a laureate and some evidence

February 9th, 2011 | Uncategorized

My esteemed colleague James Kochalka has been named Vermont’s first Cartoonist Laureate!


He draws the wonderful diary comic American Elf, among innumerable other things—go to his site for links to his music, kids’ books, t-shirts, and god knows what else. Here’s a short article about him on the Center for Cartoon Studies’ website—CCS thought the whole laureate thing up, I guess, and got the governor behind it. Apparently Alaska also has a cartoonist laureate, but Vermont is the second state to appoint one. God, I love Vermont. And I love James’s work. His diary comics are little perfect visual/verbal haikus carved from the dross of everyday life. He will be a most stellar ambassador of comics.

On another note…

Here’s my office floor in front of my desk in November 0f 2006. The wheels of my desk chair had worn and splintered the plywood so badly that I put duct tape down to minimize the ongoing damage.

fresh duct tape

Then in July of 2008 I repainted my office before I settled down to work on my new book in earnest.

I took up the duct tape and patched the deeply scarred plywood with a can or two of Plastic Wood before painting it green. It didn’t look too terrible.


See how pretty the freshly painted floor was?


Anyhow, after I got the joint repainted, I rearranged my desk so that my chair was in a different spot, where the plywood was intact and glossy with pea green paint.

Here is that spot today, two and a half years later:

floor now

I was supposed to turn my “new book” in to the publisher over a year ago, but I’m still working on it. My progress has been elusive and for the most part invisible. So I find this clear visual evidence of my effort somewhat comforting.

124 Responses to “a laureate and some evidence”

  1. khatgrrl says:

    Eeek! I would need to get a chair mat. Although I understand that it could be seen as a sign of progress. 🙂

  2. Ian says:

    I second the motion – get a rug to put under the chair!

    Although I can see how floor repair would make a great procrastination tool.

  3. Kate L says:

    I’m with khatgrrl and Ian (oh, I wish! I mean figuratively, of course). The old academic building where I am has genuine hardwood floors that were taking a beating with my incessant back-and-forth in my wheeled office chair. A clear plastic office floor mat from (generic office supply store name here) has reduced that, greatly. I do like the green color of your office floor. You showed us that picture once before, and I thought that your floor was some sort of futuristic poured acrylic, as I saw once in a highway motel room along the I-70 in Louisiana.

    Feminista (previous post) 🙂 Thanks for the advice! When I was an undergrad here at Moo U, my chemist father once commented that social studies classes seemed effortless for me, compared to my sweating mentally when faced with, say, calculus. He recommended that I would be happier in socioloogy or some such field (a big effort for a physical sciences man of his era to say). What dad never saw was me mentally sweating like a pig in a student kiosk of the university library, trying to absorb all the soc reading assignments we had! Effortless? Ha. But I let him think that. I sometimes think that I’m a geologist born in a sociologist’s body. Oh, and a lot of my friends on campus are in our Women’s Studies program.

  4. It’s different because I’m not drawing in addition to writing, and there’s not a publisher waiting for it, but I’m still on the last chapter of a slow, slow, slow revision of the Jonathan Edwards novel that I’ve been working on FOREVER. The plywood under my desk chair is also worn out — and I have rugs. These pictures of your floor make me feel not alone in the species. Urging you on, although I know you don’t need it.

  5. I really am looking forward to your next book.

  6. hairball_of_hope says:


    I also second the clear plastic chair mat recommendation. The real problem is you have the wrong type of casters on your Aeron chair. You need hard floor casters, which have a rubberized tread.

    Herman Miller make at least three types of casters for the Aeron that I’m aware of: one for carpets (which are the ones you have), one for hard floors (these are the ones you need), and a third type that has larger wheels intended for use on deep carpets.

    If you use the carpet type casters on a hard floor, you will chew the daylights out of the surface. If you use the hard floor type casters on a carpet, it will be harder to roll the chair around.

    Such an expensive purchase, and the dealer didn’t inquire what type of surface the chair would be used on? BAAAAD. When you are paying about $800 for a chair, you should have been presented with the whole list of options, not just the frame and mesh colors.

    Fortunately, you can retrofit your chair with the correct type of casters fairly easily. A set of five genuine Herman Miller Aeron hard floor casters on Amazon runs about $40-$50.

    (… goes back to wondering why your household felines haven’t ripped the Aeron mesh to shreds by now …)

  7. Ellen O. says:

    Wait — is that the Herman Miller Aeron chair in true black, as touted on NPR? Wow, the word made flesh, or at least, polycarbonate or whatever it is constructed of.

    I looked at my 2010 writing goals list last month. Even though I wrote a lot and considered it a good writing year, I didn’t completed only one of the goals on that list. I did build lots of artwork that I never envisioned though.

  8. ready2agitate says:

    omg Hairball – how DO you know so much!?

    I’m a Big Fan of plastic floor mats, ergonomically better if you’ve had a repetitive strain injury. It seems to take some back muscle to push around and roll, and plastic is just better for the back. (Then again, I’m not sure the “Mo” within AB & Holly would accept a plastic floormat… that would also need out-gassing….).

    On second thought, I go with Hairball’s caster idea.

    (Sorry, James, this post should have been all about YOU. Congratulations! I am loving looking at your ‘toons!) Vermont is for lovers.

  9. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Ellen O (#7)

    Aerons are quite comfortable, and have more adjustable doohickeys than you can ever imagine a chair could have. Sit in one for about a day and you’ll be hooked. Just keep in mind if you are not wearing clothing that fully covers your thighs, you will end up with an interesting waffle pattern on the backs of your thighs. Not normally a problem in an office setting, but at home where one might be more scantily clad, it does happen.

    The standard frame color is what they call “graphite,” a dark grey. The mesh is available in a bunch of colors. I believe the material is some sort of polypropylene.

    I’ve heard the Sit4Less NPR promo, but I’ve never actually seen a “true black” Aeron frame. If you sit in an office chair for extended periods of time, the Aeron is well worth consideration, it’s expensive but worth it.

    During the recent economic implosion, it was possible to get used Aerons from used office furniture dealers at good prices. A used Aeron is probably the only used furniture one should consider in these times of bedbug infestation, there’s no upholstery for the vontzen to hide in. *

    @R2A (#8)

    I’m an infomaniac, and I retain quite a bit of what I learn. In this case, I know about the casters simply because I shopped for a decent office chair at real office furniture dealers (NOT the underwhelming dreck at Staples). **

    In your case of RSI and back pain issues, the oversized casters would probably be helpful to ease rolling around in the chair. Not much outgassing from a polycarbonate (Lexan) chair mat, and it will last for many years.

    Chair shopping… I was leaning toward an Aeron, but I was concerned that the cat would shred the mesh in about 32 seconds flat. The dealer assured me the mesh was replaceable (uh huh, that would get expensive quickly, turning an $800 chair into an $1800 chair within a few years).

    Then I found a Humanscale chair I really liked, but I thought the limited fabric choices wouldn’t hold up to feline frolicking, and unlike the Aeron, there would be no easy replacement. At close to $1000 for the chair, that nixed the deal for me.

    I eventually ended up with a decent mid-range HON chair on sale for about $350, the dealer threw in the hard floor casters for free. Upholstered in a nubby grey fabric, it resisted the cat’s claws and camouflaged his sheddings (although I kept a small towel on the seat for him to sleep on).

    * Vontz (plural vontzen) is Yiddish for “bedbug.” It’s often used as a term of endearment in reference to small children, in the same way one might use “rugrat” or “anklebiter.” In this case, I am using the word in the literal sense to mean bedbug.

    ** Dreck is Yiddish for “feces” (faeces for our UK and Commonwealth friends). It doesn’t have the vulgar connotation that the English “shit” does, so it’s much more acceptable to use in polite company, but it’s used in exactly the same manner.

    (… goes back to sitting in her pseudo-ergonomic office chair at work, adjustable in a zillion ways, but none of them really comfortable …)

  10. Therry and St. Jerome says:

    So AB, when do you get a chance to be the VT cartoonist laureate? (back on track, if only for a post.)

  11. lmc says:

    In my opinion, YOU should be Vermont’s first Cartoonist Laureate. James Kochalka? meh.

  12. qrrgrrl says:

    thanks for the comfort / inspiration. my first thought on seeing the “new” spot: damn, she’s workin’ away! then i kept reading.

    my progress on my thesis has been excruciatingly slow… hopefully this says something about the quality we will (eventually?) produce?

    in any case, your workspace is beautiful. which is in itself inspiring. as is the news from Egypt!!! if they can change a 30 yr-old regime in 3 weeks, well then… maybe we can do our work too. keep wearing the floor away!

  13. Alex K says:

    I see a baseboard!

  14. Kate L says:

    hairball (#9) Thanks for the Yiddish lesson! 🙂 I’m pretty sure that doohickey is Midwestern Mercan.

  15. Alex K says:

    OK, now I’ve spent ten minutes with AMERICAN ELF, clicking backward through a month’s worth of cartoons. It’s Twittertweets with pictures. If you know the cartoonist, the kids, the spouse… then maybe you’ll like it. For me it’s a conceptional artist’s fleamarket find, a carousel-slide projector-trayful of the Ektachromes of an anonymity. Interesting perhaps as found art, as a window opened into the history of the trivial, an opportunity for (yes) projection. But… what else is refracted through it? It’s DIARY OF A NOBODY, webstyle. Move along, Alex, nothin’ to see here.

    AB, you’re generous. You’re kind. But what from Elfland would you adopt into your own art?

  16. Alex,
    I tried a while back to do diary comics, and found it a very difficult business to distill a moment of life into a concise, coherent story. I agree with you that Kochalka’s doing something akin to visual Twitter tweets, but to me that’s a good thing! Just because most tweets are forgettable doesn’t mean that some aren’t art. I would even argue that the 3 or 4 panel daily comic is a forerunner of Twitter in that it’s an ephemeral glimpse of daily life as it passes by. But when you can follow a comic day after day, year after year, in the same place with the same characters, it becomes something more enduring. Kochalka makes it look easy, but a daily diary strip is not for the faint of heart.

  17. Oh. I didn’t answer your question. I often wish I could have a few drops of American Elf’s freedom and simplicity. There’s a Beginner’s MInd thing going on there that I’m envious of.

  18. Alex K says:

    Thank you. Your perspective lets me re-appreciate Kochalka’s work. (I’m serious here, not being snarky.)

    Congratulations on the baseboards, by the way.

  19. Kate L says:

    Thanks, Ian and ready2agitate, from a previous post!

    ready2agitate (#8) Yes, A.B.might buy a plastic floor mat, but Mo never would! Unecofriendly, formaldehyde-reeking mat-o-death is what Mo would call it! I still think it would be a good idea, the ecological devastation and health risks aside…

  20. Kate L says:

    As for the Smallville city commission meeting this week, I came in 2 hours late from class, and had to watch the citizen comments part about adding LGBT to the local human rights ordinance on the video. I only saw one conservative citizen make the claim that gays and lesbians have,”on average”, 1500 sex partners a year and use marijuana much more frequently than straights. Come one, people! We’ve got a reputation to maintain!!!

  21. Fester Bestertester says:

    Kate L#20:“I only saw one conservative citizen make the claim that gays and lesbians have,”on average”, 1500 sex partners a year and use marijuana much more frequently than straights.”

    Good grief. No wonder AB appears to be having trouble keeping up with her publication schedule.

    (I’ll say no more about the wear spots on the floor…)

  22. jen says:

    But if Alison gets a floor mat of any kind, she won’t have any evidence of her working! That picture is proof! I’m a fan of the visual evidence we leave behind in our lives, I have to say.

    Although I don’t have to paint Alison’s floor periodically either.

  23. khatgrrl says:

    Kate L #20 He really said 1500 a year?! Jeepers I really need to get busy. I just don’t think that that will work with my long term monogamous relationship! The 1500 per year is probably why we want marriage rights so badly! (Wait, that doesn’t make any sense…..)

  24. Cori says:

    I have to admit, when I read (in American Elf, in fact) that James Kochalka had been named Vermont’s Cartoonist Laureate, my first thought was, ‘But…but what about Alison Bechdel?’ But I think James is great — I read American Elf on a nearly-daily basis. And, honestly, he’s been stripping much more prolifically of late (or at least much more in the public eye), so the choice makes sense. That said, I fully expect to see Alison get those Laurels one day.

  25. Kat says:

    1500?? That’s a tall order. Just getting my number was hard enough work, and it doesn’t even use up all the fingers on one hand!

  26. 1500 a year averages to 3-4 per day, except perhaps Tuesdays are slow and Saturdays are packed. But implicit in that number is the smear that we are compulsives who obviously don’t have children, full-time jobs, demanding art, etc. Eliminationist talk: We are not “real people”.

  27. Ian says:

    It took me 10 years to get a tenth of that figure. What am I doing wrong? 😉

    I love these made up stats that are, on the surface, meant to shock people, but really aim to titillate.

  28. rinky says:

    Hi AB
    I’m glad I’m not the only one who ends up taking 3 times as long to get things finished as I think I’m going to. I bet you’ve worn out a whole lot of pens, pencils, erasers and other stuff as proof too. You’ll get there, we can be patient.

    Great to get the heads up on castor selection. Thanks, that’s definitely going to help me one day.

  29. Kate L says:

    I just shook Lily Tomlin’s hand, and had my picture taken with her! And that’s the truth! 🙂 At her concert tonight at Moo U, she mentioned the addition of LGBT to the local human rights ordinance and called out, among others, the human rights group that I am secretary for as one of the many organizations that played a part in that. She had us meet her back stage, the first time I’ve ever been!

  30. Kate L says:

    All; the conservative citizen I quoted from public comments at last Tuesday’s city commission meeting would have been just one of many, many homophobic and transphobic slurs that were thrown about during our first effort at having LGBT added to the local human rights ordinance. Just imagine having to listen to that sort of thing for two hours, one person right after the other, when the anti’s highjacked public comments at a meeting of the Smallville human rights commission back in 2005. This was just a bit of that. We did not even make it to the city commission, then, because the human rights board deadlocked on recommending passage, interpreted as “no recommendation”. The city commission could have chosen to bring it up themselves, then, but did not choose to do so. This time, there was a different city commissionm with different results.

  31. ready2agitate says:

    Lily Tomlin -swoon!

  32. ksbel6 says:

    Well, as long as we are going to have fun with it, did he actually say “1500 different sex partners per year” or just “sex partners”? To me the first version is very different from the second. The second one allows me to have sex 1500 times, possibly with repeat partners, not a new one every time. Then that second one should become a bar, for everyone to try to attain, especially married well-behaved, Christian, heterosexuals who could then possibly put more offspring on the planet. And with the second version, I get there every year. It’s the 30 times per weekend that does it. 🙂

  33. Kate L says:

    ksbel6 (#33) I thought I had heard “per year”, but it may have been “lifetime”. OK, everyone, the pressure’s off ! 🙂

    Sometimes, you hear what you want to hear…

  34. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate L (#34)

    1500 per year or 1500 per lifetime makes little difference in my “partner deficit” calculations. Even Ian makes me look like a chump in the conjugal relationship department.

    Now if we use ksbel6’s idea of sexual encounters, and make it a lifetime total instead of an annual one, I’m probably in the ballpark, even in my current singledom.

    I wonder if Kinsey or Masters/Johnson had statistics on partnered sexual encounters (lifetime or annual).

    Not to worry if you’re behind the curve… XKCD’s comic on dating pools comes to mind:


    (… goes back to searching for outliers on the edge of the bell curve …)

  35. Suzanonymous says:

    Just scanning the comments, I must ask where is Moo U? I thought it was just my alma mater (Colorado State).. but an online search turned up two others … Oh, here is Lily’s schedule. So it must be Kansas State U. The web is an amazing thing, ha ha.

  36. HoH: I could be a belle, and I have curves, will that do?

  37. Kate L says:

    Yes, Suzanonymous (#36), and even more amazing, one of Lily Tomlin’s early comedy albums was subtitled, “Losing My Mind in Manhattan, Kansas”. I’m hoping that the person who took photos of me and Darling Lily will get around to either posting them on our human rights organizations’s web site or will e-mail them to me, then you’ll even get to see what I look like!

    The person who assaulted me 5 years ago was at the concert with his mother; by coincidence, he sat 5 seats to my left. Back before the assault, people said that the three of us were as close as family. Last night, they were with a young woman with short hair and mannish clothes who somewhat resembled me as a young’n. They seemed as close as family, but from I what I overheard, they weren’t. Eerie. And I don’t mean the city in Pennsylvania.

  38. ksbel6 says:

    @1500: Just to make it clear, my question was not about whether it was per year or in a life-time, but rather whether it was 1500 encounters with 1500 different people per year, or 1500 encounters period. Meaning that those 1500 could be with the same person, or with three different people, or with 1500 different people…but still all in one year. Hence my 30 times per weekend rule. The rest of you better get hoppin’ if you are going to keep up! I’ve had 6 snow days, plus Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and soon to be President’s Day also this year. So I’m easily going to hit 1500.

  39. Kate L says:

    ksbel 6 (#39) Let’s just say that no one keeps a better Arbor Day than I do, if you follow my meaning… 😉

  40. hairball_of_hope says:

    re: the magic 1500… If I have sex with myself, can I take credit for each side of the encounter? That takes the number of required encounters down to 750 per year.

    Still, I’d have to forget Arbor Day, I’d need to be celebrating Groundhog Day (à la Bill Murray).

    (… goes back to the realization that 83.27% of statistics used in public discourse are made up on the spot, and that number is 14% higher for statistics quoted by politicians …)

  41. ksbel6 says:

    Ha! Good one hoh…I’m so lucky that I do not need that type of sexual encounter these days. But, I think for anyone who does, you should totally get to count those. Especially since I’m just positive that is a sin according to the good book.

  42. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Maggie (#37)

    Maggie as a Southern belle? Nah, you’re true GRITS (Girl Raised In The South), but no belle. I just can’t see you in those frilly dresses.

    Interesting note on Southern belles from the Wiki:


    A southern belle had a lot of rules in order to behave. Pants/trousers were not allowed on girls; they always had to wear a dress that covered their ankles and their wrists. Not doing so would result in accusations of being a tomboy, a prostitute and in some cases a lesbian. These rules became more relaxed in the 1940’s when most of the men were fighting in the war, and companies began to hire women to do the work in the mens’ absence.

    (… goes back to looking for the plaid-clad type …)

  43. Kate L says:

    The forces of Counter Revolution are gathering over Smallville! The anti-LGBT forces are trying to collect enough signatures so as to force a referendum on the recent addition of LGBT as a protected class in the Smallville human rights ordinance. Assuming that they gather enough valid signatures to force a vote, I give them 50 – 50 odds of failure to repeal the amendment. AND, if they fail, the amendment cannot be removed from the books for the next ten years, at least. In this way, a vote of he people trumps any new, future, reactionary city commission. I don’t think the repeal forces have considered that possible outcome of their efforts.

  44. Renee S. says:

    I have not posted lately because I’m in a marijuana induced fog while trying to get my weekend quota in.

    Where is Ginjoint?

  45. Kate L says:

    .. I just saw both photos that Jon, president of the human rights organization I’m secretary for, took of me with Lily Tomlin. At the time last Friday night, I wondered why he decided to take two photos. Turns out the first one, taken in the instant before Lily and I shook hands, shows me with a strange expression on my face that seems to be a cross between friendly and feral. I entitle it, “My, what lovely eyes you have, Lily Tomlin!”. Lily is saying something as she extends her hand, but it looks for all the world like she’s recoiling in horror… but she was gracious to meet with those of us who pushed for the human rights amendment after she had just put on her show.

    And, Renee S asks a good question, where is Ginjoint???

  46. shadocat says:

    Maybe she’s working on her 1500

  47. hairball_of_hope says:

    We haven’t heard from Aunt Soozie in ages. She must be well over 1500 by now, and we’re not even out of February.

  48. ready2agitate says:

    #9 re: the Yiddish word Drek.

    I’d say the English translation is more like sh*t or crap instead of, well, poop. For example, It was a pretty good yard sale, but there was also a lot of drek .

    Yard sale = garage sale = tag sale means selling your stuff used to your neighbors and community.

    OK some are fogged in sexual encounters, some in marijuana, and some, well, are thinking about drek. 😉

  49. ready2agitate says:

    (the yard sale definition was for non-USAnians)

    I just went straight into a footnote without warning you. But you’re all so smart, so I’m not worried.

  50. Ian says:

    I’m in a cloud of my own bitterness. Happy Valentine’s Day y’all! (He spits out through gritted teeth). 😉

  51. Kate L says:

    What’s up, Ian? 🙁

    The Huffington Post reports that a “55-year-old woman” saved her husband from a tiger attack by using a soup ladle as a weapon. Speaking as a 56-year-old, I find it interesting that the Huffington Post found it necessary to mention the woman’s advanced age. I guess that they were just driving the point into the ground that, despite her advanced age and no doubt generally delapidated physical condition, this elderly senior citizen was, somehow, nontheless able to act in a coherent and effective way. Despite her advanced years.

  52. Renee S. says:

    RE: drek

    I find myself wondering if the words drek and dreg are etymologically related…

  53. Renee S. says:

    And, if you are speaking German, a “g” that appears at the end of a word is pronounced as a hard “k”. For example, the word for day, “tag” would be pronounced “tak”. Is it possible that “dreg” would be pronounced “drek”?

    This from Yivo Institute for Jewish Research:

    Yiddish, however, is not a dialect of German but a complete language—one of a family of Western Germanic languages, that includes English, Dutch, and Afrikaans. Yiddish words often have meanings that are different from similar words in German.

    The term “Yiddish” is derived from the German word for “Jewish.” The most accepted (but not the only) theory of the origin of Yiddish is that it began to take shape by the 10th century as Jews from France and Italy migrated to the German Rhine Valley. They developed a language that included elements of Hebrew, Jewish-French, Jewish-Italian, and various German dialects. In the late Middle Ages, when Jews settled in Eastern Europe, Slavic elements were incorporated into Yiddish.

  54. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Renee (#53-55)

    Etymology of dreck (aka drek) and dreg (courtesy of Random House Unabridged, 1st ed.):

    dreck: [1920–25; < Yiddish drek; c. G Dreck filth; cf. OE threax, ON threkkr excrement]

    dreg: [1250–1300; ME < ON dreg yeast (pl. dreggjar dregs) ; c. OSw dräg dregs]

    Both link back to Old Norse, but different word origins.

    @R2A (#50,51)

    Your example of dreck used in conjunction with a review of yard sale merchandise is accurate, but I contend that dreck isn’t considered as offensive in Yiddish as the English equivalent shit.

    Little old Jewish ladies who wouldn’t ever use swear words use dreck in polite company. Then again, I do note that references to bodily functions or substances in Yiddish seem not to have the same vulgar connotations as their English translations.

    Examples that come to mind: Gay cocken offen yom (literally, “Go shit in the ocean”), equivalent to telling someone to take a long walk on a short pier, or to go to hell; Pishach (literally, “pisswater”), used to describe weakly-brewed tea, watered-down soup, etc.

    Pishach example: My grandparents, who came to this country without a teppel to pish in, used to reuse teabags. The teabag went from my grandfather’s cup, to my grandmother’s, to a small plate where it would dry out to be reused. “You vant some tea maybe?” asked Grandma. “Yes, but I want my own teabag. I don’t like pishach,” I would reply.

    Dreck example: Again from my grandparents… “So how come you didn’t go mit your friends yesterday?” asked Grandpa. “They wanted to hang out and watch Dark Shadows on TV. It’s boring dreck. I’d rather read,” I replied.

    I can assure you if any of these words were considered vulgar, I would have had my mouth washed out with a bar of Fels Naptha Soap. And perhaps Grandma might have used the floor brush with the soap, for good measure.

    N.B. A teppel is a pot, but so is a schissel. The difference between the two lies in the handles. A teppel is like a stock pot, with two short handles on the sides. A schissel has a long handle, like a saucepan.

    (… goes back to thinking about Grandma’s fabulous knedelach (matzo balls), potato latkes (potato pancakes), and apple cake, the recipes for which are long gone …)

  55. Calico says:

    One of my favorite Yiddish/Jewish words is “Meshuga.”
    (I can use it in Québec City and no one knows what I’m talking about-probably not the same in Montréal or Toronto, though! : )

  56. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Calico (#57)

    Yup, you’ll have more luck getting away with using meshuga in lieu of fou in QC than in Montréal or Toronto, both of which have sizable Jewish populations. Montréal’s Jewish community was famously popularized via Mordechai Richler’s novels (e.g. The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz).

    Some notes on usage of the related words meshuga (aka meshugge), meshuganah, mishegoss:

    Meshuga means crazy (adj.), e.g. “Forty dollars for that schmata? That’s meshuga!”

    Meshuganah means a crazy person (n.), e.g. “He’s a real meshuganah, that Ron Paul.”

    Mishegoss means craziness (n.), e.g. “In the middle of all this mishegoss, she decided to walk out and leave them yelling at each other.”

    Now you can all be Yiddish mavens ;).

    N.B. Schmata literally means “rag,” it’s often used disparagingly to describe someone’s outfit, e.g. “You should have seen the ugly schmata she wore to the wedding.” A maven is an expert. But you all knew that already, language mavens that you are.

  57. Ian says:

    Thanks for that HoH(59). That explains a few expressions in Mel Brooks’ films.

  58. Ian says:

    Valentine’s rhyme of the day (as seen on another message board):

    Roses are straight
    Violets are twisted
    Bend over, love
    You’re about to get fisted.


  59. Feminista says:

    #Hoh #56 & 58: Move over,Leo Rosten;Hoh’s got even better stories to go with her explanations. (He’s the author of the Joys of Yiddish and The Education of Hyman Kaplan.)

  60. ready2agitate says:

    Ian, har!

    HoH – apple cake!

    I’m smiling. 🙂

    Happy Love Day, yall!

    (I recently read ‘the divine secrets of the ya-ya sisterhood’ – i found it in a box o’ books on the street one summer – and i loved that she wrote ‘yall’ without the apostrophe ‘ throughout.)

  61. Kate L says:

    The Smallville Daily Bugle has come out against what it chooses to call the recently-enacted “Discrimination Ordinance”, and for the efforts to circulate a petition to put a repeal of the city commission’s recently adding LGBT to the Smallville human rights ordinance up for a vote this April 7. During the 2005 campaign about adding an anti-gay marriage amendment to the Kansas state constitution, I knocked on about a 100 doors here in Smallvlille, asking people to vote against the anti-gay marriage amendment. The vote here in Smallville was 51% for the anti-gay marriage amendment, 49% against. As under-funded as we were in fighting the forces of reaction, we almost beat them. I think the odds of us beating the effort to repeal LGBT as a protected class are about 50 – 50. Bring it on.

  62. Anonymous says:

    Thanks, HOH! I wish I knew more Yiddish!
    There has been a debate recently amongst Montréalers as to whether a street should be named after Richler:
    Personally, I think he should have a decent street or park named after him.
    I live in QC, but am anti-separatist – some Québecers are unfortunately still so very paranoid about the state of their “own people”, but they must remember that Montréal has been very multicultural for at least a century if not more, and their native culture and legacy will actually be stronger and more defined through accepting others, accepting, and teaching.
    Time to embrace the 21st Century, folks!

  63. Anonymous says:


    I don’t see this attitude in my everyday meanderings, as I’m a nice little white girl from the US who was baptized Catholic and speaks moderately good French, but still…grrrr
    I don’t agree with Beaudoin, not for a second.

  64. Calico says:

    Aaaaagh, #64 and #65 are me, the piebald who moved from Burl. VT to QC. Lost my cookies! : P

  65. Stephen Gordon says:

    Hopefully the position will be rotating like the Poet Laureate, so you can have a go at it too. There are so many great candidates in Vermont! I suppose states like Oregon, California, and New York will have a disproportionate number of candidates, but oh, well. All the more comics for them.

  66. Fi (in Melbourne, Australia) says:

    Not only Yiddish… How about “dreich”, which is an old Scottish word meaning miserable, cold & wet – as in weather. To say it, my Scots-identifying colleague says:
    1. you need to think like a Scot
    2. roll the “dr” around behind your teeth for a bit
    3. then follow with nice pert but soft “ech”).
    I love it when language shows itself to be so ecumenical!

  67. Kate L says:

    This just in… as early as this week, the Kansas state legislature may attempt to allow discrimination in hiring, lodging, etc., that is carried out by a person against others due to the discriminating person’s “religious belief”. We hear that this is in direct reaction to the Smallville human rights ordinance amendment. Under the proposed state law, if someone says that same-sex attraction is “immoral” (as many of our opponents do say), they could deny a gay person or a perceived gay person a job, or a place to rent, based on that perception. Hmmm… some folks back in the civil rights era claimed that it was against their religious belief to hire people of color. Will they now claim to be exempt from racial civil rights legislation?

    1954 came early this year…

  68. ksbel6 says:

    @69 Actually, a very similar piece of legislation came up in Iowa just a few weeks back. It got crushed. Hopefully Kansas will be just as smart.

    Before religious folks were using the bible to keep racial minorities in their places, they were using the bible to keep women in their places. Wait, I think they are still doing that.

  69. Alex K says:

    @51 / Ian: There, there, love. Are you feeling better now?

    My Valentine’s Day evening was spent at a cabaret. The theme, of course, was… there, there, love. An hour, three cabaretistes (male / pianist-singer; female x 2, singers), and nary a hymn to joy — think I’M IN LOVE WITH A WONDERFUL GUY, or perhaps I’LL REMEMBER YOU, if you want wistful — no, it was all mistake and move on, Sondheim, Coward, Porter, and Sondheim again, invariably rueful: Love is an exploding cigar that we willingly smoke (Lynda Barry, if you don’t know her work).

    Marks & Spencer had a lovers’ dinner special on offer in the run-up to The Day, £14.99 for two filets, mixed veg, starch, pudding, and indifferent wine. Microwave your veg and starch, pan-griddle your filets, the while allowing your pudding (lemon cheesecake) to develop its flavour by coming to room temperature; pour wine, plate v., s., and f., and apply to f. a heart-shaped piece of herbed butter, provided in a special sealed packet.

    See, darling, I cooked it just for you! **points to heart-shaped bit of butter** With all my love!

    Ian, you could have picked up one of those specials, enjoyed a restaurant-quality dinner (no comment on the quality of the restaurant), and had a whole meal’s worth of love left over in the fridge for later in the week. Chances missed, lessons learnt, Ian, m’lad.

    And, speaking of exploding cigars, Ian, m’lad: Got a light, mate?

  70. Ian says:

    @Alex K: I gave up smoking years ago.

  71. Lianna says:

    An interesting discussion of the obsession with gay marriage manifested in The Kids Are All Right can be found here.

  72. Fester Bestertester says:

    Aha, another John Sayles fan.

  73. Ginjoint says:

    Working on my 1500 – ha, I wish. Actually, I’ve been finishing up a large home-improvement project, a tangential part of which included changing my ISP. I was offline for several days. Thanks for asking about me, Renee and Kate!

    Then when I got back online, I was trying to catch up with the kerfuffle over at Twisty’s. Then I realized I had to get to work. You know how it goes.

  74. Alex K says:

    @72 / Ian K: Then, of course, the answer is to take up smoking again. A man should have a hobby.

    Alison, are the clouds low? Or is your sky clear?

    O roar a roar for Nora,
    Nora Alice in the night,
    for she has seen Aurora
    Borealis burning bright.
    Furore for our Nora,
    applaud Aurora seen!
    Where throughout the Summer has
    Our Borealis been?

    Word is, AB, that you might yourself, there in Vermont, see AB this evening if you but look north. Take your camera if you step outside, will you?

  75. Mentor says:

    [I can’t speak for AB, of course (either one, for that matter). But here (just a bit farther south) there is 1] mirky overcast and 2] a full moon tonight. So even if an aurora did appear it would almost certainly not be visible.

    OTOH, for those interested in keeping tabs on such things, [HERE’s] a good site that gives up-to-the-minute reports on auroral activity. (At present, things look pretty quiet this evening; but, needless to say, that can change on short notice.) –Mentor]

  76. Kate L says:

    Thanks, Mentor! 🙂 I had not known that this site existed. Not only may this be useful to us this week, but when I talk about the Earth’s magnetic field later this semester, I can show my students a real-time indication of auroral (sp?) activity!

  77. Kate L says:

    … As the comedian Norm Crosby would say, “please allow me to hallucinate”. When the sun fires off a mass of charged particles* at the Earth, as it is doing this week, those particles get funneled down the Earth’s magnetic field to the north and south magnetic poles. When those charged particles hit the upper atmosphere, they cause the nitrogen and oxygen atoms in the upper atmosphere to glow.

    * This is a “coronal mass ejection” like the one that Samantha Carter talked about in an episode of Star Gate SG-1. I can talk like Samantha Carter. I wish I could look like her, too!

  78. Kate L says:

    You all have my permission to think of Samantha Carter whenever you want to imagine what I may look like…

  79. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate L, Mentor (#77,78)

    The SWPC page Mentor linked to is on a site I use frequently, http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/SWN/index.html.

    I use the charts on “Today’s Space Wx” link to figure out how hard it will hit satellite data communications. Looks like we’re going to have a bad weekend, satcom will get hammered. This sucks for my three-day holiday weekend… weekends are when corporate databases do major data sync transfers via satcom. Grrrr…

    While Aurora Borealis (and Aurora Australis for our Southern Hemisphere friends) might be interesting nighttime entertainment, the two solar CMEs are a pain in my tuchas.

    This would have been real fun if the solar events had happened two weekends ago. Imagine all those irate Superbowl viewers who wouldn’t have understood why their lovely HD broadcasts were freezing, pixelated, and dropping out. Would have been a nice intrusion of science and reality on the clueless flat Earth folks.

    (… goes back to waiting for enemy EMP bombs to disrupt C4I as she polishes her tinfoil hat …)

  80. freyakat says:

    @76/Alex K: Hurray for Walt Kelly! I love Pogo.

  81. ready2agitate says:

    How did an agitator like me miss Twisty Faster in the blogosphere?? (#75)

    (oh, forgot, I’m not too terribly into spending my time/wrists/hands on the puter!)

    But thanks. IBTP is AWESOME!

  82. Kate L says:

    hairball (#81) I can remember when I thought “pixelated” was a word that I had invented all by myself! Synchronicity Rules! 🙂 Btw, sometimes my Big Regional Name cable company tv feed pixelates and freezes, usually late at night. Is this due to some communications satellite glitch? I thought it was space aliens, or the cable people were just messin’ with me. I had thought they were denying me access to MSNBC for over ten years, but it turned out that the 1967-era* cable cable in my attic just needed replacement!

    * – Yes, City folk. Smallville got cable tv in the mid-60’s… because otherwise, we could only receive one broadcast tv station!

    [In “Harvey”, doesn’t some one describe Elwood P. Dowd as “pixiliated” (note the second “i”), meaning something like “touched by the pixies”? –Mentor]

  83. Dr. Empirical says:

    Mentor: In the climactic courtroom scene in Mr. Deeds Goes to town, the evil lawyer finds two rather timid old ladies to testify that the Gary Cooper character is “pixilated”. The lawyer tries to use this as evidence that Mr. Deeds is insane.

    Upon further questioning, it is found that the ladies believe that “Everyone… The whole town is pixilated. Except us.”

  84. Kate L says:


    My father’s favorite movie line came from the Jimmy Stewart movie, Harvey. Mr. Dowd (Jimmy Stewart) was asked why he did not think it strange when, at his first meeting with Harvey, the six-foot-tall white rabbit called him by name. Mr. Dowd replied, “When you’ve lived in a small town as long as I have, you’re not surprised that everybody knows your name!”.

  85. cd in Madison says:

    AlexK/76: Thx for that particular bit of Walt Kelly. In grad school I used to read books of old Pogo strips (instead of studying). I was delighted when I found O roar a roar for Nora. When the possibility of an AB was predicted, my friends and I went out into the night chanting that poem.

    Now that I’ve had that memory, I may name my next dog Nora Alice.

  86. Kate L says:

    Say, the 6th International Dyke Conference was held in Varanasi, India, this past February 4th-7th. The conference theme was “Dyke Swarms: Keys for Geodynamic Interpretation”. I hear that Sydney delivered the keynote address on the influence of dyke swarms on queer theory! Not being able to attend myself, I’ve just got to ask my fellow DTWOF Denizens… how’d the conference go? 🙂

  87. Feminista says:

    Re: Wisconsin. The regular version of UW football fans chants: Go Big Red! Beat State! The left response: Madison SDS reportedly sang,”Go Red! Smash State!”

    To all the public employees and allies: On, Wisconsin! (I’m one of those folks who know the fight songs for different univ.teams,but little about the games,due to my mother’s love of music.)

    FWIW,the first march and rally I attended,as a Beloit,WI college student, was 40 years ago in commemoration of International Women’s Day.The issues then were job equality,child care and abortion rights. We marched from the UW-Madison campus to the capitol bldg. And damn it was cold! So I’m esp.proud of all those hearty folks who’re outside in a WI winter.

    To quote Malvina Reynolds from her classic song “We don’t need the Men”: (Gov.Walker would)”look cute in a bathing suit on a billboard in Madagascar.”


    And now I must do as Ready so wisely advised: get off the computer to save my hands and wrists.

  88. Kate L says:

    Feminista (#89) Yes, it’s time for the progressives in the USA to reclaim the color red*! 🙂 For the past 11 years, we’ve been the only country in the world where progressives wear blue, while conservatives wear red. I think that it dates back to how most networks color-coded Gore and George W. Bush states in the long, drawn-out presidential vote recount following the year 2000 American presidential election.

    Today, one of the Tea Party astro-turf organizations headquartered in Virginia bussed-in some outside agitators from neighboring states to confront the Red Tide of Wisconsonites. When CNN wasn’t being busy being deferential to the Right Wing, its reporter on the scene admitted that the anti-union-busting Wisconsonites outnumbered the outside Tea Party agitators. The Tea Partiers did not try to shout down or physically confront the home team surrounding the Wisconsin capital, perhaps because they were outnumbered, even though legendary right-wing character “Joe the Plumber” was supposed to be in Madison today. Smart move.

    * – Gentle readers outside ‘Merca: Red is the color of the University of Wisconsin in Madison, the state capital, and the U of W teams are known as the Badgers. Madison has been the epicenter of anti-union-busting protests this week.

  89. ready2agitate says:

    Dividing the country into blue (democrat) and red (republican) breathed new life into the retro-phrase ‘better dead than red.’ 😉

    Yes, Wisconsin is energizing. The MSM’s been so excited about “the revolution sweeping the Arab world” – hooray! people are standing up! taking down dictators! fighting for their rights! (heyyyy, how bout some of that right here in the good ‘ole U.S.A.?! – nice segue, Wisconsin!)

  90. Alex K says:

    @various Walt Kelly fanciers —

    does “Oh, roar a roar for Nora” play, inside your heads, to any tune OTHER than “The Yellow Rose of Texas”? If so, what?

    I’ve got an earworm, and I’ve got it bad…

  91. hairball_of_hope says:

    Off-topic reading…

    From the “Fertilized Minds” Dept. comes word that the mud-slinging between JP Morgan Chase and the smoldering embers of Lehman Brothers Holdings has now devolved into poo-slinging.

    According to Bloomberg, JPM amended their lawsuit against LBH with this nifty bit of info gleaned from e-mail discovery:


    JPMorgan was stuck with Lehman’s worst securities backing $25 billion of loans as Lehman was sold to Barclays Plc in September 2008, JPMorgan said in its filing yesterday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan. Lehman described the collateral as “toxic crap” and “goat poo” to be scattered “in other people’s backyards,” JPMorgan said.

    “Only later was JPMorgan able to determine that the position in which it unexpectedly found itself was the result of collusion and deception” by Lehman and Barclays, JPMorgan said.

    This countersuit is in response to charges that JP Morgan siphoned off billions of dollars in collateral from Lehman in the days before Lehman’s collapse. Then they found out it was goat poo.

    There’s a bit of karmic boomerang in that, although it’s probably an insult to hircine lovers. Goat poo doesn’t smell nearly as bad as bankers. And at least there’s plenty of use for goat poo as fertilizer. Bankers and their Cole-Haans don’t add much in the way of nutrients to the compost heap.

    (… goes back to hoping for more tales of the Appalachian Trail variety, only one GOPer has galloped down the trail [and out of office] this year …)

  92. hairball_of_hope says:

    Some states have Cartoonist Laureates, some have Poet Laureates. And then there is Kansas, poor Kansas, which apparently has Wacko Laureates.

    Of course, I’m referring to the clan of Phelpses which infest that poor state. But now there’s some interesting news that should make for good spectacle. Anonymous, the hacker group that brings down websites which mess with their ideals of free speech, has declared war on the Phelpses.


    Megan Phelps-Roper’s response? “Bring it, cowards.” According to Phelps-Roper, “God hates fags and lousy hackers.” Could be that the divine one hates lousy hackers, but Anonymous are really good at this stuff, so if God favors good hackers, the Westboro crazies are in for a comeuppance.

    (… For this show, I’d put on a black hat if I had one …)

  93. ksbel6 says:

    @94: Isn’t it funny how defensive those Westboro folks are? Their response made me laugh out loud. It was basically, “We’re going to heaven and you’re not, so nener nener.” Except with more venom.

  94. hairball_of_hope says:

    @ksbel6 (#95)

    Yeah, it’s defintely a “nyah nyah” response, but it turns out there’s more to the story.

    Anonymous (the real Anonymous) posted to say the first letter was a plant by WBC themselves. Anyone can post to AnonNews, and someone claiming to be Anonymous posted the first “throw down the gauntlet” ultimatum, which generated the WBC “response.”

    The real Anonymous says it’s a trap designed to harvest IP addresses so the Phelpses can sue, lawsuits being their primary source of funding for the WBC. Anonymous has posted a press release to this effect, saying “it’s a trap” and the WBC websites have left their ports wide open, a sure sign of a honeypot designed to gather IP info.


    Of course, some 12-year-old somewhere will miss this and will get snared in the Phelpses poo.

    But in the “nyah nyah” spirit, the real Anonymous folks lob one right back at the wackos, “Next time, don’t call us. We’ll call you.”

    The link to their press release is in the article URL above, lest this post run afoul of the >one link spam purgatory filter.

    Quoting from their press release:

    In closing, let us assure you: We are not BAWWWING sissies, nor are we afraid of your false god; we’re just really busy. Stay tuned, and we’ll come back to play another day.
    We promise.
    To the Media: Just because it was posted on AnonNews doesn’t mean every single Anon is in agreement, in fact in this case it doesn’t even mean a single Anon is in agreement. Next time, if you could give us a few minutes to put all our paperwork in order, we’ll be sure to let you know what we’re up to. (LOL)
    To Anonymous: It’s a trap. They’ve got their ports wide open to harvest IPs to sue. Don’t DDoS, and boycott Operation Westboro. If you really want to continue messing with them, just send them a few male prostitutes and faxes of goatse. Nothing more.
    (Note: This letter was written by more than 20 Anons, at the same time, and none of them were inbred family members. Unlike that other, shitty “Press Release”.)

    (… goes back to watching more snow fall …)

  95. Kate L says:

    What makes this day different from all others? If you’re me, it’s a typical work day when everyone else has a three-day weekend! I’m not alone, though… the friendly folks at MSNBC are on the job as we speak, busy preparing for tonight’s big broadcast. And, arn’t they just like family? There’s Uncle Ed, boy can he be loud! And sweet cousin Rachel, who has done so much with her life! And wacky cousin Bill Wolff, of course. What would our day be without his internet special address to the MSNBC audience? 🙂

  96. ready2agitate says:

    wow, Hairball, I get more interesting news here than anywhere else!

    (ps Kate, me working today, yup, transferring this day to my vacation, lucky me)

  97. hairball_of_hope says:

    Yo Ginjoint!

    Today is election day in the City of Big Shoulders. Don’t forget to vote early, and often. Bring along your doppelgängers too.

    (… goes back to sneezing and wheezing …)

  98. Kate L says:

    Cousin Rachel may be coming to Topeka this week to cover the disbarment proceeedings against former Kansas attorney general Phil Kline! Kline, currently an instructor at Jerry Farwell’s Liberty University in Virginia, spent most of his time in office illegally (the disbarment allegations attest) obtaining the medical records of women who had had abortions, and had agents of the attorney general’s office follow those women. 1984 came early that year…

  99. Kate L says:

    MSNBC reports on a scientific study that has found using a cell phone changes your brain chemistry. I’ve never owned a cell phone (why, when the pony express is good enough ’round these here parts?). Great, now when cell phone radiation turns everyone else into a mob of howling mutants, I’ll still be human. And fleeing for my life… say, maybe I might as well get a cell phone, after all!

  100. Renee S. says:

    #99 HOH. Dopplegängers. I have a strange story. I saw my dopplegänger in high school. It was the November of 1973, and suddenly I kept passing myself in the hallway. The girl, my identical duplicate, was shuffling down the hallway, with her head down, just like I used to walk. I was too shy to say anything to her. She never saw me though, until weeks later. It was lunchtime, and I had told my friend Tammy about the doppelgänger.
    “There’s this girl who looks just like me, I keep seeing her in the hallway.” A few minutes later I looked out from the lunchroom door and saw her. I pointed her out to Tammy. Tammy, who was very dramatic, shouted out, “She does!!!! She does look just like you!!!” Just then then my carbon copy heard her, looked up, and her eyes locked with mine. Her mouth dropped open and her eyes bugged out with surprise. But, being shy, just like me, she put her head back down and kept walking. I was too way too shy to go and speak with her.
    But the strange thing is, after Tammy and I saw her that day, I never saw her again. Ever.
    I could’t wait for the high school yearbook to be published, so I could look for the name of my twin. Our yearbooks were slow to be issued, and did not become available until spring. When they finally came available, I could not find her anywhere in the yearbook. I voiced my frustration to my friend Tammy. She did not even remember the incident at all.
    This had me second guessing my sanity, but then I remembered that Tammy did not have the sharpest memory, especially when it came to her school work.
    This memory I have still haunts me. I keep bothering my mother. “Are you sure you didn’t have twins?” I have this vision in my head that she gave up the other me for adoption, as I was almost adopted too, as mom was single when she gave birth to me. Back in the 50’s, it was a real social stigma. However, it’s always difficult to get a straight answer from her, even regarding the most mundane of questions, such as, “What is your favorite color?” (answer: “it could be blue or green”)

  101. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Renee (#102)

    That’s strange, and also very sad. In my mind’s eye, I see you as the shy, head-down HS kid (low self-esteem, maybe?), alternately kicking herself for not saying anything to her doppelgänger, but too fearful to reach out to her.

    Given what you’ve said about the circumstances of your birth, the scenario of twins separated at birth is not an unrealistic one.

    I seem to recall that my 1950s-era birth certificate has a section that indicates for this pregnancy the number of births and number of live births. Perhaps yours has similar info (although in the past, birth certificates were altered for adopted children, don’t know if they altered them for remaining siblings of separated multi-births).

    If in fact your Mom did have a multiple birth and gave one up for adoption, I’ll bet she has tried very hard to block that from her consciousness. It probably brings back all sorts of hard memories, hard decisions, pressure from her family, etc. The decision to keep you was not an easy one, I’m sure. She had to buck family, peer, and social pressure, along with the harsh economic realities of being a single parent.

    Unfortunately, you probably won’t ever get an answer from your Mom while she’s alive, and there may be no paperwork to clear this up after she’s gone. As you said, lots of stigma associated with unmarried pregnancy and single motherhood until recent years.

  102. Kate L says:

    Renee S, hairball

    Interestng. I used to wonder the same thing! Turns out that my 1954 certificate of live birth shows no unexpected brothers or sisters. Oh, and the state of Kansas does issue Certificates of Live Birth, just like Hawaii did for President Obama! Personally, I think that perhaps a rip in the space-time continuum was repaired by the time my certificate of live birth was issued, erasing all evidence of any other version of me from this time-line. Gosh, Star Trek lore can answer any question!

  103. Calico says:

    #94 – Hahahaha!
    Just razz these folks until they go collectively apopoleptic. Seems like their buttons are relatively easy to push.

  104. Kate L says:

    Calico! Yeah! 🙂

    Also, a prankster posing as conservative Kansas billionaire and Tea Party-funder Dave Koch had a long telephone conversation with Wisconsin governor Scott Walker. An audio tape of the phone call has since been posted on YouTube. They talked about busting unions, and who (in Walker’s phrase) is “one of us”. Governor Walker says, meanwhile, that he is too busy to talk with Democrats in the Wisconsin legislature about compromise on the “budget crisis” that Walker keeps talking about.

    Oh, btw, although I only have a certificate of live birth from Kansas, I am not now, nor have I ever been, a Kenyan muslim. Although, I would be honored to be one.

  105. Kate L says:

    Meanwhile, Indiana deputy attorney general Jeff Cox advocates the use of what he calls “deadly force” against the pro-union demonstrators at the Indiana state capital in Indianapolis. Cox goes on to call the pro-union demonstrators there “thugs” and “political enemies”. The attorney general’s office promises an “immediate review” of Cox’s statement. Which, I hope, is going to lead to a reprimand and not an endorsement by the attorney general’s office! Otherwise, to the barricades!!!

  106. Anonymous says:

    Cox has been fired. He seems to have been talking about Wisconsin’s demonstrators, but the Indiana attorney general still disapproved of the statement, thank goodness.The Indiana legislature has backed-off its anti-union legislation. The state of Georgia, meanwhile, is considering making abortions to save the mother’s life a form of murder. Somebody bring me some smelling salts…

  107. Kate L says:

    Anonymous 109 was me. Those smelling salts helped.

  108. Renee S. says:

    @HOH &Kate

    I’ve had three different birth certificates. Two of them were “certificates of live birth.”

    The original birth certificate was destroyed by my mom. I never saw that version.
    When my dad adopted me, the live birth certificate was changed by the state (Michigan) to include my dad as the birth father (which he is not).

    When it came time to obtain a passport, I was worried a bit, because the federal proof of birth requirement states the birth certificate must be registered with the state the same year of the birth. That was a problem for me, since my second birth certificate wasn’t registered with the state until I was legally adopted at 5 years old.

    However, Michigan then issued another birth certificate to me that indicates there was proof of same birth year registration, so I didn’t have a problem with my passport.

    The other two birth certificates were photostatic copies. The new birth certificate resembles one of those computer generated letters of appreciation.

    Nope, I’m no longer the shy girl, nor am I kicking myself for not speaking to my “twin.”
    I am now extremely extroverted. If I ever cross her path again, I’ll be sure to speak to her.

    The twin story only makes sense. It’s possible that I saw a girl that just happened to look like me. But that fact that she disappeared directly after she noticed me, makes me think that she was most likely my twin.

    A plausible scenario is that she went home and told her parents. Fearing that she might discover that she had been adopted, her parents removed her from school. Although I suspected I was adopted for most of my younger years, I didn’t officially find out about the adoption until I was in my late teens.

    The other scenario could be that she or I crossed over into a parallel universe. Not likely. Nor plausible.

  109. j.b.t. says:

    On Wisconsin!!!!!!

  110. ready2agitate says:

    Wow Renee, that’s quite a story.

    Kind of unrelated, but have you seen “the Double Life of Veronique” by Krzysztof Kieslowski? It was a parallel universe type of story if I remember correctly (and there was also an upsetting/annoying straight sex scene in it that I’m remembering). Anyway, always comes to mind whenever I hear about doppelgangers…

    (Here’s the wikipedia entry about the film, fwiw – i’m too lazy to create a hyperlink – but if you think you might want to see the film, which is gorgeous cinematographic-ally, see it before reading this article:


  111. ready2agitate says:

    hunh… (um, mentor?)

    [Only the most recent copy of the above message left; the earlier two have been deleted. –Mentor]

  112. cd in Madison says:

    Alright, Kate L, what kind of power do you have out in Kansas? Here in Madison we’ve had 9 straight days of exciting protests, crowds as high as 70k, and all we got was the Ed Show. Although thank you for that, MSNBC, Mr Ed was very nice and outraged and all.

    But now tonight Lawrence Kansas gets Rachel Maddow. Her whole show right there in a bar on Massachusetts Ave. The lovely Rachel!

    WHAT DO WE HAVE TO DO??!??!??

  113. Alex K says:

    @ready2agitate / 113 – 115 and 116:

    And here I thought you were deliberately playing on the multiple-selves theme…

  114. Kate L says:

    cd in Madison… The Freestate Brewery on Massachusetts Street, which was Maddow Central last night, used to be the city bus station. It had a two-story roof, so a bus could pull right into what is now the microbrewery area. I’ve caught more than one bus to Smallville there, as well as having a wheat state ale there. Not at the same time, of course.

  115. Kate L says:

    Glenn Beck has compared Reform Judaism to Radical Islam. That schmuck.

  116. Alex K says:

    Where are Mo’s comments on what’s going on in Wisconsin?

    Gosh, I miss those women. (And Stuart / Raffi / Jerry / Carlos / Daniel / Max Axle et al.)

  117. Kate L says:

    When I saw the cartoon drawing of the lady in the dress and heels, I thought that A.B. had found the dress code recommendations for Moo U teaches recommended by our new governor, conservative Sam Brownback! How do you walk in high heels? Carefully!

    Rachel Maddow (ok, now I have a mental image of Rachel in a dress and high heels. Sorry! 🙁 )has posted a warning on her own maddowblog that America is falling behind in fake achievements (the Russians are midway through a two-year simulated mission to Mars). As a geology instructor I have to fight a lot of misconceptions among our youth. Some think evolution does not happen, or that global warming is some kind of commo-fascist agitprop*, or that the Moon landings never happened, despite the recent photographic evidence from lunar orbit to the contrary. But the Russian Mars mission is definitely pretend. It’s meant as practice for the real thing, just to see if the Mars cosmonauts would go nuts if locked up together for two years. Anyway, here is Dr. Maddow’s take on all that.

    * – Agitprop. Ask your parents or grandparents, young ones.

  118. ready2agitate says:

    Were that I was (or was that I were) that witty, Alex K. 😉

  119. Str8ButNotNarrow says:

    Ha. I went to college in Lawrence, KS (along with Mr. SBNN) and am enjoying reading this.

    I miss Mo/Lois/Samia also, but am quite dying to read the new creation, such as it is, paint or no 😉

  120. Chloe says:

    waiting with bated breath for your next literary classic. Oodles of support and encouragement comin’at ya from a friend of a “big fan”

  121. M. Hamilton says:

    I’m currently working on a graphic novel for my Master’s Thesis and, my goodness, it sure takes longer than you expect. Best of luck and love.