a pretty good day

August 5th, 2010 | Uncategorized

Prop 8 has been overturned. And there are beads of water like mercury on the nasturtium leaves.

Update: 7pm. I pixilated my cat. This isn’t a movie, it’s a series of photos. Well, of course that’s what a movie is. But you know what I mean.

217 Responses to “a pretty good day”

  1. Renee S. says:

    They look like tiny jewels.

  2. lh says:

    Hey, Alison, congratulations on being the 38th “Most Desirable Queer Woman” according to Curve Magazine.

  3. Ginjoint says:

    My mother tells stories of playing with mercury and a dime when she was a kid. Kids were tougher then, I ‘spose. They would also X-ray their feet at the shoe store. Now they are tough adults with cancer.

    Also: hi Renee! Thanks for asking about me in a previous thread. Real life is interfering with my participation here, that’s all. I loved, loved, loved watching you play your new cigar box whilst rocking back and forth. Instant decompression. As a matter of fact, I just got off my cell phone with AT&T (phone company), trying to get through to a human about my landline, which is down. (Yup, I just can’t go cell only yet. But after this, I’m a lot closer. Ian, you and I can be luddites together.) It was INFURIATING. I watched your video again, and chilled. Thank you.

    And: HoH, thanks for your tips about computers & the link to that WSJ article. I used a lot of the advice. For my desktop, I have a DSL line, but my friend (who’s savvier in these matters), says going through the cable company is better. Thoughts? I am also seriously thinking about purchasing an iPad for surfing, as I do need to move into the 21st century. Onward!

    No. I hate change.

  4. --MC says:

    And Harriet Miers is on the Supremes. There are three women on the Court — tres Marias, as they say in Barcelona.

  5. Sophie in Montreal says:

    That’s because of the tiny hair on the leaves. Beautiful downy hairy plant skin.

  6. khatgrrl says:

    Lovely nasturtiums. The heat has knocked ours for a loop.

  7. khatgrrl says:

    I like pixel cat. Reminds me of the old penny movie machines or flip books.

  8. Ian says:

    You get the same effect of water droplets like that on lupins. It’s just gorgeous. Little droplets of sunshine collected after rain at dawn.

    If I mention nasturtiums on the allotments, the first thing anybody tells me is, “You can eat them you know!”. Peppery leaves that you can use in salad and apparently the flowers are nice in salad too. I once watched Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall dip the flowers in a tempura batter and deep fry them. Or was that stuffed courgette (zucchini) flowers?

    Love the ‘animated’ Dr Winnicott. I’m sure there’s a name for that effect but it escapes me, not being a video artist.

  9. Kat says:

    Ian, watch out on your allotment, though, because nasturtiums are VERY invasive.

    In other “it’s a good day” news, it’s Maggie Jochild’s birthday!

  10. Kat says:

    animated cat is very cute, by the way.

  11. shadocat says:

    It IS a good day, isn’t it?

  12. doofus says:

    The animated cat reminds me of a Kit-Cat clock.

  13. Ginjoint says:

    Hey, happy birthday, Meggars, and wishing you many more!

    Re: the overturning of Prop 8 – I won’t let myself feel anything until it’s a done deal.

  14. Feminista says:

    #4: Actually,it’s now Elena Kagan and the Supremes.

  15. Renee S. says:

    @Ginjoint #3

    Missed you, Welcome Back!

    When I was in the 6th grade, my teacher passed around globules of mercury for us to play with.
    Fascinating stuff.

    Also, don’t know if any of y’all have been to Terlingua, Texas. It’s an old mercury mining ghost town. There is an abundance of old cross-shaped gravestones scattered everywhere. At least, that’s what was there when I passed through back in the 80’s. Now it’s home of the annual Terlingua International Chili Cook-off. I always wanted to go during the Chili Cook-off season, but never made it.

  16. Cheryl says:

    Bonus points for anyone knowing the name of the shoe store that x-rayed Alison’s feet as a girl. Sorry to sound like a stalker. My first attempt at that sentence sounded a little Central PAish: Anybody know the shoe shore where Alison got her feet x-rayed at?

  17. Entertainment Weekly…8/13/10 page 28

    “The Bechdel Test”!!!
    How au courant you are, all of a sudden, Alison!

    Now everyone else is ‘in the know’, too.

    (Maybe the ET masses will now flock to your DTWOF
    collection!!) Fingers crossed.

  18. Eva says:


    I love the mixture of big news (prop 8 on it’s way out) and small endearing miracles (mercury like dew on leaves and happy relaxed cat getting it’s picture taken multiple times and turned into a flip-book). That is a pretty good day, and may all our days be filled with such as these!

  19. Renee S. says:

    @ Ginjoint #3

    oops, I neglected to thank you for the nice compliment on the dulcimer video. I didn’t intend to start rocking. At first I was tapping my foot, but then the rocking came naturally.

  20. --MC says:

    The pixel cat video would probably go well with most music, but “Dancing In The Streets” worked quite well.

  21. Kate L says:

    Happy birthday, Maggie! 🙂 Hey, Renee (#15) I can remember all us students playing with mercury on the floor of our classroom back in gradeschool! Maybe we were in the same class!!!

  22. Kate L says:

    judybusy (#5 from previous post). Plans for the 120,000 ft. – high record parachute jump made the cover of the new Popular Mechanics!

  23. Cathy says:

    Great minds think alike? On July 31, I asked my husband to take this short video with his Droid:


  24. ksbel6 says:

    @Ginjoint: Just get a Droid X and you can dump your land line and not bother with the iPad. It is a sweet phone.

    Happy Birthday Maggie!

  25. The droplets on the nasturtium leaves video is supple, delicate and (what?) fecund in a way that feels specific to this summer. Says me.

  26. Thanks for the birthday wishes, y’all. It was a good one.

    Isn’t mercury dangerous to handle? If so, did they not know to keep it away from children back then?

  27. Ian says:

    Oscar Wilde used to take mercury as a treatment for syphilis I believe. That was at the turn of the century.

  28. Diamond says:

    Maggie, 26. When I was in hospital (in the UK) in the nineteen fifties, it was still normal practice to stick mercury thermometers in the mouths of quite young children to take our temperatures. And also of course quite normal for four year olds to bite the ends off.

    These sorts of practices might seem unbelievable to anyone who wasn’t there at the time but they are well corroborated!

    in his recent memoir, Bill Bryson writes entertainingly, but chillingly, of the extraordinary risks taken around children’s health and safety in the US in the nineteen fifties, so the cavalier attitudes seems to have been quite widespread.

  29. NLC says:

    Ian#27: Oscar Wilde, syphilis and mercury.

    According to Richard Ellman’s biography of Wilde, the mercury was responsible for turning Wilde’s teeth nearly black. This, in turn, led to his famous habit in later life of always covering his mouth while he laughed.

  30. Ginjoint says:

    Cheryl, I have absolutely no idea – was that in a strip at one point?

    Ksbel – I have a Droid. But it’s a phone, i.e., the screen is so small! (Did I use the “i.e.” correctly there?) I guess my age is showing – I just recently bought my first pair of reading glasses. I’m flabbergasted when I hear of people watching movies on their phone. WTH?! That sounds like a miserable exercise in eye strain to me. I want to be able to curl up on the couch and surf away – I’ve tried this with my Droid, but it’s just aggravating. Convenient, but aggravating.

  31. hairball_of_hope says:

    Off-topic, but interesting…

    Check out the LA Times’ interview with Anne Rice on her decision to leave Christianity:


    Quoting from the article:

    The author Anne Rice, best known for her vampire novels, made waves last week when she declared on her Facebook page that she had “quit being a Christian.” Twelve years after her return to Catholicism, Rice said she still believed in God, but that, “In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life.”

  32. Renee S. says:

    @ Maggie #26. We were playing with it in school as late as 1968.

    But I found this article indicating that handling organic mercury isn’t dangerous.


  33. Jain says:

    I always thought it was the mercury that Louisa May Alcott was treated with for typhoid fever during the Civil War that made her sick for the rest of her life, but Wikipedia now says maybe not.

  34. judybusy says:

    Cathy #23: I enjoyed the video–very disorienting at first, as the water apparently shoots up against gravity! Watching water on various hydrophobic plants in the garden is sheer fun. Our cats also lick the water off after it rains.

    I was born in 1965, and remember nothing but glass mercury thermometers in our home. Mom, a nurse, always told us to be careful, and I don’t remember any breaking. We definitely knew that the mercury was poison, though.

    This has triggered a memory–my ex and I used to have W. Eugene Smith poster of one of the victims of the Minimata poisoning saga in Japan. I am trying to tear myself away to get outside (durn addictive DTWOF community!) so don’t want to write more now. It’s a very tragic tale, and may or may not be known to those here.

    And, oh, #4 MC, you almost gave me a heart attack with that announcement! WTH, _Miers?!_ I said….

  35. Renee S. #32, thx for the answer about mercury which was really interesting — who knew monkeyblood (as we called it) had mercury in it? — and also gave me a new bookmark for “Ask A Scientist”.

    Diamond #28, you are so right about the risks taken with kids through ignorance. I’m 55 and one of my disabilities — adrenal imbalance — is the result of being given systemic cortisone daily from ages 9 through 12. It was considered a wonder drug for severe asthma, which I had, and they didn’t know about the long term consequences. I consulted a cardiologist several years ago who was not yet 30, and she had a hard time believing doctors could have been that stupid. But they are, and they are very willing to try stuff out on us, too willing in my opinion.

    Re the Prop 8 victory, I have especially enjoyed reading the Ms. Magazine essay by Audrey Bilger about the implicit feminism of Judge Walker’s ruling — it’s at their blog at MsMagazine dot com (I’m saving my one URL for below.) I think taking the broader feminist analysis is key to a successful strategy for not only all aspects of gender liberation (including so-called queer) but also addressing race and class as well.

    Equally interesting is the point by point explanation of Walker’s findings of fact by gay blogger Zack Ford. I actually don’t agree with absolutely everything Walker stated was now known reality, but it’s fascinating to see the case he’s made for future law to travel.

  36. ksbel6 says:

    @Ginjoint: It sounds to me like you really just need the smallest laptop you can get then. I’m sure Apple has a nice small laptop (they may call it a notebook or something similar). iPads are just not that great for the money. As with all technology, I always say “wait for the updated version” because it will be cheaper and nicer.

  37. ksbel6 says:

    @Maggie: Thanks for the link, that was an interesting read.

    While I am happy that Prop 8 has been given the appropriate smack in the face, I still cannot decide for myself whether I would want to get married even if I could. I think the legal benefits would be terrific, but I have become so jaded against all religious beliefs (I complete agree with Ann Rice), and marriage is so strongly attached to religion, that it makes me not want one.

  38. --MC says:

    Oops. I give up. I’m not very good at this.

  39. Kat says:

    Ksbel6–Right after Prop-8 passed, a friend and I were discussing the shitty-ness of the whole situation, and it was a really interesting conversation, in part because neither of us wanted to defend the institution of marriage as it exists today.

    Her point was really interesting: Why should the government give a bleep whether the parties are even romantically linked. If two people want to enter into a contract that would link their assets, ensure inheritance or hospital visitation rights, “protect children,” blah blah blah, why does it matter whether those two people are a couple. Who’s to say that half-siblings might want to enter into such a contract, or best friends, or whatever else.
    She wondered if there’s room in the “marriage” discussion for options that completely throw the “tradition” and the religious assumptions and the romance out the window.

  40. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kat (#39)

    There’s no historical basis for mutual attraction as a requirement for marriage, so you make an interesting point.

    The idea of romance and love being prerequisites for marriage is a very new (and very Western/European) development. Arranged marriages (with varying degrees of attraction between the parties) have been the norm for millenia, and in many parts of the world, they are still the norm.

    Lest you think this only happens in underdeveloped corners of the Earth, sequestered and cloistered communities, or in Third World countries, look no further than the mating of Charles and Diana in 1980. This was a classic arranged marriage, very common for royals (along with inbreeding, hence the prevalence of autosomal recessive diseases such as hemophilia and methemoglobinemia, aka blue blood).

    The history of prominent arranged marriages had more to do with consolidation/retention of power and wealth, political jurisdiction, and inheritance, so it’s not a leap to the idea that any two parties could marry for mutual interests unrelated to romance or offspring. There would be plenty of historical precedents to support it.

    (… goes back to singing… “What’s love got to do, got to do with it? What’s love, but a second-hand emotion? What’s love got to do, got to do with it? Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken?” …)

  41. Therry and St. Jerome says:

    Hairball #31, I heard about Anne Rice leaving Christianity and her reasons and all, and it strikes me that she’s not anti-Christ she is anti-organized religion, although anybody who has anything to do with a Protestant church wonders where the organized comes in.
    Also curious about the overthrow of Prop 8, and glad somebody questions marriage as it exists today. I like my straight marriage, but isn’t queer marriage not nearly queer enough?

  42. Re: Mercury –

    I had a grade school science teacher who let us handle the stuff, and this was around 1978.

    Of course, the guy happened to be batshit crazy, so I don’t know if it was still an accepted practice or just a whim of his.

  43. jen says:

    @Kat (#39)

    Isn’t there a country which allows two people, regardless of sex of family relationship, to enter into a partnership for just those civic reasons? Norway, Sweden? Netherlands? Denmark?

    Did a quick search, but couldn’t find anything…

  44. Kat says:

    Hairball, arranged marriages, marriages for political or economic gain, etc, are all good arguments against NOMers’ view that their definition of marriage is the one and only view, but they still operate under the “two people get together, ostensibly live together, f*&k at least once to have a biological child, or, even better, an heir and a spare” model.

    But what if that model can be chucked as well?

    whoa….that first sentence is super run-on….I hope it makes sense.

    Jen, it would be super cool if it is possible somewhere, but I don’t know of any countries that do it.

  45. ksbel6 says:

    @39: Isn’t that the Libertarian point of view? That’s a party I would love to see gain some power sometime in the near future.

  46. NLC says:

    BTW, for interested parties in Fairfax VA, Iowa City IA, and Rochester NY, there are new items on the “Events” page…

  47. NLC says:

    …P.S. Although note that for the RIT event that the date on the event page (7Dec) differs from the date given if click on the link (2Dec).

    [The date has been fixed on the “Events” page. –Mentor]

  48. Kate L says:

    Today, August 9th, a day that will live in… famy? Fame? Fabulousness??? It was a mere 36 years ago today that President Richard Milhous Nixon became the first president of the United States to resign! It was morning in America, again, and our long national nightmare was over. And for me, a mere child of 19, the future seemed limitless in post-Watergate America. Why, I might even move from the Midwest and start a new life out and about in the Bay area! Flash-forward to the present day in this slightly altered timeline. What might have happened to a fresh-faced Midwesterner on her own in, say, Berkeley? My own guess is that I’d currently be planning my long-postponed marriage to my partner of many years. But, no, I never moved to northern California. I stayed in the Midwest. And, who knows who I might have met in the neighborhoods around U.C. Berkeley? Happiness might have been as close as taking the right direction on my first walk through the neighborhood!

    Oh, well. Back to our actual time-line. Check out Ted Olson defending gay marriage on Fox News Sunday!

  49. Kat says:

    Ksbel, very probably. I know that this friend leans libertarian, and that we rarely agree on politics. This bit does make sense to me, though.

    At least this friend is INCREDIBLY well informed and thinks long and hard before she forms her opinions. Unlike another libertarian with whom I’m acquainted, who said that one shouldn’t need the government to create roads and highways, that groups of neighbors should just get together and do their little chunk of road, and it will all work out ok…..


  50. Mentor says:

    [If you visited this earlier this afternoon you may have notice some brief outages. All seems to be well now. –Mentor]

  51. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Mentor (#50)

    Yeah, I got the 404 Not Found messages, I figured you were doing site maintenance. I’d have been worried if the DNS server couldn’t resolve the URL.

    (… goes back to solving that persistent 404 in her life, where are the missing socks the dryer ate? …)

  52. Kat says:

    Hairball, the malevolent sock fairy steals them and outfits her parallel universe sock-y realm….

  53. Kate L says:

    Oh, Mentor, I did see the outage message. But I just assumed you’d get the problem resolved! 🙂

    [Just to be clear –to not take undo credit– I personally had essentially nothing to do with the rapid steps to bring the site back on-line. I just wanted to make sure folks visiting the site knew that something was up.

    (Hmmm… that gets me wondering: In Kate L’s message above is there the any name for using “you” to mean “whoever it may apply to”? Sort of a second-person equivalent to the “editorial” or “royal” we?) –Mentor]

  54. Ian says:

    @hoh(51) and Kat(52): I usually find the other sock at the bottom of the laundry basket, occasionally hiding in the leg of a pair of jeans, after I’ve washed its pair.

    @Kat(49): I have a lot of right-wing relatives and one of them told me today that a good solution to the flooding in Pakistan could be solved by 15 million of them near the top of the river taking out a 2 gallon pot of water and put the pot away from the river.

    I’m very much ashamed to say that I laughed. Long and hard. Not my proudest moment, but I couldn’t help it.

  55. Kat says:

    Ian, how could you not? It’s so preposterous!

  56. Dr. Empirical says:

    Libertarians think we could improve the literacy rate by eliminating public schools, because then parents would take full responsibility for their childrens’ education.

    Libertarians think no one should regulate who should be allowed to call themselves a doctor, lawyer, airline pilot, etc, because word of mouth would quickly eliminate the bad ones.

    Libertarians think we’ll never run out of oil, because as it becomes more and more expensive fewer and fewer people will use it. They honestly think this is a solution!

  57. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Dr E (#56)

    [Warning: Sarcasmatron is enabled]

    “Libertarians think we could improve the literacy rate by eliminating public schools, because then parents would take full responsibility for their childrens’ education.”

    That must be how Libertarians are educated. The ignorant creating more ignorant, fractal-like.

    “Libertarians think no one should regulate who should be allowed to call themselves a doctor, lawyer, airline pilot, etc, because word of mouth would quickly eliminate the bad ones.”

    It would also quickly eliminate the potential gullible clients/victims of these quacks. Another consequence of all these unregulated bozos would be that competent professionals would never be able to attract clients. Who would want to take a chance on an unregulated pilot, surgeon, lawyer, etc.?

    “Libertarians think we’ll never run out of oil, because as it becomes more and more expensive fewer and fewer people will use it. They honestly think this is a solution!”

    And replace it with what fuel? Dung bricks? Since they are so full of fecal matter themselves, they will have a monopoly on this new amazing fuel source.

    [Sarcasmatron disabled]

    I note that Rand Paul, Senate candidate (and the son of Ron Paul), is an MD. I wonder why he and his father didn’t adhere to these Libertarian principles and forgo medical school, licensing, the whole bit.

    (… gets out the Lysol and a hose to wash off these stinkin’ Libertarian horse droppings …)

  58. hairball_of_hope says:

    From the “Take This Job And Shove It” Dept., comes word of a JetBlue flight attendant who had one too many abusive passengers in his cabin. After getting whacked in the head with a piece of luggage and getting cursed out by the passenger, the flight attendant cursed out the passenger on the PA system, grabbed a couple of beers, opened the emergency slide and exited the airplane.

    Then he went home to have sex with his boyfriend.


    Quoting from the article:

    After he was bonked in the head by a bag, Steven Slater stunned passengers by spewing profanity and ranting about quitting as the flight from Pittsburgh pulled up to the gate around noon.

    “To the f—ing a–hole who told me to f— off, it’s been a good 28 years,” Slater, 38, purred, cops said.

    “I’ve had it. That’s it,” he added, according to a passenger on board.

    The mad-as-hell steward grabbed a couple of brewskis and popped one open before activating the emergency exit, witnesses told airport employees.

    After tossing his two carry-on bags on the slide, he followed them to the tarmac.

    Slater — who actually starting working for airlines 20 years ago, not 28 — then walked to the AirTrain, stripped off his company tie and flung it off as bemused passengers watched.

    “I wish we could all quit our jobs like that,” said passenger Phil Catelinet, 36, of Brooklyn, who was on the flight and the AirTrain.

    “He seemed kind of happy about it. He was like, ‘I just quit my job.'”

    [… snip …]

    A JetBlue coworker who was on the same flight called Slater a working class hero.

    “It’s something we all fantasize about,” she said. “But we have kids and a mortgage or are just too chicken – or sane – to go through with (it).”

    (… goes back to singing … “A working class hero is something to be” …)

  59. Ian says:

    @hoh(58): The main irony of that song (Working Class Hero) is that John Lennon was middle class.

  60. Dr. Empirical says:

    Hairball (57) My understanding is that Rand Paul is not certified by the standard opthalmalogic board. He created his own board, which certified him.

    I’m sure there’s more to that story, but that’s what I’ve been told. Also, I cheerfully cop to the fact that my spelling of “opthalmalogic” is based entirely on guesswork.

  61. Andrew B says:

    Kat, all the way back at 39, your post raises so many interesting questions that it has taken me this long to think of a (kind of) concise answer.

    Marriage can’t simply be a bilateral contract between two people, because marriage creates obligations on others. Those others include immigration authorities, insurance companies, doctors, family members, family courts, civil courts (e.g. in deciding questions about inheritance), and so on. The exact nature of the obligation will vary, but in each of these cases a marriage at least has to be taken into account. There’s no reason why a purely private contract between two people has to be considered at all.

    Maybe what your friend meant was that society would create a special kind of contract that would have all the third-party implications of a marriage contract, but which could be entered into by any two people. But why should such a contract exist? Why should I be able to enter into a contract that will have consequences e.g. for my doctors? They never agreed to it. All the same questions apply to marriage. Why should marriage exist?

    It seems to me that the reasons that are given do not revolve around romance. Rather, the key concept is the family. The family is idealized as necessary for proper child rearing. It’s also seen as a good way to organize intimate relations between adults. I think the self-styled “defenders” of marriage are at least pretty consistent about this. Their criticism of gays and lesbians is that the latter are too romantic — that they lack the steadiness and self-discipline necessary for marriage and child-rearing. They shouldn’t be able to get married because they have taken a direction that is incompatible with true family life. Sometimes the marriage bigots give up on argument altogether and fall back on religious authority, but when they make an argument that’s what it is. Family is key. Romance is seen as a bad thing.

    That raises all kinds of other issues, but I am trying to be (kind of) concise.

  62. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Dr E (#60)

    I didn’t know that about Rand Paul. Gee, what if everyone created her/his own certifying organization? How convenient. Insurance companies and Medicare/Medicaid are paying for his services based on his phony board certification. Betcha if he gets cut off from their funding, he’ll claim it’s a vast left-wing conspiracy.


    Ophthalmologic. Spelling is easier (for me, at least) when I know the origins of the root words.

    From the Greek ophthalmós, meaning “eye.”

    I can’t do the Greek alphabet here (WordPress barfs on non-Roman characters), but if you saw it written in Greek you’d never switch the ‘o’ for an ‘a’ or drop the ‘h’ after the ‘p’. Do a Google Translate on “eye”. Even though it can’t translate from English to Greek yet, the second dictionary listing spells “ophthalmós” in Greek alphabet.

    (… goes back to musing whether a Cyclops ended up with one eye from hiring Rand Paul …)

  63. NLC says:

    Following up a bit on HOH#62: (Since talking about Greek is much more fun than what I should be working on)

    As I’m sure HOH knows, one of the things that makes this a tad bit simpler in Greek is that the “PH” and “TH” in “ophthalmic” are each single letters in Greek (phi and theta).

    Ditto “PS”/psi and, especially, “CH”/chi. Leading to one of my favorite Greek-based words: “Chthonic”.

  64. Kate L says:

    A.B., you trendsetter! Not only did I receive another AARP trial membership card in the mail yesterday, I’ve just found out that the magazine with the largest circulation in America is AARP, The Magazine! It has nearly ten times the circulation of its nearest competitors!

    [Freed from spam-filter limbo. (I guess the spam filter doesn’t like the link to h?ffingtonpost.) –Mentor]

  65. Kate L says:

    Hmmm… the DTWOF web site is showing previews of new posts, but doesn’t seem to actually post new posts. Rescue us, Mentor, rescue us! 🙂

  66. ksbel6 says:

    Wow, I suppose I better change my FB status from Libertarian to “I hate politics so why would I claim any of the stupid parties.”

  67. grumpy says:

    re # 59 * j lennon was from a broken family in a bombed out city before the modern definition of middle class was created * most of england at the time thought canned food was top o’ the line *

  68. ksbel6, you on FB? if you wanna, hunt me down and friend me. or not, it won’t be awkward. (chokes back sob.)

  69. ksbel6 says:

    @Maggie: I would be happy to friend you, but I’m not that great at hunting people down. Are you FB friends with Alison? Because that would be a fast way for me to find you. Or better yet, you could find me and then all I will have to do is hit the “Confirm” button 🙂
    Anyway, I did experience FB drama this summer for the first time (I’ve been on it for a few years now). I have a coworker who so desperately wanted to be my friend, but I have things on FB that I do not share at work, so I just kept ignoring her request and she went all crazy. The funniest part of all of it is that she actually has my phone number. I just kept sending a message with my “Ignore” that said something along the lines of, “I only FB friend folks who live far away, or that I will not see on a daily basis, or are family, etc.” and she absolutely went nuts about how I must have big secrets that I don’t want her to know about…”well, yeah, that is exactly why I’m not friending you.”

  70. ksbel6, I cannot find you without your real name. 😉 And I’m assuming you don’t want to post that here since you have not. So go to the search box at the top left of your FB page, type in Maggie Jochild, and you’ll find me. Easy-peasy.

    I have definitely gotten leery of accepting FB friend requests from folks I don’t know personally or have tons of friends in common. I got STALKED by one dyke who was tracking everywhere I commented and demanding to know why I talked to those folks but not her. UNFRIEND in a red hot minute.

  71. Ian says:

    @grumpy – great name – (67): No reason for you to know this, but I live in Liverpool in the same part of the city as John and Paul and George and my parents are the same generation as John Lennon. In the arcane world of the English class system, John Lennon is definitely middle class. It may be Lower Middle Class, but middle class he most definitely was. As was Paul McCartney.

    Not that it matters much!

  72. Marj says:

    @Ian 71. No – it doesn’t reaaly matter. The English class system is so tricksy and nuanced, it’s little more than an intellectual game – and the class you grew up in doesn’t necessarily have much to do with your current economic muscle, in my experience.

    As far as “Working Class Hero” goes, a lot depends on whether you interpret the present participle in the chorus as an adjective or a verb!

  73. grumpy says:

    hi ian and marj * the pudding is in the details * they always matter * if you say tricksy you must also say nauncical * thanks for the correction but i remain confused * if you are at least familiar with hunger and kept getting kicked from home to home i thought that qualified as workin class *

  74. hairball_of_hope says:

    I went looking for the lyrics to “Working Class Hero” on the web, and it appears that most lyrics posted are redacted/edited/censored, they aren’t the actual lyrics as sung by Lennon. Perhaps that’s because many folks are only familiar with the covers of WCH, such as Green Day’s version.

    I looked up the history of WCH on Wiki and found the inner cover lyrics and song itself were redacted in Australia to remove the two references to “fucking.”


    Maybe other releases were similarly censored? I don’t have any recollection of this, but then again, you know what they say about the 1960s… if you can remember them, you weren’t there.

    Here are the real lyrics to Working Class Hero, as written and sung by John Lennon:

    As soon as you’re born they make you feel small
    By giving you no time instead of it all
    Till the pain is so big you feel nothing at all
    A working class hero is something to be
    A working class hero is something to be

    They hurt you at home and they hit you at school
    They hate you if you’re clever and they despise a fool
    Till you’re so fucking crazy you can’t follow their rules
    A working class hero is something to be
    A working class hero is something to be

    When they’ve tortured and scared you for twenty odd years
    Then they expect you to pick a career
    When you can’t really function you’re so full of fear
    A working class hero is something to be
    A working class hero is something to be

    Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV
    And you think you’re so clever and classless and free
    But you’re still fucking peasants as far as I can see
    A working class hero is something to be
    A working class hero is something to be

    There’s room at the top they are telling you still
    But first you must learn how to smile as you kill
    If you want to be like the folks on the hill
    A working class hero is something to be
    A working class hero is something to be

    If you want to be a hero, well, just follow me
    If you want to be a hero, well, just follow me

  75. Diamond says:

    Ian, Grumpy et al,

    Although this John Lennon discussion is hardly nasturtium-related, it does echo some issues from our recent study of Sarah Waters’ Little Stranger doesn’t it?

    I’d say that the class upheaval of post-war, post-1944 Education Act Britain is the key theme of that book and the true agent of the tragedy. Dr Faraday is supposed to be a beneficiary of a changing class landscape, but that’s catastrophically far from how he experiences it.

    I think there are a lot of paralells here with John Lennon’s life a few years later (and maybe mine a few years later still)

    John may have lived in a nicer house than many working class people in Liverpool, with a somewhat aspirational aunt, and a better (state) education than the previous generation, but I doubt that he felt (or received) a lot of class privilege in the wider world.

    In Marxist terms, as the son of a ship’s porter, and in social and economic terms, when compared with the real solid professional middle class people he came up against as his career took off, can we maybe agree that he at least started off on the lower rungs of the class ladder, along with Paul?

    For me this song, and others from the same album, do have an emotional truth and authenticity, despite nothing about their origins being straightforward.

  76. ksbel6 says:

    @Maggie: I tried to find you, but I couldn’t. And currently I’m really busy, so I will try again soon. I just didn’t want you to think I had decided not to friend you since these things can be sticky. I just haven’t found you yet!

    Anyone going to get hitched in Cali next Wednesday?

  77. rebelchild says:

    I think I’ve seen enough about John Lennon. Give it a rest, OK?

    Maggie, I’ll find you if it’s our destiny! Gotta love life…it’s good!

  78. bean says:

    coming late to the discussion: i’ve always felt conflicted by that particular piece of music. no denying, it’s a great song. it’s just, something about the Bentley and the Dakota apartment…and i’ve never quite gotten over “Run For Your Life, Little Girl.”

    For more on this, and possibly the most brilliant eight minutes in all sitcom history see (guaranteed to brighten your day!):


    and now i’m understanding why “class” has been the discussion topic on FB today…

    I know this is kind of blasphemous, and i freely admit to favoring Paul (less pretension) over John. But I found a youtube thingy with John Lennon and Phil Ochs (need i say it?) hanging out and talking, and John sounds like, well, kind of an idiot.

    p.s. i love Roseanne because EVERY CHARACTER (and i DO mean EVERY) except Becky IS A LESBIAN!!!!!!!!!

    will try to come up with something intelligent to say about libertarianism later.

  79. Destiny be damned. I’ll use a throwaway email here. ksbel6, et al, write me at dinahandoliver at sbcglobal dot net, gimme your FB moniker and I’ll find YOU.

  80. Fester Bestertester says:

    d in a hand o’ liver?


  81. Bean, that was hilarious! I miss that kind of humor. With a young Jenna Elfman, too. What did you mean about ALL the women of Roseanne — Jackie, too? Is she bi or lesbian?

  82. E.T. says:

    Hey A.B. – just chanced upon your “Coming Out” cartoon today. Thank you for sharing your funny, thoughtful, and kind of sweet little tale. There are so many subtle layers; well done.

  83. bean says:

    maggie, i didn’t say all the women. i said all the characters…

    ever see the Margaret Cho piece on John Goodman? i know several lesbians with the hots for him! i’ll post it if i can find it.

    (who spends way too much time looking at youtube…)

  84. Cathy says:

    Thanks for the link to the clip, Bean! I must have missed that episode of “Roseanne,” or it would have been seared into my memory given my love of the music.

    John Lennon may have written “Run for Your Life” with ironic intent and in the voice of a character other than himself, as it is based on a lyric from a tune covered by Elvis Presley, “Baby, Let’s Play House.” Lennon later said he regretted having recorded the song, and although he certainly could be a jerk, his attitudes toward women improved a lot as he grew older.

    But I also am amused whenever I think of a wealthy John Lennon, who loved his expensive property, singing of himself as a working class hero (and exhorting the rest of us to “imagine no possessions”).

  85. Ginjoint says:

    Jenna Elfman! That’s who that was! That clip was very funny – “not Janis Ian, you idiot!!” I miss Roseanne – and now I have to find that clip of Margaret Cho talking about John Goodman. I LOVE John Goodman! I always admired the way he could take a line of dialogue that by itself, wasn’t very funny, but deliver it so that it was. How odd to find out I’m not the only lesbian in this.

    And oh my god the heat here. The heat here. The pounding, suffocating, sticky heat here. And it won’t go anywhere because apparently there’s this constipated “warm air cap” hanging over the city that’s keeping all the damn heat here and, as an extra bonus, concentrating the pollution levels. O.K., done kvetching.

  86. bean says:

    i couldn’t find the Cho clip, but it was part of a piece where she’s talking about a trip to a sex club, where she was approached by a skinny blond dominatrix. she says something to the effect of “Don’t Sharon Stone me to death!!! I want a lesbian who looks like John Goodman!!!” The best part was that they interviewed audience members after the show about their impressions, and a lesbian who DID look just like John Goodman made if very clear that she was available for Margaret Cho!

  87. ksbel6 says:

    @85 Us too Ginjoint, although it has to be better here than it would be in a city. We started practice the last two mornings at 8am, and it was already 90!

  88. bean says:

    ok, here’s what I want to say about libertarians and libertarianism:

    libertarians are like liberals on steroids. they talk about rights and freedoms and thomas jefferson. many are “anti-government” because they don’t like the government telling them what they can and can’t do. (e.g. gay marriage, sex traffiking, etc) they frame every issue as a matter of “choice” because they don’t want their own choices limited. they don’t tend to realize that everyone doesn’t have the same choices because the playing field isn’t and never has been level. for example, some of us had slaves for grandparents, and some of us have been coerced into sex slavery in our current lives. these things and others impact our ability to make “free choices.”

    libertarians don’t like government regulation of any kind, even over sex slavery or oil spills.

    because they don’t like government regulation, many people confuse them with anarchists, who believe that government and state power is inherently oppressive to people.

    the difference is that libertarians believe in FREEDOM FOR THEMSELVES. i don’t think Jefferson cared much about freedom for the black women he was raping, for instance, (or even the white woman he was married to). i don’t think slaves “choose” slavery, and i don’t think rape is “sexual liberation” for anyone other than the rapist.

    Libertarians are free-market capitalists: they want the “freedom” to make as much money as they can, regardless of who’s “rights” get trampled, and without any government interference. They tend to be right wing, even the ones who don’t admit it, or aren’t actually aware of it.

    anarchists, on the other hand, have visions of mutual aid, of societies that function without such hierarchies as class and racism and sexism for the benefit of their members. capitalism is antithetical to anarchism. to me, anarchism is a philosophy, socialism, a plan. i like the idea of a society organized to provide basic needs to all people like health care, education, transportation, etc. rather than a large centralized government, however, i think anarchists visualize small, independent, organized communities. i know, it’s idealistic. that’s a critique i can live with, because, well, it’s true. (full disclosure: anarcha-feminist here) i haven’t got it all worked out…i just know to be wary of libertarians.

    but, to make it more confusing, some anarchists, and some people calling themselves anarchists consider themselves libertarians (although being anti-capitalist is a pretty crucial part of being an anarchist, so i’m not sure how they justify that…i think they call themselves anti-capitalist libertarians.) these tend to be the people who wear a lot of black leather…

    to me, capitalism is evil. the state is evil because it is the power that keeps capitalism (i.e. exploitation of working people) in place. on the other hand, i still drive on the roads. so i’m constantly imagining a revolutionary future while trying to make the best of (i.e. survive) the historical moment. most anarchists harbor such hatred for the state, that their intimate romantic and sexual relationships are the LAST place they want the state butting in. so, no, you won’t see anarchist waving the “right to gay marriage” banner, at least not the ones who have thought it through. On the other hand, that doesn’t mean that we aren’t romantic fools. some of us do want to get “married.” just not by the state. and some of us have kids and other practical reasons why we do need the piece of paper. but we don’t make a lot of noise about it.

    so, has this confused everyone even more on the difference between anarchism and libertarianism???

  89. judybusy says:

    The talk of libertarianism calls to mind Ayn Rand, and I saw this amusing tidbit today. I’ve never read her stuff, but what I know of her ideas always seemed pretty icky. And now I know why.

  90. R2A says:

    what, no one’s mentioned marianne faithfull’s superb rendition of working class hero? It is, well, superb.
    -R2A [on vacation in wellfleet, MA, where I heard marge pierce read the other nite (she lives here) – and thought of all of you , my friends (and esp Kat & HoH when she read agreat poem bout opera 🙂 ]

  91. Kate L says:

    Call me Dorothy,
    And I only am escaped alone to tell thee this tale of destruction.

    Well, no, not just I survived. In fact, I don’t think that anyone was actually killed yesterday afternoon, when a powerful thunderstorm with 90 mile per hour (120 km/hr) winds tore through town. It dropped the temperature from above 100 F to 66 F (from above 38 C to 19 C), tearing roofs off of homes and businesses, and knocking down limbs and entire tress. We were without power for over eleven hours. As of this morning, some people were still without power.
    Sister, sister, it’s quite a twister.
    The local screen of the Weather Channel had just issued an alert at about 4 pm yesterday, and I went out to listen for the sirens. What I saw was, a few blocks to the southwest, debris being taken aloft in a counterclockwise, circular motion. The invisible, rotating column that the debris outlined was coming my way, so I ran back inside, gathered up the dog (who wanted to run outside), and headed for the basement. While we huddled in there, I could here the winds stressing the outside of the house. Then it stopped, and was replaced by heavy rains. And… that was about it. This morning, the area where I had seen the invisible column of whirling mayhem was the scene of de-roofed buildings and downed large trees. Some limbs were down in front of my house. I pulled them aside, but one block down, the street has been cordoned off by the city due to downed trees.

  92. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Moby Kate (#91)

    Yikes! Glad you’re ok.

    I’ve seen tornadoes up-close-and-personal and they are not to be fooled with. In one case, I was in a restaurant in your old Oklahoma stomping grounds (Campus Corner) when the sirens went off. All the customers and staff were herded into the large walk-in refrigerator, where we waited out the storm (no basements in OK). I had visions of the refrigerator sailing aloft and landing on the Wicked Witch of the Southwest.

    I hope you have a battery-powered NOAA weather/all-hazards radio with SAME (Specific Area Message Encoding). You can’t count on the Weather Channel if you have no power, and even with power, TV warnings will do you no good if you’re asleep and the TV is off.

    I’ve got two of these radios, one a desktop (Midland), and one a travel (Oregon Scientific). The SAME technology allows you to program specific warning areas so you aren’t awakened unnecessarily by warnings that don’t apply to your specific location.

    I used the travel weather radio quite a bit in my last few road warrior years. It was a godsend, I avoided lots of storms and delays. I suppose these days I’d also tether my laptop to my cellphone and have the live WX radar on the screen as I drive.

    (… goes off hunting for her ruby slippers, clicks her heels three times and says, “There’s no place like home…” …)

  93. Feminista says:

    #90 R2A: Yay for Marge Piercy! I’ve heard her read poetry in Seattle (1985)and present excerpts from Sex Wars in Portland (2005). I’ve taught Gone to Soldiers and Woman on the Edge of Time. Of her works,I like Gone to Soldiers and the memoir Sleeping with Cats the best.

  94. Marj says:

    Yikes, Kate L #91, scary stuff, glad you’re ok. Your weather puts this dull, rainy UK August into perspective.

  95. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Feminista (#93)

    I liked ‘Gone to Soldiers’, but honestly, Piercy needs to learn how to write lesbian sex scenes. Her idea of lesbian sex is booooring… no imagination at all, and not much verisimilitude. Maybe she ought to do some field research. I’ll bet some on this blog would volunteer to assist in her research. By contrast, all the other historical details of the book were extraordinarily well-researched. Don’t know how she missed that one.

    (… goes back to her Grade B maple syrup thoughts …)

  96. HuH #95 – Me me me me ME! I got my hand up first!

  97. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Maggie (#96)

    I figured you’d be among the first to volunteer. Especially if there’s Grade B maple syrup in the mix.

    Piercy is about 20 years our senior (belated Happy Birthday to you), so go easy on her, ok?

    (… goes back to her vanilla existence, with liberal dollops of maple, honey, and chocolate …)

  98. bean says:

    did somebody say bacon?

    i tasted maple bacon ice cream yesterday, and thought of you crazy hedonists. it was ok, although i think the parts separately (maple, bacon, ice cream) add up to more than the combination.

  99. I don’t know which is sweeter, you going along with the notion that Ms. Piercy might consider me for “research” at all or the implication that I might be some version of rough trade compared to her. But thank you for the the delusion.

    Beam, I agree with you. Maple-brushed bacon or maple-flavored ice cream, okay, but not all three together.

  100. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Maggie (#99)

    I was concerned about Piercy’s health. I was just thinking that a woman in her mid-70s might need to take things a bit more slowly in the rapid heart rate department than us 50-ish young’uns. I have no doubt you’re more than capable of raising heart and respiration rates. Add in the maple syrup, and you’d better have some insulin nearby.

    That ought to give you some good fantasy material to work with on a Saturday night. ;).

    (… goes back to her all-purpose Saturday night fantasy, the winning lottery ticket …)

  101. I’m copying this over from a post I made at FB, copyright mine:

    Little known fact: Menlo Park, CA is named for Mildred Menlo, a cigar-chewing journalist who started her career writing embellished obituaries for penniless Forty-Niners who had purchased advance “Last News Home” insurance. For 25 cents per column inch, Menlo would compose a laudatory piece using some bare facts provided by the miner which included imaginary heroism, throngs of admirers at the funeral, and made-up quotes from illustrious figures. Most Forty-Niners failed and died miserably, but those who had paid the Menlo Premium would know this epitaph, printed posthumously on a special page in the Calaveras Tribune, would then be cut out and mailed home to their families along with the report of their demise.

    Millie, as she was called, went on to work briefly for William Randolph Hearst but left his employ because she said he was a quiff-sniffing tyrant whose grasp of English was less than that of the average Cocker Spaniel. She opened a saloon on the Barbary Coast where she read her poetry each evening before the stage show featuring French danseuses performing mime in long black sheaths. The place was always packed, however, because she sold good whiskey at half-price (smuggled in, they say, via Bodega Bay) and kept a staff of lawyers on retainer who specialized in gaining acquittals for those accused of sexual deviance or crossdressing. Millie’s was a safe haven for large numbers of exiles who made their way to California.

    Menlo also reputedly smuggled in Chinese immigrant women and children needing to reconnect with men who were allowed into America as laborers but not able to bring their families. She had a network of safehouses, legitimate and well-paid employment, and “cultural centers” which offered medical care, legal advice, and bureaucratic assistance to this persecuted group in California.

    Menlo “adopted” a woman a year younger than herself, Darlene “Spurs” Llorona, a writer of best-selling anthropological potboilers who lived with her the rest of her life. They wound up with five children by various means, all of whom did well as adults, particularly the well-known pioneer marine biologist Beebo Menlo. After the Quake of 1906, Menlo (now elderly) spent most of her fortune rebuilding working-class housing and fighting the attempted gentrification of that era. She, Spurs and their devoted housekeeper/proofreader Lentil moved to a modest home in what was then a collection of houses and a grocery on the outskirts of Stanford University.

    A year later, one of Spurs’ novels was converted to the screenplay for the highest-grossing silent film of all time, “Revenge of the Colonel’s Lady”. Spurs had wisely kept a percentage of the film’s earning as part of her sales contract, and with this income, she and Millie built La Beeya House, a huge estate where numerous cottages tucked into the beautiful landscape offered frequent lodging to such visitors as Margaret Sanger, Greta Garbo, Zora Neale Hurston, Emma Goldman, and Oscar Wilde. The La Beeya House weekend “salons” were the stuff of legend, including Spurs driving Ernest Hemingway away from the front gate with a nickel-plated shotgun and the secluded hot springs dyed blood red and available for use only by menstruating women.

    After Millie and Spurs died within a year of each other, their grandchildren bequeathed the estate to the city which had grown up around it on the condition that it be renamed in Millie’s honor. It is now a public park and museum, and the “Diana’s Flow” hot springs are available for overnight parties during the full moon by advance reservation.

    Feel free to share below any stories you may have heard over the years about Millie, Spurs, or their circle of friends.

  102. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Maggie (#101)

    If I may ask… what are your sources?

  103. HoH: My imagination. Made the whole thing up as fun for a friend who just moved to Menlo Park. But everyone at FB accepted it as the truth, so I thought I’d see if I got challenged here.

    Feel free to add to the Millie Menlo myth. For instance — For their grandchildren, Millie and Spurs had a half-scale replica of La Beeya House built as a playhouse in the Poppy Meadow. It was of course dubbed LaBeeya Minora.

  104. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Maggie (#103)

    Obviously it did set off my BS detectors, which is why I politely asked about your sources. It didn’t pass my sniff test for veracity. (Not wanting to call out the great Maggie Jochild as spouting phantasmagorical tales without first checking the alleged sources. I take my calling as an infomaniac seriously.)

    Do I win a prize for spotting this as vivid imagination at work?

    (… goes back to her obsessive fact-checking existence …)

  105. You DO win a prize: A private dinner with me and Marge at our first year anniversary.

    What partocularly didn’t pass your sniff test? For me, the first “no way in hell” occurs with the poetry readings and mime performances at a Barbary Coast saloon.

  106. Jain says:

    I was a total facebook dupe. I like to think that during the school year I might have been a more skeptical; in the summer I’m very very relaxed.

  107. Jain says:

    been more skeptical. and more careful about proofreading.

  108. Suzanonymous says:

    August 5th was also the 100th anniversary of my grandmother’s birth, and I finally had a job interview that day, and the offer later that same day (after months of looking with no interviews, excepting info-interviews, and therefore no offers). August 5th will probably be the best day of my 2010. Sigh of relief and best wishes to anyone looking for work in this job climate (my very nice new job is a temp job for a few months).

  109. judybusy says:

    Suz, congratulations! I hope you find something more permanent, too!

  110. khatgrrl says:

    Suzanonymous congrats on the job! Any chance that it could go permanent? The job climate does indeed stink. I got laid off back in Feb and finally decided that going back to school would be the only way of finding a good job. (Or perhaps any job.) Lots of resumes, no interviews for me too. Good luck!

  111. shadocat says:

    Yet another mention of the “Bechdel Test”; also a good write-up of one of my favorite movies:http://jezebel.com/5606736/a-league-of-their-own-an-appreciation

  112. R2A says:

    RIP Abbey Lincoln. Nice obit in the NYT but I can’t link to it. Saw her sing several times. She was earthy and a very bright spark. Rest easy, Abbey.

  113. hairball_of_hope says:

    Here’s the link to Abbey Lincoln’s NY Times obit:


  114. Acilius says:

    @Kat 39, h_o_h #40, Andrew B #61: Each of you makes excellent points about the idea of marriage.

    My idea is that arranged marriages are what make sense if you live in a society where multi-generation households are the norm, and where extended family structures dominate social life. Then the patriarchs of adjoining households will want to have grandchildren in common so that they can trust each other.

    But in a society like the USA, most people participate in a labor market that requires them to move from place to place, often hundreds of miles from their birth families. So if Americans were to adopt a system of arranged marriages, they would have to revolutionize their whole economic system. So that makes marriage a very different matter in the USA than in many other countries.

    @ksbel #45, Kat #49, Ian #54, Dr E #56, h_o_h #57, etc: Like ksbel, I’d like to see the Libertarians get some power in the future. Not enough power to implement any of their policies, but enough to expose the sheer phoniness of politicians who say “free market” when they mean corporatism.

  115. hairball_of_hope says:

    Bacon… somehow this blog and its bacon subtext have crept into my dreams.

    I had a dream last night that I was at a New Mexico hotel for a meeting or training (not sure which), and there was nothing even remotely edible at the meals. It was all some kind of foo-foo spa cuisine that had lots of meat and bacon in it.

    After making a fuss about the breakfast food (“I just want something normal for breakfast! Maybe eggs. Maybe potatoes. Maybe a green salad or fruit salad.”), they gave me two sealed plastic containers with stickers on them that read “Just for you.” One contained a few slices of fresh peaches, the other a green salad. I opened the container of green salad and found bacon in it.

    When I complained about the bacon, I was told it was fake bacon. “I don’t care if it’s real or fake, bacon has no place in a vegetarian salad!”

    I awoke tense and angry, trying to make sense of my frustrating dream.

    Sigh. Why can’t maple syrup make it into my dreams?

    (… goes back to thinking about a really good veggie tamale pie I had in Arizona, wondering if they would have it in New Mexico …)

  116. Marj says:

    Here’s Abbey Lincoln’s Guardian obituary.

    I didn’t know of her, and I wish I had: I’ve been youtubing her; she was really something.

  117. bean says:

    here’s a video about marriage that made me giggle.


  118. bean says:

    here’s another one. somebody stop me!


    (ok, signing off now, and hoping to take my late afternoon caffeine buzz and do at least something productive with it…)

  119. Dr. Empirical says:

    In the late eighties I stole a cold cut platter out of Abby Lincoln’s dressing room after she went back to her hotel.

    Prior to that, she sang pretty good.

  120. Olivia says:

    I realize that I’m off topic from the original blog but I have to say this. To have the peace of mind to notice droplets on a leaf is truly amazing. I suppose that I’ve been wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life but now, it’s over. I’ve finally been given the freedom of a leave of absence from my job. Last child in last year of college. All paid for by me…no thanks to partner!
    I’m hoping that I can rediscover nature and all that’s around me in the months to come. Whew! It’s been hard but worth it in so many ways.
    I’ve taken the time read many of your blogs and the comments that come. This is a refreshing site and I can’t believe that I haven’t seen it before now. It’s wake up time for me!

  121. Acilius says:

    I can tell you’re new around here Olivia, you think we care about being on-topic. Your comment is lovely and I hope to hear more from you!

  122. Kate L says:

    Dr. Empirical !!! (#120). Back in 1971, my sister was a student at Georgetown, and she bought a ceramic frog at a gift shop after seeing Martha Mitchell* express an interest in it. Yeah, I know. Martha Mitchell was no Abby Lincoln! But we take our brushes with fame where we can. Btw, that summer my sister also stunned a delicatessan owner in D.C. (or, as we called it, The District) by asking “What is pastrami?”. He replied, “What is pastrami? What is air?!!!”

    * – Martha Mitchell, outspokenly conservative wife of Nixon attorney general (and later Watergate convict) John Mitchell.

  123. Renee S. says:

    @ Kate

    Yeah, I remember a certain political cartoonist of the day drew her with a gag over her mouth. Gonna see if I can find it.

  124. Renee S. says:

    @ Renee #124

    nope, It’s almost impossible to search a past political cartoon online. When I tried googling “Martha Mitchell” political cartoons, the strangest things popped up in the images section.


  125. judybusy says:

    Olivia, welcome to the party! Never worry about being off-topic; we’ve all learned about lots of various things thanks to the wide-ranging inquisitiveness of the people here.

  126. I once saw an allegedly true rendering of Martha Mitchell’s high school year book photo with the accompanying saying they used to put alongside such photos in those days:
    I love to hear its warble
    I love to hear its flow
    I love to wind my tongue up
    And I love to let it go.

  127. little gator says:

    maggie-*I* didn;t accept it as reality, an di said so. am I a FB nobody?


    ps: anyon eis welcome to find me on fb as Fnord Prefect Fnord. My profile pic is a blue fuzzy critter.

  128. little gator, I copied it here before you and others questioned it at FB.

  129. Ian says:

    Are we ever on topic, despite AB and Mentor’s best efforts? If in doubt, just mention bacon and/or maple syrup and you’re pretty much there Olivia. Or cats. Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival. Radical Lesbian Feminism. Food. Transgender politics. The occasional bit of gardening. Locavores (I always thought that meant insane carnivorous monsters that stuck to one neighbourhood until I found out what they were on this blog). Oh, also handmade ukuleles.

  130. judybusy says:

    Ian, you forgot geology and massively detailed instructions on how to make your computer private! And cartoonists and literature, natch.

  131. little gator says:

    I had a diabetic cat once, and when i needed to boost his blood sugar in a hurry, he loved maple syrup mixed into canned cat food. The restof the time he woudl only eat kibble.

    I odn’t think he ever tasted bacon because(gasp) i don’t like bacon that much.

  132. Kate L says:

    (Ian #130) Did somebody say BACON???

  133. Ian says:

    @KateL(133): I did. Specifically inch thick British bacon steaks coated in maple syrup. Kat tells me that British bacon stacks are similar to ham steaks in that there Amurrica.

    @judybusy(131): When do we EVER talk about (female) cartoonists and literature on Alison Bechdel’s blog? 😉

    Oh, we also talk about how sexy the standard geologist’s ‘uniform’ is. And the spread of the Bechdel-Wallace Test.

    Brangelina NEVER gets mentioned.

    I saw that the Egyptian Club in Portland may close?

    And Stephanie Miller (not known on these shores) just came out.

  134. Andrew B says:

    “Are we ever on topic, despite AB and Mentor’s best efforts?” Holly and Susan Stinson also occasionally take on the role of grown-up (no offense intended). (But Susan, fecund?)

    And on the topic of perennial (off-) topics, someone should mention Harry Potter.

    Olivia, 121, your comment was more on topic than most. It seems to me Alison was trying to comment on how noticing little things — the way water beads up on a leaf, the pleasure a cat takes in the summer warmth — can make a day into a good day. You seemed to be saying that you looked forward to being able to pay more attention to those things now that your responsibilities are reduced. That is on topic, especially compared to comments like my mini-essay on marriage.

    It’s kind of like this:

    The way a crow
    Shook down on me
    The dust of snow
    From a hemlock tree

    Has given my heart
    A change of mood
    And saved some part
    Of a day I had rued.

    Robert Frost

  135. ksbel6 says:

    Don’t forget about when we go through massive discussions involving the Rational Root Theorem and the solutions to polynomials of various degrees.

  136. Marj says:

    Bean (118/9) loved the vids, especially the robo-voiced cartoon one, especially when it espoused my own p.o.v.; ie: for true equality, scrap marriage completely. I’m with Hamlet, “let there be no more marriages”, although we part company at the nunnery bit.

    HoH (116) your dream sounds like “Alice at the Hotel California”… what on earth did you eat before you went to sleep?

  137. Mentor says:

    [What is this “topic” thing of which you people speak? -Mentor]

  138. Mentor made me laugh out loud. Literally.

  139. j.b.t. says:

    me too!

  140. j.b.t. says:

    Wow – anyone else catch Rachel Maddow live from Iraq? Yowza!


  141. Ian says:

    Damn. I forgot to mention lust-object of this parish, Rachel Maddow and the way she neatly kebabs the nutjobs that make up the right wing.

  142. ksbel6 says:

    Mentor clearly has a very good sense of humor.

  143. Kate L says:

    Oh, that Mentor! 🙂

  144. Calico says:

    Mentor – hope you can make #145 go through – I know the multi-links may be construed as spam.

  145. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Marj (#137)

    Alice at the Hotel California… very good imagery, although unlike the song, I hope can leave. In my dream, I was trying to figure out where I could walk to from the hotel to get some normal food, but I was hesitant to just go wandering outside without some idea of what was nearby because of the intense hot New Mexican weather.

    (sings “Welcome to the Hotel California… you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave…”)

    Hotel California is just a step up from the Roach Motel, don’t know if you have them across the pond. N.B. A Roach Motel is a vermin capture device, it’s a small rectangular white cardboard box the size of a brick with open ends, lined with sticky stuff that is supposed to catch roaches (they do catch the occasional mouse too). Slogan is “They check in, but they don’t check out.”

    I had to think for a bit about what I ate before sleeping. It was my so-called Grown Up Mac and Cheese, macaroni and cheese made with pepper jack (Monterey Jack with jalapeño peppers) instead of cheddar. Very tasty. Never given me weird dreams before, dunno why I had Alice-like dreams this time.


    Off-topic is impossible around here, off-topic is the rule, not the exception. We’re rarely on-topic, unless it’s one of our all-purpose off-topic memes, such as bacon, which then makes it on-topic.

    In addition to the aforementioned topics, add in music, and especially opera. There are more general musiclovers and musicians here than opera buffs, but the opera buffs (and at least one vocalista who can sing opera) make their presence heard.

    We’re also into language, words, and non-English languages. We’ve got a bunch of folks for whom English is not their first/native tongue; last time I checked, we had native speakers of French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, German, Greek, Chinese, and I’m not sure what else. Check out the Clustrmap at the top of the page to get an idea of where folks are logging in from.

    For an artistic and literary-themed blog, there are a lot of geeky-types around here (moi, guilty as charged). Nerdlings of every persuasion, some science fiction fans, and lots of folks who make their living teaching.

    Feel free to jump in with both feet. BYOMS (Bring Your Own Maple Syrup).

  146. cd in Madison says:

    @ j.b.t. (#141) — Don’t you love it when Rachel Maddow goes on location, like she did in the Gulf, Afghanistan, and now the Green Zone? You get what you really want to see: no makeup, wind-blown hair, light blue workshirt, in short just butch as all get out.

  147. Calico says:

    I’m going to make (black forest) bacon-wrapped dates as part of my preparations for my partner’s birthday celebration Sat.- was thinking of stuffing the dates with chopped walnuts, then sprinkling the little packages with a bit of thyme and turbinado sugar, and offering sour cherry confit on the side.
    This will be, of course, one of many goodies there! : ) I’ll see how it goes.

  148. Marj says:

    HoH (146) so that’s what a roach motel is! I always thought it was a flop-house.

    I just googled “Rachel Maddow live from Iraq”. Be still my beating heart…

  149. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Marj (#149)

    You’re correct, Roach Motel is also slang for a seedy hotel/motel/flophouse.

    Another roach-themed bit of USAnian slang is “roach coach.” These are food-vending vans/carts located in the parking lots of many office parks, industrial parks, schools, and on busy streets and sidewalks. Generally they serve coffee, sandwiches, burgers, perhaps specializing in some ethnic cuisine, all with questionable hygenic standards and iffy food.

    The roach coach outside my high school was named Chow Chow Cup, and it served the diciest Cantonese Chinese food this side of a dumpster. The eggrolls were fried in oil so dark and overused that it could have been confused for diesel oil. Or maybe it WAS diesel oil. But it was cheap, and accessible to hungry/broke HS students who had strong digestive and immune systems. Most roach coaches aren’t quite that bad, the better ones seem to gravitate near workplaces with higher-paying jobs, and the ickier ones seem to plant themselves near factories and industrial buildings.

  150. Ready2Agitate says:

    OK you didn’t ask, but, forgive me, I am about to reprint the Marge Piercy poem that made me think of you all while I was on vacation in Wellfleet, MA. (I figured Alison’s rendered some poetry with those nasturtium leaves, so what the heck.)

    Enjoy! (or alternatively, scroll past…)

    TUESDAY, 7 OCTOBER, 2003
    Listen (RealAudio) | How to listen

    One Reason I Like Opera
    by Marge Piercy
    from Colors Passing Through Us (Knopf)

    One reason I like opera

    In movies, you can tell the heroine
    because she is blonder and thinner
    than her sidekick. The villainess
    is darkest. If a woman is fat,
    she is a joke and will probably die.

    In movies, the blondest are the best
    and in bleaching lies not only purity
    but victory. If two people are both
    extra pretty, they will end up
    in the final clinch.

    Only the flawless in face and body
    win. That is why I treat
    movies as less interesting
    than comic books. The camera
    is stupid. It sucks surfaces.

    Let’s go to the opera instead.
    The heroine is fifty and weighs
    as much as a ’65 Chevy with fins.
    She could crack your jaw in her fist.
    She can hit high C lying down.

    The tenor the women scream for
    wolfs down an eight course meal daily.
    He resembles a bull on hind legs.
    His thighs are the size of beer kegs.
    His chest is a redwood with hair.

    Their voices twine, golden serpents.
    Their voices rise like the best
    fireworks and hang and hang
    then drift slowly down descending
    in brilliant and still fiery sparks.

    The hippopotamus baritone (the villain)
    has a voice that could give you
    an orgasm right in your seat.
    His voice smokes with passion.
    He is hot as lava. He erupts nightly.

    The contralto is, however, svelte.
    She is supposed to be the soprano’s
    mother, but is ten years younger,
    beautiful and Black. Nobody cares.
    She sings you into her womb where you rock.

    What you see is work like digging a ditch,
    hard physical labor. What you hear
    is magic as tricky as knife throwing.
    What you see is strength like any
    great athlete’s. What you hear

    is still rendered precisely as the best
    Swiss watchmaker. The body is
    resonance. The body is the cello case.
    The body just is. The voice loud
    as hunger remagnetizes your bones.

  151. Pam I says:

    Does anyone have a poem about flamenco dancers getting better as they get older and fatter? (just back from Spain…)

  152. judybusy says:

    Andrew, # 135, thanks for sharing that. So simple, so evocative. ksbel6 # 136–you made me laugh out loud, mostly because I had no idea what any of it meant! Oh, Pam #152, can’t wait to hear more about the trip.

  153. Ian says:

    Pam, there’s always this poem, Spanish Dancer by Rainer Maria Rilke. Nothing about getting older and fatter though …

  154. Kate L says:

    (cd in Madison, #147) Yes, Dr. Maddow is the “lust-object of this parish” (Ian, #142). Here is a wind-blown image of her on summer vacation that appeared in the Huffington Post and (I think) on her blog. Of course, since I’ve found out that Dr. Maddow is literally young enough to be my daughter, I only have maternal feelings for her, myself…

  155. Pam I says:

    @Judybusy, What I Did On My Holiday? That’s taking blog hijack too far – it was just heat (40+ degrees, I cope badly), and driving – visiting two lots of friends who have moved to opposite corners of Andalucia. But here’s a wobbly video I posted last year of a dance that we fell across in the town square, just so I can get to watch it again.

    This year’s turn was a procession for the annunciation of Mary with her statue being paraded round the town, then as soon as she was popped into the church all the chairs and tables came out and it became fiesta, till 4am. I like it not being for Da Tourists, mine was the only camera. Still to edit, will blog them soon.

    Now it’s 18 degrees in London.

  156. Pam I says:

    That should be assumption, not annunciation. Clearly not my area of expertise. It’s August 15th annually, so a chance for a nice summery outing. (Is the annunciation 1st April? That would be about right.) Did you know that Mary’s body was uncorrupt, and that the pope declared in 1950, that it is now dogma that her body and soul went off to heaven together? Very educational, these furrin holidays.

    While I’m here, may draw the attention of UK readers with no diary entry for 18th September, there should be an interesting clash around the area of Hyde Park, between the pope spectators and those determined that we should not be paying 100m gbp for this as a state visit. I just won’t know which crowd will produce the best photos. I suspect the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence will be my best option.

  157. Feminista says:

    #151 Ready: Thanks for the Piercy poem.

  158. I love it when the Brits wake up and start sharing.

  159. Diamond says:

    160 Maggie: And I like tiptoeing around here while you are all fast asleep . . .

  160. Kate L says:

    First, they cancelled Star Trek: Voyager, and I said nothing as Kathryn Janeway headed for the final frontier. Then, DTWOF went away, and the mirror to my life that was Mo disappeared. Now, they’ve taken away the comic strip Cathy!!! Oh, wait a minute, I never read Cathy.

    Oh, btw, I like reading the post from Britain when it’s late at night here on the High Plains of North America. It’s sort of like feeling the dawn rush westward across the Atlantic!

  161. ksbel6 says:

    Stole this from Ivan via Facebook…
    Gay protest signs

  162. Olivia says:

    Hairball of Hope??? did I get that right? ( I have cats and two children! The name hairball reminds me of what I have to clean up every once in a while!)
    Bacon is a wonderful subject. In fact, I’m a pork freak…pork loin that is. I’m not a vegetarian or vegan. I love meat, I think it’s healthy for you. I know it’s healthy for the body. Just can’t get everyone to see that. If they’re eating bacon, they’re eating meat.
    Anywho, thanks for commenting on my comment. Makes me feel good.
    I mostly speak English…is that a bad thing? Some Spanish only because I was forced to at my job.
    As for maple syrup….I love pancakes but not sugar. I pile globs of butter on those cakes, get a tiny bowl for syrup, dip the pancake in the syrup.(maybe a piece or two) I can’t handle too much sugar.
    I’m trying to make the most of my time off. I was in my garden picking tomatoes this evening but low and behold….there were garter snakes wrapped around one of my vines. I gave up! I have someone that mows my yard on Saturdays and I gave him the job of picking my veggies. I can’t handle reptiles of any kind. Those snakes were daring me to stick my hand in the plant and pluck! I know better.

    Hope you all here have a wonderful evening and a great weekend. I’ll be working on that 🙂

  163. Olivia says:

    Oh, apologies, plenty, for saying the words..off topic!
    Forgot to mention.

  164. Ian says:

    Olivia, I’ll never complain about slugs and snails on my tomatoes ever again. At least I hope we don’t have garter snakes.

    I think you’ll find that maple syrup is rarely licked off food around here. If ya know what I mean! Ahem.

    As for the off topic – don’t apologise. It gave us all a lot of fun.

  165. Ian says:

    De-cliqueification: Hairball of Hope takes her name from a line in one of the DTWOF strips where evil prof Madeleine, Sydney’s on-off paramour, talks about people coughing up one giant hairball of hope over Obama’s upcoming election to the Presidency. IIRC Sydney was trying to give Vanessa or Virginia an injection at the time. I think that’s where it comes from anyway.

  166. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Ian (#167), Olivia (#165)

    Ian has my moniker’s origins down pat, it comes from DTWOF #526, which can be found here:


    I took a few minutes to read all the comments I hadn’t looked at in 2.5 years or so, and I again laughed out loud at Maggie’s form of birth control (lesbianism). That’s why we love her.

    Maggie, if you’re going to invite me to the first anniversary celebration for you and Marge Piercy, it had better be in Wellfleet. I am not going to spend time in Texas in the dead of August. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt.

    (… goes back to thinking about maple syrup on challah French toast …)

  167. Ready2Agitate says:

    DTWOF bloggers gathering in P-town sometime??? (very nearby Wellfleet). Gawd that would be awesome! (and awesomely strange, right?)

    Olivia you should check out the blog of one of the wimmin who posts here – is it jeanette b.? – she is in complete agreement w you on meat eating. 🙂

    HoHope, what do you mean “all the comments I hadn’t looked at in 2.5 years or so,” – did you go back over the last 2.5 years of DTWOF blogs???

  168. E.T. says:

    ksbel6 @ #163 Thanks for sharing that youtube. It is just the kind of visual that needs to go viral. Makes me think that I need to drive around with poster board and markers in my car… just in case I should happen upon some hate-mongering anti-gay protesters.

  169. hairball_of_hope says:

    @R2A (#169)

    Not *all* the blog comments, just the ones in the post I referenced. It might take just a wee bit more than a few minutes to reread the whole blog!

    Episode 526 not only has the “hairball of hope” reference, it’s also where AB has the “He’s a Mac, she’s a PC” panel comparing Obama to Hillary. The comments were filled with the geekly types here comparing operating systems and politicians, and ksbel6 championing Linux.

    I’m still waiting for a candidate who “is Linux” to run for POTUS, that would be an awesome administration. Windoze/PCs are dysfunctional circular firing squads that crash/burn/BSOD/get infected. OSX/Macs are benevolent dictators, you will do it the Apple way or not at all, and only with their overpriced apps and hardware. Linux boxes are democracy in action, it’s free, it runs on/in EVERYTHING, is mission-critical stable, and JUST WORKS. Need something special in Linux, or find a bug? The community will fix that ASAP. We don’t need no stinkin’ multinational mega corp.

    Awright, off my OS evangelizing.

    (… goes off singing “I was a geek before geeks were cool…” …)

  170. Mad Scientist says:

    off topic, but such a sweet little piece and as I mostly sit on the parkbench, listening and observing….sometimes sharing.

  171. judybusy says:

    Oliva, 164 and Ian 166, any time you need me to shoo away those little garter snakes, call me. I’m there for you! (Growing up on a farm, you just know how to do these things.)

    I am really glad it’s too hot to work out in the garden and I checked in! Mad Scientist, that was wonderful…the poem, the music, camera angles, the sentiment of the piece. I put it up on FB. People really do share the most remarkable things here. Off now to be alone, reading….

  172. ksbel6 says:

    @171: I always thought of Linux as the socialist leaning candidate, and in this climate, that’s not going to happen. The way Linux works is so fantastic though, it would be a terrific way for a society/community to bloom. Hey everyone, work on what you really know and work hard at it. Then when someone else doesn’t know as much as you do about it, help them out. No, don’t charge them anything. Just do it because later they will help you out with something you don’t know so much about.

  173. hairball_of_hope says:

    Hey Mentor!

    What’s with the ‘[*]‘ you inserted in #171? I sure didn’t put that there.

    @ksbel6 (#175)

    Yeah, Linux could be the socialist candidate, but unlike many examples of socialist politics, the FOSS community distro system actually works really well.

    Have you played with LFS (Linux From Scratch)? I just started reading the docs. I’m thinking of moving away from Debian-based distros, although I like the APT package management and automagic dependency resolution. I’ve been tinkering with Slax and Slackware derivative remastering (modules make it easy), trying to get a low-resource fast-booting system that understands the quirks of EEE netbooks while remaining compatible with the rest of the universe, but I’m wondering if it’s time to tackle compiling my own custom distro from scratch. I’ve already got the distro name picked out – Ixnay Nix. ;).

    (… goes back to coughing up hairballs …)

    [Sorry. I was late to the conversation. I saw that several people had made reference to the strip and I thought a link would be helpful, so I added a “footnote”. I then saw that you had (of course) already supplied the link. My attempt at removal/clean-up was incomplete. It’s done now. –Mentor]

  174. ready2agitate says:

    Thank you, Mad Scientist. That was lovely.

    As someone who sometimes gets a warm spark from a conversation with a “stranger,” I loved that park bench sequence – the stars pouring out of people’s chests….

  175. Kat says:

    Geez, go away for a long “week” and one almost forgets how much fun it is around here…..what a terrible thought!

    To go back 10 zillion comments (I can’t even find the right number), Andrew B: I think you misread. My friend wasn’t suggesting that government be left out of the “marriage” game altogether. Rather, she suggests that the government shouldn’t care whether the parties are romantically linked (since we modern americans currently hold that one must be romantically interested in one’s spouse).

    What if someone wants the benefits (hospital visitations/ decisions, property, etc) to be available to a step-sibling, or a best friend or a distant relative? Why should the government limit that “marriage” contract with all its rights to romantic/sexual relationships?

    Back to more current topics: poor Mentor. We must be so infuriatingly frustrating sometimes. I’d bake you cookies if I knew who you were!

  176. ksbel6 says:

    @HOH: You know TONS more about programming than I do. Here’s what I know: I’m a mathematician who way back in about 1992 started typing up actual mathematical papers and was using the wonderful Tex, which I like, and of course the output is beautiful. I stumbled across a professor who was using a WYSIWYG program called Lyx which I immediately latched onto as so much easier to use than Tex (it was LaTex, which also is very nice). The same professor introduced me to Xfig which really neatly inserts graphics into documents. Suddenly I’m looking like a genius to the entire division because I started typing up everything…homework sets, etc. They just look so professional when they are typed. Anyway, RedHat was eventually replaced by Fedora, and now I use Ubuntu.

    I do think you should create your own distro because I would love to tell folks I’m using “Ixnay Nix”! I, however, will be off on the softball field hitting 250 balls at the defense instead of writing any code.

    Oh, and I have met the original GNU programmer (Richard Stallman) because our computer science/mathematics club on campus brought him in to speak. He’s wonderful.

  177. Ian says:

    Computer programmers talking in code. Who’da thunk it?

  178. hairball_of_hope says:

    @ksbel6 (#179)

    “You know TONS more about programming than I do.” Yeah, but my coding skills are REALLY OLD. And really rusty. I had a twinge of self-irrelevance while rereading the comments in Episode 526… Ame dissed DEC, OS2, and Pascal in the same sentence, calling them “thought-provoking once but is now well past its expiration date.” Ouch.

    I’ve gradually gotten to dislike the Ubuntu family. Starting after Dapper and Edgy releases, it started feeling sluggish, and now all the *buntus are positively bloated (e.g. Mint), they take so damn long to boot. That wouldn’t be a problem on a desktop box that boots at most once a day, but on portables it sucks. Of course, “so damn long” is a relative thing only among Linuxes, I can make a full cooked breakfast while that crapware M$ product gyrates its way through a boot sequence. I’ve played with Lubuntu and Xubuntu, but it’s not just the desktop environment that makes Ubuntu/Kubuntu and derivatives slow.

    I don’t have an issue with Canonical and Shuttlesworth though, he/they have done an amazing job to further *nix penetration in the marketplace, so it’s still a good thing to have the *buntus of the world.

    For the rest of you who are wondering what the hell we are talking about, download and burn a live CD of a Linux distribution, any distribution. You will first be amazed that a full operating system can be loaded and running from a CDROM, then how fully functional it is, and finally how easy it is to upgrade and maintain. Then keep that live CD in a safe place, because sonner rather than later, you are going to need it to rescue files from your Windoze system.

    Knoppix is a good choice for an all-purpose Windows rescue disk for newbies, read about it/download it here:


    (… goes back to pushing and popping the stack and writing registers in the assembly language of her brain …)

  179. Therry and St. Jerome says:

    Liked the opera poem #151, but these days everybody is really hunky and gorgeous, except for Jane Eaglen and Sharon Sweet. One opera singer whose name I can’t remember dropped out of opera because she couldn’t go all skinny and slinky. The body neutral days are over, alas. As for being 50, that much is true, the voice matures and either withers away, or loses its edge, or sounds more gorgeous than ever. It all depends.

  180. Kate L says:

    Glenn Beck (yes, Fox News Channel’s Glenn Beck) is planning some sort of political rally at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., this Saturday on the 47th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech. I agree with MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann, who calls it Glenn Beck’s “I have a scheme” speech to further Beck’s political and personal agenda. Anyway, the Beck people (he has people?) have issued some sort of warning about the attendees using the D.C. subway system, which has been challenged by D.C.- area resident and Huffington Post contributor Jason Linkins. CHECK IT OUT HERE. Because of the particular subway lines that the Beckapalooza celebrants have been warned away from using, Mr. Linkins suspects that the warning is really a way for Beck’s people to avoid people of color. An interesting comment for many reasons, but I also had to think back to my own days as a parochial school kid* in suburban Arlington, Virginia, when I walked to school every day with a view of the capitol dome that I only see now on the television bumpers for NCIS. They had dug all of one city block out for the proposed D.C. subway system, and District residents knowingly laughed and said that was all they would ever get done! Wow, I guess they were wrong! Oh, and a few years ago when I flew into Baltimore Washington International airport on Navy business, I kept referring to it as “Friendship Airport”, which it actually was called back in the mid 60’s! I always thought that it was charming for an airport serving a world capitol to have a name like “Friendship”! Hands across the ocean, and all that.

    * Yes, I did wear a uniform to 6th grade!

  181. Kat says:

    Therry, it was Deborah Voigt. She was fired from Covent Garden for not fitting the “Little Black Dress” costume that the director insisted on using. At the time she was all awesome and “I refuse to bend to your idea of what my body should look like”.

    Results? 2 years (or less, don’t remember) later she got gastric bypass and lost a truck ton of weight…..


    It caused enough of an uproar, though, because she’s uber famous and important in operaland, that I don’t think many people will be making weight demands any time soon. We, the classical singers of the universe, responded with a resounding “Aw hay-ell no!”

  182. hairball_of_hope says:

    Thanks Mentor. Welcome back. Also take a look at Calico in #145, she’s asking for a post to be released from spam-limbo.

    (… goes back to wondering what the real difference is between <em> and <i>, and why Mentor chose <em> …)

    [In brief, the manuals for Cascading Style Sheets that I’ve been reading recently (all of which are big proponents of adhering to Standards) recommend <em>, <strong>, etc. Likewise the CSS-validation programs that I’ve been using prefer them. So I’ve started using them. (The “traditional” way of doing things, e.g. <i>, <b> are certainly supported by virtually all browsers/viewers, but things like <em>, <strong> are more “modern-HTML” compliant. –Mentor]

  183. Diamond says:

    Hairball 186: WordPress seems to prefer em to i for italic and I seem to have obediently adopted that convention on the site I manage without really noticing. It’s a bit counterintuitive though isn’t it? And it seems to like strong rather than b for bold too, although again it accepts both. I no longer feel offended when it quietly changes my coding for me.

    Or maybe there is a subtle difference? Would be interested to know. I learned html when you pretty much had to scratch it on to bits of stone, so an update from someone a bit more au courant would be welcome.

  184. @Diamond 187: by the current standards, “em,” by default, produces italics, and “strong” produces bold text.

    The reasoning for this is that using style sheets, you can assign any applicable characteristics you like to any tag.

    So, “strong” can be set to, say, 55-point bold italic crossed-out orange Comic Sans [if you have no shame] text that changes to 4-point black Garamond with a yellow background and a javascript tool-tip containing a random passage from Siddhartha that pops up on mouse-over, unless you’re using the tags inside a “blockquote,” in which case the effects are reversed, assuming you have some rational reason to do so. Or if you hate your readers. Or if your borderline-retarded sociopath client insists on it. Or jut for the pure, unadulterated hell of it.

    You could assign those characteristics to “b” or “i,” but “em” and (to a lesser extent) “strong” are more generic, and therefore less confusing.

    I don’t make the rules, I just follow them.

  185. Mentor says:


    (..blink..) (..blink..) This is your guys’ idea of “infuriatingly frustrating”. You need to get out more.

    (Cue best Lloyd Benson impression)
    “I’ve known ‘Infuriatingly Frustrating. I’ve lived with ‘Infuriatingly Frustrating’. ‘Infuriatingly frustrating’ has been coworkers of mine. And you, Kat(etc(etc(etc))), are no “Infuriatingly Frustrating’.”

    Now, as to cookies… –Mentor]

  186. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Mentor (#189)

    I’ll bet they don’t teach that in school. For reference for you young’uns and non-USAnians, in the 1988 US Presidential campaign, the Republican ticket was George H.W. Bush (the then-sitting Vice President under Ronald Reagan, and the father of George W. Bush) and Dan Quayle, a young US Senator with good looks and no brains (he famously misspelled “potato” as “potatoe” in front of a class of elementary schoolkids who had spelled it correctly). The Democratic ticket was Michael Dukakis (the then-Governor of Massachusetts) and Lloyd Bentsen, an eminent US Senator from Texas.

    During the Vice-Presidential debate, Quayle was asked questions about his qualifications and readiness to assume the duties of the President. As he had on the campaign trail, he compared himself to John F. (Jack) Kennedy, who was the youngest person elected as President.

    Then came Sen. Bentsen’s now-famous retort in the debate, which I have copied verbatim:

    “Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy, I knew Jack Kennedy, Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy.”

    The retort took on a life of its own in popular culture, to the point where Ronald Reagan’s daughter Patti Davis once said (while complaining about all the candidates who were comparing themselves to her father), “Where is Lloyd Bentsen when you need him?”

    The reason Bentsen’s retort worked so effectively is that Quayle was widely viewed as a male bimbo. Blond, good-looking, charming, without a thought in his head. Even Republicans had doubts about Quayle, and the media and comedians had a field day with Quayle for the entire Bush-Quayle administration.

    On the other ticket, poor Michael Dukakis had the misfortune of being photographed while driving an Army tank wearing the helmet that the tank driver wears, which has a set of protrusions at the ears to accomodate sealed noise-cancelling headphones. It made Dukakis look like a squirrel, especially Rocky the Squirrel from the “Bullwinkle and Rocky” cartoon series. He never lived it down, and “Dukakis in a tank” is media relations shorthand for a photo-op or publicity that backfires.

    Thus, the 1988 US Presidential campaign gave the world two bits of political jargon that have endured.

    End of PoliSci lesson.

    (… goes back wondering about her personal cartoon favorite… “Where’s Ignatz the Mouse when you need him?” …)

  187. judybusy says:

    And we now have Dan Quayle’s son, Ben running for congress in AZ. Ugh.

  188. Feminista says:

    #190: I don’t remember the Rocky comparison,but do recall the MSM saying Dukakis lacked charisma.

  189. Feminista says:

    P.S.I voted for Jesse Jackson that year.

  190. Me, too, Feminista — what I think of as the REAL rainbow flag.

  191. Andrew B says:

    h_o_h, 186, and others: I think the preference for e.g. <em> over e.g. <i> goes back to the earliest days of html. Html markup was originally supposed to designate content, not appearance. That would allow the browser to use whatever appearance worked best for that content on its particular platform. Then Mosaic/Netscape came along and fucked it all up — remember the innovative genius of the <blink> tag? What’s happening now is that html is finally getting back to what it was supposed to be all along. You use <em> to indicate that some text should be emphasized. Then the browser, using the style sheet, decides how best to do that — usually by italicizing.

    I guess it’s not exactly the same as what it was, because you can specify appearance using the style sheet. But the underlying idea is to separate content, which is indicated by the html markup, from appearance (should I be writing “presentation”?), which used to be entirely up to the browser but now can be specified with CSS.

    Olivia, see how we stay on topic? ;*>

  192. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Feminista (#192)

    Here’s the photo of Dukakis in the tank:


  193. hairball_of_hope says:

    … and here’s Rocky and Bullwinkle:


    (split into two posts to avoid spam-limbo)

    Dukakis and Rocky look like they were twins separated at birth.

    Of course, they aren’t the only politician/comic character combo that looks like a set of twins separated at birth. George W. Bush is a dead-ringer for MAD Magazine’s Alfred E. Newman (“What, me worry?”).

  194. ready2agitate says:

    #196 gives me the msg “Forbidden” (and I wanna see that photo!)

    PS My eyes glaze over and cross (er, and skip down) when y’all start to speak that (insert fancy html code for strike-through) devil (un-strike-through) geek-speak – Oy!

  195. Kat says:

    Hehe, so funny that you should mention Rocky the flying squirrel, Hairball.

    I’m watching NOVA, in the episode about the 4 winged dinosaur. To compare flying vs. gliding, they showed birds in flight and real flying squirrels taking off from trees.

    The episode is super cool anyway, but the flying squirrel also just super cute…..

  196. ready2agitate says:

    At West Point, Resignation Puts Gay Cadets in Spotlight



    “Interviews with three gay cadets, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because revealing their identities could result in expulsion, as well as conversations with Ms. Miller and several gay alumni, painted a portrait of a vibrant, if tiny, gay underground at West Point.”

  197. ready2agitate says:

    And here is Cadet Katie Miller interviewed on Rachel Maddow:


  198. Kat says:

    oh, question for all of you who teach (at whatever level):

    Does your institution do lots of “professional development” stuff in which one attends meetings, has to read books or documents only marginally related to one’s subject (or grade/developmental level), discusses lofty theories of “the future of education” or “the new student” or whatever other alarmist versions of where we’re going, what we must do, etc, etc, etc?

    If so, what’s your attitude and opinion of all this? Do you find it helpful?

    ….Went back to work today….already really sick of hearing about “global citizens” and “the future of education”, though at the same time, I realize that getting stodgy and complacent is hardly good…


  199. hairball_of_hope says:

    @R2A et alia

    Sorry about that, that website insists on referrers from their main text page to access the image. When I checked the link above, I didn’t realize my browser was grabbing the image from cache.

    Here’s a link that should work:


  200. hairball_of_hope says:

    @R2A (#198)

    You do realize I was having fun with you and that devil HTML geek-speak when I explained why the website forbade access to the image, yes?

    (… goes back to rubbing up a spit-polish mirror glaze on random eyeballs …)

  201. Therry and St. Jerome says:

    Flying squirrels seem to have an affinity for our house. We’ve had two residents, and getting rid of the little devils is tricky! We chased one around the house with a paper bag until it took off from the rafters, flew across the room and out the back door, bouncing briefly off a standard Unaltered black poodle belonging to my sister’s first husband.

  202. Kate L says:

    (ready2agitate #201) Thanks, I was wanting to see that interview, and MSNBC is still blocked on my home television machine. I did read the story about LGBT life at West Point that was on the front page of the New York Times this morning.

    And… I came out last night. At a Smallville city commission hearing about adding LGBT to the local human rights ordinance (I keep wanting to spell it “ordnance”!). Right out loud in front of the commissioners and the audience. And on the live local cable access coverage of the hearing. And right in front of a reporter for Smallville’s only newspaper (who asked me after the meeting for the correct spelling of my name). But I’m sure no one noticed little old me. Oh, yeah. I’m family! 🙂

    Btw, I spoke in favor of the ordinance. Speakers before and after me condemned the proposed change, saying that it was their religious liberty to discriminate against LGBT folk, and that adding LGBT to the ordinance was just a small part of a much larger LGBT “agenda”.

  203. Therry and St. Jerome says:

    Oh, and this just in, the very elderly St. Jerome has stopped grooming himself, and yesterday, I took him to the groomer’s to be dematted. KIndly admire suave looking ginger tom, purring with pleasure.

  204. Therry and St. Jerome says:

    Sorry to plunge back in, but my favorite comic strip other than DTWOF just ran a Bechdel test stip!

  205. Kat says:

    Kate L, congratulations. That was mega brave.

  206. judybusy says:

    Kate L, thanks for your courage! On with the agenda!

    Did anyone else catch this in the NYT today? Really, Mississippi? Nineteen eighty-freakin’-four to ratify the nineteenth amendment?!

    Therry, did you mean to post a pic of St. Jerome? I wanna see!

  207. Kate L, all I can say is — Janeway would be proud of you!

  208. Hey, y’all, AB’s got a great new post up.

  209. ksbel6 says:

    @202: Yes, we have PD we call it. The state requires every teacher to get 15 hours per year, and a new teacher must have 30 (so they have a special few days of “new teacher training” at whatever district they teach in). PD can be excellent…like at our district a few years ago we did “study groups” where folks with like interest grouped together to learn whatever new item they wanted to learn (my group was technology based, so we did lots of stuff with computers, calculators, LCD projectors, etc.) When PD goes bad (IMHO) is when it becomes generalized. Trying to bring in one speaker to please an entire school population of teachers is a bad idea. If the primary grade teachers are happy, then most likely the high school teachers are not. I find most of it to be a waste of tax payer dollars, and anytime someone talks about them cutting it out of the state budget, I say, terrific. We shouldn’t be spending money on that stuff anyway.

  210. ready2agitate says:

    HoH #204 – No, I thought you were seriously informing me of why the link didn’t work properly (to which I said, in my head, “um, sure, whatever”) 🙂

    Kate L. #206 – You go! (and way to go!). Hope the young cadet added inspiration to your week (and am happy to post Maddow interviews you can’t access anytime I can – just ask!)

    Admiringly, your local agitator

  211. Ian says:

    @Kate L(206): Fantastic stuff! You’re so brave to come out at a meeting like that and I hope it had all the right, powerful impact that an action of that nature should have. So proud of you! I wish I was that brave!

  212. bean says:

    @Kat 202: Just keep repeating this and they’ll swear you were paying attention: “The millenials, you know, they’re SO tech savvy!! You know, they’ve had computers their whole lives! Their brains are different!”

    This will make you sound generally in the know, but is especially useful in explaining the utter uselessness of librarians and/or information literacy instruction.

    –jaded and unemployed

  213. Suzanonymous says:

    Thank you, judybusy and khatgrrl for the good wishes. I’ve been busy at the job and yes there is a chance of it going permanent (or so they told me in the interview). One month in and I’m feeling positive, but you never know — budgets economy faltering and all of that.