into the cycle to keep it all straight.

    Last, but not least, Calico… Food Network in the US had a *OUT* team member cooking in the early years (early 1990s), Susan Feniger of “Too Hot Tamales.”

    http://www.marysueandsusan.com/about/about_sf.htm

    She’s been a business partner with Mary Sue Milliken for three decades, and Mary Sue is straight, so everything ever written about them always includes the phrase “*business* partner” to make sure everyone knows they are not an item. I’ve eaten at Border Grill in Santa Monica, the food is good, but in the celebrity Latin/Mexican chef genre, I prefer Rick Bayless’ Frontera Grill in Chicago. In the early years of the Food Network, I think I ate at nearly every restaurant every mentioned or whose chef cooked on the network. That was one of the few redeeming features of my 80%+ travel job in those days, I got to eat in a lot of great places all over the country, using up my per diem money and then some. No wonder I’m broke.

    Oy, where to end?

    That’s an easy one. Bacon. What is up with all the bacon-filled, bacon-infused, bacon-laden foods that seemingly are gastronomic leagues apart from a strongly-flavored savory food such as bacon? Bacon ice cream, bacon doughnuts, bacon vodka, and Ian’s favorite, bacon personal lube.

    I think we should have a contest for most original bacon-added food or substance. And then we should collect royalties when someone dares to sell it.

    Bacon toothpaste. Bacon body spray (it can’t be any worse than the Axe body spray that teenage boys schpritz to excess). Clothing and accessories made of bacon, you can eat them when hungry.

    And now for a Jewish bacon story. My cousin’s husband developed male pattern baldness at a quite early age, he had just a ring of hair at the back of his head and a few wisps on top by the time he graduated college. This did not deter him from plastering hair on top of his head by growing some of the ring long and pasting it on top of his head, held in place by who-knows-what-secret-substance. His hair was brown and wavy, and it looked like he had bacon strips on top of his head. No amount of prodding by my cousin, their kids, or ribbing from us (we all called it the bacon strips to his face) made him change the hairstyle.

    In his mid-40s he developed cancer, and one of the side effects of all the chemo was that he lost all his body hair, including the bacon strips. When he finished the chemo, radiation, and surgery, everything started growing back. His head hair came in darker brown, and thicker. My cousin pleaded with him not to grow the bacon strips back. He agreed. He told me that after losing all his hair, including pubic hair, ear hair, and even the hair in his nose, he was fine without the bacon strips.

    Which leads me to my last ludicrous bacon product, the bacon toupee. It looks no sillier than any of the other head merkins, and it’s edible!

  42. hairball_of_hope says:

    Well damn, all those crazy bacon items aren’t so far-fetched, this guy has a list of 20 non-edible bacon items that are sure to please the bacon-holics on this blog:

    http://iamthetrend.com/2010/01/12/20-of-the-craziest-bacon-products-around/

    (… goes back to munching on her wallboard, er, make that matzo, it’s so hard to tell them apart …)

  43. NLC says:

    Given 1] the recent discussion discussion of tapping maple trees, and 2] well, that it’s today, here’s a story NPR ran five years ago today:
    [Click Here]

  44. NLC, that NPR story took me in COMPLETELY. I was in the car when it aired, and after I reached my destination, I ranted to a sweet little vegan about the plight of maple trees, all worked up about it. Didn’t find out I had been snookered until the next day. All I can say in my defense is that it was during the Bush/Cheney rampage years when inthinkable destruction seemed to be everywhere.

  45. Alex K says:

    @43 / H_o_H: Erm, I dunno. Ask for forgiveness rather than permission, ‘smy motto. But… well, a bit intellectually lazy, isn’t that? Yes, it is, I say shamefacedly, my eyes cast down. Give me a minute to Google the import restrictions… Turns out that Hungarian bacon is NOT RESTRICTED. The criminal thrill is gone.

    I’ve packed in steaks from the USA. Now, after checking, I’m sure: Those are contraband.

    No beagles at the London airport carousels. Might this be in deference to Muslim sensibilities?

  46. judybusy says:

    j.b.t. : Also delectable: the ice cream at the Pumphouse on 48th and Chicago. Lesbian-owned, and with house-made multi-grain waffle cones. They sound disgustingly healthy, but are sooo delish! Happily, within walking distance of mah howse! And yeah, loving the 75 degree-weather. Biking! Gardening! Flip flops!

  47. Acilius says:

    @Minnie #41: No apology needed! I’m glad you like my screen-name, I’ve been using it for a number of years now and have grown quite attached to it.

    Alex K #47: I very much doubt Muslims have anything to do with restrictions on dogs at entry points to Britain. The UK government has started being somewhat polite to Muslims only in recent years, and it’s been during those same years that they’ve eased up quite a bit on the quarantine and other restrictions on dogs in public. So foreign dogs and British Muslims have advanced in tandem, for some reason.

  48. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Alex, Acilius

    I suppose if UK Customs *really* wanted to offend Muslims, Jews, and probably Hindus, they’d have trained pigs do the sniffing. It’s not so far-fetched; pigs are way more intelligent than dogs, much more highly trainable. Not sure about their olfactory prowess however.

    Your bacon might set off explosives detection equipment if it’s cured with nitrates. The airpuff/swabbing thing they do at the airport looks for nitrogen-containing compounds such as urea and ammonia, not sure if sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite will set it off.

    Nitrogen-containing compounds are among the usual ingredients in explosives of all types, due to the high bond energies of N; that energy gets released when the compound is primed or accelerated (and in the case of the really sensitive compounds, such as liquid TNT, when mechanically disturbed).

    Of course, if you piss on yourself or dump the catbox on your shoes, you could probably also set off the explosives detection gear. Great security we are paying for. NOT.

  49. hairball_of_hope says:

    From the demented minds at ThinkGeek comes “My First Bacon,” a talking plush toy that chants “I’m Bacon” when squeezed.

    http://www.thinkgeek.com/stuff/41/my-first-bacon.shtml

    Not sure if this is one of ThinkGeek’s usual April Fool’s gags; I got taken in by last year’s bacon-themed gag, Squeez Bacon. I’m sure the programmable tattoo (MoodINQ) and the canned unicorn meat are bogus (“Tastes like sparkly chicken!”), not so sure about Tribbles ‘n’ Bits, the crispy/furry breakfast cereal.

    Check them out at thinkgeek [dot] com.

    Also, did anyone catch the new Google logo today? It says “Topeka” in reference to Topeka KS renaming itself to Google KS for a day to woo Google decision-makers to select Topeka as one of the test cities for their fiber optic experiment.

    Yes, *that* Topeka. The place where all the right-wing Phelps nutjobs live. Nonetheless, the Kansans around here must be so proud.

    (… goes back to her not-so-funny April Fool’s Day in the salt mines …)

  50. hairball_of_hope says:

    And for the PETA crowd among us, ThinkGeek offers the “Screaming Chef’s Knife”, which produces sound effects associated with the animal being cut up:

    http://www.thinkgeek.com/stuff/41/screaming-knife.shtml

    Quoting from the product description:


    Push the button at top of the handle to select the object you’ll be cutting and when you slice through it, you’ll hear an appropriate (and distressing) sound effect. Never forget your steak comes from Bessie the Cow again! MOOOOO! MOOOOOOO! Let the screams of terrified poultry ring out in your kitchen while you prep your teriyaki stir fry. The knife even cries for you when you cut onions and plays a victory jingle e when you slice into birthday cake. You can even record your own custom sounds for special occasions. Cutting the wedding cake? A man screams. The possibilities are only limited by the limitations of what’s possible. It’s that simple.

    Oh, if only this product really existed.

  51. Bechadelic1 says:

    @Calico and @ Alex
    Oh phew, thanks for the FTW clarification, was a bit worried as google gave me more than ten different expansion possibilities, and not all of them were very nice :D Yay for ‘lard-lust’ indeed!

  52. Kate L says:

    (Ian #19) Just don’t wish anyone Happy Yom Kippur (Happy Day of Atonement)! But that’s not for a while.

    (hairball #51) Google is the nearest big city to me. I used to live near Picayune, Mississippi, which permanently changed its name during the Great Depression to win some favor from the Times-Picayune newspaper in nearby New Orleans.

    The Large Hadron Collider is finally up and running, and the resulting tear in the fabric of space-time is allowing me to post from the far future. =ahem= Greetings, Peoples of the Earth! I speak to you from the far future of May 1, 2010! The home-made suet craze continues, and just this morning Holly was talking about it on Oprah. Also, the Law & Order producers have finally finished killing-off each and every major character in the many Law & Order series. The last to go? Law & Order’s Special Victims Unit Detective John Munch (last seen being abducted by space aliens). Well that’s the news from the future*, so long.

    * Did anybody catch this reference to Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In from the 1960’s? Does anyone remember Rowen and Martin’s Laugh-In? Does anyone remember the 1960’s?

  53. Calico says:

    Here’s some updated info about my new favorite lesbian/chef:
    http://community.foodnetwork.ca/blogs/hostsinterviews/archive/2010/03/04/interview-lynn-crawford.aspx
    Go foodies!

  54. Calico says:

    #43 HOH – How cool, I was thinking about Rick Bayless today!
    Good on Susan Feniger as well! : )
    I want some good Mexican cuisine in a restaurant and unfortunately, there’s none to be had where I live (QC). Zut!
    Oh, well, I make some pretty good Fajitas and Chili. Must peruse Rick’s recipes stat.

  55. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Calico (#56)

    I have no doubt you can whip up one of Bayless’ specialties. The question will be “Can you get the ingredients in QC?” Bayless’s cuisine is approximately Oaxacan and New-Agey Californian, lots of layers of flavor, and incredibly fresh and beautiful to look at ingredients and presentation. The Too Hot gals are similar, their food is more Californian, Bayless’ is more Mexican.

    @Kate L (#54)

    You know what they say about the 1960s… if you can remember them, you weren’t there.

  56. Lurk-A-Lot says:

    @ NLC
    I posted a response to your question re: Tolkien, in the Spring Tonic entry. I don’t know if you saw it.

    @Calico #27 and #55
    I haven’t had cable for a long time, so no Food Network for me now. But I vaguely remember The Hot Tamales and the name Susan Crawford.

    Because you mention foodies, I’m encouraged to share my latest kitchen adventure.

    Struck with the urge to make yeasted whole wheat bread( I usually avoid both wheat and yeast) from scratch, I went to the local whole food co-op and bought hard wheat berries, which I tried to grind to flour using a cheap Magic Bullet blender. It mostly worked but wasn’t fine like flour.

    Then I added olive oil, sea salt and yeast proofed with raw honey. My aim was to make the bread using only the whole wheat “flour.” Trouble was, the ground whole wheat didn’t have enough gluten for me to latch on to to knead, so I ended up having to add unbleached all purpose flour and whole wheat pastry flour, which worked.

    I formed them in to large buns, and let me tell you, the end product was YUMMERS! I slathered one, hot from the oven, with butter and had it with raw milk cheddar. Deelish!

  57. Renee S. says:

    Check out what they have on the menu at Voodoo Doughnut in Oregon…The maple bacon doughnut

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/megancohen/556704378/

  58. j.b.t. says:

    Hi Judybusy – I love the Pumphouse Creamery! I did a little blurb about it in my nutrition letter last summer (along with a bit about the sad state much of organic dairy farming is in). Grass-fed dairy! Local ingredients! Lesbian owned! It’s all just too fabulous.

    xo,
    j.b.

  59. DeLand DeLakes says:

    Judybusy, I am soooooo gonna hit that. Perhaps I will find refuge in a bacon-cone next Wednesday, far, far away from the shrill snowbillies about to take over my city…

  60. judybusy says:

    Now, Deland, just to clarify, there isn’t any bacon in the cones, just whole grains! I wouldn’t want you to arrive at the Pmphouse only to face excruciating disappointment. Also, what snowbillies are coming our way?

    Lurk-a-lot, your bread sounds so good! Last winter, I didn’t buy bread, but made all we kneaded. (Sorry, low-hanging fruit I couldn’t resist.) This winter, I discovered XC skiing, so that sucked up any time I had for bread-making. This is REALLY weird for me, because we are having the best spring ever, but I am missing XC skiing and being out in the crisp air. I used to loathe winter. Now, not so much!

  61. --MC says:

    @51 — they totally got that idea from Michael Kupperman’s Snake & Bacon. “Sssss! I’m bacon! Sssss! Put me in a sandwich!”
    #54 — I watched Laugh In every night and can’t remember any of it! Just as well, it was a foolish show. I remember the news song though.
    What’s the news across the nation?
    We have got the information
    In a way we hope will amuse you!
    We just love to give you our views!
    Ladies and gents, Laugh In looks at the news!

    I’ll probably be singing that, in my final dementia, on my deathbed.
    #59 — last time I was in Portland I couldn’t even get into Voodoo Donut, the line was around the block. Those little bacon maple donuts are fiendishly popular ..

  62. Andi says:

    Alison – Aren’t you worried about attracting bears? If I put bacon in my bird feeder up here in the Colorado mountains, I’d have every mid-to-large sized carnivore ripping up my porch to get at it. I already have to chase the foxes from my feeder, since they like to eat kitties and small dogs.

    And Renee, if I were a bear, I’d come out of hibernation for a maple bacon doughnut. Mmmmmm……

  63. Kate L says:

    (hairball #57) Oh, hairball… I can remember being there for the assasinations (literally there in the case of President Kennedy’s murder in Dealey Plaza, Dallas), and I can remember getting physically ill on Election Night ’68 when Nixon seemed to be pulling ahead in the presidential race. And I can remember watching the first moonwalk live, although I understand that actress Marilou Henner has a MUCH better story about this than I do!

    But even then there were stirrings of the Wonderful World of Tommorrow! Just feast your eyes on this late sixties film clip (literally, a FILM clip) on how home-installed computational devices might make our lives in the 21st century easier and more expeditious.
    http://kottke.org/10/03/the-internet-in-1969
    Please Note: not all the labor-saving devices foreseen in the clip actually happened. In particular the “husband”, who paid for the purchases the woman in the film clip made over her computional device, was just a crazy concept that never panned out. Just like the shoe phone or flying cars. That reminds me… where are the flying cars??? I was promised flying cars!!!

  64. Kate L says:

    (MC #63) Ver-r-r-r-y interesting! You got the Laugh-In news song right, but I’m sorry to inform you that when Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In originally aired on the NBC television network from 1968 to 1970, it was only on one night a week (Monday night)! Hmmm… then again, if you were toked enough to think that it was on EVERY night, that might just prove you WERE alive in the 1960’s!

  65. DeLand DeLakes says:

    Judybusy,
    The most batshit-crazy ‘billies of all–Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin–will be presiding over a crowd of Minnesota’s most inbred residents at the Minneapolis Convention Center next Wednesday. I assume they will be mud-wrestling each other while Jesse Ventura officiates.

  66. Shyish says:

    HoH (50)–Truffles! I have no idea whether coke in the coffee tin would be harder to sniff out…

  67. Anonymous says:

    [I'm too embarrassed to reveal my identity: can someone who speaks HTML (or whatever) explain to me how --MC in #63 above got those Laugh-In lyrics to print in *italics* ?]

  68. Mentor says:

    [Dear Anonymous#69:
    The standard way to do this is to include the text inside the tags:
    <I> and </I>

    For example:

    If you type the string MMM, BACON! into the text-entry box it will appear simply as:
    MMM, BACON!

    However, if you type the string <I>MMM, BACON!</I> it will appear as:
    MMM, BACON!

    --Mentor]

  69. Mentor says:

    [PS: Extra geek credit:

    Just in case you were wondering, in the example above, the "tags" <I> and </I> are "special strings" in HTML. That is, if you just type them into the text-box as part of your message, the "HTML-engine" that processes your message will grind them up and spit them out in a way such that they won't actually show up in your message.

    However, if you ever need to include a tag so that it actually shows up in the text of your message, you need to use the special HTML-incantation &lt; to display a "less-than-sign" and &gt; to display a "greater-than-sign".

    That is:
    - &lt;I&gt; will appear as <I>
    AND
    - &lt;/I&gt; will appear as </I>

    Now go outside and enjoy your Saturday.
    --Mentor]

  70. Mentor, most impress. So, using the magical incantation signs above, can you write the instructions for how to create a clickable URL? I know how to do it but I don’t know how to write the instructions here so they actually show up. For others here, who struggle with long URLs.

    THEN, how about posting these instructions for italics. bold, and URL creation so they are a permanent part of the margin? As a step toward geek literacy in general. But nothing will ever replace your services, Mentor.

  71. Mentor says:

    [MJo#72, YWIMC:

    Italics:
    <I>DTWOF</I>
    will display as:
    DTWOF

    Bold:
    <B>DTWOF</B>
    will display as:
    DTWOF

    Linkable url (For the address quoted below, displayed as [Click Here]):
    <A HREF="http://www.google.com/"&gt;[Click Here]</A>
    will display as:
    [Click Here]

    Finally, a couple of things that you should be aware of:

    1] The spam-trap-filter on the blog is a bit cranky about what “special” HTML it will allow in a message.

    Consequently, use only the special tags above (that is nothing “fancier”).

    2] The spam-trap filter is currently set up to allow only one linkable-url per message.

    If the message contains more links, the message will go into spam-trap limbo, and need to be freed by the powers that be.

    –Mentor]

  72. hairball_of_hope says:

    In “Reality Bites” news, comes word that the Phelps whackjobs have prevailed in an appeal of the $7.9 million judgement against them for disrupting the funeral of a dead Marine with their protests.

    http://www.cnn.com/2010/CRIME/03/30/westboro.baptist.snyder/

    Not only did they win reversal of the monetary judgement on appeal, the dead Marine’s father has been ordered to pay the Phelps’ legal costs, to the tune of about $16,000.

    Keep in mind nearly all of the Phelpses are attorneys (Fred Sr. was disbarred for abusing the legal system to harrass opponents). Their so-called legal costs are a sham, because they are representing themselves, not hiring outside attorneys to do the work.

    Margie Phelps freely admits that their goal was to force the dead Marine’s father to finance their protests.

    Quoting from the article:


    Margie Phelps, the daughter of Fred Phelps and the attorney representing the church in its appeals, also said the money that the church receives from Snyder will be used to finance demonstrations. But she also said that the order was a consequence of his decision to sue the church over the demonstration.

    “Mr. Snyder and his attorneys have engaged the legal system; there are some rules to that legal engagement,” said Phelps, a member of Westboro who says she has participated in more than 150 protests of military funerals.

    “They wanted to shut down the picketing so now they’re going to finance it,” she said.

    The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday ordered that Snyder pay more than $16,000 in costs requested by Westboro for copies of motions, briefs and appendices, according to court documents.

    In a motion filed in October, Snyder’s lawyer, who is representing him for free, asked the court to dismiss the bill of costs, or, alternatively, reduce the 50-cent fee per page or charge Snyder only for copies that were necessary to make their arguments on appeal.

    “We objected based upon ability to pay and the fairness of the situation,” Sean Summers said.

    Google should force Topeka to deport the Phelpses as a condition of wiring up the city with fiber optic cable.

    (… goes back to the first act of Aida from the Met Opera …)

  73. hairball_of_hope says:

    Hey Mentor! What triggered the spam filter on my last post #74? C-N-N? Or mention of M-E-T O-P-E-R-A? Surely it wasn’t mention of the P-H-E-L-P-S clan.

    [Don't know. I tried a quick experiment with a posting consisting of just the URL included in the message, and there didn't appear to be a problem. In any case, the message has been approved. --Mentor]

  74. little gator says:

    anothe rplace to find suet: the butcher section of a supermarket. It prolly ownt be on display, but they’ll usually gte you a few lumps if you ask. They may even have it on disaply with the organ meats.

    or get lard, whicd is usually next to the butter if the store it.

    Im not sure what
    ‘s the dif beteween suet and tallow, or which is more like lard. i think suet is unprocessed lumps of cattle fat,while if you render it(melt and strain) you get tallow. but could be wrong.

    Anythgin that uses bacon grease instead of wasting it is fine with me. When i was a hatchling, we used to keep a can of bacon grease sitting by the sink. a little was used for panfrying sliced potatoes(yum) but most if it got thrown out.

    IT grosses me out now to think I ate somethign fried in animal fat that had been uncovered at room temp for days or weeks.

  75. Alex K says:

    @36 / AB: “Bacon orgy”. True. Didn’t Candace once call Mo out on being in her glory? Well, yep, I’m in mine. THREE STRIPS this morning, alongside a fried egg. And the yolks are starting to turn proper deep orange again — spring is here!

    Have you been able to stop the woodpeckers from attacking your siding? They can do an awful lot of damage. If baiting them away with bacon grease, or suet, works…congratulations!

    @75 / L’il Gator: Suet’s relation to tallow: Exactly as you set it out. Suet still has in it the connective-tissue framework, the stuff that becomes “crackling”. Tallow is the rendered-out fat, once used for the cheapest candles (sooty and smelly).

  76. Andrew B says:

    As a supplement to Mentor’s helpful html instructions, may I suggest that whenever someone includes html in a comment, she/he preview it before posting it? And if you’ve included a link, try clicking on the link in the preview. That way you can make sure that all your html works before posting it. (Sorry about changing persons in mid-paragraph, but I was damned if I was going to write “she/he” again.)

    And regarding Maggie Jochild’s suggestion, how about putting the instructions directly under the comment text box? I’ve seen similar formatting on other sites.

  77. hairball_of_hope says:

    Thanks Mentor, always on the job.

    I suspect it is the mention of my local world-class opera company, a previous post mentioning the name was also spam-blocked.

    For those of you who are contemplating using HTML commands in your posts, PLEASE, PLEASE make sure you turn off the HTML formatting before you post (use the ‘Preview’ function!).

    Every item that starts with an HTML formatting tag (e.g. <i>, which turns on italics) *MUST* be followed by a tag that turns off the formatting (in the case of the italics, </i>).

    If you don’t close out your formatting, all subsequent posts will be hosed and poor Mentor will have to do the cleanup.

  78. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Andrew B

    Ah, GMTA… Great Minds Think Alike. I recall a ludicrous string of posts a few years back when someone didn’t close out the italics tag and there was no Mentor on the job in those days.

    I recommend that folks be very judicious and cautious in their use of HTML tags. Lots of forums don’t allow it at all because it’s so easy to screw it up, creating unneeded headaches for the forum moderator(s). It’s hard enough to police spam, trolls, copyright violators, and clueless nitwits. Don’t miss forum moderating one bit, I tell ya. Good riddance.

    For security reasons, I don’t click on embedded links unless I’ve examined the actual URL, so I have a bone to pick with those who think only about the aesthetics of embedding hidden links via ‘href’ instead of using the explicit link. (Maggie, how could anyone be “struggling” with a long URL? Copy it from your browser URL bar and paste it into the message, there’s no typing involved.) I also never click on obfuscated or redirected links, such as those created by TinyURL. While we’re on the topic of security, no one should ever use Internet Explorer in any version, no matter what promises Bill Gates and Co. make about its security; if you are using IE despite the gaping security holes, you should never allow Active X scripting, etc.

    Of course, if you insist on using that POS Windoze and get multiple rootkits and viruses on your PC and all your online banking and billpay have been hacked/compromised, I’ll be glad to charge you a good amount to undo the damage to your computer and recover your data. ;)

  79. HoH, what I meant by struggling is what folks here frequently complained here about, that their cut-and-pasted URL is so long it exceeds the margins of this column and hence cannot be seen in its entirety to cut and paste into your own browser.

  80. The 4th annual Washington Post Peeps Diorama Contest results have been announced. I particularly like “Georgia O’Peepe” and “Alfred Hitchcock’s The Peeps”.

    Peeps Diorama Slideshow in Washington Post

  81. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Maggie (#81)

    I still don’t understand the problem. If the full link is posted, how do margins affect it?

    Left-clicking directly on the link takes you to the page in question in all browsers. If you are using Firefox, right-clicking on it gives you choices to either copy link location (where you could cut/paste it anywhere), open link in new tab, or open link in new window. Even IE give you the choice to open the link in a new window or copy the link if you right-click on it (IE 8 also allows opening in new tab). Why would anyone be horizontally dragging a cursor across a link to copy it?

    How is a hidden link, such as the Wash Post link in #82, helpful? If someone drags the cursor to cut/paste, s/he will be pasting the text “Peeps Diorama Show in Washington Post,” not the actual link:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/gallery/2010/03/29/GA2010032903934.html

    I’m not trying to be persnickity, please tell me what I’m missing here.

  82. NLC says:

    Maggie Jochild#82:

    Thanks for posting this. (I don’t why this struck me as so funny, but, well, there you are…)

    (Also, given AB’s interest in Norman Rockpeep, I think it’s worth pointing out item 36 as especially worthy of attention.)

  83. hairball_of_hope says:

    Those Peeps dioramas were mighty impressive. I kept looking for the “Peeps To Watch Out For” diorama with our favorite dykely peeps, but no show.

  84. --MC says:

    If somebody wants to design a DTWO4 diorama, somebody should go on ahead. I can see it in my mind’s eye. There’s a little Lois peep, a little Clarice and a little Toni peep .. and a little Mo peep.

  85. Oh, MC…groaningly good.

    HoH, when a URL bleeds out the left hand margin, yes, in my browser (your accursed Windows, never have any problems as long as I keep my virus/security sweeps current) I know I can click on the remnant, copy, and I get it all. But either other folks don’t know that OR it doesn’t work that way for them, they only can copy as much as is showing on screen. Which is why in the past Tiny URL has been touted here.

    It’s fine and smart to not click on a URL that is obfuscated. But if I didn’t, I’d never be able to check out dozens of recommendations sprinkled across progressive blogs, because they ALL render their links to renamed HTML, it’s considered uncool to leave it as a naked URL. In addition, my security software tells me when a link is iffy as I hover over it and I have advance warning to keep me from peril. Well, that kind of peril, at least.

    And NLC, I too thought of AB when I saw the Norman Rockpeep diorama (a triple peep self-portrait). What a funny microcosm of associations we have here.

    Little gator, your comment above about lard reminded me that I thought I remembered seeing my mother and women older than her actually preserving cooked sausage in jars of lard, without sealing them in a hot water bath, and they’d keep all year in a hot Texas pantry. Went online, thinking this had to be faulty memory, but I was right. Lard (which most sites differenciate as coming from pig, saying tallow is from cow) heated to a high temperature and strained has no moisture in it, hence no transmission route for bacteria, they claim. Its chief risk is staying warm long enough to go rancid.

    Mama saved all pork drippings in a Folger’s coffee can on the stove. We didn’t have meat every day when I was growing up, but there was always beans and usually cornbread, and bacon fat was added to both/either for flavor that left me never feeling meat-deprived.

  86. hairball_of_hope says:

    @MC (#86)

    Yup, and in my mind’s eye, I see the Mo peep wearing a horizontally-striped turtleneck.

    I was blown away by the incredible detail of some of those dioramas. The Fabergé egg version of Tsar Nicholas was intensely detailed, and faithful to the originals. I’ve seen the Fabergé eggs in the Forbes collection, but alas, Forbes’ heirs sold the whole collection back to a Russian oligarch a few years ago, so I’ll never get to see them again.

  87. Ian says:

    They used to make cheap candles out of tallow back in ye olden days. Apparently they stunk like a skunk.

  88. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Maggie (#87)

    Thanks for clarifying. Without going into the mind-numbing specifics of InfoSec (Information Security), there is no “security software” that truly provides complete security, they are all behind the curve for “zero-day” exploits. Read the Wiki on zero-day attacks for more info.

    Some so-called security software are worse than none, they either give a false sense of security (because their databases aren’t showing the latest exploits) or they inappropriately block legit sites.

    In addition, just because a site is legit doesn’t mean all the site content is safe. In particular, malware ads are a pernicious problem. There have been a bunch of malware-containing ads on legit sites in the past year (NY Times, Drudge Report, TechCrunch are among the admitted victim sites); Google ‘malware ads’ (no quotes) for more info.

    Some of the malware ads required the user to click on the ads, but others infected computers passively by the user simply visiting a legit site and having image loading and Javascript enabled, and the Flash plug-in available in the browser. Many of the passive malware ads used Flash and Java to infect computers.

    Yet another reason to surf with Firefox using the NoScript and AdBlock extensions.

    Most of the rootkit and bot exploits infesting Windoze boxes are variants of widely-available DIY codekits, and the slight variations from one to the next means that the so-called blacklists used by security software are always behind the curve in detecting them.

    Many of the rootkits and bots are also polymorphic variants, which means they change their code to prevent detection by static databases, such as used by virus scanners, malware detectors, and other so-called security software, etc.

    So, just because it’s “bad form” to use an explicit URL on a “politically progressive” website doesn’t mean it’s good computer security. Sorry, that’s hopelessly naive thinking. It can be quite easily exploited by botnets controlled by non-progressive forces. It’s already happening in other countries (Google ‘political botnet China’ [no quotes], for some examples), and I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before it happens here, if it’s not already happening.

    Last, but not least, there was a slightly-publicized agreement post 9/11 between the major US security-software vendors (Symantec, McAfee, CA, etc.) and the US govt to intentionally not provide detection for malware created by the US three-letter agencies, on the grounds that this would compromise national security. The three-letter agencies use malware, bots, and keyloggers to keep tabs on their targets. The first of these, Magic Lantern, got a little bit of publicity (see Wired.com link below), but there are a bunch more out there, including programs that grab the content of VoIP phone calls, such as Skype, Magic Jack, and Vonage, and send them to their three-letter masters.

    http://www.wired.com/politics/law/news/2001/11/48648

    Anyone who lived through the eras of COINTELPRO, Nixon’s abuse of the three-letter agencies, McCarthy, and other widespread abuses of govt surveillance knows this this not just paranoia.

    (… goes back to polishing her tinfoil hat while she seals the windows with plastic and duct tape …)

  89. hairball_of_hope says:

    Hey Mentor! What’s with the spam-block of my post #90? Only one URL, but lots of mention of three-letter orgs, none explicitly.

    That spam-block blacklist is a great example of security software run amok, blocking legit content, such as opera, the over-50 retired persons org, and who knows what trigger in my last post.

    How nice to have a real-time example of why so-called security software isn’t very secure.

    (… goes back to her heterogenous den of computers …)

  90. little gator says:

    you want stinky?

    I learned at a museum that the poor(which was nearly everyone in the early 1800s) of coastal Ireland made lamps from

    1: a large flat seashell for the container
    2: any old rag or rope for the wick
    3: fish oil for the fuel

  91. Jen says:

    @ little gator:

    Inuit/Eskimo Seal oil lamps (“qalliq” in Inuktitut)are pretty much the same thing:
    1. ceramic (Eskimo or Inuvialuit in the Western Arctic) or soapstone (Inuit in Eastern Arctic)container
    2. fur or grass wick
    3. seal oil for the fuel

    Here’s a video of it being used by women in Nunavut in the traditional fashion. They sing and tell the story. It’s awesome.

    http://www.isuma.tv/hi/en/isuma-productions/qulliq-oil-lamp

  92. hairball_of_hope says:

    Thanks Mentor, for releasing #90 from spam-limbo.

    I forgot to mention another necessary Firefox extension, FlashBlock. Using Firefox with AdBlock, NoScript, and FlashBlock extensions not only makes one’s browsing experience more secure (if used properly), they make it less filled with annoying ads, and pages load WAY faster without all that useless junk.

  93. Dr. Empirical says:

    I’m in San Diego. The quake hit while I was walking down the street, and I didn’t even notice, although the traffic lights swung wildly and water sloshed out of the hotel pool.

    I did notice three aftershocks so far. Even though they’re going nuts on CNN, no one here seems much to care.

  94. Anne Lawrence says:

    There is something odd about discussing Pesach as a commentary about fat from animals that have cloven hooves but do not chew the cud.

  95. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Anne (#96)

    Ok, so let’s discuss fat from an animal that goes with the Pesach theme… SCHMALTZ!

    Schmaltz, if you’re not familiar with it, is rendered chicken fat (and it is delicious).

    Like its trayf cousin lard, the fried bits of stuff left over after rendering (called grieblen [sp?] in Yiddish) are the equivalent of crackling, and some folks really like to eat them.

    Not me. But nothing makes mashed potatoes as tasty as schmaltz. Trust me on this one.

    There’s a really practical reason schmaltz had a prominent place in kosher cuisine. The laws of kashrut dictate that meat and dairy can’t be mixed in the same meal, or using the same dishes/utensils/cookware. So what to use to make something like mashed potatoes yummy? No milk, no butter, and in the thousands of years before margarine, schmaltz was the answer.

    My mother used to make schmaltz. In an era when buying a chicken meant you got everything from the chicken, including giblets, feet, neck, etc., she’d save up the fat from several weeks’ worth of chickens in the freezer, and about once a month she’d render the fat, strain it into a jar, and feed the grieblen to my brother.

    I think about that now, it’s like eating pure cholesterol. No worries about HDL/LDL/triglycerides in those days.

    I haven’t eaten schmaltz in about 40 years, but I would if I could.

  96. Alex K says:

    @97 / H_o_H: Ah, that classical Eastern European cuisine – “killed more Jews than Hitler,” a friend used to say, reminiscing about her Rumanian bubbe’s table talents…

  97. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Alex K (#98)

    Your friend got that right. Not only schmaltz, but HEAPS of sour cream on blintzes and pierogen, even berries in a bowl of sour cream. And don’t ask about kishka (stuffed derma), one serving is a year’s worth of cholesterol and saturated fat. Never liked kishka, it always grossed me out, but I do indulge in the sour cream and blintz or pierogi combo occasionally.

    I’m thinking about the film “Sleeper,” where Woody Allen’s character dies during a hernia operation in 1973 and is put in cryogenic suspended animation until 2173, when he is thawed out by rebels of the totalitarian regime in power (they needed a person not registered on the grid to do their dirty work). There’s a scene where they are asking him about all these common objects from the 1970s and he has to explain them. He gets upset, and they offer him a cigarette. He declines, saying cigarettes are bad for you. They explain to him that all those things that were formerly thought to be harmful, such as cigarettes, red meat, etc are actually good for you. He’s confounded by this news because he owned a health food store.

    I don’t think I’ll wake up someday and find out that schmaltz is good for me, but maybe jbt knows something about this we don’t.

  98. Anonymous says:

    What blows my mind the most is how each of you try to ‘out whit’ the other. If this is truly a ‘lesbian’ user friendly, blog, I don’t see it.
    I’ll be looking elsewhere.
    Do you need need all those brains to make you feel good? Do you need them to make a statement?
    We can be open to everyone in the way we speak.
    We are a minority. Have you forgotten that?
    Make everyone feel welcome. It doesn’t take a lot of education to know how you feel about someone.
    I thought discrimination was over….I guess it isn’t.

  99. j.b.t. says:

    HoH (and everyone else, for that matter) – don’t worry about the cholesterol. Medicine is changing its mind (SLOWLY, and with much resistance from big pharma) and exonerating cholesterol. Good thing, too, as it is the “mother of all hormones” and deficiencies (look at me using italics! Thanks Mentor) of cholesterol are linked to endocrine disorders, infertility, anxiety, depression, violence and memory loss. Oops. You can read more here:https://www.jennette-turner.com/publications.cfm?id=3

    For a much better, more in depth look at the issue, see Gary Taubes book “Good Calories, Bad Calories” – it’s fantastic and extremely well-documented.

    Lierre Keith (yes, that Lierre, of lesbian-sep, anti-porn fame)also wrote a book called “The Vegetarian Myth” that has some good info about this, too. An easier, if less scientific, read.

    Go bacon! Go schmaltze! Go Butter! Go eggs!

    xo,
    j.b.

  100. Jain says:

    Nina Planck’s big schmaltz (and lard, bacon, butter, and cheese) fan. http://realfood.info/. Great book.

  101. butchysmurf says:

    About schmaltz: chickens grown in our grandma’s times, when you had to buy the whole chicken, were not commodity birds raised 4 to a 2X2 cage. They ran around (somewhat) and foraged as well as ate feeds for meat conversion. The feeds were not GMO back then, and the birds were not preemptively treated with fifty caliber antibiotics. I doubt the schmaltz of yore was as bad for you as the schmaltz made from Tyson or Perdue chickens today.
    Bacon! One of my favorite topics, as I am southern in upbringing and the manager of a food coop’s meat department. Sadly our store is too small to break down animals, but I do have the unique placement to work closely with local producers and processors here in Montana. I buy 4 hogs every other week (8 bellies for bacon!) from a guy 30 miles from our store. Our last live haul (live animals trucked to the processor) was on Passover. Does this make it Kosher Bacon?

  102. Kat says:

    Did anyone see this article (going back to the census discussions of whenever-ago):
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_gays_census

  103. Ready2Agitate says:

    Alex K. #98: Ouch. I guess the metaphor is said as a joke. And by someone else. But still…

  104. Ginjoint says:

    Anonymous, you spelled it wrong. It’s “out-wit”.

  105. Kat says:

    Anonymous, what makes you feel like this is not a lesbian friendly space?

    I’m pretty sure that the people on earth who most resemble Alison’s amazing cast of characters “inhabit” this blog comment section. Yes, we tend to be geeky/intellectual/proud of our complicated wit. We seem to have found an online space where that sort of fun is allowed and encouraged, and where that part of our identities is nurtured.

    Sorry it doesn’t work for you.

    [If I could pop in for a moment, I would repeat a suggestion made here before: If someone doesn't find a conversation that they are interested in, then probably the right thing is for them to start a conversation that they are interested in having. The only requirement here is a respectful interaction with others on this list; all other topics are not only allowed, but welcomed. --Mentor]

  106. judybusy says:

    Kat thanks for the link about the census. What do others think about counting the GLBT population? I have to chew on that a bit, and can’t really put my finger on why I’m leery of it….

  107. Calico says:

    I’m a US citizen with Perm. Residency in Canada, and I live in Québec City, having moved from VT in 2002.
    I received my Provincial health care card renewal form the other day, and this is one of the reasons I love living here-they accept several certain pieces of ID for authentication, and one of the accepted documents is “Certificate of change of designation of sex.”
    For a society that used to be ruled by the Iron hand of the Catholic Church, we’ve become very secular and open-it’s really a “live and let live” mentality here for the most part, with some issues (lately there have been debates as to allowing the wearing of the Hijab or Niqab when employed by the Public Sector/Gov. of Québec).

  108. Acilius says:

    @Anonymous #100: I suspect everyone likes to show off their smarts from time to time, and occasionally I have shared your suspicion that people in this space were getting caried away with one-upping each other. But I’ve never seen anyone get less than a friendly reception around here when they asked for an explanation of some obscure reference or complained that a particular topic was getting too specialized.

    For my part, one of the things I like about these threads is the opportunity to pick up a little information about things I not only didn’t know anything about, but would never have thought to ask about. So for example, I’ve gone through my life up to this point knowing exactly one thing about the dietary laws of Judaism, which is that if I’m having people over for a meal I should include the menu with the invitation. That’s also the only thing I know about the dietary laws of Islam and every other religion that’s practiced by anyone I know. That may be all I really need to know, but I enjoy learning more from time to time.

  109. Andrew B says:

    It bothers me that several people recently have commented that they feel unsure whether their contributions will be welcome here. Not forgetting the beam in my own eye, I have been trying to be less tetchy. I’m not the only such person around here, though. FWIW… It bothers me that people feel unwelcome. What can those of us who like intellectual games do to take the edge off for others?

    Acilius, I don’t think people like Anonymous are worried about asking questions. I think they’re worried about expressing an idea that others will find naive, and getting mocked for it.

    Anonymous, if you’re still around, or anyone else who feels that way, I do want to ask for your understanding about this, though. If you’re a really good knitter, you might make complicated sweaters — not because you’re trying to embarrass the person who can barely make a hat, but because you enjoy it. If you’re a good basketball player, you might like practicing jumpers from the corners — again, not to show anybody up — just because it’s fun. A lot of what we do here is that same kind of thing: playing with words and ideas, because that’s our idea of fun. If that’s not your thing, fine. But please do allow us space to play around like that.

    [Again, if I could drop in here. As a step towards achieving this goal, can you point to an example in which you feel someone has been "mocked" here for expressing a "naive idea"? --Mentor]

  110. shadocat says:

    Okay, I’ll bite—some time ago, I commented on feeling less than confident about posting here at times. I wish I could quote the response, but I do remember how I felt when I read it—embarrassed. And although I read this blog each and every day, I seldom comment anymore. I could’ve been reading too much into that comment, and I could also be a bit oversensitive. But that’s how I felt.

    However, I totally get Andrew’s point. I don’t believe most people here would ever purposely exclude anyone. But it can be intimidating for someone who’s not up to speed with the level of wordplay or just not as knowledgeable as the rest, but is still a fan of Alison.

    I wouldn’t have expressed this quite as Anonymous did—but I do understand the frustration. I notice many of the folks who used to comment frequently no longer do so. I assummed the just drifted away due to the end of the strip But could it be something more? Don’t mean to stir up trouble here—just thinking…

  111. j.b.t. says:

    I think the conversation is great and I’m glad to have a place to get new ideas about things I may not have been interested in to begin with. I love learning new things! The people who post here have such a wealth and breadth of experience and interests… Geology? Food? History? Birds? Books? Politics? Alison Bechdel? We’ve got it all, and I’m so grateful.

    I don’t think anyone should to have to apologize for their intelligence. If people are put off by smart conversation maybe they can find a dumbed down site on which to participate.

    (Hmm… I’m really not meaning that to sound so harsh – it just comes across that way over email.)

    Anyway, I just don’t want anyone to feel that they have to censor their thoughts so others won’t feel intimidated.

    xo,
    j.b.

  112. Acilius says:

    @Shadocat- I’ve missed you!

    @Andrew B: I think you’re right. I doubt Anonymous would be mocked for expressing a naive idea, but that doesn’t mean s/he mightn’t be afraid of that. Before I started commenting here, I lurked for a while. The level of discussion looked pretty high, and I wasn’t sure I could reach it in the time I had available for commenting.

  113. Alex K says:

    @105 / Ready2Agitate: Thanks for that. I take your point and ask to be allowed to apologise — please believe me when I write that my intention was not to give pain.

    (The woman whom I quoted was the child of camp survivors, of parents who had been through the earthquake and the fire. Maybe at home they japed about their burns and scars? Some things are too serious NOT to turn into a rough-edged joke, shoving them away, saying, “See? I can even laugh about all that now.” Just a maybe. I won’t ever know.)

    This connects with my response @100 / Anonymous. I don’t perceive this blog or its followers as lesbian-unfriendly. As show-offs, yes. Right hand up, step forward, guilty as charged, ma’am. But NOT as lesbian-unfriendly.

    Someone who worries that she herself isn’t so clever as she’d like to be might have a sense that some of the blog-commenters are calling to her, “You there! Yes, you at the back! Oh, DO try to keep up, won’t you?”

    No. Really not. Anonymous, you can put down that worry for a while. This IS a safe space, thanks to AB and to Mentor, and to the women (and men) who populate it. All of us here will, I think, agree with you that show-offy clever is not, per se, better than quiet clever.

    The “grownups”, the quiet clever folks, will walk on the paths, and take the shortest route to reach their goal, and won’t make noise that might disturb other people who are out enjoying their afternoon. When we’re in the sunshine of this blogspace, though, some of us will be turning handsprings, and running ahead of the grownups and then back, and chattering wildly — Lookit! Lookit! — and, yes, even straying onto the grass (!), although, erm, we really do know that we shouldn’t. Put it down to childish high spirits, won’t you, Anonymous? We’ll all reach the end of the walk soon enough; the sun will sink, the garden gates be closed. Until then, comity and amity, and open hands and hearts all around.

  114. I’ll be honest, after reading Anonymous’s comment through a few times, I decided it was a very clever troll who hoped to play on liberal/queer guilt by tossing out complaints that had no specifics or relation to what actually happens here, I mean, the equation of “lesbian-friendly” with “don’t show your brains” or “don’t be educated” was offensive if it wasn;t at attempt to play us.

    Every day here I see comments about things I don’t know much about or, honestly, am not interested in. It is NOT the responsibility of other commenters here to make sure they never talk about something I don’t understand or agree with. It is certainly not your responsibility to constantly worry about my self-esteem. There really is a line between kindness, receptivity, using inclusive language, and taking turns (all of which I advocate) vs. trying to force others to be my therapist.

    Lesbian-friendly does not mean any feelings you have but cannot express are mine to guess at and somehow assuage in advance by some mystery language (which I must employ without dusplaying brains and education, mind you) — come on, folks, it was a drive-by potshot. You can’t come up with a real example of what was meant because there was none.

    Commenting at a blog is a voluntary activity. So is lurking. Self-empowerment can be, and is, encouraged here by the unbelievably wide range of topics that at least one other person will find interesting. Bring up what you want to talk about and quit searching for rejection, because if you are determined to find it among such an electic, curious crowd, yep, you can manufacture it even here. For all the good it will do you.

  115. Ginjoint says:

    Agreed, Maggie. Hence my smart-ass reply above.

  116. Ginjoint says:

    Plus, may I add, the comment didn’t make any sense whatsoever? I’m not wasting any more time on it. Good night, all.

  117. shadocat says:

    I’d love to come up with a better example, but unfortunately it’s late, and more important things to deal with than to go back and research this blog for suitable quotes. I don’t think anyone is out “searching for rejection” and I stand by my account of what happened to me. Oh, and I missed you too, Acilius!
    Thanks Alex and Andrew for your thoughful comments!

  118. hairball_of_hope says:

    Like Maggie, I wondered about the possibility of Anonymous being a troll, the comment seemed so out of context with the thread, and with no specifics.

    What was I supposed to take away from it? That lesbian-friendly spaces and people are not smart and clever, or they hide their brains and signs of erudition so we can have a dull safe space?

    But taking Anonymous’s comment/complaint at face value, it seems like s/he has a whole lot of internalized self-worth issues going on (of which we know not), and s/he vented these long-standing hurts/rejections/feelings of inadequacy in a blog, “I think I can’t keep up, it makes me feel bad and worthless, I measure myself against you folks and I think I fall short, and that’s not how I idealize lesbians and lesbian space. And it’s all your fault. Woe is me, I am a victim.” Then s/he storms off while taking a parting potshot calculated (perhaps subconsciously) to tap into our guilt and make US feel bad. Or perhaps to have us plead, “Come back, we like you. We really really like you” and that feeds her/his self-worth meter. That’s toxic relationship stuff, and I won’t bite.

    I like Mentor’s suggestions at several junctures, if you don’t like or aren’t interested in the ongoing conversation, start talking about something new that you ARE interested in. Certainly this blog has never been rigid about being on-topic! Somehow, all these seemingly random ideas segue into one another, maple-bacon food items eaten by plaid-covered geologists bird-watching while listening to womyn’s music or opera and reading something interesting that s/he learned about on this blog.

    As for the conversation here, I think it’s the online equivalent of the Algonquin Roundtable, but much less catty and much more erudite. Imagine sitting around a table nearly every day with the likes of Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley, George S. Kaufmann, Alex Woollcott, et al. and trying to top their zings and wicked wordplay. Now THAT would make me feel inadequate. There’s a reason the Roundtable was called by insiders “The Vicious Circle.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algonquin_Round_Table

    Best of all, we don’t have to dress up to come here.

    I join the chorus of curious folks (and I mean curious in every manifestation of the word) who read this blog and learn something new, or simply revel in the gaggle of interesting folks from all over the planet who post their wildly-intersecting thoughts here.

    Oh yeah, and we come because we are admirers of AB and her work.

    Hey Shado, good to see ya!

  119. Hayley says:

    I personally do need all these brains to feel good.

  120. Marj says:

    #76 Little Gator: you should have seen my mother’s chip (ie french fry) pan. When not in use it sat in an out house, solidified, congealed, greyish-beige, with little bits in. It looked not unlike dirty pebble-dashing. But you should’ve tasted the chips!

  121. Acilius says:

    @Maggie and h_o_h: When I first read Anonymous #100, my first reflex was anger. I thought of writing something like “Oh, I suppose we should all beat ourselves in the heads with hammers til we start pissing our pants, then!” It gradually dawned on me that this might not actually be the most helpful thing I could possibly say. In fact, I visualized the two of you and thought of how ashamed I would be if I had carried on like that in front of you.

    As I tried to think of what it was about the comment that made me so angry, I realized that I wasn’t really angry with Anonymous at all. Instead, I was nursing grudges against various people who had treated me disrespectfully over the years, including myself. The scorching comment I wanted to write was actually about my feelings towards them, not about what Anonymous had written.

    So my next thought was to write a comment in which I declared that there was no intellectual snobbery here, that Anonymous was imagining it, and that if s/he would participate in the discussion instead of calling names s/he would find this to be true. But then it occurred to me that if this forum were infested with intellectual snobbery, regulars like me would be the last ones to know it. So I couldn’t write that, either.

    Then I remembered you, Ginjoint. A couple of threads ago, I tried to be funny and wrote in haste, resulting in a comment that sounded like a putdown directed at you. I thought about how hard it can be to communicate your attitude towards a person when you don’t have body language or tone of voice, only words on a screen. And I remembered how hesitant I’d been to start contributing here. So I decided to take Anonymous seriously.

    Shadocat, when you posted #112 and followed it with #119, I was glad the discussion had taken this turn. Even if Anonymous is some kind of sinister troll trying to induce a spasm of collective guilt in all of us, s/he’s done us a great service by helping to bring you back from the margins. Who knows, now that you’ve spoken up, maybe there are others who will come out to play again as well.

    @Hayley #121: Aw, come on, would you really miss your corpus callosum? Without it you might develop split-brain syndrome, and you’d never have to be lonely again.

  122. Calico says:

    I like this blog because of its openness, posters, and the stream-of-consciousness flow of info and fun in each thread. That’s how I converse in real life, and it’s what I feel comfortable with and it is how my mind works in general.

    HOH wrote
    “Best of all, we don’t have to dress up to come here.”

    Haha! SO true, as I sit at my computer wearing exercise pants (how ironic!) and a fleece ski hat.
    LOL!

    That being said, I just learned from a post on Josh F’s blog (Comics Curmudgeon) that Henry Scarpelli has passed away. He drew Archie for 15 years.
    http://blog.newsok.com/nerdage/2010/04/06/rip-henry-scarpelli/
    I enjoyed his style-there have been several Archie artists over the years and I liked his work. RIP Henry.

  123. Hayley says:

    I often feel like I’m out of my element in lots of places, on lots of subjects and repeatedly make an ass of myself trying to hold forth on subjects I know little about but that is what I love, love, love about life. Not the ass part, so much, but extending a toe into chilly waters and discovering something new, making connections, learning. My first thought with Anonymous was empathy, it can feel crappy to zone out on pedantic bacon ruminations; but ultimately, Anonymous is just missing out on sitting on the virtual stoop with a great bunch of people who happen to love AB and have come to love each other.

  124. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Acilius (#121)

    Hayley wouldn’t missing the corpus callosum so much unless you grabbed her anterior commissure as well. Brains are much more neuroplastic than previously thought; some of that neural traffic which would have passed between the hemispheres via the corpus callosum will likely end up passing through the anterior commissure over time. With proper treatment and therapy modalities, it’s possible for many traumatic brain injury and stroke patients to have good functional recoveries.

    (… goes off wondering if she just fed the “too smart and clever/lesbian-unfriendly space” machine …)

  125. Hayley says:

    Hands off my anterior commissure…I’m more interested in posteriority.

  126. Funny, anterior commissure made me imagine a brass-buttoned lower-level factotum in some tiny European country who has an ink stamp and a small, obstructionist role in the machinery of bureaucracy. You know, “And then you must take this form to the Anterior Commissure for his approval, it might take three weeks to six months unless you bribe him with Roumanian czar sausage and a tin of grade B cartoonist syrup, and then you can proceed on to have your Linux installed as per Hairballian protocol.”

    I mean the SYRUP is grade B, NOT the cartoonist, just in case takes offense.

    I loved Archie comics when I was around 10. I was aware I had a crush on both Betty and Veronica, and that I could not ever every tell anyone about it.

  127. --MC says:

    Thurber brand Grade B cartoonist syrup.
    (This is a reference to the irate cartoonist who bearded Harold Ross in his office and demanded to know why his cartoons were never accepted for The New Yorker while they would accept the drawings of a second rate cartoonist like Thurber. “You mean fifth rate,” Ross replied.)

  128. hairball_of_hope says:

    Hayley, you win! Banish any delusions of wordplay inferiority from your split brain.

    Harold Ross, another Algonquin regular… I recall Dorothy Parker’s answer to the notoriously skinflint Ross about why she missed a publishing deadline, “Someone else was using the pencil.”

    (… goes back to the abnormally HOT weather in NYC… it’s 89 deg F outside, and too hot inside, building management says cooling season starts in May, the HVAC system isn’t ready for AC yet, and they are pumping in that hot outside air so we can experience the springtime air while chained to our cubicle desks and rowing in the galleys …)

  129. Bechadelic1 says:

    Here’s my example of how people who post on this blog can be mean, and how I deal with it. I remember posting about something using the word ‘gay’ and one of the folk here was very deliberately and obviously sarcastic about this by using the word over and over again, in a responsive comment. I had to ask if I was missing something whereupon the sarcastic poster didn’t reply (I’m not sure if the person thought my question was not worth it) but someone else did. I subsequently said I had not meant to offend anyone and left it at that.

    My take on this incident… While it irritated me at the time, it was so inconsequential to my life that I don’t even remember who the people concerned were. Honest. What I do know is that if someone has a problem with me using a certain word, and I personally see no problem using that word, then it is the other person’s problem, not mine. They can take it or leave it, just as I can take or leave any of their responses to anything I post. I don’t take it personally because I don’t know anyone personally here.

    Like most people who post here, I am primarily here for Alison’s blog posts and then after that, if there’s something interesting in the comments made, I take what I want from them and don’t give the rest of it a second thought.

    Another thing I do feel is that there is some idea among regulars here, that most people arrive at this blog through DTWOF. The truth I’m sure a lot of folk (like me) arrive here after reading ‘Fun Home’ and so we don’t really have that concept of the DTWOF community in mind when we post and read comments here. I only ever read DTWOF in the archives on this blog. And while I love what I read, Alison Bechdel to me represents the author of Fun Home, more than she represents the cartoonist of DTWOF.

    In this way, I think that many people could also feel intimidated by the constant reminders that this blog is like the DTWOF community. So if someone comes here not knowing much about DTWOF, they could be reluctant to post.

    Those are just a few of my thoughts. I don’t believe Anonymous is a troll. I saw the overall angst in her words. She may not have expressed herself all that well, but there was a certain sadness and anger in that post that stemmed from some amount of disappointment I believe.

    And now back to the blog… for me at least…

  130. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Bechadelic (#131)

    That’s a really good observation, that many of the newer folks who visit this blog know of AB and her work via Fun Home and not DTWOF. I suppose Fun Home might attract a different crowd, perhaps more folks who identify with the themes of familial dysfunction, family secrets, and coming out as LGBT (or bear the scars from them), and thus might have different expectations of the blog and its participants.

    It’s probably time I reread Fun Home and try to imagine the perspective of one who never encountered AB’s work previously. In my case, having decades of exposure to DTWOF, years of lurking here, and then reading FH, I experienced the identifcation with familial dysfunction and family secrets, plus lots of “AHA!” moments when I saw the influences of AB’s personal life that played out in DTWOF.

    As for the usage of the word “gay,” what do you expect from a bunch of picky word mavens? ;) There were holy battles in this space a few years ago over the usage of the word “guy” as an inclusive term for all persons, and that word certainly has less political and social baggage tagging along than the word “gay.”

    One overriding concern I have about some of the comments here regarding people feeling excluded or marginalized involve debate about ideas somehow being perceived as personal attacks or judgements (usually negative) about the person her/himself.

    I’ve seen vigorous and heated debate here, but with one exception (m.pigou and the abortion discussion last year), I’ve never seen personal attacks here. And even in that highly-emotional series of posts, a good number of us (myself included) tried very hard to tone down the rhetoric and calm the waters.

    Maggie pegged it, “It is certainly not your responsibility to constantly worry about my self-esteem. There really is a line between kindness, receptivity, using inclusive language, and taking turns (all of which I advocate) vs. trying to force others to be my therapist.”

    An outreach to the quiet lurkers… come out from the shadows. We don’t bite (except upon request).

    (… goes back to thinking about lunch, a huge cinnamon-laced Belgian waffle with real maple syrup and real butter, now that Pesach is finally over …)

  131. Ian says:

    I sure hope that there are plenty of references to bacon and maple syrup in AB’s next book, so people feel comfortable with the obsession with them in the posts here.

    Given both Clarice and Mo’s inclination to lick maple syrup off various body parts in the DTWOF strip I feel fairly hopeful it’ll make an appearance. I’m not too sure about the bacon, however …

  132. Bechadelic1 says:

    @ HoH # 132
    ‘word picky mavens’ eh? *goes off to search for my dust-covered dictionary while commenting* – joking.

    Just wanted to add that while the DTWOF target audience may be mostly American, Fun Home is a global bestseller that could bring people here from the far reaches of the earth. So there’s not just the mere differences in the two audiences reading two different works of AB, there’s probably now, cultural, language and political differences that are so vast it’s hard to comprehend ;)

  133. Bechadelic, I was the one who kept replacing lesbian with gay. It was sarcastic but not at all in response to you or anyone else here having used the word gay — I was referencing an earlier discussion about how lesbians don’t use that word for themselves the same way my generation did, preferring “gay” which is more socially acceptable (i.e., Ellen) and/or avoids the fearsome third wave perceived taint of being separatist, woman-identified. and/or essentialist. But gay is not my chosen identity (nor am I one of the guys *grin*) so I broke out in sarcasm at feeling lumped into dumbed-down binarities “out there”.

    I didn’t answer your question because I hadn’t addressed my sarcasm to you/about you (I have no memory of what you might have originally said), and by the time I came back to read down the comments (which I don’t do every day) someone else had offered an explanation as they interpreted it. Which I thought was interesting and didn’t need my elaboration/correction.

    It does matter to me that I can express a difference of opinion here, such as that I prefer lesbian over gay for myself or that I think acknowledging that being socialized as female from birth through toddlerhood creates a
    fundamental difference in world view that takes years (decades) to comprehend and reevaluate. I come down the side of nurture vs nature, sexual preference vs sexual orientation, and lesbian/gay liberation as an outgrowth of fighting male supremacy. Some of the people I respect most here absolutely do not share my viewpoint, yet we can talk about it here without personal attack.

    But if I am cautioned that expressing my beliefs in the language which comes easily to me (as long as it is not oppressive language) is somehow going to exclude someone who might not instantly know what I mean, how is that not chilling to a free and open conversation? I usually have to hop off this thread to go look up something, often a term used by AB (whose vocabulary is prodigious), or just because my interest has been engaged. Attaching feelings of inferiority to not knowing something is a result of childhood humuliation, often linked to major oppressions like gender, class and race, but the solution to my/your hurt feelings is NOT for me to downplay what I do know and think about. Or believe. In the long run, the solution is to get over it and reclaim your natural curiosity.

    Girls in particular are raised to not “act smart” and to limit their spoken vocabulary because it makes “boys feels bad”. Poor and working class children are confusingly told both that education is their way out of dying young AND that if they “put on airs” within their own community, they will be ostracized. Anonymous’s attempt to blame us for their feelings struck me as a clever troll because I watched women’s communities aim that crap at each for decades: If I’m not safe, if I feel any discomfort whatsoever, it is YOUR responsibility as other women to make it better. Perhaps it was not a troll, perhaos it was instead internalized oppression, but we as people typing messages to each other across international boundaries, language gaps, lack of body language, and trying earnestly to address all the serious oppressions built into discourse are not equipped to also take on the difficulty of someone who can’t even tell me directly what is bothering them. I don’t feel equipped to do that, nor am I interested, honestly. Not when direct communication is as difficult as it is and polarization threatens the survival of my country. I am devoted to communication but not codependent mindreading.

    And, for the record, my reply was ENTIRELY addressed to Anonymous, which I indicated repeatedly by using direct quotes. If I had been talking to you, Shadocat, I would have said so. Ad I have several times told you in the past.

  134. little gator says:

    i’m not even a lesbian and i feel welcome here.

  135. Bechadelic1 says:

    @ Maggie Jochild # 135
    Of course you have a right to express your individual opinion and I don’t think anyone would caution you about your preference of vocabulary over someone else’s – I didn’t :) though your answer with sarcasm earlier was easy to mistake for a response to my own question way back then. I asked about the significance of the oven toaster (did I get that right) in ‘gay culture’. You responded about the toaster significance and with the inserted sarcasm. I did feel you were responding to my question as it was in sequence. Now that you have clarified you weren’t answering me, we can lay the topic to rest then and we can move on. But just one note before that…

    …I do want to say though, that it would be a nice idea to share your cultural / political beliefs with people who ask. For example, even if you weren’t talking to me at that point, when I asked if I was missing something about using the word ‘gay’, it would have been nice to see the person who had expressed the sarcasm tell me why they didn’t believe in using the word or why they don’t identify as gay (forgive the use of ‘they’ instead of the troublesome ‘he/she’). None of us are born with the knowledge and experiences of others, so learning about another’s point of view is a great way for me to grow and understanding the rest of the world. I wouldn’t have minded hearing your opinion on it at all. I may or may not agree with it, but I would have liked to know anyway.

    Communication without facial expression, tone of voice, etc. is definitely a huge challenge especially between a whole bunch of strangers with only one common ground to start from – in this instance AB’s blog. I agree that feelings of insecurity should not be projected onto others. But I take a more lenient view because I have myself projected my insecurities onto others in the past and it is only with time and learnings through the not-so-nice consequences of doing so, that I have learned not to.

  136. Bechadelic1 says:

    In conclusion, it’s really late here *yawn* and I am in great danger of not getting up in time for work if I don’t hop into bed at the speed of Garfield, right now. So g’night all and I hope the new day brings new beginnings and no hard feelings all around.

  137. I hear you, Bechadelic, and now I recall the exchange. I was reacting to Ellen’s terror of the word lesbian (ironic how she can acknowledge the growthful effect of coming out as gay but doesn’t want her and Portia to be thought of as “gasp” lesbians), and even a single phrase could have made that clearer. I don’t always think of needing to back and fill like HoH does, however, and I’ll fail again. Trying to make jokes with others of my minority community means I will fail sometimes, and it’s NEVER because I want to shut someone out. Glad you know it, glad you hung in there and asserted your own personality here, it’s lovely. Sweet dreams wherever you are laying down your keppe. Thanks for all the effort, I got it.

  138. judybusy says:

    I have this blog to thank for directing me to countless items of interest! What I also like is that if I get the sense that someone’s talking about a topic that I don’t find interesting, I don’t have to fake polite interest and I can just scroll down till something new comes up.

    Does anybody here read the American magazine “The Week”? I get it via the gym sometimes–it’s a very middle-of-the road summary of the last week’s news, wih snippets of columnists around the world. Anyway, a recent issue had a brief article on how people robbed of their speech post-stroke can be taught to sing words, because a different area of the brain is involved. (All the talk of the corpus collusom triggered this.)One man who could only grunt for years, got his speech back–the people can learn to talk after a few months of work with singing. How cool is that!It really speaks to how little we know of the brain’s plasticity and ability to compensate after injury.

  139. m.pigou says:

    And even I am still lurking.
    Under protest, but nevertheless.
    I do not post, of course, because even though I would regret it if you, as Acilius (#123) suggested, ‘all beat yourselves in the heads with hammers til you start pissing your pants’, I would regret it even more if you would beat me in the head with hammers till I start wetting my pants.
    I just can’t take that risk.

  140. hairball_of_hope says:

    @judybusy (#140)

    That’s exactly what I was referring to when I mentioned neuroplasticity and recovery from TBI. Appropriate (and aggressive) treatment modalities can encourage the brain to “rewire” itself. In the case of singing, tapping into that area of the brain for treatment of both aphasia and memory loss have proved fruitful.

    Similar crossover functionality can be found in treatment of “lockup” due to Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson patients who have trouble walking and freeze up can usually dance with little difficulty. Retraining the brain to use the “dance” areas of the brain when they lockup is a helpful treatment.

    N.B. While the standard of care for Parkinson’s targets dopamine receptors in the substantia nigra using L-dopa, the effectiveness of the pharmaceutical treatment wanes over time. The effectiveness of dance treatment does not wane. Of course, the health insurance industry will pay for nearly unlimited L-dopa therapy (it’s a cheap generic drug), but they restrict physical and occupational therapy payments where patients learn to retrain their brains using techniques such as singing and dance, which improve quality of life without pharmaceuticals.

    (… goes back to schvitzing indoors, outside it’s a record 90 deg F/32 deg C …)

  141. judybusy says:

    HoH–cool stuff to about Parkinson’s. And yet another opportunity for etirely tangetial conversation: If anyone likes well-done thrillers, I can recommend [Michael Robotham] One of the recurring characters has Parkinson’s, and how the disease affects him is a part of the plots.

  142. hairball_of_hope says:

    @m.pigou (#141)

    Bienvenue! Je suis heureux que vous êtes ici. SVP excuser mon mauvais français, je ne l’utilise pas souvent. (J’ai eu à utiliser les outils linguistiques de Google pour aider avec les mots j’ai oublié.)

    (… elle retourne à son bureau de four …)

  143. Feminista says:

    **Tooting my own horn: today’s my birthday!**

    I for one find much of this blog intellectually stimulating,often amusing,and generally very supportive.

    Also,I think much of the U.S.population is still anti-intellectual,though not as bad as it was in the 1950s,and people who know stuff beyond their field(s)of expertise are often suspect. Or that one possibly couldn’t know much about X city,state,or country unless one has lived there.

    I recently got some grief in a writing critique group re: including mention of Jean Paul Sartre and Bertolt Brecht in a passage from my novel-in-progress. I think she viewed novel reading as entertainment,and anything which made her think about something new was just “too much work.”

    My response: “I look up stuff I don’t know.” However else would we learn new things?

  144. judybusy says:

    Oh, OK, I just tried to create a link using HTML from the very detailed directions provided and it didn’t work. Here’s the long version: http://www.michaelrobotham.com/uk/index.htm

  145. Happy happy birthday, Feminista!

    Will you say more about the anti-intellectualism of the 50’s? I never heard it linked to that decade — is it McCarthyism, postwar something, or part of the “let’s return women and nonwhites back to their subordinate place”? Seems like we’re in the midst of another cultural turn against education in the country — you know, because dullards make such good Republicans. And corporate consumers.

    Plasticity of the brain is my greatest hope, now that my body has thrown in the towel. Some days I feel like an alien from the original Star Trek series.

    Congrats on trying, Judybusy, and I”m sure HoH likes the clean URL (GRIN). Now I’ll go check it out.

  146. judybusy says:

    Feminista, I began a years-long love affair with English Elizabethan history due to some delightful mystery novels set during that time. In truth, it got me reading more history, period.

    There is a time and place for fiction that makes us stretch and a place for brain candy–I’m currently deep into the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan, f’rinstance. What on earth would your group think of the work of Ms. Bechdel? Should she have not written Fun Home with any references to Ulysses? Be true to your spirit!

  147. Mentor says:

    [judybusy #143/146:
    Concerning your note above, I think what you wanted to type in the comment-window was the following:

    <A HREF="http://www.michaelrobotham.com/uk/index.htm"&gt;[Michael Robotham]</A>
    (Please forgive the clumsy line-breaks.)

    This would appear as the following:
    [Michael Robotham]

    (If it’s of any help, this is painful even for those of us who’ve done it for a living.) –Mentor]

  148. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Maggie (#147)

    I think some of the McCarthy-era witch hunt stuff could be considered anti-intellectualism. Much of the fear-mongering tapped into xenophobia of “the other,” and intellectuals/Communists/Socialists/Jews/Negroes/Catholics/foreigners/homosexuals all qualified as “other.” (Intentional use of the term for blacks used in the 1950s, didn’t want it to seem anachronistic.)

    It’s probably no coincidence that the 1950s spawned two plays that each used ‘Romeo and Juliet’ as a base storyline, and tried to show human commonality despite the “otherness” of the stand-ins for Capulets and Montagues. The plays? ‘West Side Story’ and ‘The Fantastiks.’

    Interestingly, the derisive anti-intellectual moniker “egghead” was turned on its head and used as a badge of honor by Barry Goldwater’s supporters in the 1964 presidential campaign. I also recall Goldwater eggheads wearing campaign buttons which read, “AuH2O.” I was too young to have any sense of political leanings in those days, but I had one of those AuH2O buttons, fascinated by science even at that early age.

    (… time to get out of the cubicle oven and off to dinner …)

  149. Pam I says:

    Didn’t Al Gore lose the last election for being too clever? That’s how it read from over here.

  150. Judybusy says:

    Thanks, Mentor–I see I didn’t leave a space between the A and H at the beginning!

    One of my prouder moments as a jr. high school kid was when a boy I had a crush on indicated his non-interest because I was too much of an egghead. Was I broken up about it? Thirty years on, my memory says I then found him completely unworthy if he was intimidated by a smart girl!

  151. Acilius says:

    @Feminista: Happy birthday!

    @m. pigou: Glad you’re around!

    @Pam I: Al Gore had a lot of problems. I really don’t think cleverness was very high up on the list.

  152. Calico says:

    Bonne Féte Feminista!
    : )

  153. Marj says:

    #128, Maggie: This made me HOOT with laughter

    #134, Bechadelic: I’ve been reading DTWOF in the UK since 1984 or thereabouts, albeit somewhat erratically as availability wasn’t particularly reliable…

    #142, HoH: 90 degrees? Wish I was in NYC…

    #145, Feminista: Many happy returns!

    And in general, I’m always googling things as I read this blog; “corpus callosum” being the most recent. Here I am entertained, and educated.

    Who needs TV when we got AB?

  154. shadocat says:

    Maggie,
    No worries; I more than anyone knew you were certainly not talking to me.

  155. Feminista says:

    Thanks for the birthday greetings,all. Since my daughter and her kids are all sick,my celebration is being postponed until the weekend. I did treat myself to a tofu/veggie stir fry,and chocolate mini-cupcakes for balance.

    Maggie,HoH’s description of the 50s is pretty much what I would have written,with these additions: for ‘mericans outside of major cities,liking jazz and/or classical music-lover was enough to get labeled an “egghead.” There was huge pressure to conform in terms of food,clothing,spare time interests;the average age for women to marry was down to 20 in 1950 and 1960,and divorce was rare except if one was a movie star. Liking anything about the Soviet Union got one labeled a communist,a complete reversal from WW II when the Soviets were U.S. allies.

    Jazz was much more popular in France,however,so a number of Black jazz musicians,like John Coltrane, found more acceptance in Paris. Paris continued its tradition of hospitality to other “outsiders” like James Baldwin,Af-Am gay author of Go Tell it on the Mountain and Giovanni’s Room. (France wasn’t perfect,of course–just ask the Algerians.)

    Branded a liberal egghead,Adlai Stevenson bravely ran against the very popular WWII General Dwight “Ike” Eisenhower in 52 and 56. Cold warrior,Joe McCarthy supporter,and xenophobe Tricky Dick Nixon was Ike’s VP.

  156. Andrew B says:

    A follow-up on my 111, fwiw at this late time…

    Mentor, I’d love to evaluate this rationally by citing and analyzing examples. But I don’t think it would work with this issue. Here’s why.

    0. People have expressed a feeling of intimidation. That this involves the possibility of being mocked is my interpretation. (Which I believe to be correct — but it’s not the original complaint.)

    1. I don’t want to accuse individuals of being intolerant.
    a. I’m not always such a nice guy myself.
    b. A lot of hurt feelings could result.
    c. The questions of what constitutes snark and when it’s undeserved inevitably have large subjective components.
    d. Some of the sharpest elbows belong to people who also can be very funny and perceptive. At least IMO.
    e. Most of all, the problem is that some people have expressed a general feeling of not being welcome. They haven’t expressed concerns about particular individuals.

    2. If I’m right about what worries people, rationally discussing examples would be a very tricky way to address this particular problem. If I produce rational arguments to show people that their fears are unfounded, that looks an awful lot like dismissing their concerns on the grounds that I’m smarter than they are, which is (I think) what they were concerned about. If I argue that such and such constitutes bullying, it will be all but impossible to avoid the problems in (1) above. So where can my rational discussion of examples lead?

    Maggie, I don’t think Anonymous was saying lesbians are dumb. I think she was saying lesbians include all sorts, in this case those who like playing intellectual games and those who don’t.

    If you were an articulate, opinionated male who thought he had a lot of answers (like me) and you received a liberal arts education in North America after about 1980, at some point someone told you that you needed to shut up and let the women get a word in too. That idea that women are shortchanged in their educations by men who dominate the conversation was acted on, at least by some teachers. On balance, I think that was a good thing. It’s a little ironic to see a similar point arise in the comments section of Alison’s blog, though. The only answers I know of, in either context, involve judgment and balance. The noisy people have to learn to be quiet sometimes and the quiet people have to learn to speak up. If there is a rule that can be applied, it has escaped me so far.

  157. nel says:

    Feminista, Happy Birthday! Yesterday was my birthday as well. Isn’t it a swell day to be born?

    It was 89 degrees here in the Northeast, a record as far as I remember. It has snowed 2 feet on my birthday, at other times, so it’s a crap shoot how to plan in advance.

    I, for one, don’t believe that my cleverness/wit is my best personality trait (I would hope that, in the end, kindness or compassion trumps it) but I do enjoy an engagement of wit and being in the company of others with quirky minds, interests and facility with language(s) pleases me. I like a blog that can go from bacon to schmaltz (hoh, I used it this Passover, as always, to lubricate the matzoh balls. Excellent) to lists of books I haven’t read to birds to what it was like in the 50’s in the US. And I am way into the neuroplasticity of the brain, and love the corpus collosum and hearing the story about singing when speaking won’t work anymore. Part of my work life is spent helping to retrain nervous systems to find new, non-habitual pathways, and it is incredibly fun and exciting that so much research is being done on this in so many venues. Has anyone read Norman Doidge’s book “The Brain that Changes Itself”? I’ve just started it and so far it’s fascinating.

  158. Ready2Agitate says:

    Goodness Gracious you all HAVE been busy!

    Bechadelic, I remember the exchange, and I was the one who tried to explain why the term “gay” was/is sometimes irritating to lesbians, since mainstream US society is so much more comfortable with the word “gay” than the more accurate (threatening? subversive?) term Lesbian. The only reason I’m mentioning it again now is that I just realized that our whole discussion occurs against the backdrop of Alison’s genius: DYKES to Watch Out For. Not lesbians, not gay women to watch out for. Dykes! I love dykes! Alison blazed the semantic trail!

    Alex #115 (re: #105), I appreciate your apology. I do/did realize that your intentions were good. It was the impact I wanted to enlighten you to. I even understood that you had a rationale for using that ‘metaphor’ (that it initially came from survivors of Hitler’s atrocities), but again, it’s different when repeated by someone else. Again: impact, not intention. Thanks for all your contributions and for caring.

    Feminista – girl, I hope you have the greatest birthday. I’m glad you’re here!

    Maggie et al – thanks for keeping the conversation lively and passionate as always.

  159. Bechadelic1 says:

    @ Ready2Agitate # 160
    :) yes it was you and thank you for that!

    @ Maggie Jochild # 139
    Thank you too, all’s well that ends well and I did have a great night’s rest.

  160. Acilius says:

    @R2A #160: “the more accurate (threatening? subversive?) term Lesbian.”

    All I know about the word “Lesbian” as opposed to other terms for female same-sexers is that it’s an advertisement for ancient Greek. That’s why I wish the term “Dorian” for male same-sexers had caught on.

  161. Ian says:

    @Acilius(162): I’m glad the term ‘Dorian’ didn’t catch on. After ‘Dorien’ from the UK sitcom ‘Birds of a Feather’ who basically shagged everything in trousers that moved. Actually, that does represent some gay men that I know …