DTWOF episode #506

March 20th, 2007 | Uncategorized

506 detailHere’s the episode I wrote before leaving for Miami. Today I’m going to try and figure out how to do the next one on the road in Albuquerque. I have to go find art supplies, then a Kinko’s or some place that can scan the drawings when I’m done. I’m not sure whether I’m going to manage it before my vacation officially begins on Thursday. Is all this backstory annoying you? Maybe I should just post the cartoons and shut up.

DTWOF #506

320 Responses to “DTWOF episode #506”

  1. Lea says:

    are you kidding? you know we love to hear the backstory.
    maybe the friendly person who offered to show you around albuquerque has a scanner or knows where to find one?

  2. Lea says:

    oh, the musical score for the cell phone tune is excellent. i think i know exactly which cell phone ring option that is…

  3. Gil says:

    Whatever happened Carlos, Jezanna, et al?

  4. little gator says:

    I love Virginia’s curled up paw.

  5. tas' says:

    Yes, it seems as if Carlos has dropped out just as Raf is moving into teenage hell, a time when a male figure might be, you know, nice. (My son and Raf are exactly the same age and go through many of the same ordeals in type if not in detail. Spot on!)

  6. Doctor E says:

    Hmmm… She had the same expression on her face talking to Mo as she did talking to her father, yet her face lit up when Madeleine called. This bodes ill.

  7. purlypuss says:

    mo and sydney really don’t listen to each other at all. that’s so sad. and so true to life.

  8. Nick says:

    If you have your laptop, just buy a scanner, they cost less than $100 it will probably be less expensive, and certainly less aggravating than trying to get it done.

    Good luck finding the right supplies on the road though. Maybe you should order online at blick or jerrysartarama and have it drop shipped to your Albuquerque address to be waiting for you when you arrive.

  9. shadocat says:

    I was beginning to feel sorry for Sydney again;then that Madeleine called. Damn her! Now she’s on my shit list again…

  10. Burque G says:

    Don’t worry! We have both art supply stores and Kinko’s in Albuquerque. Even some fairly near each other. 😉

    I love the frame with Mo and Virginia.

  11. Aunt Soozie says:

    Did you change Sydney’s shirt after you got stranded?
    Or was that some sort of ominous precognition???
    and if so, why “Strand”?

    I had some scanning done at Kinko’s and it worked fairly well but it was just typeface, not artwork.

    And too funny Burque G…
    “we have both art supply stores and Kinko’s in Albuquerque”…okay, yeah, but what about water? You got any water?

    When I was in Santa Fe I said to my friends…”what’s that thing down there? that gulley where the plants are growing? underneath the street with the little bridge over it?

    “uhm, that’s the RIVER Aunt Soozie…”

  12. geogeek says:

    I really liked living in Albuquerque, though that was many square miles of development on the West Mesa ago. The University Bookstore’s great, and has the marker set you lusted for in “Fun Home” plus acres of other useful art supplies.

    Wow, how anaphrodesiac can you get? Though I guess some pwoplw want to be called Mama…

  13. SeventhSister says:

    “Strand” for the Strand Bookstore in NYC?

    Also for narrative strands, which lead off from one another in the digressions that Syd is supposed to be writing about?

  14. Deb says:

    I was thinking more along the lines of ‘strandED’ for our dear Alison’s travel horrors these past weeks.

    Awwwwwww I feel bad for Mo, but then again, I’ve always identified with Mo for years.

  15. Doctor E says:

    Buing her parents high-tech toys they can’t use is vary in-character for Sydney, but when did she ever care about recycling?

  16. Doctor E says:


  17. Doctor E says:


  18. little gator says:

    Doesn’t everyone identify with Mo? I know I do, though all we seem to have in common is we are both women who love our cats.
    Which is more than enough.

  19. The Cat Pimp says:

    Its nice to see a strip from Sydney’s P.O.V. Mo calling about Virginia is clearly Mo calling about herself. I love the blissed out kitty posture. I don’t think one could draw a happier cat pose.

    Verrrry interesting to see how Sydney’s face lights up for Madeleine.

    I still am one of those Luddites who thinks Mo should get back together with Harriet. (I spelled it “Marriet” and had to backspace!)

  20. Rose says:

    yeah, i think thats strand for strand books. I think its actually this shirt….http://www.strandbooks.com/app/www/p/profile/?isbn=1399837842

  21. Lea says:

    about sydney recylcing stuff- it’s probably mo rubbing off on her. i also think that there will be some sort of shock in store for sydney regarding madeleine on that conference. or maybe not…

  22. phredd says:

    Seems like Sydney’s Dad is still showing signs of a failing memory. And there’s an awful lot of wine bottles around her Mom’s place…

    I think Sydney (or Mo?) may end up shouldering the caretaking for one or more of her parents.

    Have we ever seen Mo’s parents in the strip BTW?

  23. Doctor E says:

    I recall Mo once spending New Year’s Eve playing Monopoly with her parents, thinking “Wait until my therapist hears about this!”

  24. Burque G says:

    ““we have both art supply stores and Kinko’s in Albuquerque”…okay, yeah, but what about water? You got any water?”

    Well, Aunt Soozie, we uh….well…no. Not so much.

  25. AnotherOregonian says:

    Another Luddite for Harriet and Mo! (H reminds me of my lover.)

  26. ManFan says:

    Well I guess that “blank window pane” Sydney saw, versus the “window pane full of life” was about as ‘foreshadowing” as one can get. LOL

    Honestly while Harriet was a better partner than Sydney, what Sydney needs to do is learn to be content on her own once and or all.

    Why does she need someone to be happy?

    She is sincerely concerned with so much, yet all her “activist spirit’s energy” is wasted dealing with pointless relationships.

    Pointless ONLY in that, she spends almost all her time with both partners trying to convince them her concerns and feelings are valid.

    I personally am not a cat person, BUT if I had a partner who liked cats like Sydney does, I would never be dismissive of their concerns. It’s real for them, therefore if you care it should be real for you. Sydney’s concerns are clearly NOT obsessive, and should be treated with consideration, not dismissive contempt.

    Harriet was a far more compassionate person, but she too did not “get” Mo. She felt Mo’s concerns were just “anxieties” when it truth they were not just “anxieties.”

    I think they are a reflection of a person who is easily and deeply affected by things in life most people find easy to tune out and ignore.

    I’d love to see Sydney link up with some sort of political dynamo. Someone who could channel her “anxieties” (as so many see them) into real action.

    This person does NOT need to be a clone of Mo. Mo doesn’t need a clone.

    What she needs is a driven focused individual, who sees the potential dynamo in her concerns, and is able to focus her in order to help her make the difference in the world she craves to make.

    An ideal person would be one that combines the compassionate, caring side of Harriet with the focus and assertiveness of Sydney.

    Such a person would quickly key in on Sydney’s strengths, and use them, while also providing the “tension for attention” that Sydney needs to maintain emotional happiness.

    In any case, I’ve never liked Sydney. She reminds me way too much of the typical gay man who confuses infatuation with love and is obsessed with shallow material things and the next fuck. To the point, that the good things he has here and now are seen as obstacles to obtaining the next good thing and nothing else.

    And to Sydney, that is what Mo is now, just an obstacle to the next romantic obsession.

    If A.B. does decide to put Mo into another relationship straight away, I do hope that she decides to let Mo the “nice person” win for once. For I do think that Mo is the “nice guy/gal” who misses the best for herself, because she always puts others first, even when its to her own detriment. 🙂

    As totally unlikely as it seems Clarice is the ideal “personality type” for Mo.

    Like Mo. she shares an extreme concern for “bigger issues” to the point of obsession, but UNlike Mo, she is working actively on them.

    It would seem like a mismatch initially, but a Clarice type is what Mo needs.

  27. ManFan says:

    Sorry I meant to type Mo not Sydney in the above post.

    It should have said:

    what MO needs to do is learn to be content on her own once and or all.

  28. ManFan says:

    As for Sydney, Lois is the only one who could handle her.

    It would be non-stop action both against each other as they’d try to bed as many women and win (what I don’t know, but considering how competitive and hypersexual each is… hehehe)

  29. silvio soprani says:

    When I lived in Tucson I always found it fascinating how whole developments were NAMED for the “river” that was just a gulley of dry caked mud about 11 months of the year. And yet, the natives look at it and see a river.

    Of course, when the monsoons would come, the gushing water would make up for lost time.

    The rhythm of “water/no water” sort of reminds me of my own “paycheck/no paycheck” cycle of spending/deprivation.

    Regarding Sydney, I must confess that she seems much more compassionate when she is around her parents. I can even indulge her delight at hearing from Madeleleine when it is put in the foreground of her rather stressful visit with her mother. She is certainly being baraged by everyone.

    Maybe recycling is her way of controling her sanity. Nice neat buckets to sort all the bottles and cans into may perhaps relieve some of her alarm at being catpulted back into her childhood yet having to take on the role of the adult with her parents.

  30. Jo says:

    Love the strip, and as usual the details.. this time especially the recycling bins with pinot grigio..

    A musical question: does anyone know what the different cell phone tunes are?

  31. Burque G says:

    I just noticed the bottle in the first frame says “Pinot Gringo”. 😀

  32. Maria Giovanni says:

    Dear Alison,

    Since you asked:

  33. Maria Giovanni says:

    Dear Alison,

    Since you asked… I for one love the backstory!

    I used to wait 2+ years in between books, without reading *any* strips, just so I could read them all at once. That little self-inflicted, masochistic tease completely stopped once I found your blog. Getting to hear the backstory heightens the experience for me, and totally makes up for losing the “surprise” of reading an entire book’s worth of strips at once.

    Many wishes for a great vacation!


  34. mvc says:

    For those who are curious but don’t read music, this is what Sydney’s ring tone sounds like.

  35. shadocat says:

    I’m afraid I have agreee with ManFan regarding his opinion of Sydney, tho’ I have valiently tried to like her lo these many years.

    I think Mo called because she lost one kitty and now she’s afraid she’s going to lose another–and guess what y’all the writing is on the wall for Virginia; if she was a litter-mate with Vanessa, she’s no spring kitty.

    Here is Sydney’s mom sitting pie-eyed at the ‘puter; clearly needs her help; her dad calls, increasingly more confused and even though she’s a daddy’d girl, she doesn’t seem to care; but when Madeleine (who is using Sydney much more than Sydney’s using her, IMO) calls, she lights up like a Christmas tree. I hope Madeleine trounces on her heart, and Mo wises up and DTMFA!

  36. TMVA says:

    Yes, please get rid of Sydney. I’m tired of her spending, selfishness and her pseudo-academic approach to life. Bring back Harriet and Mo. Oh, and as long as I’m wishing here, I’d like to see Clarice and Toni back together.

  37. Liza from pine street art works says:

    mvc – that was amazing. That you knew what the ring tone was and could link us to it. Sheesh, technology! And kudos to Alison for knowing how to write it out.

  38. Ellen Orleans says:


    Too cool on the ring tone.

    Survivor guilt for Virgina? I’d expect nothing less from Mo!

    Regarding Sydney recycling. It’s illegal not to recycle in some towns and states. Also, the bottles let us know how much Sydney’s mother drinks and the newspapers let us know the state of the world.

    Nicely woven.

  39. little gator says:

    shadocat-I’m scared for Virginia too. One of my friends had littermate cats, both orange boys, and they died 6 weeks apart from age-related kidney failure.

    I’ve had up to 5 cats at one time, and am glad none were genetically related to any of the others.

    I always figured Mo’s meezers were littermates, though I don’t know.

  40. Lea says:

    madeleine can’t be far away in age from sydney’s parents…

  41. Sheila says:

    Actually, I like Sydney a lot–not in a “she’s my best friend” way, but in a “she’s a great character” way. I think writing stuff for her must be so much fun.

  42. silvio soprani says:

    Yes, Alison can notate music alright! (It’s a waltz, but for the life of me, I can’t place what the name of the piece of music it is. Something old and classical; definitely not Mariah Carey or Babyface!)

    Have we actually MET Madeleine? I can’t remember what she looks like.Although most of Sydney’s “colleagues” do seem pretty ancient. Maybe Sydney is older than she looks.

    I agree with Cat Pimp, Virginia looks pretty happy–she certainly doesn’t look like she is experiencing any “survivor guilt!!”

  43. Anonymous says:

    Shadocat — “DTMFA”? Dump the Madeleine-f^cker already?

  44. Finsbury Parker says:

    The Nokia ring tone is an excerpt from Gran Vals by Francisco Tárrega.

  45. Gatsbyfemme says:

    Re our meeting Madeleine, Sydney and Madeleine reunited at the MLA post Sydney’s radiation. They shared a, shall we say, well-punctuated elevator ride. Madeleine wore a khaki-looking skirt.

    Sydney left Thea for Madeleine.

    It’s funny. My daily checking of this blog (and its responsa, as Sydney might say if she did Judaic Studies) has always been a pleasure. It’s drawn me back to the DTWOF collections. Since I’m going through a breakup right now, DTWOF is so damn comforting. Looking at various characters over the years going “BWAH” makes me feel, well, not quite so alone.

    Re Sydney recycling: Hard to imagine when we recall the early Sydney, but she did adapt her choucroute recipe thanks to Mo’s influence…

    I sound like such a dork, I know, but I love these characters so.

  46. Pam I says:

    Isn’t it that default nokia ringtone? The one where you always wonder why the owner hasn’t changed it so they don’t get confused when others’ identical ringtones go off?
    PS Mine plays California Girls. Sigh.

  47. Finsbury Parker says:

    Yep, the default Nokia ringtone is Gran Vals.

  48. Patti in Santa Fe says:

    You need to go to Artisan for Art Supplies in Albuquerque. You can look them up on the web at http://www.artisan-santafe.com. They have stores in Santa Fe, Taos and Albuquerque. There is a map and directions on the website. I have a friend who does computer graphics in Santa Fe. I’m sure she can recommend someplace to go for scans in Albuquerque. I’ll write back with the info when she calls me back. Good luck!

  49. kate mckinnon says:

    Sydney is hot.

  50. Patti in Santa Fe says:

    Alison, my friend Sara knows printers in Albuquerque but not someplace to get scans. She suggested trying Kinkos, as you planned to do. If you’re coming to Santa Fe she could surely do the scans and whatever else for you. I sent you an e-mail yesterday with my contact information. Hope you get to have some fun while you’re here.

  51. ManFan says:

    OK I’m an idiot at times.

    I used Sydney when I meant Mo. I’ve always had problems keeping A or B choices straight. LOL , My previous post must have seen completely inane. LOL

    Here is the corrected post LOL

    Well I guess that “blank window pane” Sydney saw, versus the “window pane full of life” was about as ‘foreshadowing” as one can get. LOL

    Honestly while Harriet was a better partner than Sydney, what MO needs to do is learn to be content on her own once and or all.

    Why does she need someone to be happy?

    She is sincerely concerned with so much, yet all her “activist spirit’s energy” is wasted dealing with pointless relationships.

    Pointless ONLY in that, she spent almost all her time with both partners trying to convince them her concerns and feelings are valid.

    I personally am not a cat person, BUT if I had a partner who liked cats like MO does, I would never be dismissive of their concerns. It’s real for them, therefore if you care it should be real for you.

    MO’s concerns are clearly NOT obsessive, and should be treated with consideration, not dismissive contempt.

    Excuses like “being overwhelmed” “needing time for yourself” do NOT cut it.

    Relationships mean your partner gets EXTRA consideration, not the same, not less.

    Sydney’s willingness to handles Mo’s feelings re: her pet the same way she is handling recycling her Mother’s trash. Hmmm, I wonder if there was a point A.B. was making LOL

    Harriet was a far more compassionate person, but she too did not “get” Mo. She felt Mo’s concerns were just “anxieties”

    Mo is empathetic more than most, but unable to do anything about it except whine, because of the partner she chooses.

    I’d love to see MO link up with some sort of political dynamo. Someone who could channel her “anxieties” (as so many see them) into real action.

    Such a person would quickly key in on MO’S strengths, and use them, while also providing the “tension for attention” that MO needs to maintain emotional happiness.

    As totally unlikely as it seems Clarice is the ideal “personality type” for Mo.

    Like Mo. she shares an extreme concern for “bigger issues” to the point of obsession, but UNlike Mo, she is working actively on them.

    It would seem like a mismatch initially, but a Clarice type is what Mo needs.

    In any case, I’ve never liked Sydney.

    She reminds me way too much of the typical gay man who confuses infatuation with love and is obsessed with shallow material things and the next fuck.

    For those types, the good things he has here and now are seen as obstacles to obtaining the next good thing and nothing else.

    And to Sydney, that is what Mo is now, just an obstacle to the next romantic obsession.

    If A.B. does decide to put Mo into another relationship straight away, I do hope that she decides to let Mo the “nice person” win for once.

    For I do think that Mo is the “nice guy/gal” who misses the best for herself, because she always puts others first, even when its to her own detriment. 🙂

  52. cybercita says:

    DTMFA is a dan savageism. it stands for dump the motherf#$%@#er’s ass.

  53. cybercita says:

    the newspaper headlines had me rolling!

    have a wonderful vacation, alison!

  54. Deena in OR says:


    Yup, that’s the acronym…but I thought the “a” stood for “already”.

  55. cybercita says:

    i stand {or in this case, sit} corrected.

  56. Maggie Jochild says:

    Honesty (like so many things) seems to begin internally. The layers of deception in this strip seem endless.

    And yet, the impulse and hunger for truth is deeper still.

    The headlines on the papers have a counterpoint in the news that’s all over the web: Impeachable offenses, at least one of which (the illegal leak of classified information) begins with an investigation and/or charges brought by the House of Representatives, NOT the DoJ or the judiciary. Pelosi can you hear me?

    As I work tonight, I keep hearing Schumer’s words: Under oath. With a transcript.

    Here comes the sun…

  57. straight girl fan says:

    We’ve seen Mo’s parents a few times — in the early strips, like the monopoly one and the one where she calls them after breaking up with Harriet; and then more recently when Mo’s sister-in-law is pregnant and Sydney gets in trouble for doing the crossword puzzle.

    Regarding Madeleine, she isn’t necessarily that much older than Sydney, if she was a recent hire when Sydney was a grad student.

    I’m betting that Sydney is going to find out that Madeleine has an ex-grad-student in every port.

  58. Norwegian Black Metal says:


  59. shadocat says:

    a few thoughts…

    ManFan; I knew whatcha meant, and yes, I still agree with you…

    Anonymous; I like your interpretation of “DTMFA” much better!

    Regarding the recycling: here in Gawd’s country, I’d get a a big,fat ticket with an equally big, fat fine if I put all those bottles of “Pinot Gringo” and the like in with my regular trash, and not with my recycling.

    I loved the headlines, but why do I have this sinking feeling that Bush and his cronies are going to get away with everything? (Today our local TV station interupted a perfectly good fight between Rosie O. and that Elizabeth Hasselbeak chick, just to show us Dubya and his bff Carl Rove getting off the stupid plane!)I’m just in a pessimestic mood—ignore me here…

  60. shadocat says:

    Omigod!–Just had a terrible thought! You don’t suppose virginia ate some of that tainted kitty food, do you???

    (Oh, and where is my proof-reading fairy? I mean “a a”?)

  61. Nell says:

    I don’t get what’s happening in the last pannel… is Sydney upset because her mom spilled the wine, or because she discovered something on her computer, or what?

  62. Deena in OR says:

    Giving the strip a second look, I vote for Mom having discovered something either in the browser history or in sent emails that was incriminating/embarassing to Sydney. It looks like Sydney is reaching to close a window, fast!

  63. Aunt Soozie says:

    It looks to me like Syndey is just trying to grab at the falling glass of wine before it falls into the keyboard…a futile effort.

    I don’t know if it’ll make you feel any better Alison but I heard this morning on NPR that you were one of 100,000 people who did not get to go where they wanted to go in that stormy weather…2400 flights were cancelled. I guess that might explain some of the problem with getting through to the airline.

    They also said that some forward thinking airlines actually cancelled in advance…after learning of the storm. Their passengers then didn’t get stranded for hours on a tarmac or midway to their destination or at some airport.

    Unfortunately, that proactive airline wasn’t the one you were flying on…

    So the Strand t-shirt…is it the Strand in NYC as 7th Sister proposed? Was it really a precognition, drawn before the actual stranding? That would be pretty interesting…

    And, uhm, Burque G…I appreciate your honesty. I could send you some…Fed Ex?

  64. BobbyG says:

    Sydney has blonde hair so did Alison’s ex! Is this why they split up…an affair!

  65. Quaint Irene says:

    I wonder if dear Sydney would consider getting different ringtones for her various lady (and gentlemen) callers. Which begs the question: what would Dr Zeugma’s be?

  66. Ellen Orleans says:

    Regarding the last panel.

    In the penultimate panel, Madeleine says, “say something to dampen my ardor…” The spilled wine will dampen (or soak) the keyboard, just as the word, “Mother,” will dampen Madeleine’s apparently still simmering fervor for Sydney. And maybe that it all that was intended.

    However, it’s possible if the new browser now on Sydney’s mother’s machine contains Sydney’s bookmarks, one of them could be compromising.

    Which word comes first in the last panel— “Motherr” or “oops”? It is nicely ambiguous and open to further interpretation of what exactly is happening, especially since the screen remains unseen.

    I like the word “Pater,” as well (panel 7). My apparently rather pompous grandfather often signed his name that way. Maybe it’s less pretentious among the British, but in New Jersey, where I grew up, it sounded pretty damn stuffy.

  67. Duncan says:

    straightgirlfan, I think Sydney already knows that Madeleine has a grad student in every port. In their tryst at the MLA convention, they were discussing the names they’d given each other’s breasts, and Madeleine remembered them differently than Sydney did. “That must have been some other graduate student,” Sydney said. If Sydney and Madeleine were supposed to be a couple, they probably still would be; Madeleine also has a partner of her own, Lisa I believe her name is. I don’t think there’s any danger that Sydney will leave Mo for Madeleine, I don’t think it’s that kind of relationship, at least not any more. (If it ever was.) They can come together happily at MLA conventions, but I doubt either of them wants much more than that.

  68. phredd says:

    I’m surprised Sydney hasn’t changed her ring tone. I guess she just goes through gadgets so fast she can’t be bothered to personalize any.

    It would have been a hoot if she had and also had a special ring for Madeleine.

  69. Duncan says:

    Oh, and by the way — Alison, please feel free to post all the backstory you like. I’m interested, I think it’s a safe bet we’re all interested here.

  70. ShelleyAlb says:

    Welcome to Albuquerque! We’re proud to have you visiting our great city! Art supplies can be found at Langell’s on Carlisle just south of Candelaria. One of the best art supplies stores in town. Kinko’s – there’s a bunch around. There is one across from the University that’s easy to find on Central.

  71. DeLand DeLakes says:

    Uh oh- Virginia didn’t eat some tainted-gluten cat food, did she?

    I confess that I’ve always loved Sydney- I think she may be the best character in the strip- but it does make me sad to see her cheating. Wow, good thing that my prediliction for wily, craven liars only extends to fiction and not to my personal life! 🙂

  72. Maggie Jochild says:

    Wow, DeLand — “Wow, good thing that my predilection for wily, craven liars only extends to fiction and not to my personal life!”

    And I was thinking I might have a chance with you…

  73. boltgirl says:

    I too felt increasingly sympathetic for Sydney right up until Madeleine rang. Been there, been there, yowza, don’t ever want to be there again. And Silvio, this Tucson river post is for you…

  74. Lily Rose says:

    Did I miss something? Will you be signing somewhere in our fair city? Or are you just passing thru? Try the green chile… heh heh heh. 😉

    Another Albuquerquean

  75. silvio soprani says:


    THANK YOU! I needed a dose of Tucson mud! You have made me so homesick for your desert city! As I was looking at the pretty pictures of riverbed mud, I was thinking, “She must be a geologist,” and then discovered you are an archeologist. Of course!

    I have bookmarked your blog and will now detour there on my way home from DTWOF from time to time. Please give the Santa Catalina Mountains a wave from me.

  76. Sophie says:

    You can hear the Gran Vals played on guitar here:

    It starts slowly, one note a measure: La, la, la… but around the middle of the file, there it is: tada da da, tada da da, tada da da daaaa…. Just like the score in Alison’s strip! DTWO4 is soooo educational!

    Always the happy polyamorous gal, I totally understand why Sydney’s face lights up when Madeleine calls: Mo and “Pater” are family, but Madeleine is a crush. I think Sydney has been bringing up polyamory often enough that we can trust her NOT to leave Mo for the other M. That’s what polyamory is about: not leaving one person for another. It’s not about cheating, either. The only problem I can see here is that Mo didn’t exactly agree to open their relationship, did she?

    I don’t think Sydney could have accidentally copied her bookmarks onto her mother’s computer when she installed the new browser, since that makes for a completely different file. So I’ll go with the wine-spilling interpretation, for its dampening effect, and because that keyboard is now be ruined. More taking care of Mom.

    How’s the weather in the desert city? Still well below zero (Celcius) here in Montreal, and white with 2-days old, crusty, granular snow.

  77. Sophie says:

    … that keyboard is now ruined.

  78. Becky says:

    I dig the Strand T-shirt, but boy am I pissed at Sydney. Is her dad having memory problems?

  79. Pam I says:

    That keyboard could be saved if it’s immediately disconnected before anything can short out, then run under a tap to flush out the wine. Leave it plenty of time to dry, preferably open it up. It’s worth a try before it becomes yet more landfill. You do all know about Freecycle don’t you?

  80. shadocat says:

    Before I begin my rant, let me first qualify myself: I am a monogomous gal.
    However, I also know that doesn’t work for everyone,and if you’re a polyamorous person, I respect that.

    What I don’t respect is dishonesty. Sydney is doing this behind Mo’s back. She’s cheating, btw, with a woman who possibly has sex with several other women. And the last time I saw Syd and Mad together, I saw no evidence of any “safe sex” materials: doesn’t she care enogh about Mo (or herself fo that matter) to use some protection?

    I really was beginning to sympathize with Sydney; her messed up family, and her cancer–those experiences seemed to have made her a little more empathetic towards the feelings of others. But I guess I was wrong. She is only kind to those to she can use: her oncology nurse, because she treats her, her partner because she supports her, and serves as some sort of convenient whipping boi, her old (yeah I said it-both meanings!)partner, to satisfy her sexually and act as sort of sustitute parent.

    I’m sure she won’t ever leave Mo, because, hey, why would she? A good doormat is hard to find.

  81. LondonBoy says:

    Speaking as a professional doormat, I hope Shadocat’s comment is good news for me !

  82. thomas5_38 says:

    I suppose it’s safe to assume that the one thing Syd could say to dampen Madeleine’s ardor would be ‘Mother’…

  83. silvio soprani says:

    I’m sure Mo has never had the conversation with Sydney where she agrees to polyamory. If she did, she wouldn’t hear the question anyway, since this is a couple where each partner has their own script running too loud to hear what the other is saying, much less thinking.

    I still think Sydney’s face in that last panel reflects something her mother is reading on the screen. I wouldn’t put it past Sydney to have already been communicating with Madeleine on her mom’s new computer. But maybe Mom has some secret of her own.

    Regarding the keyboard, somewhere I heard that you could put a keyboard in the dishwasher. I was always dubious.

    I did once spill a whole glass of red wine on the keyboard and it was never the same, but it may have been my anxiety and paranoia coupled with an aging computer.

  84. silvio soprani says:

    by way, Sophie, thanks for lovely “Vals!” (Is that you playing the guitar? There is no end to the revelations on this blog about the talents of our fair readers!)

  85. little gator says:

    I’ve heard that you can dishwasher keyborads, but I’d worry that keys would gte knocked out and clog a drain, killing keyboard and dishwasher both.

    I’ve saved many a keyboard by washing it under running water, then drying for about 2 days. Dry upside down so the water drips out.

  86. Sue says:

    Completely off-topic: Alison, since you’re such a self-confessed dictionary geek, what do you think about McDonald’s running a campaign against the Oxford English Dictionary to get them to remove the word “McJob”?

    Here’s the Chicago Tribune story.

    Thanks as always for the strip. At various times I’ve empathized with most of the characters, but there’s more of Mo in me than anybody else. I feel like I learned how to dress like a real dyke from looking at the DTWOF characters!

  87. Anjali says:

    I just got into the strip within the last year. I’m trying to catch up on ALL the various storylines. But, how the hell did Mo and Sydney get together?

    And why hasn’t Mo left her yet?

  88. Neighbour to the North says:

    BobbyG– this isn’t probably the place for suppositions. It’s about the art, after all.

    I’m worried about “Mother’s” drinking. That’s an awful lot of red she seems to have downed in one week (is that how US recycling works?).

    Love the detailing and the expressions. At the risk of sounding persnickety, the corner of panel 4 might need filling before final publication.

    Oh persnickety, when will I abandon you?

  89. Em says:

    Anyone else get a flashback to Sydney accidentally spilling a can of celery soda on her keyboard when Mo was about to open the “Games” folder? (apologies if someone already mentioned it)
    Actually I’m a tad baffled by the last panel, cause it seems equally likely that “Motherr!” was at the wine being spilled as it is a reaction of something on the web browser.

  90. tess says:

    I also really like Sydney and it took me a while as I can be kind of reluctant for change. Sydney seems to always need to have some “other” (job, person, shopping) in her life to allow her to be in a relationship which makes her flawed but I think pretty real.

    Also, I saw the last panel as about the drinking but I am often wrong in my interpretations…

  91. Jana C.H. says:

    I see no ambiguity in the last panel. Check out Sydney’s eyes. She’s looking at the wine glass, not the computer screen. Mom’s “Oops!” follows Sydney’s “Motherr!” because it’s an excuse to Sydney: “Silly me, another mistake, ha-ha, but you’ll fix it, won’t you dear?”

    And it’s white wine Mom is downing in gulps like straight whiskey, not red. I like Pinot Grigio. Now that it’s become trendy enough to be a joke in DTWOF, I might have to switch to something else. Rats!

    Ah, the woes of being a knee-jerk oddball!

    Jana C.H.
    Saith Floss Forbes: If you don’t know the tune, sing tenor.

  92. Suzanonymous says:

    Alert. Alison Bechdel has posted a new video to her youtube account (abechdel).

    A day ago.

    I guess this post sadly answers the are-you-sick-of-the-backstory question. 🙁 Wot a loser.

  93. Ianscot says:

    I can so relate to the partner who projects all sorts of impossible-to-verify emotional states on the pets. Oh how that rings true — and slightly heightened.

    (And let me simply second the “DTWOF strip as balm for the brokenhearted” idea.)

  94. DeLand DeLakes says:

    Hi Maggie-

    Heh, yeah, I always seem to adore the “bad girl/boy” characters in fiction- I read Wuthering Heights this summer and just about swooned over Heathcliff. This preference also carries over to one of my favorite comics, Y the Last Man: my favorite character is Hero, a gal with murder and just a little bit of madness on her conscience. I have always loved Syndney for her exquisite nastiness- I suppose the reason why I can like these characters is precisely because they are in the recesses of fiction, and I don’t have to deal with them personally. 🙂

  95. Aunt Soozie says:

    Sydney and Mom are both looking directly at the tipping wine glass…I don’t see anything ambiguous there either.

  96. Sophie says:

    Nah, it ain’t me playing – this is right on Nokia’s website.

  97. rockcat says:

    We had measle littermates – he died at 16 – she made it to 23. So it ain’t necessarily so that they go at the same time.

  98. straight girl fan says:

    I agree — the tipped wineglass is just a reason for Sydney to say “Motherrr!” while on the phone to Madeleine. The requested something to dampen her ardor.

  99. D.F. says:

    I’m with Duncan and Sophie on Sydney and w/ Jana and straight grl on the wine spill / last panel. Nothing ambiguous there.

    And the above two are, I think, very related.

    On Sydney: I’d put money on her having *some* clue that Madeleine has an ex-grad-student in every port / conference.

    And Sydney has openly expressed her wish to be poly. I think it’d do her good, in fact, to have an ex-mentor/’Mama’ in every port or so as well.

    From what I’ve seen, ‘sexy-Mama’ – ex-grad-student relationships don’t work super well as primary relationships. The ex-grad gets jealous of the cat, or baby, if they decide to have one; and Mama’s needs don’t get met. Long-term relationships seem to work better with people of the ‘same age’, so to speak. So yes, Mo’s family, home base, and Madeleine’s a crush.

    I say this, of course, as a poly gal. But one who’s very good at monogamy (yes I’ve done it) when requested / agreed to. I will say that for Mo and Sydney’s relationship to work, Sydney has to work harder to tune into and be there for Mo’s needs, and better hold Mo’s feelings as valid and precious.

    But again, Mo isn’t doing a whole lot of all this either.

    Case in point, and on the related honesty tip: no, Mo and Sydney haven’t, at least to our knowledge, fully resolved the poly / monogamy question. But Sydney’s been open about wanting to change the paradigm. Why is monogamy the default, privileged, and sanctified mode of relating? What if one is naturally poly, and you’re asking them to go against their essential nature, be untrue to who they fundamentally are as a person? Does anything sound familiar here, folks? Mo doesn’t seem willing to stretch or try to see things differently to hear Sydney’s needs around this either; it was Sydney who found a therapist to even open the dialogue around this. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like this dialogue went anywhere. A bit of a pattern in DTWOF, I’ve noticed.

    (note to the academics out there — yes, i’m a closeted essentialist, i’ll admit it. semi-closeted, i guess. but not apologetic. of course, it’s more complicated than an either/or, but there’s something to be said for a bit of polarizing to balance out a skewed picture…)

    So, the eyes and the browser conversion (Mother’s bookmarks, not Sydney’s) all point to the wine being primary cause of the Mthrrr exclamation, bringing us to the beautifully two-fold last panel: Madeleine, the ‘mama’ in this unacknowledged but highly erotically charged (ex-) mentor / mentee dynamic, *would* be stopped cold by the cuts-close-to-the-truth but oh-so-completely different-in-tone “Motherrrr!” instigated by a clumsy move by her flirtee’s *actual* mother.

    And it all comes together.

    Simply Brilliant.

  100. Em says:

    D’oh, I see the wine thing more clearly now. For some reason it didn’t seem so clear this afternoon. I think my brain has checked out already a full several days before spring break

  101. Jana C.H. says:

    Morbid suspicion: I wonder if Paul will make it til June, and this annoyed whine will be Sydney’s last communication with her beloved pa.

    Naw, there’s too much still to be done with his failing faculties! Forget I ever mentioned it.

    Jana C.H.
    Saith Oscar Wilde: Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.

  102. fjm says:

    I really feel for Sydney. I recognise her behavior in myself: I think it’s really easy to see someone very outgoing and assume “extrovert” but Sydney is almost the classic, hyperactive outgoing extreme introvert. Great at “performance” but finding people rather overwhelming. It doesn’t matter how good her intentions, sooner or later she will shut down because she can’t handle the emotional input–Madelaine works for her because she’s at a distance, don’t forget folks that Mo pressured Sydney to move in with her. I also think that as a rationalist it’s hard for Sydney to “get” anthropomorphisation. She can love Vanessa, and worry about her and still not get Mo’s take. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve hit this and offended someone, and I am very, very fond of my kitty. People like Sydney are excellent in practical situations and hopeless in emotional ones where they tend to try and see things logically but passionately. Most people seem to think those qualities are opposites.

  103. shadocat says:

    Sydney’s poly–I get it, So why doesn’t she find a nice girl who’s poly too, or at doesn’t mind if her significant other isscrewing around. (And while Syd’s fucking others, I still think she should be safe).

    Mo’s a serial monogomist, and has also made this clear to Sydney many times. If Sydney can’t give that up, Mo should find herself a nice monogamous woman, after she gets herslf together, that is. Oh, but wait! Mo thinks Sydney is trying to be monogamous (remember the couples therapy?) Mo thinks Sydney is trying to be true, when Sydney is really just telling Mo whatever she wants to hear and then doing whatever she (Sydney) wants. I think they call that, hm…LYING!

    Yes a character like Sydney can be interesting. Bad girls always help to motivate the story. That doesn’t mean I’m not just plain old sick of her, and her mean, selfish ways. Doormat or not, I really like Mo. I’d like to see her happy, if just for a little while. And that’s just not going to happen until she butches up and kicks this user out of her life.

    Can’t this character go to “catoon limbo” for awhile? If we have to have a “libidinous lothario” in this strip, why can’t Lois come back? At least she was an “ethical slut”!

  104. Maggie Jochild says:

    Hey, ABBloggers, got a question that one of you frickin’ know-it-alls out there will surely be able to put your multitalented fingers on:

    Today is Pat Robertson’s birthday, if you can consider him as having been born. You know, Pat is the guy who said
    “Feminism is a socialist, anti-family, political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.” [I’ve NEVER encouraged anyone to kill their children, sheesh.]

    Well, what I need is the quote from one of those evangelicaloons, Pat or Jerry or James or Ted, I can’t remember which, who said that if lesbian sex caught on, women would find it so satisfying they’d not sleep with men any more and THAT is why it’s immoral. This was within the last ten years. All I got. Help me, Obiwan.

  105. Midsouth Mouth says:

    re: Mo and Sydney
    I thought that Sydney came to the realization (that Mo was tickled by) that her WORK as an academic was her PRIMARY and that Mo was her MISTRESS?

    I missed the MLA stuff–scandalous, huh? I guess I will have to keep my eye out in future.

    I think it is hard even for childless couples to give up on relationships that they have invested so much emotion and time into,even when they stop working.

    Two interesting writings come to mind:
    Laura Kipnis, _Against Love_, which is a tongue-in-cheek polemic againstof monogamous marriage as part of the ideology of capitalism, etc.,

    and Ursula LeGuin, _The Dispossessed_ and “Matter of Seggri” in the story collection _Birthday of the World_.
    LeGuin’s science fiction takes us to different types of kinship and love-match practices with wit and style.

    Peace,Alison, and take a rest from the pressures of performing your public persona for a while! Enjoy the sunlight!

  106. Butch Fatale says:

    Oh I adore Sydney, and always have. My ex and I actually used to really love the Sydney/Mo debate stories because they were so similar to ours — earnestness v. devil’s advocate. Sydney’s not pseudo-academic — she’s an academic through and through (though often horribly pretentious) and much of that world is not shared by Mo. I think it makes sense that her connection to someone besides Mo would be in the context of that realm.

    I agree that in some ways this is a mono/poly conflict, and that Mo isn’t terribly receptive to that dialogue — of course, neither is Sydney. They just shout over the divide. But isn’t there another way to read this? Remember the episode at the vet’s, where Mo was on the phone to Fiona, and Sydney to Madeline while they waited for the doctor to see them and their cats? Sydney has taken on the household with Mo — after many battles about shared responsibility — and now that they’re settled, they’re both restless. Mo’s focus has been on library school (and Fiona) and Sydney’s on Madeline. While Mo and Fiona graduated and thus had no convenient excuse, Madeline and Sydney have been collaborators for years.

    They’ve both been distracted, both looking for connections outside their relationship (and thank god! No one relationship can sustain anyone), and unsurprisingly, that carried an sexual dynamic. The fact of Sydney’s emotional walls probably helped to simply have an affair rather than doing the work. But Mo knows what she’s up to, and if it was more important than being with Sydney, she would have broken it off.

    Wow. Okay, I really just wanted to say that since Lois has settled down from being the cranky and lusty character I’ve always loved, Sydney has been my favorite DTWOF. I’m notorious for going for the difficult ones. ::grin::

  107. Butch Fatale says:

    I didn’t realize that would turn into an emoticon! Oh lawsy. How advanced/retrograde. I even typed out “grin” in an effort to avoid illustration.

  108. JK says:

    I love that Alison’s not posting so much anymore, becuase it means she’s on vacation.

    Also love everybody’s romantic analysis. : )

  109. Aunt Soozie says:

    I’ve never disliked Sydney and I never thought of her as mean.
    Maybe I’ve just missed out on those episodes?

    I know she got weird and overly materialistic and seemed to become a complete emotion-phobe when she was diagnosed with cancer…it seems she never fully recooperated from that trauma.

    But have I missed more of her Meany-meaniness??
    Fill me in…

  110. shadocat says:

    Butch Fatale–I just want to put this in–My partner and I have been monogomous for several years now, and we’re very happy with each other. It really IS possible. I’m not saying this is what you’re saying, but I’ve read many a post that states after awhile cheating is inevitable in most long term relationships. In my case, that just hasn’t been true. I had one long term relationship with a partner that cheated on me, and the break of that trust was very, very painful.

    The other relationships I’ve had have broken up mostly because of other reasons: sexual incompatability, money issues, just plain being physically attracted, but mismatched in every other way. Not cheating, or being polyamorous w/o clueing in my partner.

    I agree with you on the emoticon thing. I don’t know what causes that problem. Sometimes, I’ve just posted something. ended my sentences with a period, go back to check on them and find a damn emoticon. Is that something AB’s staff could maybe check on?

  111. QKelly says:

    Sydney’s academic colleagues are “ancient”? God, most of them look like me and my collegial ilk. People in their prime, in other words. Or at least, so I would have said until reading the “a” word.

  112. WillesdenGal says:

    Midsouth Mouth,
    The MLA conference was in the end strip of “Invasion of the DTWOF”. I don’t know what the comic book term is, but the long one over numerous pages that AB puts at the end of each book and which appears only in the book, not in any of the magazines the strip is normally in.
    It was also in this strip that Toni slept with Gloria.

  113. little gator says:

    Why do they call it sleeping together even if you’re both awake the whole time, and might not even be bear a bed?

    Not that I’m implying anything about Toni and Gloria, since I didn’t read that one.

  114. Pam I says:

    off-topic – just read that Borders are struggling here and possibly pulling out of UK – see http://business.guardian.co.uk/story/0,,2040197,00.html
    they say it’s down to increaaed competition – ???? – like from all those local independent bookshops?

  115. straight girl fan says:

    Clarification — I don’t think Sydney thinks she and Madeleine could be a serious relationship. But I DO think that she thinks that they have some special, tortured, unstoppable passion. I think Sydney is getting off on the drama of it. And I suspect that Madeleine is much more blase about it, and that this would be a bit of shock to Sydney.

    I also don’t think that Sydney is really polyamorous at heart. Not in the sustained, out-in-the-open, ethical kind of way. I think she just likes talking about it because it’s titillating and shocks Mo. (Or she used to like to talk about it. Notice how she hasn’t raised the subject since she actually started cheating?)

  116. Lea says:

    yeah, and if you read the sequence about the mla convention where sydney and madeleine actually have sex, the whole thing isn’t so emotionally satisfying for sydney after all. i think she likes the idea of it much better than the actual thing…

  117. mk says:

    Yes, Sydney called Mo after the sex with Madeline to tell her she loved her – I really liked that scene, there was something very realistic about it. A lot of unsaid emotions.
    I love the character of Sydney too. In many ways she is more complex and interesting than the rest of the DTWOF gang.

  118. Lea says:

    well, what do you expect for someone ab would date, eh?

  119. Andrew B says:

    Mo’s inane comment is not totally random. There is somebody in the strip feeling something akin to survivor’s guilt: Sydney. Why else would she be waiting hand and foot on her ungrateful, demanding, emotional superfund site of a mother? “Doing your recycling”, indeed. Syd has been recycling her Mom’s emotional waste for years. (And Paul’s, but that story seems more complicated.)

    I feel like Mo does that kind of thing a lot: almost puts her finger on something important, but then undermines herself by applying her insight in some ludicrous way — talking about the cat rather than her partner, in this case. But I can’t cite another example off the top of my head.

    Polyamory or no polyamory, I think Madeleine is a user. She knows when people are vulnerable, and she takes advantage. (Incidentally, on the subject of polyamory, Madeleine is not openly polyamorous with her partner — who unexpectedly showed up at the hotel, forcing Sydney to flee the room.) I hope Mo pulls herself together in time to offer Sydney the support she needs before Madeleine can get her claws in.

  120. Butch Fatale says:


    Yes, to clarify I am not saying that monogamy without infidelity is not possible in the long-term. And of course, if Sydney is being “polyamorous” without telling Mo, she’s cheating. I’m just saying there’s a lot going on here and Sydney’s not an out and out villan.

    What I *am* saying is that no one relationship is enough — at least for most people. Sydney doesn’t reach out for support from her peers, she has Mo, but other than that it’s her students or her former professor. It’s not shocking that relationships (for both of them) with other women would have a sexual charge, particularly at a time when they’re both missing something from one another. Obviously, acting on that charge is another matter. I don’t, however, think that just because Mo didn’t act on it and Sydney did it means that Sydney’s the villian and Mo the victim.

  121. Andrea says:

    You can’t break up Mo and Sydney AND Toni and Clarice. I’m afraid I just can’t TAKE it.

  122. Silvio Soprani says:

    I think that from the jealous/insecure person’s point of view, there is not much distinction between one’s partner FEELING an attraction for someone else and ACTING on it.

    And I suppose in order to be able to appreciate the harmlessness of one’s partner feeling attracted to others, it helps if one notices others with enjoyment oneself.

    I suppose being afraid of those feelings is the difficulty.

    That’s all the articulateness I can muster today. I am off in search of a good haircut. Since I am not an artist, I can never draw my haircutter a picture. I can only describe what I want using the imprecision of my own words (and a few absurd gestures), which I later discover to have meant something different to me than they did to him. Gone are the days when I had a regular, seemingly psychic haircutter. Alas.

  123. mlk says:

    DF and Shadocat have commented on the polyamory theme w/Mo and Sydney. here are my thoughts — as a person who gave a partner permission to go outside the relationship because I couldn’t deal w/the sexual dynamics anymore. for me, it turned out to be a way to end a stagnant relationship. I suppose I’m open to being in a poly relationship but, as with so many things, I’d be entering into it as a novice. My experience is quite limited.

    I don’t see Sydney as being dishonest with Mo about her involvement with Madeleine just because they are (or were) in couple’s therapy around Sydney’s affair. Yes, Sydney agreed to the therapy — but that doesn’t change the fact that she’s been asking for an open relationship for some time now. My experience with couple’s therapy is that each party goes in with her own agenda and Sydney’s agenda is to negotiate an open relationship.

    A problem I have w/Sydney’s involvement with Madeleine is related to this not having been discussed with Mo ahead of time. Sydney told Mo some time back that she’d achieved her polyamory aims by having her work as her primary relationship and making Mo secondary, “the other woman.” Seems that Sydney blindsided Mo by entering into yet another relationship without Mo’s knowledge. And it so far as I can tell, Sydney hasn’t acknowledged this.

    I’ve got to agree w/DF that yes, polyamorists are in the minority and monogamy is still the “default” expectation in couple relationships. I’d like to point out that the minority position, the “other” position will be a threat to the majority until the minority position is better understood by the majority. This is true with polyamory, homosexuality, non-Christians (in the U.S. — obviously not in Muslim countries), and the list goes on and on. I’m glad to hear polyamorist voices here, especially since they have been non-defensive and, yes, informative.

    One last thought, and I hope this isn’t thoroughly undigestible. Or unintelligible.

    The het majority fear GLBT people in part because to them, gays and lesbians are non-monogamous. straight = monogamous, gay = non-monogamous. never mind that this isn’t true, that the discussion here indicates polyamory is in the minority in our community, too. we *are* more open and accepting of polyamory than straight people will admit to being.

    generally speaking, of course. I don’t want to offend any straight polyamorous readers!

    much as I love Mo, I have to agree with those who’ve pointed out that she’s just as unresponsive to Sydney’s needs as Sydney has been to hers. Sydney’s taking care of her mother while trying to prepare a paper for a panel and her work for the conference (her supposedly primary relationship) is being neglected. Mo’s response: that’s too bad. listen, I’m worried about Virginia.

    what’s so sad here is that I believe both are doing the best they can in this relationship . . . unless there’s some sort of divine intervention. I still cringe when I recall how miserably my first female lover and I failed each other, despite our best efforts.

  124. mlk says:

    oops!! my earnestness after everyone else being easygoing is painful — to me at least. I posted today before reading.

    silvio, I know what you mean about seeking out a good haircut. stylists seem to think I should have less hair than I want to have — something about having delicate features. I end up telling them how I want it and the results can leave something to be desired. has to do with the uninformed telling the pro what to do. just can’t help myself!

  125. Lea says:

    ah, silvio, good luck getting a haircut that looks like you actually want it to… i always have this problem. usually, my haircut ends up looking ok or good, but it’s never quite like i wanted it… but you never know, maybe it’s your lucky day. happy friday, everyone.

  126. Silvio Soprani says:


    don’t worry about sounding earnest. I always marvel at how gracefully others get away with it, whereas I just sound whiny or wounded (to myself) when I allow myself to get serious here. (Hair and Food–much safer issues, but you can’t win if you don’t play!)

  127. Jana C.H. says:

    My philosophy of haircuts is based on the recognition that I always put off getting haircuts for much too long (as I do with just about everything else. I have to join the Procrastinators Society someday!) I start out getting it shorter than is really ideal, then wait three or four months until it is longer than is really ideal before getting sheared again. Meanwhile it looks reasonably decent for most of that period. Who has time to fuss over hair? There are books to be read!

    Jana C.H.
    Saith F.C. Bernand: Cut! It strikes me I’ve had it mowed!

  128. Silvio Soprani says:

    I tend to go in ten-year cycles; ten years with really long hair, then 10 years with a buzz cut.

    What always strikes me as odd is how many people remark, “Oh, now that you’ve cut your hair, it must be so much easier to take care of.” HA! SO not true.

    You can put long hair in braids or a pony tail and be done with it. It always looks the same and no mental adjustment is necessary. (That’s the reason that eventually I need to cut it, just to break out of the ennui…)

    Short hair finds a thousand ways to cause you anguish. You have to comb it, gel it, blow dry it, and just generally SCRUTINIZE IT before you dare leave the house. (Unless you are blessed with total unselfconsciousness, a quality not to be sneezed at.)

    Once you cut your hair, you discover more currents, cowlicks, and vortexes than Sedona, Arizona has. Places form spirals, stick up, stick out, or lay down contrary to your efforts to get them to do the opposite.

    I always thought Shania Twain expressed it well when she sang, “…my hair went flat; MAN I hate that!”

    By the way, my haircutter instructed me to call him at 8:30 tomorrow morning (well, later THIS morning; it’s the middle of the night here) to see if he was free to cut my hair. I had to admire his enterprising spirit, to be ready to work so early on a Saturday morning.

    Must sleep now. Sweet dreams, All.

  129. Chris (from Massachusetts) says:

    Foo! I left my comment in the wrong thread! It should have been in the O’Hare Airport one.

  130. Silvio Soprani says:

    Saturday Morning–Continuing Saga of My Haircut:
    Called the haircutter, as instructed, at 8:30 AM; it rang and rang and rang.
    Took a walk around the corner to the Spanish-speaking establishment that advertises “UNISEX” haircuts. (Worried about how I will communicate in sign language.)
    Dark and Closed.
    Kept walking. Walked past traditional barber shop, complete with striped pole.
    9 AM: barber sweeping and plugging things in. Knocked on door. Elderly white barber in white barber smock looks at me quizzically (me in rain with umbrella) and asks, “What do you want?” (I mean, DUH!)
    “A haircut,” I reply.
    “I don’t cut women’s hair,” he said.
    (I start to explain, “I just want a fade. It’s just hair…” His face is blank)
    Pointless to argue.

    Kept walking, found modest yet modern joint with two men and a woman waiting, one quite short-haired female in barber chair, and a real live receptionist.
    Made an appointment for tomorrow.

    As hard as I try to branch out and create synthesis, I confess it is a relief to find a place where I don’t feel like a weirdo and don’t have to explain.

    All this reminds of me how I felt in 1969, the first time I walked into the men’s department in Sears to buy an honest-to-god pair of mens’ levy jeans that had real pockets and did not have that stupid side zipper.

    Thanks all for letting me vent.

  131. mk says:

    Butch Fatale,
    Agreed, it seems like Sydney is the one everyone projects their issues with betrayal onto, and says “poor Mo.” I also wonder why everyone is so fixated on “the act” of sex. After all, Mo did have an affair with Fiona, even if they never “did it”. Seems very Clinton-like, “I never ______ with that woman.”
    I guess that’s the fun of the DTOWF soap opera. All us readers get to pick who’s the bad guy and the good guy and then run with it.

  132. Maggie Jochild says:

    Silvio, I love your saga, I really do.

    My own haircutter is Ruben, at a “Unisex” $7 place where all the staff and clientele are Latino/a. I wrote a poem about it that got published in a good anthology. Ruben is either transgender or a drag queen or just gay, I’ve never asked for his self-definition — he does go by he, at least at work. He has nice lady-style clothes, decent breasts, long bleach-blond hair, blue contact lenses, and he never fucking blinks when I say I want him to use the #2 setting on the buzzer.

    The rest of the staff adore him, and he always has the longest list of people waiting for him to cut his hair because he’s just that good. It’s a trip to me to see these burly stiff Latino gangbangers sitting there for an hour just so they can get Ruben to cut their hair, instead of any of the other men and women on staff. He cuts through all prejudice, seems like. I tip him $8, still paying only $15 for a great buzz-fade.

    My godson usually goes with me to get my hair cut, and Ruben chats him up, shows him what he’s doing, admires my godson’s shoulder-length flaxen hair. The first few times I went there, I was the fat crippled gringa marimacha and got some serious stares, but hey, I learned a long time ago to deal with my own discomfort about being the only white person in a room full of folks of color and before too long, they cut me some slack. Now I’m a regular.

  133. Silvio Soprani says:

    hey, maggie, I hear ya!

    I suppose the living-room/kitchen-like atmosphere of a true hair salon/barber shop is the reason for both feeling accepted and not feeling accepted at these places. (The regulars don’t want you to interfere with THEIR feeling of okay-ness either.)

    The people who frequent a certain barber shop keep going there because there is a continuity of relationship with the crowd there (kind of like this blog!). There is humor, gossip, and hopefully utility there. (like, a good haircut!)

    the times I have tried to crash, for instance, an african-american barber shop full of men, I have met initial scepticism about what I am doing there, but both times, my sincerity and bravery kind of got me over the hump to acceptance, and after that I found nothing but civility and good humor. The reason I went there in the first place was because that is where I could get the good haircut I was seeking.

    Since I am not a “girly-girl,” (nothing wrong with girl-girls, I am just not one) I have never felt comfortable in a ladies salon, but I suppose that is just my lack of imagination in thinking I could not relate there too.

    What I really seek is a haircutter who will look at my head of hair and have creative visions, and take responsibility for being artistic with my hair. (I suppose that is every person’s dream walking into a salon.)

    My confession is that when I watch those “Legally Blond” movies with Reese Witherspoon, I secretly wish I were part of a sisterhood of people (I don’t insist that they be women) who are so happy about they way they look. It seems like fun.

    I do remember once, years ago, some serious musician dykes that I knew held a “Henna Party” (pun on “hen party”–get it?) in their backyard where they put henna in each others’ hair and chilled out all day just bein’ dykes. Now, doesn’t that sound therapeutic?

    (I was kind of amazed to know that these particular women ever lightened up like that…it reminds me of a time that a very radical dyke couple that I knew from some political assocations told me they would be in Cancun the following week. Thinking there was some major political demo happening there that I didn’t know about, I asked, “Oh what are you going to be doing?” and one woman said, “Oh some serious sunbathing, I hope.” They were going on VACATION! Who knew?)

    Sometimes I can be very naive.

  134. Ellen Orleans says:

    What’s a buzz fade? Sounds like it could be a jazz term.

  135. Maggie Jochild says:

    Ellen, I’m using the term a little incorrectly, for descriptive purposes. (Been writing fiction all morning, my juices are in full flow.) Stealing from Wikipedia, a FADE is a short buzz cut on the side faded into a longer buzzcut on the top, ie. a 2 on the side and a 4 on top. Can also be a finger-length or longer scissor/razor/clipper over comb cut on top.

    Some folks (dykes here, especially) bypass the fade for a definitive line between short buzz on the bottom, longer on top. I’m not sure, but I think that’s called a wedge. Some dykes also have longer hair on one part of the top than another (like Rosie did for a while) or magnificent “forelocks” at the front. I’d go for the latter except I have an intransigent cowlick at my left front hairline which makes any sort of bangs (fringe, for the Brits) come out looking all David Hasselhoffy, which I cannot abide.

    But — feel free, all you linguistic types, to start making up the musical meanings of a buzz fade.

  136. little gator says:

    Maggie-we have identical cowlicks!

    I don’t know what my haircut is called. I just kept telling Judy I wanted it short, and After a while she knew what I wanted and i stopped takling about it.

    The previous haircutter told me i couldnt possibly have it that short without gelling it. I had to go through the foolishness of her putting gel on it, which I then washed out.

    I just comb it straight back int he shower after washing it, and seldom need to do anything else. It’s curly enough that any slight sloppiness doesn’t show much, but not surly enough to be difficult.

  137. little gator says:

    oh. Not curly enough to be difficult. I’d hate to have surly hair.

    too lazy to work up the obvious “snarly” joke.

  138. Deena in OR says:

    little gator-actually, surly works there(grin). My hair has a mind of its own, and can become quite surly when it wants.

  139. mlk says:

    Silvio, thanks for the reassurance. reassuring, too, to learn I’m not the only one who gets insecure.

    someone asked a LONG way back how Mo met Sydney and when she will dump her. can’t answer the 2nd one, of course, but the story of their meeting is chronicled in Hot, Throbbing DTWOF. Basically, Sydney moves to town for an academic gig and woos the pants off of Mo. this only happens, though, after she admits what a schmuck she has been and apologizes to Thea for abandoning her and running to Madeleine shortly after Thea’s MS is diagnosed.

    so . . . Madeleine and Sydney go a LONG way back. they’re a recurrent theme in each other’s lives.

    I’d like to see Mo and Syd work out this polyamory thing and get back to being happy together. if it’s even possible. of course, I’d also like Sydney to be less materialistic — in some ways, I find that more offensive in her than her dishonesty.

    I don’t know that Paul is necessarily losing his faculties. In this instance, it may just be that he hasn’t gotten used to a new toy and is too self centered to remember the thread of his daughter’s life. Jennifer would know, but Paul?

    seems this strip may be commentary about how too many new toys defeat any ease that technology supposedly gives us. who needs to figure out yet another way to keep a calendar? or make a phone call? or remember someone’s name? instead of programming our lives, why don’t we just live them? Luddite views here, I know . . .

  140. maNFan says:

    To equate Sydney with Lois is to insult Lois really.

    Lois is very upfront about herself. She knows what game she’s playing, and seem to stick with other players playing the same game by the same rules.

    I don’t recall any major episodes since I started reading way back in the mid-90s an instance of Lois purposely lying to someone the way Sydney lies to Mo on an ongoing basis.

    Lois is a true sexual rebel, and she makes that absolutely clear. Lois seems to embody the Lesian Saphist sexuality.

    Sydney is a conformist. Who acts to standards, but when no one is looking she cheats, lies about it, and if she is not caught red handed. She thinks nothing of it.

    And no doubt for Sydney, being caught naked in bed with another woman would not be enough. You’d have to take a photo of her engaging. LOL

    She uses Mo’s desire to see only what she wants to see, her desire to see the positive against Mo so she can continue to cheat and lie.

    These behaviors ironically make Sydney far more mannish than Lois is in her best drag king moment. LOL

    Sydney and all her rationalizations for cheating, and her utter dismissal (in her behavior) of anything Mo does for her (after all she deserves it, she’s been sick)is oh so typically male, mannish….. so Bushlike. LOL

    If Sydney were a male character (heaven forbid ;-)there would be no one who would sympathize with her.

    She’d be seen as a selfish louse, using her partner.

    Who by the way in terms of how she relates to Sydney, Once again shadocat you’re right, Mo does act a bit too much like the doormat Sydney sees her as being.

    One thing that would be fun to see is an encounter between Lois and Sydney. Talk about oil and water.

    Being the typical cheating spouse does not a sexual rebel make. LOL

    Oh and for the record, I am a polygamous at heart. Personally I feel the ideal relationship should have 3 or more partners romantically engaged.

    HOWEVER in my relationships my partners were monogamous, and so was I.

    It’s about honesty and trust, not sex, and that is Sydney’s biggest flaw is.

  141. Pope Snarky Goodfella of the undulating cable, POEE says:

    Hail Eris!

    I looked at the YouTube vid, Suzanonymous, but I don’t see what you’re seeing…



  142. shadocat says:


    I didn’t mean to equate Sydney with Lois! Sydney is despicable in her dishonesty. I just meant, if the strip has to focus on a character that has a vatiety of sex partners, why can’t we see more of Lois?

    Other, than that, I gree with you.

  143. Silvio Soprani says:

    I think your assessment of Lois is right on the money.
    “She sticks with other players playing the same game with the same rules.”
    I am hopelessly serially monogamous (at the moment, serially single), but if anyone would be able to demonstrate for me how polyamory could work, it would be Lois. (Although actually, I think Lois sticks with one person at a time, even it if it’s a one-nighter!)But she has the honest, righteous nature that would be necessary to be polyamorous.

    And I agree, I can’t remember her ever two-timing anyone. I asked this once before and nobody bit–but who remembers that horrible older, partnered woman (in an “open” relationship) whom Lois took up with? It almost killed her-Lois really suffered by not being able to access Emma (i think that was her name) most times. Can anyone confirm I did not imagine this?

    Back to the “fade:” Ellen, Maggie explained it very well.
    But just to add my two cents: a “buzz” means your head is shaved pretty close to the scalp, like a Marine. (For those of us who don’t know the # of the clippers being used, of which Maggie appears to be a pro…)
    A fade, as Maggie explained, is a very gradual transition between the close-to-the-scalp part and the longer hair at the top of your head.

    I personally do not favor the definitive line myself, preferring the sublime and subtle gradual fade, but to each her own..

    I also really like the Grace Jones squarehead look, where the top of your head appears to have sharp corners rather than an arc.

    You know, I have often thought that the shape of auto bodies is the most accessible form of sculpture in our society that everyone seems to have a relationship with, even if they never walk into a museum. But hair dos are also a form of sculpture.

    The 80s took a lot of flack for those short front/long curly back hair styles on men (the mullet?). (most noticeable contrast–Tim Allen in Galaxy Quest. In the flashback of the tv show he had the mullet (short/long), whereas in the “present” timeline of the movie, he had a shorter do.)

    But after the boring 50s, and the untidy 60s, I think men’s hair liberated itself. The heavy metal bands had long locks (must have gone through a LOT of cream rinse), and the 80s were just too camp, but very flamboyant, I think.

    Now we are in kind of a vacuum, as far as hair goes. Political women wear really boring helmets; men are not even trying.

    The exception is all those far-out braiding patterns you see on male hip hop singers. And black men in pig tales. They have totally reclaimed a hairstyle across age and gender. That always blows my mind.

  144. Midsouth Mouth says:

    to be more culturally specific, complicated braiding for Black/African American men was reclaimed from the centuries-old cultures of…Africa. although some people might have resisted the hateful, confused Euro culture’s dictates and worn their braids, the biggest upsurge was during the Black Arts movement from the 60s on.

    You still find some racist (and internalized hateful )resistance disguised as concern for professionalism/neatness, etc.

    Just as some lesbians/women with more butch or trans presentation get pushed around about their hair being too “extreme”, Black men and women get all kinds of drama over our hair–
    or else the opposite freakshow effect where people think we should stop what we are doing to let them cop a feel .

  145. straight girl fan says:

    I remember Lois’s affair with Emma. I quite enjoyed that story-line. We got to see Lois thrown for a loop, which we don’t often see. And I especially liked the portrayal of Emma’s family. I wonder what her kids are up to these days?

    And on the topic of characters we miss — I miss Jezanna’s dad. He’s a hoot!

  146. Maggie Jochild says:

    Midsouth Mouth (love the internal rhyme), it’s not just lesbians with so-called butch or trans presentation whose hair is deemed unacceptable. There’s actually a very narrow range of hair styles allowed for white women — almost all of them include length and some kind of messing about with it, plus concealment of the face. (Which is what I hate most about the acceptable norm.) If it’s short, it has to be either “young and cute” short with the gel someone mentioned above, or over 60 short where you don’t count as attractive to men any more regardless. Default is male, everything else is not-male, and women who visibly transgress are, most specifically, not “real women” no matter how they self-identify. I’m not butch, not trans, and exuberantly female. And I think my hair is very womanly, just not the way they define it. But then, they’ve been so wrong about so many things.

  147. Midsouth Mouth says:

    Maggie Jochild,
    I did qualify with “*some* lesbians*/women* with *more* butch or trans presentation”– but I do get your point. I also agree that age has a lot to do with what people balk at.
    In the eyes of the deciders, it doesn’t matter what we call ourselves, because they’ve got boxes picked out ahead of time.

    On the other hand, hairstyles and clothes styles can be handy, but they are not fullproof communication devices. My partner is over 50, silver, and Virginian. We do the haircut tango Silvio mentioned above. It’s a good thing we met in LBGTQ circumstances, because we coudl have both read each other differently here in the MidSouth!

    I enjoy your comments here, Maggie Jochild, and a Austin friend revealed your work to me several years ago. I’m glad you enjoy the internal rhyme of my handle, too.

  148. Maggie Jochild says:

    Midsouth Mouth, well, you certainly charmed the socks right offa me. Who’s yr Austin friend? Tell her hi, and thanks.

    Today, my fine ABBloggers, is the 96th anniversary of the terrible Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City. I’ve noticed that we have Clara Lemlich as one of the posters here — perhaps she will have a few words to share with us. While we wait, and honor the dead, I’ll reprint here the traditional Yiddish oath the striking shirtwaist workers made: “If I turn traitor to the cause I now pledge, may this hand wither from the arm I now raise”.

  149. Silvio Soprani says:

    One of friends years ago told me that she feels the most like herself when her hair is really buzzed because then her face is fully revealed and she can’t hide it from the world. I read that as daring oneself to have to face the world, and then one rises to the task. (responding to your comment, Maggie, about the norm demanding some kind of “concealment of the face.”)

    Midsouth, yes, people are so clueless when they reach out and try to touch your head. I get that right after a haircut–I guess it activates the “teddy bear syndrome” in people–they just have to touch it.

    It always makes me realize how rigid I am about not touching other people without being invited to first. Most people don’t even think twice about it.

    Straight girl, I’m glad I did not imagine Lois’s affair with Emma. Actually, Emma’s smugness made me want to smack her..I have never felt as hostile as that toward Sydney, who can be pompous, but not smug. (Her struggles are too visible to us for her to ever seem smug.)

  150. Maggie Jochild says:

    Midsouth Mouth, well, you certainly charmed the socks right offa me. Who’s yr Austin friend? Tell her hi, and thanks.

    Today, my fine ABBloggers, is the 96th anniversary of the terrible Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in New York City. I’ve noticed that we have Clara Lemlich as one of the posters here — perhaps she will have a few words to share with us. While we wait, and honor the dead, I’ll reprint here the traditional Yiddish oath the striking shirtwaist workers made: “If I turn traitor to the cause I now pledge, may this hand wither from the arm I now raise.”

  151. shadocat says:

    The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire! This has long been a subject close to my heart as I have a family connection, and grew up hearing stories of what the garment workers had to endure. for anyone not familiar, I’m posting a link–it’ll at least give those unfamiliar an overview.


  152. Maggie Jochild says:

    Wow, Silvio — what’s your family connection? I don’t have a personal connection but ever since I heard the story, from Jewish dykes when I was 20-something, I’ve been extraordinarily moved by the story and especially the aftermath.

  153. Feminista says:

    Maggie–Gracias for the reminder about this anniversary day. I learned about it in 1971 as part of my research for a labor history seminar;we chose our own topics and mine was women in the labor movement. And I too would like to hear from blog poster Clara Lemlich.

    No direct family connection,but I’m sure my Ukranian Jewish immigrant grandparents,as Socialist Party members and women’s rights supporters,were very aware of the garment workers’ issues. Before her marriage,Grandma had worked in a jewelry sweatshop in Providence,RI.

    Meredith Tax’s novel Rivington Street provides a very readable account of the social/political movements of the first 20 years of the 20th Century,centered on the women of an immigrant Russian Jewish family that setttles in the vibrant New York Lower East Side.

  154. LM says:

    I have a long-held interest in the Triangle Shirtwaist fire. Somehow though, it hadn”t struck me until now that this isn’t some tale of distant past. Hell, my father was a young adult when it happened. No wonder he had so little patience with remarks about “the good old days”: long hours at very low pay around machines that never heard of safety guards. Buy say what you will, those days were largely cancer-free. White collar types keeled over at 55 of heart attacks. Blue collar folks had to run the gamut of imdustrial accidents and infectuous diseases to live long enough to worry about cancer.

  155. little gator says:

    So I looked up the Triangle fire, and saw a link to the Cocoanut Grove fire in Boston 1942.

    When we were little and my mother had a newborn(there were 7 of us), she hired a woman named Mrs. Robinson to help out. The story of how she was chosen was-the peditrician gave my mother a list of referrals, and Mrs Robinson happened to be the first and only one she called.

    Mrs Robinson was a licensed practical nurse.Long after she died, my mother told me she’d worked at the aftermath of the Cocoanut Grove fire. She was at the morgue, caring for those who fainted while identifying the dead.

    I only knew her when she was semi-retired and after she retired she’d still visit us, and seemed to be having a good life, but her early life was very sad. Her first husband died in WWI, and their only child died as a toddler of disease. BY the time she married a second time she was too old to have any more children, and she’d outlived all her family.

    She died before I was old enough to think of asking her about her life, but I’m sure she had more stories.

  156. Silvio Soprani says:


    It was shadocat (not I)who said she had a family connection.

    Oddly enough, my father and his seven sisters grew up in an immigrant Italian neighborhood in Brooklyn, NY. Most of my aunts were seamstresses (although freelance, for the most part.)

    My father managed a sewing factory in the Bronx all his life and I often visited it as a child. The workers were mostly immigrant women–mostly Jewish, Puerto Rican, and Italian.

    Hopefully by the mid-50s, things had changed a lot since Triangle. The plant was unionized and this was considered acceptable and normal(I often heard stories about the union issues at my dinner table). I was only a small child when I visited, but I still vividly remember being walked around to meet all the ladies, who seemed pretty happy and laid back, by 1950s standards.I was just a kid, but that was the vibe I got. (It was way after the atrocities of the 20s and way before women’s lib, so who knows?)

    I remember a lot of good food being given as gifts to my father by those ladies–provolone cheese and salomi, bagels and lox, good cookies and stuff like that.

    These gifts seem evidence that the employees were probably being treated alright. Oh, to go back in time with grown-up eyes!

  157. anon-eponymous says:

    I admire Sydney’s willingness to antagonize almost anybody. I’ld admire her even more if she had the courage to antagonize her boss. But presumably that will happen only once she gets tenure.

    Sydney is the only character who makes sense to me.

    Her affaire with Madeleine has a lot of pathos now that Madeleine has had surgery because of her breast cancer.

  158. K.B. says:

    (a) Sydney has tenure,

    (b) she does not have a boss.

  159. LondonBoy says:


    I’m not sure whether you’re male or female, but I’m male. I am, in fact, a man, and I’d just like to say that I don’t care for your characterisation of certain behaviour patterns as “mannish” ( cheating, being dismissive, selfish, etc. ). Whilst there are certainly plenty of men who are like that, there are also plenty of women who are too. Equally, there are plenty of men who are faithful to their partners, are respectful of other people’s views, and are unselfish and generous in all ways, just as there are plenty of women with these attributes.

    Now, not only am I a man, but I’m a gay man, so I’d also like to take issue with your reference to “the typical gay man who confuses infatuation with love and is obsessed with shallow material things and the next fuck”. It barely needs saying that whilst there are indeed gay men who meet this stereotype, there are also plenty of gay men who are perfectly capable of distinguishing a rush of hormones from a genuine emotion, are not even mildly interested in material possessions, and hardly think about sex at all.

    This is my twenty-ninth year as an active member of, and contributor to, the LGBT movement. Much of our movement’s work has been aimed at changing people’s perception of gender and sexuality, and recognising and valuing the diversity and individuality of all people, without pre-judgement. With this in mind, I’d like to ask you to think carefully about what you said. I didn’t want to be stereotyped in the 1970s, and I don’t want to be stereotyped now.

  160. anon-eponymous says:

    (a) then she should start antagonizing the Dean or Chair or Head of Committee X real soon. (Last I remember, she was grimacing and telling her father she didn’t have tenure yet; maybe she got it when I wasn’t paying attention.)

    (b) is an academic fiction (but a pleasing one for some academics)

  161. Jain says:

    For more historical fiction, from the shtetl to the Triangle Fire, find a copy of Elana Dykewomon’s terrific Beyond the Pale.

  162. Maggie Jochild says:

    I second the Beyond the Pale recommendation, I read that book five years ago and there’s not a week that goes by where I don’t think about some aspect of it.

    Sorry for confusing you two, Silvio and Shado — I absolutely know the difference, as you are both aware. So, Shado, tell us YOUR connection. And thanks for sharing, Silvio. You know, the 19th century immigrants to this country who gave us the garment industry, the entertainment industry, the restaurant industry — where would we be without them? Just like modern day immigrants, I don’t want to see what happens to us without their influences, either.

  163. Maggie Jochild says:

    P.S. LondonBoy, you GO, girl!

  164. Deena in OR says:

    Wonders if anyone is archiving this stuff…..

  165. Flo says:

    Deena, yeah I found myself thinking that too…

  166. bean says:

    i think manFan made some interesting points, and i think it is not unusual or necessarily bad to draw stereotypes and generalizations about people who are in positions of power, in this case men within patriarchy and in relation to women. if anyone knows individual men who don’t meet the steroetypes, that’s great. i think it’s great that there are men who challenge with their actions and behaviors the expectations that most of us have come to have of men. Those men know it is not they who are being stereotyped.

    i do think it is problematic for a man to refer to a woman (even a fictional one) as “mannish” in a derogatory way. Why not just say that she cheats and lies and that is unethical?

  167. Deena in OR says:


    I’m looking for the Toni-Gloria backstory. Does anyone know offhand what the episode numbers are (approximately)? All I’ve seen is the one or two where Gloria and Toni were sitting together with Raffi and Stella at Pride.

  168. shadocat says:

    My Triangle Story-

    This involves my family on Dad’s side; to be precise, my Dad’s mother’s family. They’re an interesting bunch; devout German Catholics that are rumored to have in fact been immigrant Polish Jews, who fled Poland to Germany sometime in the mid-19th century and converted to blend in and stop the persecuting. This is a subject that is debated a lot at reunions, and there are a few that don’t believe it. I think there is a strong possibility it might be true–my gramma often used words that I found out later were Yiddish
    and looking at photographs of her very large family of origin (14 children, most with dark hair and beautiful soulful eyes)well, lets just say they were hardly “Arayan” looking.

    Gramma’s family ended up on the Dakota prairie, but Gramma had a maternal cousin, who, although had the given name of “Anna”, has always been referred to as “Aunt Pussie” (I swear, my hand to God i’s true; what’s even weirder is my late, ex-husband also had an “Aunt Pussie” on HIS side of the family, so go figure. It must’ve been a popular nickname at that time).

    Anyway, Aunt Pussie’s family lived in New York, and she started working in the garment district in her early teens. She was also somewhat of a rebel, and continued the family tradition of being very liberal and a little too polically active in some eyes–I think she had a labor-organizer boyfriend. She aldo worked at Triangle for some time, but was supposedly fired for slipping on the floor there, and breaking her hand. She stayed home doing “piece work” with her mother and younger siblings, making ladies’ hats. A few weeks later, the Triangle factory burned. Supposedly she and a brother went down to the site—they also repeat the story of some “mysterious person” who seemed to appear out of nowhere on the upper floors, encouraging the young women to jump to their deaths–now this is all family lore so please don’t take it for gospel. But the following part I know for a fact to be true.

    Aunt Pussie became very active in the labor movement after the fire, and was involved in some violent, toublesome activities (at least in the eyes of those in charge). But when the U’S. became involved in WWI, there was a great amount of anti-German sentiment in the U.S. Recent (and sometimes not so recent) German immigrants were rounded up and arrested. And of course, if you were a rabble rouser, all the more reason to lock you up. Some prisoners were released, after they could demonstrate a working knowledge of the English language, and signed a loyalty oath. Others were not so fortunate, and spent years in prison.

    Aunt Pussie’s relatives worked the family tree in America, and came up with a large enough “reparation” (bribe) to free her. (This same thing was repeated almost 100 years later, with my own uncle, a Franciscan priest imprisoned at Gitmo (yeah THE GITMO) for protesting the US gov.’s bombing of the Puerto Rican Island of Viejcas(please don’t check the spelling!) for military excercises. This is an island where people live, work, raise their families!Yes, he cut a hole in the fence and stepped over the line–but the guy was 80 years old!We couldn’t let him rot in Gitmo; and it cost a TON to get him out (all under thee heading of legal fees, natch.)

    Anyway, Aunt P supposedly was never the same. She was brought to the prairie to live with the other part of her family. As the story goes, “unspeakable things” happened to her during her jail time–I never knew what they were, because, well–they were “unspeakable”. I do know she had some sort of “nervous breakdown’, and was never active politically, for herself again. However, she did marry a guy who eventually served in the South Dakota legislature. Never had kids, but always generous to nieces and nephews. I wish I could have met her, but she died before I was born.

    I’ve often thought if I ever wrote a book, it would be about her, or at least based on her. I do have a little grouping of hat feathers left over from the “piece work” she did with her mother. It was said she always kept it to remember how far she’d come in life. Someday if I ever get the technology, I’ll take a picture of it, and post a link here for you all to get a look at. Right now it sits on my desk to remind me that no matter how much I may be not be satisfied with my lot in life, I work in a building that’s reasonably safe. And I hope I never have to do “piece work”.

  169. shadocat says:

    sorry about the typos–a combination of arthritis and a very faulty, old computer.

  170. Maggie Jochild says:

    Incredible, Shado. Thank you SO MUCH for writing all that down.

    From piece work to peace work….

  171. little gator says:

    What maggie said.

    thank you.

  172. liza says:

    Fascinating, Shado. Thanks for telling us.

  173. Andrew B says:

    Deena, the recent Toni/Gloria backstory isn’t in regular episodes; it’s the supplemental story in the back of _Invasion of the DTWOF_. On the chance that you aren’t familiar with the books, each of them has a fairly long back section that is supplementary to the biweekly strip. They make the books worth buying even if you’ve been following the strip.

    Toni and Gloria also have a backstory going back around ten years. If that’s what you were looking for, you need to find some strips from around 1997. They would be archived at PlanetOut if they’re archived at all.

  174. Andrew B says:

    Not 1997 — 1995. Look for #222 and some preceding strips, I’m not sure which. #223 is about the OJ Simpson verdict. God, I feel old. #223 was an excellent strip. Alison made more sense of the competing attitudes toward the trial than at least 99% of the pundits at the time. I really felt for Jezanna.

    #222 is in _Hot Throbbing_. Presumably the earlier Toni/Gloria strips would be in _Unnatural_, which I don’t own.

  175. sunicarus says:

    Incredible, Shadocat. Thank you for sharing.

  176. Butch Fatale says:


    I think it’s massively unfair to wholesale assign traits to a gender. Shall we talk next about the fickleness of women and their gossiping, gold-digging ways? Of course not! Maybe Sydney is lying and scheming, but that doesn’t make her mannish — it just makes her badly behaved. Let’s not excuse poor behavior by deeming it a trait of one group, nor condemn that group by assuming them all to be users and abusers.


    I don’t think it’s fair to say that “Those men know it is not they who are being stereotyped.” It’s dangerous to assume that anyone would know that if you’re talking about their group you’re not talking about them.

    Our valid criticisms of power and those in power lose much of their weight when we fall prey to using the same lazy ways of thinking that have oppressed us. Don’t forget Audre Lorde’s warning about the master’s tools.

  177. silvio soprani says:

    I regret that I (a woman) did not address (in support of gay men) MaNFan’s unfortunate remarks about equating bad behavior with being “mannish” but you seem to have done it more than adequately.

    It is important to call people on stuff that does not put oneself down directly, because as we used to chant (quite ungrammatically,)”None of us are free until all of us are free.”

    I keep meaning to read John Stoltenberg’s “Refusing to be a Man.” Does anyone remember the magazine that was published in the early 90s, “CHANGING MAN” ? It was quite good, but I don’t think it lasted very long, as feminist publications often operate on shaky ground, financially speaking.

    MaNFan, hope you are not feeling freaked out by having some of your language challenged here. Everyone (hopefully) is trying to grow and sometimes it pinches a bit.

  178. straight girl fan says:

    I don’t mean to get all petty here, but it’s a simple fact that academic faculty members do not have “a boss” — that is, a supervisor to whom they report. Note that this is *not* the same as saying that they aren’t accountable to anyone.

    In most cases, the opinion that weighs most heavily in promotion and tenure is that of one’s departmental colleagues. Which has the nice feature of making the accountability mutual, rather than one-way. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of petty politics and aggravation. It’s not a perfect system, but it’s a pretty good one.

  179. shadocat says:

    lil’ gator; I thought your story was fascinating too. I think I saw a story on the “Coconut Grove” fire on A&E a few years ago;very sad and just shows what happpens when commerce and greed takes predence over safety. Interesting fact I learned from this documentary; this is why we have a standard door that opens “out” on either side when a revolving door is present. Many folks at the “Coconut” died while trying to get out the single revolving door at the front of the club. Firefighters had to actually dismantle the thing to get inside the place. Your “Mrs. Robinson” sounds like quite a woman gator-obviously your mama had good instincts

  180. shadocat says:

    Oh, and for everyone else-you’re welcome!

    Here’s a link about Vieques (that’s how ya spell it!)
    FYI–the guy who cut the fence? My uncle the radical priest…sometimes my family does make me proud…


  181. anon-eponymous says:

    Regarding the “boss” question: “A rose by any other name…”

    The opinions of prestigious professors in other universities or large research institutions weigh quite heavily in the computer science tenure process. This is why a computer science professor coming up for tenure will tour the country, giving talks at the institutions with which important professors in his subdiscipline are associated. The opinions of immediate colleagues are, of course, important too.

  182. little gator says:

    I’ve heard that deadly fires inspired the use of “crash bar doors” in so many public places. You’ve all used them even if you don’t know the name-the handle is a bar at about 3 feet up form the floor. If you hit the bar the door opens, even if it’s locked from the outside.

    And no matter how much of a panic you might be in, you dont’ have to fumble with a doorknob or anything-just push it.

    ps to an earlier thread-I remember my brother taking a grey rabbit crosscountry(returning to MA from Ca) in 1972. He and a friend went on an adventure right after high school. But the time they got to the west coast, the friend’s elderly car had died(how many Studebakers were still running in 1972?) so my brother took the Grey Rabbit back. I forget what his friend did.

    He was in a crowd scene on an episode of Mc Cloud(an old tv show) that was filmed when he was in NYC. We’ve teased him forvever-he wasn’t visble till the horse left the scene, so we said he was something left by a horse’s behind. Ot something like that.

  183. Feminista says:

    Silvio–Yes,I remember Changing Man. It was still being published as of 2003/4.

    Men’s Lives by Michael Kimmel and Michael Messner is a very good anthology on men & masculinity–includes men of a variety of racial and ethnic identities,and from gay,bi and hetero perspectives. 4th edition was published in ’99 by Allyn and Bacon. Heard Kimmel speak in Portland 2 years ago–very humorous yet sensitive presentation.

  184. silvio soprani says:


    Thanks very much for letting me know! I will have to search a little harder to find Changing Man. And I will add Men’s Lives to my list.

    Studebakers were disappearing fast in the 60s. We had a couple–a Silver Hawk — I think it was a ’62 or something like that, and my father was always talking about something called a “Grand Turismo.” (It sounded grand!)

    How bittersweet it is to ponder that something we all grew up with (the crash bar) came out of so many unfortunate disasters.

    I always liked that bumper sticker: “The _____________, the people who brought you the weekend.” (But who WAS it who brought us the weekend? I can’t remember the most important part of the bumper sticker! Was it the AFL-CIO? The Socialist Party? Who? )

  185. silvio soprani says:

    By the way, Alison seems to be dutifully sticking to her vacation and NOT posting here. Good for her! Hopefully she is relaxing and enjoying herself, far from airports, rental cars, and maybe even computers!

  186. Jana C.H. says:

    Silvio– I don’t think that bumper sticker referred to a specific organization. At least, the ones I’ve see have just said “Unions” or “Organized Labor” or something like that.

    Jana C.H.
    Saith Henry Ford: A great business is really too big to be human.

  187. Jain says:

    Mine says “The Labor Movement/ The Folks Who Brought You the Weekend”

  188. Maggie Jochild says:

    Yup, Jain, I have the same bumper sticker on my van. It’s popular, but not as popular as “God WAS my copilot but we crashed in the mountains and I had to eat him”.

    Speaking of bumper stickers, I had one on my Honda in the late 1970s that I haven’t seen in decades but would love to have again: “My mother made me a lesbian / If you give her the yarn, she’ll make you one too.”

  189. Deena in OR says:

    Have you tried Northern Sun Merchandising? They have some pretty good ones there, and might have that one.

  190. Maggie Jochild says:

    Yeah, that’s where I got most of my bumper stickers. Also Syracuse Cultural Workers are good. Thanks, though.

  191. cybercita says:


    just wondering if you’re enjoying the fountain overflows.

  192. bean says:


    i’ve read stoltenberg’s “Refusing…” and it’s good, and everyone should read it. Changing Men ran into a bunch of scandals in the late ’80’s and i believe stoltenberg left around then. I’m sure they published some good articles, but i think the scandal was around allowing NAMBLA to advertise. Maybe i’m remembering it all wrong; it was a long time ago.

    Butch Fatale,

    I know it won’t be popular around here, but i stand by my right to make generalizations about men or white people or straight people as classes, etc. I don’t consider it “oppression” when oppressed people call classes of oppressors for what they are, and consider our anger, our humor, and our willingness to be vocal and name oppression and power imballances for what they are to be extremely important. my experience has been that those in oppressor classes who truly do wish to dismantle systems of oppression understand our anger, share our sense of humor, and know enough to think before they criticize what they may realize they don’t/can’t fully understand.

    finally, i’m tired of people repeating and repeating out of context audre lorde’s words. it is worth re-reading that essay, (in fact, it’s worth re-reading ALL of Sister Outsider) to remember what the context was, and who exactly she was addressing, and who she was not.

  193. xckb13 says:


    It seems to me that indulging in the habits of those whose power structures one is trying to tear down is not a productive means of dealing with the power/identity divisions in our society that have been used to such cruel ends for such a long time. While these divisions can add some spice to life (I personally enjoy some of my labels, such as queer) and although they give us important ways of finding others whom we can recognize immediately as our “own kind,” in my opinion they fundamentally serve mainly to sequester us into our separate boxes and to permanently keep us all apart.

    While it is unquestionable that catchall groups such as “men” or “white people” have historically been in the position of wielding the instruments of oppression, and while it might be fun for a moment to turn the weapon back on them as a group, so that they can see how it feels for once, ultimately I believe that that strategy is self-defeating. All it does is push people from all levels of the power/identity spectrum back into their boxes – some of which they may have chosen for themselves and many of which they probably enjoy, but some of which they may actually have been trying to escape, because it can get tiring for anyone to have to constantly live with any label. They are such poor representations of who we really are.

    In sum, I don’t believe that a “equal-but-separate” situation, in which men and women or people of different ethnicities or straight people and gay people work hard to finally achieve the equal power to sit in their opposing camps and lob generalizations back and forth, is anything to aspire to. Naming, understanding, and dismantling a system of oppression is futile if one is simultaneously building up a mirror image of that system right next door.

  194. shadocat says:

    Maggie, thanks for making me giggle–I love those bumper stickers…

    And Sivio, speaking of cars-my parents had an ugly green Chevy–probably late 40’s–as a kid it was our favorite car. We called it “Super Car” (after the kid’s show). It’s best feature? It had rusted out holes in the floor board in the back seat area, and my sister and I quickly discovered that if Mom or Dad were driving fast enough, you could stick a pencil through there and sharpen it right on the street! Cool…

  195. Alex K says:

    Silvio, a quick word about Emma — and “smug” — we see, even share, Sydney’s struggles, we weren’t shown Emma’s.

    I never know what someone else is carrying hidden.

    Comprendre, c’est pardonner, I suppose… not excuser, mind you!

  196. straight european says:

    OT: there’s an article by AB on Slate.

  197. Pam I says:

    More OT – while AB’s away we’re amusing ourselves on the Travel Update thread below on worst ever travel stories. More needed.

  198. silvio soprani says:

    Alex K.,

    Quite true. My most violently negative reactions to people are usually based on seeing only part of the picture. In fact, I have often had really negative first reactions to people whom I later learn to like and respect.

    In a way, it is often more instructive to feel something negative than to feel nothing towards someone.

    I am finding THE FOUNTAIN OVERFLOWS rather stressful to read, and I have put it aside for now.The finanical precariousness of that family is just a bit too close to home for me. I’m having a lot of other kinds of stress and only have room for so much at a time.

    Kind of like what I was just saying to Alex K., with books, sometimes it takes me years to get back to them, but I do eventually get back to them when I am ready.

    “Time keeps everything from happening at once.” (Don’t know who wrote that, but I find it oddly comforting.)

  199. bean says:

    sorry if i’ve bored or annoyed folks. this is the last i’ll say on this topic, at least at this time in this forum:

    i don’t agree that what we are discussing is “indulging the habits of those whose power structures one is trying to tear down.” to state it this way is just another way of singing the “master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house” song. blah.

    to be clear, audre lorde was NOT talking about how women relate to men in this world, she was talking about how black women relate to each other. i think she would be offended and appalled by how her words have been misused, but perhaps she guessed, and that is why she wrote that she would not be silenced, even if it meant people might misinterpret her.

    anyway, i think there is something COMPLETELY different happening when women sit around and tell the stories of what men have been in their lives, whether it’s serious or humorous. I think it is different when people of color decide they are tired of hanging with white people, and decide to socialize with folks with whom they share something, whether it’s culture, experience, ethnicity, oppression, whatever. I think it’s different when queers choose to go to queer bars because they don’t want to go to straight bars. I get really annoyed when straights come to queer bars to make out and flaunt their heterosexuality. They think “i’m so cool and hip, I don’t mind hanging with the queers,” and it never occurs to them to wonder if the queers mind the fact that we can NEVER escape them. even in our own bars.

    everybody is not all even-steven. If we were, then yes, i would agree with the position that it’s not nice to say mean things about your oppressors. you can see the flawed logic here. to assume we are all starting from the same place is to miss a large part of the reality of living as a woman in a patriarchy, living as a person of color in a racist world, living as a queer in a world that hates queers.

    to say that WE are the ones putting people into boxes or continuing oppressive systems just strikes me as victim blaming. power imballances mean something. I don’t hate ALL men. I just hate men. which, to translate, since i know everyone is going to get all upset, is the same as saying, I hate oppression. can you see that?

    there came a point when feminists got tired of having to qualify and explain all our feelings and thoughts when we, because we were women, were the ones being raped. we finally decided that sexism was trying to control us by calling us “manhaters.” so some of us stepped up to the plate, and took the lable. some of us still wear it proudly.

  200. Butch Fatale says:

    You’re right bean, I did go overboard with audre lorde and I apologize.

    I want to be clear that I don’t have a problem with calling out men, white people, wealthy folks, etc. I do worry about the point at which the things we say deny the humanity of another person or group. That’s the line for me, and I see stereotypes as falling on the wrong side of it. We may have to agree to disagree, which is fine, and it may be that the same exchange with the benefit of voiced inflection wouldn’t have struck me the same way. I’ll try to be more clear and level with my comments in the future.

  201. Alex K says:

    Getting back to books — THE FOUNTAIN OVERFLOWS. I (mis)remember only one line from it (“You clearly do not understand the meaning of tempo rubato!”), but that is enough to lure me into it again thirty-five years on. Your response to the book, proof of what it can evoke, is another impetus.

    Emma repelled me. Much of the time, so does Sydney. They’re too like me for me to respect them, I live behind their masks. Anne Lamott’s line: “Smug is one of the finer emotions in my repertoire.”

    I try to remember to cut Emmas and Sydneys slack in hopes that others will try to remember to do the same for me.

    Let me be fully accountable for my actions, O Lord — but not yet!

  202. Deb says:

    I’ve spent a wonderful morning reading all the posts here. I’m so glad Alison is possibly taking the long vacation she needs to be taking, and not posting here. I’ve started reading the ‘Complete Dykes To Watch Out For’ again and am paying much more attention to the background details. Our Alison is quite the artist for detail! Go all the way back to ‘The Relationship…A Cautionary Tale for Young Ladies in Love, Part 1 & 2’ back in 1986 I believe and the humor, detail, storyline and artistry is classic! And when Mo is first meeting Harriet? What a scream! Alison, enjoy your vacation!

  203. LondonBoy says:

    I’d like to thank the people who posted supportive comments in response to my earlier posting. I was, however, a little surprised by some of the other remarks that were made. I’d like to encourage Bean, in particular, to review the spirit in which Silvio Soprani, Butch Fatale and Xckb13 made their comments; I’d like to echo their general tone.

    I feel we lose a great deal when we classify people willy-nilly into groups on the basis of some single characteristic out of all their many attributes. I’m not disputing anybody’s right to do this if they wish, or to say whatever they wish about these groups, but I feel it’s unwise and, ultimately, counter-productive. In particular I feel it’s very unwise to label oneself as a “hater” of any group or individual. To say “I don’t hate ALL men. I just hate men” seems to me a rather strange phrase. If it’s necessary to immediately explain yourself by saying it’s “the same as saying, I hate oppression” then it’s certainly not a clear sentence. “Can you see that?” No, I can’t.

    If you hate oppression, just say so. If you hate men, I don’t mind you saying so ( though I don’t particularly like the sentiment, of course ). But don’t expect people to decode seemingly unambiguous sentences in other ways. Try out a few alternative sentences, and see how they look:
    “I don’t hate ALL women. I just hate women”
    “I don’t hate ALL black people. I just hate black people”
    “I don’t hate ALL white people. I just hate white people”
    “I don’t hate ALL jews. I just hate jews”
    “I don’t hate ALL palestinians. I just hate palestinians”
    I hope it’s clear why I felt the phrasing left a little to be desired.

    If someone says to me, a man, that they don’t hate ALL men, they just hate men, then my immediate reaction is to say to myself “well, I’m a man, so I know where I stand with you”. The wording is pretty unambiguous, despite the attempt at a syntactic nicety. If you hate me that’s fine: you’re entitled to. I can’t say that it makes me feel comfortable, though.

  204. little gator says:


    about “I dojn’t hate all whatevers. I just hate whatevers.”

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard that usage and can’t parse it to mean anything.

    At worst, I’d en inclined to say “I don’t hate all whatevers, I just hate some, or most whatevers.”

    This does remind me of a quote from Charlie brown’s friedn Linus-” I love mankind, it’s people I can’t stand.”

  205. silvio soprani says:

    Hate is exhausting to maintain. (Picture Frodo hauling that damn ring all across Middle Earth.)

    Righteous anger focused on change is one thing, but hatred doesn’t GO anywhere; it just weighs one down.

    I don’t want to be a member of a group that is predicated upon hating and excluding members of another group, even though the absence of their company may be a great relief to me for a while. I want to feel strong enough to not feel threatened by the people who have insulted and hurt me.

    I want to project my love of myself and my tolerance of others around me like the sun, so that people near me feel better and start projecting their sun right back at me.

    I don’t want to shiver in a cold hateful environment created by the pain in my own history.

    I have come to the conclusion that minimizing all the above as romantic, quixotic, or naive is ultimately self-defeating, so I don’t make disclaimers about it anymore.

    I just try to be kind without ducking issues of justice.

    I stay with this blog because of all the kindred spirits; you know who you are.

  206. Some Guy says:

    When some says “I don’t hate ALL men. I just hate men.” It means that person hates all men and rather than dealing with their personal issues, needs a crutch, in this case a gender-based crutch to deal with reality.

    In my very short life I have seen men (and women) portray a large variety of emotional patterns. To say you hate someone (and please, lookup hate, its not another way to say “I dislike” someone, its really very cruel) based on something they have little or no control over, is heinous.

    Its sad because there are (unfortunately) a number of people out there who “Don’t hate ALL homos, they just hate homos”. Do you really want to be in their group? Do you want to adopt their methodologies?

  207. xckb13 says:

    little gator – “I don’t hate ALL men. I just hate men.” was from bean’s post above.

    bean – I am not naive. I know what kind of a world we live in, and I can see the kinds of power structures that exist in it. I would also never want “labels” as such to go away, because as I said, they are useful and even often enjoyable tools for defining ourselves and recognizing others with whom we can expect to share a particular understanding. I also agree with you that there are times when the doors must be closed, when it must be recognized that there are times when men or straight people or white people, etc., need to respect the fact that they cannot have unfettered access to anywhere they want. (I am indebted to Maggie Jochild in particular for her eloquent statements – don’t remember where it is in the blog, unfortunately – about when it should be clear to members of a majority group that their needs have been met and that they cannot demand any more airtime for their occasional “difficulties” regarding an issue that others have to live with 24/7.) What strikes me as counterproductive, however, is to use the space and energy that we share with our kindred spirits – such as women gathered together under the powerful and positive label of feminist and telling their stories (most of which undoubtedly include many INDIVIDUAL villains) – for no other purpose than to demonize and dehumanize another group.

    And it is not blaming the victim to say that the victims – if one agrees to be so in one’s own psyche, external pressures notwithstanding – can have better, more positive things to do with their time than to waste their energy on hatred.

  208. xckb13 says:

    And Silvio – right on!

  209. geogeek says:


    Hey, Jana, there’s something screwy with my e-mail and I’ve been getting bounces, so I’m not sure whether or not you got my e-mail suggesting a fan meet-up this Thursday.

    So, for any and all Seattle-area fans, would Thurs. be good? Jana suggested earlier a travel theme, given Ms. B’s recent travel misery.

    Re: “I hate men” – I can actually see this, sorta. I don’t know if this is what bean is after, but I will say things like this when fed up with stereotypically stupid male behaivior, and what I really mean is “I hate men who believe in, perpetuate, and and participate in STUPID societally-expected ideas about manhood/masculinity!” This is kind of a mouthful, though, so it’s more satisfying to shout “I hate men!” I think what I actually say is “Men are STUPID!” Again, meaning “Masculinity as created in our culture and the particular example that I just experienced are STUPID!”

    That said, I don’t say things like this in front of any men I know, because I don’t want to spread hate around, just blow off steam, and other women will help me feel better wihtout my hurting their feelings.

    I think what a lot of people were upset about in the first place was Manfan referring to bad relationship behavior as typically male. There’s no reason to do this if it’s just to say nasty things about “men” (meaning the stereotype of men), but I can see this being useful IF what we gt to discuss is how gender and sex identity can be used to justify said bad behavior.

    For example,
    Sydney and all her rationalizations for cheating, and her utter dismissal (in her behavior) of anything Mo does for her (after all she deserves it, she’s been sick)is oh so typically male, mannish….. so Bushlike. LOL

    If Sydney were a male character (heaven forbid 😉 there would be no one who would sympathize with her.

    What if we ask some questions about that:
    (1) Are Sydney’s sexual decisions actually like the kinds of decisions hetero men are supposed to make in our culture? (I think you could argue this both ways; note, not talking about all men, but the “ideal” of masculine behavior)

    (2) If they are, what makes them part of the amle stereotype? (possible answers: sleeping around is seen as virile, cheating at a conference is almost a re-telling of the classic businessman-away-for-the-weekend-affair, maybe you have others)

    (3) If not, why not? (possible answers: sleeping with your advisor is a re-telling of the classic sleep-with-your-boss story, women lie about extra-martital involvements, maybe you have others)

    I guess none of these questions are terribly relevant unless one thinks there’s something about gender roles playing into the reasons for Sydney to do what she does, but they’re potentially interesting to think about.


    I will say I think the strip has gotten much more complex and interesting since the introduction of some of the newer characters, and I have in particular experienced intense feelings around some of the storylines about dynamics with one’s parents.

  210. geogeek says:

    Oops, the part where I tried to quote didn’t show up with quote tags: hopefully everyone will recognize the quoted section. Sorry!

  211. a different Emma says:

    For once the name I use here seems apt–considering what y’all say about the character Emma.

    Anyhoo, shadowcat–thank you so much for the story of Aunt Pussie. Yes, it’s unfortunate about the name. It would make a fabulous book–go for it! As a newbie unionist I love to hear the tales of my predecessors in their fight to organize workers.

    Maybe in the book you could change the name to “Kitty.” On second thought, leave it. I like pussie. hem…

    In regards to the “Sydney as mannish / not hating whatevers” discussion, it’s almost pointless to gender behaviours these days. Maybe we should Bushasize behaviours instead; ie. “how Bushish.” I know your word (“Bushlike”) is easier to say, geogeek, but the built-in stumble would only help to reiterate the point.

  212. geogeek says:

    That was part of the quote, from Manfan (I think):

    “Sydney and all her rationalizations for cheating, and her utter dismissal (in her behavior) of anything Mo does for her (after all she deserves it, she’s been sick)is oh so typically male, mannish….. so Bushlike. LOL

    If Sydney were a male character (heaven forbid 😉 there would be no one who would sympathize with her.”

    I like Bushish.

    Hey, did anyone else ever replace the false generic man with f*er? As in chairf*er, mailf*er, f*erhole-cover? It was amusing when I was an undergraduate, anyway….

  213. cybercita says:


    sorry that book caused so much anxiety. you might like her book the thinking reed, it’s l about very wealthy people.

  214. friend of bean says:

    hey bean–i’m sorry that no one wants to read your posting for what you are trying to say and to understand your meaning rather than picking at the literal statement and imposing their pre-existing politics.

    let me see if I understand what you are saying–“I don’t hate ALL men. I just hate men.” you are calling attention to the fact that you are using a generalization about a group of people who use that label for themselves? you are calling attention to the power of the word “men” and the embedded privileges in it? you are also calling attention to the fact that generalizations are just generalizations; they are not truisms?

    is it the ideological term “men” you hate and the people who deploy it for themselves to get privileges and power that they are not entitled to that you hate–and not the individual men?

    i don’t know if you will agree with me, but it is commonplace for an oppressive group to disallow those who are oppressed (particularly women of color) to group them according to the trait that gives them the privileges that they possess. they will scream loudly–you cannot hate a group! all hatred of groups is wrong! –and demand that everyone be taken one at a time.

    this actually serves to sustain the oppression. if you can’t name it, and you can’t hate it, and you can’t work against it as a force–it remains.

    remember that in this thread you are talking to a large degree to liberal academics. we must remember that the academy that these liberal academics create is the single most racist, sexist, and elitist institution in america (look it up group–there are studies comparing the academy to the military, and the military comes off better).

    you can see it at work here. theoretically, liberals like to “listen to all voices.” but, notice that they do not want to listen to yours. they want to bury your voice in a chorus of their own personal narratives. cacophony is the weapon of the liberal academic–let us drown out the voice that does not agree with us in a sea of our own more perfect views.

    i am sorry that there is such hatred in this group for those who do not speak their own double-voiced language of “tolerance.” they will tolerate those who oppress them and take them one at a time as long as they themselves are tolerated–but they will not reach out to understand you on your own terms. they ask no questions except loaded ones. they do not seek to understand what is not like themselves.

    aren’t they a delightful lot?

  215. bean says:


    also, it’s not the responsibility of people in oppressed classes to have to be completely articulate all the time. there are reasons why it may be difficult to talk about our truths, and also, we get sick of having to explain ourselves all the time to people who actually have no intention of hearing us.

    but it is the responsibility of oppressor classes to reach their brains out and try to listen better and understand. that is, if they care about changing power dynamics.

  216. Maggie Jochild says:

    Gotta jump in here. First off, bean, I completely agree with you about wanting people to understand Audre Lorde’s quote in its original context, and identifying that failure to understand as likely originating from racism — it’s a complicated, particular reality she’s discussing in that essay, a reality that seriously challenges the “white” view of things in this country and in progressive movements. I feel the same way about how her essay on the uses of erotic as power is highjacked for all kinds of bullshit that I cannot imagine her having intended — although, who’s to say, really. She left us what she could. At the same time, however, that phrase about not using the master’s tools to dismantle the master’s house — it’s fucking brilliant writing, so brilliant that it has come to stand in for the notion that process is vital to how we undo the lies, that how we go about things will inevitably shape the outcome. It’s an important idea, and her words coming to mean this other idea as well as what she was saying is not necessarily an insult — I think it’s a testament to the vigor of her language. We can have both — read the essay as it was originally written, but yeah, she would likely hang with this expanded meaning as well. Great truth does tend to expand over time.

    Now, as to the characterization of the folks on this blog as liberal academics who are aiming hatred at you — way off base. WAY. I’ve never seen the word hate and hatred on this blog as much as in this thread, and there’s a reason for that — we are struggling, from a wide diversity of viewpoints, to not aim our anger and disappointment at one another. I don’t identify that as liberal (I don’t personally identify as liberal), I call that radical. As in Dr. King and Gandhi radical. Hate is the fucking stupid, easy way out. I got tons of reasons to come from a place of hate — I have been royally fucked over, and my daily existence continues to suck big-time — but my choice to come hear and listen to that which makes me uncomfortable, listen as best I can, is an alternative that empowers me and helps me do the work I want/need to do in the world.

    I definitely do not identify as an academic (not that there’s anything wrong with that — I’m not going to risk typing anything that will insert one of those damned emoticons, but I do mean a friendly grin at this point). I relish using my brain, as so many raised-poor folks do, and I am (like I think most of us on this blog are) a voracious reader and consumer of language. Combine this with an appetite for radical ideas, and you get an intellectual, one who is relentlessly working-class, uses fuck all the time, and has been a wage-worker without a safety net. There are a LOT of us like me on this blog. The conversation here is not academic, it’s not ivory-tower, it’s not exclusive. And I resent that accusation, I really do.

    You’re right, it’s often hard, confusing, irritating, depressing to have to explain where you are coming from when your voice is drowned out in the larger world. It bites the big one, and it’s not our job to educate others. It is their job to educate themselves. At least in theory. But damn, that theory just hasn’t gotten me where I want to be by now. So I find places where people who are members of the so-called oppressor classes will keep coming back to hear what I have to say, and I keep finding a way to rephrase it. The lies that fuck with my head fuck with theirs too, and I just don’t believe they really want to hang onto it — not all of them. Not the snotty rich, not the fucking men, not the able-bodied clueless, not whites, not even the christians — I know too many of them who are doing every last thing they can to rewire their own brains, at any cost, by any means. And there are more of them on this blog than I can count. I do not suffer fools, or cowards, or those who hide behind confusion. I have limited time and energy left, and if I pour my resource here, it’s because these folks have earned it. That’s just my opinion, and you absolutely can disagree. But if you’re just reading this thread, go back into the archives and dig deep. You’ll find astonishing things.

    Lastly, the reason why we share our own narratives in response to yours is because what the fuck else makes sense to do? All we have is our own experience, and if what you say causes us to take another look at who we are, maybe see if there’s a place where we can shift our self-image or our world view, isn’t that to be hoped for? We don’t argue with each other to shut each other up, we don’t tell each other “You’re wrong” even when we disagree, we try to figure out why we disagree and maybe move on it. That takes self-examination.

    I understand hating men. Right here in front of me, on my desk, is a button of a woman with a machine gun that says “I hate men”, a beloved relic from the 70’s. But somewhere along the way I found it possible to say “I am so grievously hurt, chewed up and spit out by male conditioning, and my rage feels bottomless, and here is exactly what has been done to me” — and in that different way of expressing it, I have found a place to stand (well, if I COULD stand, dammit) — a place to live, shall we way, that actually helps me get past the negative emotion and into moving boulders. I am entitled to my feelings, but my feelings are godhelpme not where I want to live the rest of my life, not as they are now. I am much, much bigger than that.

  217. --MC says:

    Bean, who is going to tell the oppressors that they have to understand the oppressed? They won’t listen. And do you know why? Because they’ve already pigeonholed the groups they oppressed, using the same dismissive geometry — ”I don’t hate ALL (x). I just hate (x)” — that you defend! Because you’re a member of group (x), what you think doesn’t really matter to them. Plus, I’m sure they don’t really “care about changing power dynamics”, why should they?
    And Friend of Bean, it’s called discussion. Somebody comes up with an idea, and people either agree or disagree. Looks like people mostly disagree with Bean here, but where’s the hatred in that? I’d like to read some of those studies you cite concerning “liberal” academia — got any sources?

  218. silvio soprani says:


    Audre Lorde is probably SINGING in her grave if she can hear how you are expanding the uses of her poetic.. a testament to “the vigor of her language…” how very true!

    And yes, I appreciate your reminder that one is “much, much bigger than that” when one makes the choice to live beyond inside one’s (painful) feelings.

    I cracked up reading your suggestion that I read Rebecca West’s novel about the rich people…if I didn’t know you better (well, I don’t hardly know you except for your continuing charming comments…) I would think you were pulling my leg.

    Actually, looking at myself, I do seem pretty pathetic…too bummed out to read a book about poor people; too embarrassed to feel okay about reading a book about rich people…

    For the record, I am currently reading “SEABISCUIT,” which is a tale of bottomless adversity and hard knocks about horses and jockeys…truly some of the most oppressed yet high spirited characters of the century.

    Let’s see how I survive that, and perhaps I will give Rebecca West another try.

    On a gentler note, everywhere I look I see beautiful daffodils…forsythia…and little green buds on the trees. Hope abounds.

  219. Maggie Jochild says:

    Silvio, Seabiscuit is an astonishing read. And if you love it as I did, go on to read Horse Heaven by Jane Smiley. There’s a reason she won the Pulitzer. And while I’m recommending her, let me just say, her novel Moo has a completely unexpected one or two page lesbian sex scene between two older women that is one of the hottest bits of interaction I’ve read anywhere. I mean, either she’s been there-done that or she is one hell of a listener to her dyke friends.

  220. little gator says:

    I hate few, if any, people, and only if they’ve earned it by evil behavior.

    I don’t hate anyone who has ever posted here.

    BUt bean, I do disagree with the way you put your words togther in that phrase that’s been discussed so much. I just can’t fit it into any understandable idea.

    long ago I knew a person in cyberland who called herself bean. If you are *that* bean send me email, though I kinda think you are not. If you are, you know how to reach me.

  221. Butch Fatale says:

    This topic has exploded in a way I probably could have predicted had I had my wits more about me yesterday.

    To avoid further foot-in-mouth action, I just want to briefly say that I was trying to speak to a particular phrasing and tone that I was picking up on. Not to say that women talking negatively about men is oppressive to men, or that negative comments about a group carry the same weight or meaning no matter the speaker or the subject(s). I can see that I failed, and I regret that I was unable to make the distinction I was aiming for. Back to the drawing board for me.

  222. inktellectual says:

    Not to sound like, well, Sydney, but: Shouldn’t it have been “Ave, pater.”? Just feeling semantic today I guess…

  223. geogeek says:

    Re: comparing academia to the military: this is a bit facile, because if you compare _any_ American institution to the military the military has better racial equity. It sucks for gender equity, though.

  224. Amused says:

    Some great material for the cartoon here. The problem would be writing a parody anywhere near as funny as the discussion.

  225. silvio soprani says:


    This discussion is an example of one our more …serious…ones. If you want funny, go back to November and December of ’06 when we were fixated on the socialist ramifications of cake-baking and other pithy topics.

  226. Doctor E says:


    I’m sorry you hate me.

    I’m sorry I’m an oppressor.

    I’ll do my best to treat you better in the future.


    Doctor E

  227. cranky librarian says:

    maggie jochild,

    if you still have that beloved button hanging around, then you must understand all the complex meanings that go with it, and the complicated context that produced it. that button didn’t just spring from nowhere.

    don’t you feel that that button expresses something about you and your life and your history and the history of lesbians in the 20th century? don’t you sometimes just wanna hang with folks without having to apologize for or explain or qualify that history and those meanings? should the blog of the DYKES to watch out for be that place?

    sorry to single you out, but i think this discussion is interesting, and i think there is more to it than it appears at first.

  228. shadocat says:

    Not that I want to dive into the converstion about “I don’t hate ___, I just hate___,” but… as I read all of this, I can’t help remembering a lyric from a song in “Mary Poppins”, called “Sister Suffragettes”;

    “Tho’ we adore men individually”

    “We believe that as a group-”

    “They’re raaa–ther,”


    Now I’m not stating that I still believe that way; but as a scrawny little girl growing up in the 60’s, I found that song very appealing for some reason…

  229. judybusy says:

    Cranky,just because we’re all dyke friendly (at least) doesn’t mean we’ll all agree or “get” the history. (And yeah, I know ya know this, but I couldn’t resist poking at the the implication that just because we’re dykes we all think alike…) The value of these kinds of discussions is in growing our minds, and for that reason I cherish the give and take!

  230. xckb13 says:

    Given that this is a discussion on a blog connected with DTWOF, I can’t believe that no one has yet brought up Diane DiMassa’s Hothead Paisan.

  231. silvio soprani says:

    Cranky L,
    With your question, “should the blog of DTWOF be that place?” I think you are trying to appeal to a long-time dyke need to “hang with” kindred spirits.”

    Ten or Twenty or Thirty or Fifty years ago these kindred spirits were harder to find. These days, here on the DTWOF blog, we (dykes) find ourselves connecting with all kinds of kindred spirits and (surprise!) they are not all dykes. They are gay men, transpeople, “straight” married women, celibate dykes-turned-solitary, even straight men. (Do not read a hierarchy into the word order there…)

    So I think it is natural to find oneself making more connections than accusations; more investigative intellectual exchanges rather than assuming difference means “not-my-type.”

    Maybe what we lose in the comfort of being surrounded by “same” (whatever that is), we gain in learning that there actually are intelligent, funny, open-minded people out there who are actually okay to spend time with, and who in fact do not insult, exclude, or oppress us.

    I remember when there was that purple mail order newsletter through the mail that was stapled about a million times (it was called “Lesbian______[something]–I can’t remember!]. It was before the Internet, and it was a place where Lesbians could feel safe corresponding with each other. (It was way ahead of its time–a low tech “blog,” if you will.)

    One year at the Michigan Festival, the publishers gave away purple staple-pullers with the name printed on it. (clever! all those staples!!)

    I don’t want to be precipitous, but I really don’t think we need that anymore; it is safe to converse now. (Maybe I’m wrong…I know on the rare occasions when we have a big hoo-hah here about some hot topic, sometimes I just want to crawl in a hole and not put out my opinions for a while…but that’s just growing pains, not real danger.)

    I’m okay with the level of comfort here on this blog; I don’t think it would be as interesting without some diversitiy. Just my 2 cents.

  232. Deena in OR says:

    For semi long time posters….


    (naughty smile here…) Either you get the joke, or you don’t.

  233. Maggie Jochild says:

    Deena, I got it, and HYSTERICAL.

    Cranky Librarian, yes, the button has tremendous, multi-layered meaning for me — why it’s stuck up into the shelf next to the screen, where I see it every time I write. It’s not “just a phase”, and I didn’t mean to imply that. At the same time, I felt safe sharing it on this blog, knowing there are people here who would never ever wear that button. Just as I share my Alix Dobkin CDs with my soon-to-be 9-year-old godson, trusting he will never assume the lyrics are an attack on him (they weren’t then, and he now loves her songs more than any other music I’ve shared with him — he understands the difference between conditioning and the individual, and he has complete faith in his ability to keept sorting it out). Or, to quote her, trusting that only love will come between us…

  234. Deena in OR says:


    I remember that lyric all too well. It makes me snort in laughter every time I hear it.

  235. louise says:

    Cranky librarian-

    “don’t you sometimes just wanna hang with folks without having to apologize for or explain or qualify that history and those meanings? should the blog of the DYKES to watch out for be that place?”

    I definitely think that it is, and I think that the men who post here probably appreciate this blog for that. There are some men who love, support and admire women, gay and straight. They are an asset if you’re really interested in subverting mainstream culture and changing the world. They must be nurtured and cultivated like little time bombs so that they can go off and inseminate the minds of their peer groups and redefine social standards. Like it or not, if all us dykes go seclude ourselves on an island, we’ll die out. Men make up 50% of the population and we must encourage and continue to appeal to and enlighten the good and reasonable ones. I mean it’s not everyone’s burden necessarily, you have to do what you’re comfortable with and if that means avoiding men, then absolutely lie low and heal. I’m sure the good ones understand the damage the bad ones can inflict. But I am glad when there are men on our team willing to learn, there are a spectrum of people with different experiences in that particular gender, and I like Stewart’s character for that reason. I kind of relate enormously. My girlfriend is Black and I live in Harlem and I’m so the little suburban white girl from the Midwest, don’tcha know. I’m just like, love, tell me what to do. Would you like a foot massage? It is tricky as hell negotiating these power imbalances, esp when I’m tired and cranky. Ok, we also get a kick out of it. It feels valuable and silly at the same time. And I am weirded out by watching Harlem gentrify and feel as though I ought to be leaving, and I’m relieved that circumstantially we will be, because I do kind of want it to remain an African-American “Michigan”, if there must be rich yuppies coming in and tearing down old crackhouse brownstones for co-ops, at least they should be Black and not White. My partner will roll her eyes at me for being dramatic and say it all used to be Irish anyway. But I do want to understand these things and how “White”, just like “male” is this constructed lens held up to our eyes when we watch tv and read the paper, and what happens when you take that lens down, cause it’s just one pair of eyeglasses at the optician’s. And I want to be respectful and fix things and encourage mutual enrichment. I can’t imagine there’s not men like me. I also think they’d understand if they were hated by some, and try to respect the line between providing support and being invasive.

  236. xckb13 says:

    Regarding MICHIGAN: Interesting how there’s a significantly different cast of characters named on this list now. I wonder where people drift off to.

    In any case, I am certain that it was the accumulative effect of the ongoing dialog on this list that let even an inveterate lurker like me finally feel comfortable enough to stick my oar in the water. For which I am grateful to all of you.

  237. liza says:

    Dena, if memory serves, that lyric was written about me, and I snorted with laughter too, but possibly for different reasons. Funny thing is, it was a great affirmation and it pretty much worked. But why did it make you laugh?

  238. Midsouth Mouth says:

    Thanks to everyone for passionate posting, even if we disagree! I caution myself and all of us though about how attractive it is to have the well thought-out stuff here over the creeping apathy in the public realm offline. I hope we all engage as much offline to change things!

    Maggie Jochild: my feminist Austin friend and her husband have lived there for seven years and she sent me a poetry book with you in it. When we were in college, we would write in the margins of books together.

    London, and others:I chime in with the reminder that plenty of people have prejudices/preconceptions, but only some are at the nodes where power overlaps, and so their preconceptions have more weight.

    For instance, my privilege as an English speaker is something I hardly ever think about, yet it puts me closer to the imperial power of a language that in so many modes–for instance, the computers/keyboards we are all using to type our posts–it’s already dominated the world. If a speaker of a “minority” language that is about to be lost to a “bigger” state-endorsed one says her fellow speaker is acting like an English-speaker, how could I balk? I am not personally vanishing the native speaker’s language, but I am benefiting from the pre-existing structure, and I am supporting it as well. (Did I mention that I am studying to be *Master* of English Studies?!) So, I am implicated if I do not resist the very system that sustains me…
    (A really cool book that comes to mind is _The Plot Against America_ by Philip Roth. It examines an alternate history and brings to mind the complications of being an American.)

    Comics and other literature are always playing against and with our preconceptions as readers. Jokes can’t work without prejudices and preconceptions–or expectations–to surprise us by upsetting them or to make us chuckle by affirming them. The sooner we realize this, the better off I think we will be.

    I think how we examine what calling Sydney “mannish” means to us is important,too. I think that for some people, there is the *utopian* notion that lesbians are the pinnacle of progressive humanity–that essential notion that if women are peaceful, cooperative, and morally superior, two women are even better.

    Sydney’s faults upset that apple cart, and THAT is the most compelling issue that I think ManFan’s post about Sydney brings into focus. I think reading the whole of DTWOF shows the divesity of opinion and surprising range of depth in comic characters. Would that we could afford such depth to each other.

    Plenty of heterosexual feminists and nonfeminist-identified women, in groups, and as individuals, in public and in private, in print and in conversation, talk and write about men as a group and the individual and systemic failures of emotional fidelity and sexual monogamy. There it is. Some interesting books such as _Against Love_ by Laura Kipnis, look at how monogamous love as an ideology maintains the system that keeps us all in check.

    There is a difference between *describing* the social trends, mores, etc. and personally subscribing to and furthering them.

    I chime as a 30yr queer dyke of color who went to the 30th anniversary Michigan festival, and saw that separate space challenged with important questions that have been there from the beginning.

  239. liza says:

    Oh, oops, sorry, you were snorting at lyrics to Mary Poppins Suffering Suffragettes. Yeah, I loved that song too. And it is snorting funny. I was talking about the Alix lyric.

    My bad.

  240. Deena in OR says:


    Yeah, it was the Mary Poppins lyric. Funny, that mom always reminded me a bit of Edith Bunker/Gracie Allen in her innocent, wise observations.

  241. cybercita says:


    i was indeed hoping to make you laugh.

    i just got the railway children out of the library — can’t wait to begin it!

  242. cybercita says:

    hi maggie,

    jane smiley lost me after a thousand acres. i hated moo and have never liked any of her books enough to finish them since. although i keep trying, because she has written some astonishingly wonderful things, like barn blind and good will. i have her newest novel on my night stand, in fact.

    if you want hot lesbian sex in the most unexpected of venues, i can suggest princess daisy by judith krantz.

  243. Aunt Soozie says:

    So Liza what Alix lyric was written about you?
    and will you give us the backstory?
    I always liked the amazon abcs.
    and Doctor E…
    will you be nice to me too?
    I’m a girl…
    you’re not going to slight me are you?

  244. shadocat says:

    Silvio; That magazine wouldn’t be “Lesbian Connection” would it? Cuz we still get it… And xckb13,I too have been waiting to for someone bring up “Hothead Paisan.” Diane DiMassa is my spiritual guru! All hail Hothead! Long live Chicken!

  245. xckb13 says:

    I got my big purple book hot off the press in 1999. And I am proud to say that not once did I succumb to the lure of whacking anyone over the head with its luscious weight, though I have to admit to occasionally being sorely tempted. Hothead’s straightforward methods can be so seductive.

    I was very sad when I had to leave it behind upon moving to a distant wilderness where no one considers demon-farming dykes to be an appropriate subject. All the more reason to have brought Hothead along, I guess.

    shadocat, Chicken rules!

  246. Maggie Jochild says:

    cybercita, yeah, a thousand acres is not one i recommend. i also got so depressed during the greenlanders that i wanted to open my veins (NOT one for you, silvio, honey). but jane’s still one of my role models as a novelist. i have her latest by my bed waiting to be read, also. and her essays at alternet are incendiary. i have never ever read anything by judith krantz but will (gulp) check out the one you mentioned.

    shado, i now cannot get the sister suffragettes song out of my head. the character of mrs. banks was awful — supposedly fighting for women’s rights while kowtowing to her teapot tyrant husband, but i didn’t understand that until i was grown. instead, i inhaled those lyrics in a quite literal fashion: “No more the meek and mild subservients we / We’re fighting for our rights militantly / Never you fear!” i read a new yorker article about p.l. travers some time in the last couple of years (she, y’know, was one of us who “put her face in it”) that talked about her extremely negative impression of the disney version of mary poppins, and i think that song was singled out. but it really did have a subversive effect, at least in my 9-year-old heart. i can see a direct line from mary poppins’ indictment of the nuke fam (i could not BELIEVE she left those children in the care of those idiot parents at the end) to my 19-year-old self driving five hours to the nearest women’s bookstore to buy lavender jane loves women. we find what we need wherever we can, eh?

  247. liza says:

    I liked Ordinary Love & Goodwill by Jane Smiley. That’s all I ever read.

    I used to play Sister Sufragette on my radical feminist radio show in NYC in the early 70’s. Loved it. That was the same radio show on which I met Alix. She was my guest. She was well known at the time in NYC folkie circles. She had retired to raise her baby daughter (who is now 36). We met, came out together and the rest is herstory.

    So, Aunt Soozie, I guess that much of what she wrote for the next five or so years was either about me or about adventures we’d shared or theories we’d bandied about.

    One that is relevant here, now.

    Liza wishes the Library
    Had men and women placed separately
    For their’s is the kingdom
    She know’s who she’ll find
    In the his story of mankind

    But then, she’s inclined
    To be ahead of her time and
    She’s a Lesbian
    Les (let’s) be in no Man’s land…..

    And so on.

  248. Liza from pine street art works says:

    Urg. Sorry about all those wrongly placed apostrophies. I hate that. Because speaking of favorite books, how about “The Elements Of Style” by E.B White and William Strunk Jr.? The newest edition has pictures by Maira Kalman, one of my favorite illustrators.

  249. Aunt Soozie says:

    Wow Liza…cool…I guess it’s a small lezzie world afterall.
    My sister,also a lezzie like me,hand raised two newborn puppies that had been abandoned by their mama dog and she named one of them Alix…for Alix of course. Alix ended up being quite a feminist bitch.

    I went to Tyler as a youngster and was quite disappointed by my experience there…as Meg will attest. When I found out that Alix had gone there I wrote to her to ask how Tyler was back then…and she wrote back. I loved that cause she was, well, a famous dyke.

    My favorite professor remembered her fondly…walking around campus with a guitar perpetually hanging off of her body.

    So it was Alix’s undies that you inspected…I guess you aren’t going tell if they were boxers or briefs and I’m too proper to even consider asking…

  250. Maggie Jochild says:

    Oh, Liza, yes. I bought the new edition as soon as it was available, and it’s by my bed, just for the fun of reading it at random. Also gave a copy to my godson and HE reads it often, not just for the Kalman pictures. He is who introduced me to her, when he was 2.5 — “Hey, Willy, See The Pyramids”. We have a Max the Dog Poet stuffed figure (complete with little journal) and all her books, and I do mean all. She’s in a class of her own. My favorite sections are Max’s bleu period in Paris, the black pages about 9/11, and the “algebra section” as we call it in Grand Central where there is a list of brown things and black things done as a kind of equation.

  251. Doctor E says:

    Auntie, of course I’ll be nice to you! Thanks to Bean, I’ve put my oppressing ways behind me.

    I just sent in my ballot nominating Alison for a Harvey Award. I’m entitled to a ballot because apparently I’m a comics professional. And here I thought I was just a guy who came up with a great scam for getting into conventions for free…

    Anyway, if Alison gets the nomination, maybe we could organize a DTWOF Blog table at the awards ceremony. Plenty of time to think about it; the ceremony is in September in Baltimore. That’s not a bad trek for you, is it?

  252. Liza from pine street art works says:

    Mags, Kalman is bril. I have four mannequins made from her illustrations. Actually, if you go to any major department store you are likely to see them, mostly in the kid’s department. If you are a Kalman fan you will recognize them.

    I’m sorry, Sooze – undies? Moi? I think not. And yes, it’s like Alix to respond to a letter. She’s never had a star attitude.

  253. Maggie Jochild says:

    Silvio, you live in Balty-more, que no? And Alison’s birthday is September 10. I like your idea, Doctor E. And thanks so much for nominating our gal.

  254. silvio soprani says:

    OMAGOODNESS! FINALLY, something in Baltimore!!!

    Doctor E, please be sure to give us lots of warning about the date of this event! (I confess, I am not in the loop about what a Harvey Award would be. What is the name of the conference?)

    I live in Fells Point, just down the road from the Convention Center (not quite walking distance, but a very short bus ride!) I foresee dinner at my house for this BLOG Get Together. Let’s keep in touch: silvio.soprani@yahoo.com

  255. Aunt Soozie says:

    Yes…I would most definitely come to Baltimore for the awards ceremony..yay Doctor! Sounds like it could be alot of fun. Let’s all plan on it.

    That Alix Dobkin is talented, sweet and humble
    and that Liza from Pine Street Artworks
    respects the shared intimacies
    and underwear preferences of her friends
    and her former lovers.

    You gotta admire both of those women. Doncha?

    Liza, I have a question that maybe you can answer. Once when I saw Alix in concert she sang a yiddish song that I thought was called something like “sha, schtil”? or roughly translated, “shush everyone, the Rebbe is going to sing”. I can’t seem to find anyone who knows the song but I remember liking it alot.

    My beloved paramour who works in the music world looked through Alix’s recordings for me but she didn’t see it on any of them. I have Lavendar Jane Loves Women and Living with Lesbians…of course…but, it’s not on either of those.

    The paramour, speaking of our small lezzie world, says it was her off hand comment to Alix that led to the new(ish) compilation begin called Living with Lavendar Jane. But, my love also claims to have invented the internet so I’m not sure about that…

    Anyway, are you familiar with that tune?
    Did Alix put it on a recording?
    If not..maybe I need to write to her again and ask her to record it some time.

  256. Doctor E says:

    Wow, I didn’t expect such an enthusiastic response, especially to something five months away!

    The Harvey awards (Named for comics pioneer Harvey Kurtzman, founder of MAD Magazine)is one of two awards voted on by comics professionals; sort of the comics equivalent of the Oscars. The awards ceremony occurs the Saturday evening of Baltimore Comic Con, which this year is September 8th. There’s a dinner, speeches, and awards.

    Baltimore Con is a much smaller, friendlier comics convention than New York Con, with a much smaller video game and movie presence. Still, someone who isn’t into comics would get bored pretty quickly.

    The downside of such a meetup would be, first, the dinner is fairly expensive (I’m thinking fifty bucks a head, but I may be misremembering), and second, non-comics fans would have to sit through speeches by people they never heard of on subjects they know nothing about. Still, I think it would be cool to support Alison, especially if she chooses to come to the event.

    That’s assuming, of course, that she gets the nomination, but there’s a specific award for auto-biographical comics, and I can’t imagine she wouldn’t be one of the top five vote-getters out of books published in 2006.

  257. shadocat says:

    Dr E.

    Count me in!

  258. Maggie Jochild says:

    Aunt Soozie, to answer yr question in paragraph 3: More than you’ll ever know.

    Doctor E, we have to make the blog get-together a free event, just getting there will tax the economic resources of lots of us. It’s the lesbian way, a sliding scale that begins at zero. But sounds like Silvio is on it — potluck, anyone?

  259. Aunt Soozie says:

    yeah…a potluck…but remember, we have to get a consensus on the menu first, does anyone wanna be on the committee??

    I had to go back to see what was in paragraph number three…you meant admire those amazing women, right??
    Alix, Cris, Meg, and Margie were my first lesbian friends. I remember lying on my belly on the living room floor of my parents house…beside the huge stereo cabinet…listening to their music, holding the album covers or the inserts with the lyrics, examining everything intently, every minor detail of every photo, every caption, every word of every song…

    I checked you out recently too, Ms. Jochild…I googled you and found your website. Pretty darn impressive girlfriend. Your poetry is wonderful. In the photo of the woman in overalls in the rocking chair with that gorgeous kid on her lap…are you the woman in the rocking chair or the kid on the lap? Either could be you…nearly the same face.

    So, the gathering can be fee free or sliding scale and maybe we can meet in a hotel lobby or a hotel lounge…but if we do meet in a lounge we have to say lounge like this…. looooowwwwwwwnnnnnge. Then those who wanna can do the pricey banquet? Is that fair? Hmmmm???

    Maybe we can share the price of a ticket, you know, you come in for the appetizer, then trade off with another woman who eats the salad and then she comes out and trades off with someone for the soup or the entree??? It sounds as if the speakers will be all comic stuff anyway…as Doc E says it could be blah so…yeah, progressive attendees instead of a progressive dinner and then, in terms of paying for the ticket, it’s prorated per course but more if you can and less if you can’t so some can subsidize the shift of those that have fewer resources. (uhm, before anyone starts seriously discussing that…I’m really really only joking, ‘kay?}

  260. Maggie Jochild says:

    Yeah, I did mean admiring those wimmin. (As I would spell it then/still spell it inside my head. American Heritage usage be damned.) (Sorry, AB.) Alix Dobkin wrote me a letter, too, Aunt Soozie, when I was desperate and suicidal, and gave me hope/advice/connection that I really do believe saved my life. That same summer as the photo of me you saw (yes, I’m the one in the overalls, that girl on my lap is my daughter, so great to hear you say we have the same face because we are not biologically mother and daughter — she’s also the girl who went to lesbian summer camp). And then Liza, among so very many other influences, wrote something in DYKE that persuaded me to move to San Fran, another decision that saved my big white ass.

    How on earth did you manage to play those kinds of records in your parent’s living room? How old are you, anyhow? (Is that okay to ask — oh, wait, you’re the one who’s always bringing up underwear, never mind.)

    Committee positions for the menu mission statement cadre will be determined after a crit/self-crit session in which we determine if any of us come from groups who have been subjugated to oppressive names based on things we supposedly eat (like crackers, garlic, etc.) — the more groups you can claim, the better your chance at a slot. Tamari will have to be wheat-free, of course. And orange cake is mandatory.

  261. Deena in OR says:

    Maggie and Aunt Soozie,

    :::helpless laughter:::

    By the time I finally become a practicing lesbian rather than a theoretical one, this list will have me completely culturally indoctrinated!

    Please pass the orange cake?

  262. Aunt Soozie says:

    Cute…all in theory…I remember those days…they don’t last long though..when you least expect it…

    I’m 46. I guess my parents weren’t listening all that closely? I was maybe 17 years old? I wasn’t really out yet and my older sister had all of these “feminist” friends from working at Girl Scout camp 😛 and they introduced us to “women’s music”. She, my sis, was dating a guy so, maybe the parents felt okay about it?? because there were no overt signs of dyke-dom other than the music??

    I came out after, yeah, you guessed it, my first summer working at Girl Scout camp. My father was certain it was the fault of those dern Girl Scouts. My older sis eventually came out too. My dad , at that time, felt we were very impressionable and that we were unduly influenced by those older lesbos. When he discussed us being led astray my favorite part was when he used to say that Angela Davis had been a very nice, very lovely young lady until she went to college and those radical professors got a hold of her. I loved that. I’m not sure if he was teasing me or serious…at the time I was certain that he was serious.

    Thankfully, after the initial shock of having two of his kids come out as lesbians, he stopped asking “why”. He was loving and accepting of all of his children…gay, straight and inbetween.

    I used to adore hearing him talk about George Bush and how our President was a spoiled primadonna and how disgraceful it was that he was able to send young people to war.
    My father was in active duty in the South Pacific during WWII and he thought that our political leaders… who had never fought in a war… didn’t know what they were sending these soldiers into and that they had no business making such decisions. You would have loved hearing his rant about Haliburton and about the soldiers who were coming home injured only to be charged for their meals while they were in VA hospitals…meals by Haliburton of course!!

    My dad was quite a guy. I wish I had remembered to ask him about that Angela Davis thing before he died.

  263. liza says:

    Mags, I wrote something that persuaded you to move to San Francisco? Seriously? I don’t even like San Francisco particularly. Glad it was good for you, but I’m much more of an LA type when it comes to California.

    Well it just goes to show: you never ever know what kind of effect you’ll have on a person.

    Soozie, my first Lesbian friend was Shultzy on Love That Bob, and yes, she became Alice on the Brady Bunch. Ann B Davis who, according to Wikipedia is 80 years old, still a virgin and never been married.

  264. a different Emma says:


  265. a different Emma says:

    Just kidding. But it could be a more positive type–maybe “bushish”–note the small b.

  266. cybercita says:

    i never did think there was much chemistry between alice and sam the butcher.

  267. Aunt Soozie says:

    Still a virgin, ‘ay ?
    That’s another Alix concert memory of mine…her asking for a show of hands…who in the audience was “penis pure and proud”.

  268. Feminista says:

    I remember The Bob Cummings show,which was the original title for Love that Bob,and Ann as Shultzy was very funny. Our family was the last one on the block to get a TV in Dec.1956 when I was 5 and my sister 8. I never watched The Brady Bunch,though.

  269. Ellen Orleans says:

    cybercita wrote : i never did think there was much chemistry between alice and sam the butcher.

    That’s because Alice was butcher than Sam.

    I was at a big party with Alix Dobkin once. Many of us were on the roof and someone said, “Hey, Alix Dobkin is downstairs.” Eventually I went downstairs and ended up in the same room with her. She extended her hand and said, “Hi, I’m Alix,” just as if she wasn’t a musical legend. Very cool.

  270. Maggie Jochild says:

    Now we know what the B. in Ann B. Davis must stand for.

  271. cybercita says:

    hey ellen,

    delighted to play the straight person for you. every pun intended.

  272. Pam I says:

    Somewhere I have the negs of a photo session I did with Alix in 198something, during a UK tour. When I remember what year it was I’ll upload them and let you all know. She was utterly charming to me and gave me at least an hour to do the pics. And I neglected to ask her to dinner at my then lover’s house as it was all a bit fraught at home. Always regretted that.

  273. liza says:

    Maybe that’s why Sam was The Butcher. In case anyone thought that Alice was the butcher.

    I love that Wik says about Ann B Davis, “still a virgin” like, well, even at 80 y’know, she might still get lucky.

  274. Doctor E says:

    This blog is so educational. I’ve never heard of Alix Dobkin, yet apparently she’s a “musical legend.” I’ve seen Disappear Fear twice. Does that win me any cred?

    I’m also unfamiliar with most of the authors you folks discuss. Margaret Atwood is about as deep as I go into feminist lit.

    I plan to be at the Harveys in September regardess of who-all else goes. When the final list of nominees is released in June, I’ll let you know if Alison is on it. Meanwhile, if the potluck committee elects to hold a gathering at Silvio’s place, I’ll try to attend, unless you prefer to keep it “penis pure and proud.”

  275. mulierebus says:

    what a lovely bunch of people we have here. I learned so much. The Gran Vals. Monsoons in Tucson. The Triangle and Cocoanut Grove fires. I like people who say “this bodes ill” and “pater”.

    On Sydney and Mo, I think they should just be poly. Sydney could force the issue by doing it and then Mo would have to decide to stay or go. I think Mo could handle it. No Sydney isn’t being good and honest about it, but it’s more realistic that way. People often can’t tell their lovers about their affairs. I love Sydney, btw. She’s a bit of a mess emotionally, but look at her parents. She’s got a wonderful dry wit and she’s a cutie. I love Mo too, and she’s not a doormat! If she wants to leave Syd she will.

    I came out at a small college in Vermont with no gay student groups or anything like that in 1985. Alix Dobkin’s Lavendar Jane was my lifeline. I can’t even believe you’re the same Liza I’m always singing about! Do you look more like your mother every day?

    I don’t want to skirt the discussion about manhating out of fear to ruffle feathers, but otoh, I like the spirit of open-minded tolerance most of you are exhibiting. Why bring it up again?

    Shall I write my ‘I Was a Lesbian Separatist’ confessional? Suffice to say I know where someone who says I hate men is coming from and I can respect being in that place.

    I’m really curious about which evangelist said “if lesbian sex caught on, women would find it so satisfying they’d not sleep with men any more and THAT is why it’s immoral” and what the exact quote is. Funny.

    Well niceta virtually meet y’all.


  276. little gator says:

    Nice to meet you too.

    This bodes ill.

    gator, who was born on Liza Doolittle day, as described in t he song “Just You Wait, ‘enry ‘iggins.”

  277. Maggie Jochild says:

    Mulierebus, what a clever name — a portmanteau word, I think, of mulierus (i.e., womanly before femininity cluttered it up, according the OED) and rebus. A womanly puzzle? We are JUST the crowd for you, then.

    We have not tracked down that quote about Lesbian sex yet but Shadocat is on it and that gal is an absolute genius at internet scavenging, if it can be found she will find it.

    Yep, that Liza. “Because she’s a woman, I didn’t think I loved her” and one of the identifiable voices on Chewing Gum and Hugeeboo and the most dykealicious of those five babes on the original Living with Lesbians Cover, Dragonlady, creator of theory by the handsful (note the correct plural there, my geeks), wiseass, synergizer (not the bunny), photographer, painter, bringer-together, now raising the next generation of genius Cowan women, and not nearly done yet. Go to her websites (PSAW on the home page here or http://www.lizacowan.com) and look over her work. Just discovered she had Maira Kalman mannequin photos at PSAW under Artifacts, wowee. My godson chews through her art on a regular basis, and he is adamant that he’s moving to Burlington when he grows up because Liza and Alison are there — I think he still hopes to be a dyke. I’m sure he’ll have a different interpretation of penis pure and proud.

  278. Liza from pine street art works says:

    Wow, Mags. Thanks. Seriously. I found that both thrilling and embarrassing – and I love feeling two emotions simultaneously. Six planets in Gemini.

  279. little gator says:


    I can’t find the quote. Do I have to turn in my title of Search Engine Queen?

  280. Ellen Orleans says:


    Very cool photos. I have some similar shots from a shipyard in Port Townsend. That geometic, map-like, abstract quality compels me too. What chemical is it that causes the vibrant blues and rusts on the hull of ships? Probably toxic but gorgeous too.

    Maggie, thanks for the link.


  281. Liza from pine street art works says:

    Ellen – thanks. I thought it was the salt water, but I really have no idea. The blues also have to do with the primer that is used on ship hulls. Gorgeous as the topcoat peels or is sandblasted away. Glad you like them.

  282. Aunt Soozie says:

    Oh darn, I have so much work to do I can’t go check out Liza’s work…sheesh…later.
    Also, welcome Mulierebus…and do you also enjoy folks who say…’mater or ‘tater? As in…I’m all out of taters and I was going to make tater soup. I do have a few maters…oh, this doesn’t bode well.

    And my dearest Doctor E…
    Penis pure and proud, at least for me, didn’t apply to what was ON my body but, uhm, what had ever been…well, you get the picture…

    so, maybe you still qualify under that heading? I also venture to guess that many of our devotees here are not penis pure and proud…the legendary Alix herself was not. She had her daughter the old fashioned way;not the new fangled emaculate conception way that I utilized.

  283. little gator says:

    emasculate conception?

  284. Silvio Soprani says:

    Hello, everyone, I’m back. (Had a hectic Thursday and most of Friday and just got back to the computer.)

    OKAY–the good news is that this Baltimore Harvey Thing is occuring on the WEEKEND! Yippee! This means that I can host the BLOG GET-TOGETHER with no trouble whatsoever. (My teaching schedule during the week is insane and would have gotten in the way.)

    As far as it being a potluck, it seems to me that if people are coming in from all over creation, they won’t have their pots with them, so I will be perfectly happy to cook. Maybe some of the less impecunious can throw a few bucks into my pot (that sounds TERRIBLE) to fund some fancy cookin’ (or maybe contribute a bottle of wine or something) but other than that, I will be happy to be the hostess.

    I most likely will not be attending the ceremony/dinner/speech at the Convention myself. But I live a mere 1.5 miles from the site, so it would be really easy for those who do to swing over to my place whenever.

    Maggie and Aunt Soozie, thank you for acknowledging that money is scarce for many of us. It is SO BORING to always have to explain it to others…it makes one feel so money-oriented. It seems the less one has, the more one has to consider it.

    But anyway, the other good news is that this event (Sat and Sun, Sept 8-9) will be during the good weather in Baltimore, so my backyard garden will be beautiful and the air will be lovely, and we can spill out the back door of my modest-sized apt into my backyard, which is as big as my entire apt. Maggie, I hate to tell you that the only access to my apt has 3 stone steps, so it’s not exactly wheel chair accessible, but it could be a lot worse.

    I know y’all were kidding about sliding scale and all that, but seriously, if anybody is planning to come to this event, let’s definitely have a get together at my house at a time that won’t conflict with Alison’s prize-reception (which of course must have a good chance.)

    Doctor E, I don’t have any problem with diversity of gender/preference/body parts/artistic interests in my house.. My only rules are no smoking and be nice. In other words, you are most welcome.

    When it gets closer to Sept we will get right on this and make arrangements. What a brilliant idea. How I would love to meet so many of you in person! WHATATRIP!

    Speaking of having babies the old fashioned way, here’s my story: I was at the Michigan Festival for the first time around 1988, i think. I was doing my volunteer hours in childcare. This beautiful young woman I was working a shift with confided in me that she was pregnant, and was so happy about it. I love to hear about people’s birth stories, so assuming she was in a lesbian relationship (always a tricky thing), I asked her, “How did you do it?” (Thinking she would talk about sperm donors, alternative insemination, etc.) She looked at me kind of strangely, and I repeated my question, and finally she said, “Oh, my boyfriend and I just did it the old fashioned way!” (Maybe she thought I was a real perv or something…)

    “emaculate conception”–is that when you do it over the Internet?

  285. Jana C.H. says:

    Mulierebus is right: Mo is no doormat, and Sydney knows it. Remember what first attracted her to Mo was Mo telling her flat-out that she was pond scum for dumping Thea (or words to that effect).

    I don’t think they should be polyamorous because Mo is monogamous at heart. If Sydney insists on it, the issue may well be a deal-breaker. Mo would probably not tolerate it in the long run. I’m not saying this is right or wrong; it’s just the way Mo is. (So am I.)

    Sydney just likes having the occasional fling, and as usual has to dress it up, even to herself, with big words and theory. She IS mannish in some ways; the word implies “the bad stuff about being a man,” as opposed to “manly,” which is about the good stuff. “Womanish” and “womanly” are the same way– “womanish tears” versus “womanly grace.” Nothing political, just nuances of language.

    Jana C.H.
    Saith JcH: Those who can’t write poetry write prose; those who can’t write prose, write free verse; those who can’t write free verse use emoticons.

  286. geogeek says:

    Liza, your boatyard pics are wonderful. I really like the semi-abstract feeling you get from the close-ups, and the realism in the textures inside the shapes (hope that made sense, not an art geek). I’ve worked on ships on and off for years and get something of the same feeling from the sea-going world and some of the manufacturing areas near the tracks in my hometown.

    There was a great photo-essay in an issue of Granta of ships waiting to be taken apart in India, huge and rusting on the beach. I can’t find the issue#, sorry, but if you like that kind of thing I’m _guessing_ that it was either in the “India” issue or “The Sea.”

    Re: colors on ships: the blues are fro the primers and paints, no particular chemical reason for those. When not paint colors, reds, whites, and greens on boats usually come from oxidation of iron, zinc, and copper, respectively. The copper on boats is usually in brass fitting of various kinds. Oxidation is fiercer in salt water because all the extra ions allow more rapid exchange of electrons than you get in fresh water. People put “zincs” on the bottoms of boats to take up some of the oxidation potential in the water, which keeps the seawater from rusting away your other, more functional, metal bits.

  287. geogeek says:

    Jana, want to make another try for a Seattle fan meet-up?

  288. Anonymous says:

    Hello, Your site is great. Regards, Valintino Guxxi

  289. Silvio Soprani says:

    Now that I have calmed down from the prospect of a blogger get-together in my city, I finally clicked on your link to your artwork. WOW! How beautiful and wonderful!

    I really relate to the ship pictures. I lived in Maine for a while, and now I live in a port city where most of the city is going through an upscale make-over, but the port areas are still unambiguously industrial. Even though I know I am looking at pollution, occupational depression (loss of manufacturing and steel jobs), and what some might call an eyesore, I LOVE driving through that part of the city. It is so full of history and texture. I like watching the huge ships dock into the slimmest of berths with a little toy tugboat guiding them in. I love the optical illusion of how a humongo cruise ships looks like it is going to slam right into the Francis Scott Key Bridge, and then it slides under effortlessly.

    I suppose Baltimore reminds me a bit of my native New Jersey, at least the industrial part.(And it seems that only
    The Boss and maybe John Gorka have managed to get poetic about that.) It’s bizarre what people become emotional about, but there you are.

    geogeek, thanks for that chemistry lesson about minerals, oxidation, and color. I never knew that.

  290. Ellen Orleans says:


    Thanks so much. I didn’t really know how to start researching that. I’m compiling three photography exhibits of my work (Sense of Place; Patterns and Textures; Trunks) and needed to know more about the chemical composition on my ship pics.

    What a brain trust (and heart trust) we have here.

  291. liza says:

    Ellen, do you have a link to your pix?
    Granta, I think I know the photos you mean but the name of the artis escapes me. Fabulous, though. Also check out Stephen Wright for his bethlehem Steel images and Ellis Island. I adore his work. http://www.stephenwright.com, I think.

  292. liza says:

    oops, not Wright. It’s Stephen Wilkes. http://www.stephenwilkes.com/main.html

  293. Aunt Soozie says:

    Since I’m an Apple user I meant to say
    iMaculate conception…sorry…
    what can I tell you?
    I was raised Jewish.
    We didn’t have any immaculate conceptions.
    I didn’t learn all of that vocab until Art History.

  294. Maggie Jochild says:

    Re maters —

    When my daughter (who is a Texan, I should put in here) was four and playing with a stack of plastic crap in her room, singing under her breath, my ear got caught by the song she was repeating. I moved closer to listen — the tune was familiar (Guantamera) but the lyrics, as she had deciphered them, were “One ton of ‘maters, I’m eatin’ one ton of maters”…

  295. Jana C.H. says:


    What about next Thursday, April 5, 7:00 at the Floating Leaves Tea House. I think Thursday is open mike at Mr. Spots, therefore not good for gabbing. Bring an interesting travel book. Too bad I’ve never gotten around to editing my journal of my trip to Italy.

    Jana C.H.
    The conductor changes, the music remains the same. –Old Italian Political Saying

  296. Feminista says:

    Hey everyone–we’re almost up to 300 postings. Is this a record?

    Maggie–great story about your daughter and the ‘maters. And I love the song Guantanamera; was so happy when I got to sing it while in Cuba and teach it to kids and adults in El Salvador.

    There’s a book about people who’ve misunderstood song lyrics and it’s a real hoot; believe it’s called “‘Scuse me while I kiss this guy.” Which is what I thought for years what Jimi Hendryx was singing instead of “kiss the sky” in Purple Rain.

    Seattlites–hope your meet-up works out.

  297. cybercita says:


    wasn’t that you who recommended blow dry? the sight of my beloved alan rickman as a bitter, alcoholic, over the hill hairdresser is having the same effect on me as rebecca west did on you, i’m afraid. i’ve got the thing on pause and am debating whether or not to continue.

    btw if you’re not planning to attend alison’s dinner celebration because of your slender wallet problems, i would be happy to start a fund to buy you a ticket. especially if you’re hosting the gang beforehand.

  298. geogeek says:

    Jana, wasn’t Thurs. the night Floating Leaves was unexpectedly closed? Other than that, sounds good to me.

  299. Jana C.H. says:

    As I recall it was Tuesday night that the Floating Leaves was closed, but I may be wrong. I’ll stop by this weekend and ask. If the date isn’t good for you, feel free to suggest another. In the second week in April I have a Raging Grannies meeting on the 10th and Seattle Children’s Theatre on the 12th.

    By the way, I’m working on a song for the Grannies: “The Impeachment Chorus” based on Handel’s Messiah. It might be too complicated for them, though I’m eliminating the four-part harmony and paring the counterpoint to a minimum.

    Let’s impeach ’em, let’s impeach ’em,
    Let’s impeach ’em, let’s impeach ’em,
    Cheney and Bush.
    That’ll teach ’em, that’ll teach ’em,
    That’ll teach ’em, that’ll teach ’em,
    Let’s give ’em the push.

    There’s more, of course, all about the Constitution and saving the Republic. I think if the Grannies take the trouble to learn it right, it’ll be a real show-stopper.

    Did I get comment 300?

    Jana C.H.
    Saith Floss Forbes: If you don’t know the tune, sing tenor.

  300. Silvio Soprani says:

    I think you have invented a new ANTHEM!

    cybercita, I HOPE you kept on watching Blow Dry! There is true redemption in that movie. In fact, it is probably one of the most hopeful family movies I know!

    Thank you for your fund idea (“send silvio to the ceremony…”) Let’s wait and see how things go…I never know what my finances will look like so many months ahead of time.
    But if I need the help I will certainly put it out there.
    One thing I can predict–there WILL be lasagna for the masses.

    Today I am preparing for a camping trip (Tuesday) to South Carolina. I tried to book a site at my favorite place–Hunting Island (off the coast, parallel to Savannah), but can you believe it, all the Winnebagos got there ahead of me and it is all booked up. So I settled for Myrtle Beach State Park, which had tons of vacancies. I have never been there, but from the description and the pictures,the state park looks pretty natural and unspoiled. So I am looking forward to a couple of days of swimming and walking and breathing. The water temperature is around 65 degrees. I can swim in that, right? One thing I know; the water is always at least 15 degrees warmer in SC than it is in Maryland!

  301. mulierebus says:

    Ave María, grátia plena, Dóminus tecum.
    Benedícta tu in muliéribus, et benedíctus fructus ventris tui, Jesus.

    Actually I just meant to be amongst women from the latin Hail Mary, but I spelled it wrong. Ooops. Well I love a good rebus and all other puzzles, so it fits, so I’ll keep it. Hee.hee.

    Jana–I suppose you’re right about Mo. I doubt she’d see two women at the same time herself, so she’d just be putting up with it for the sake of staying with Syd–which is what my wife does for me, so I guess I think that’d be okay…but I’m not sure Mo would be happy.

    I like the Hallelujah Chorus as sung by the Roches…I could sing your Impeach bush theme song to that quite well. So I did.

  302. mk says:

    mulierebus, glad to meet you.

  303. LM says:


    Do you remember The Amazing Pink Things rendition of the Hal and Lulu chorus? They hit some local venues when you were young and I wasn’t.

  304. Doctor E says:

    All right, I was just acknowledging the possibility that some womyn might not be comfortable stripping to their underwear and having a pillow fight when there’s a man in the room. That’s what lesbians DO at parties, right?

    Another option for September: It’s possible to skip the dinner and just go to the awards afterward. I thought it would be cool to have a Dykes and Friends table, but I recognize the economic realities. There’s an admission to the awards ceremony, but they were pretty haphazard about collecting it last year. Anyway, it’s September- there’s plenty of time to think it over.

    mulierebus, I just now realized it was me who said “This bodes ill.” I’m so proud!

    Y’know, I’m 99% sure I don’t have to say this, but I’m going to anyway: That first paragraph was a joke. Really.

  305. Jana C.H. says:

    I don’t know the Hal and Lulu Chorus, but I know the Honolulu Chorus, which is on the Derivative Duo’s first CD, “Opera for the Masses.” The Derivative Duo were a pair of lesbians who wrote fresh lyrics to opera arias back in the ’90s. I don’t know if they were purely a local phenomenon or not. I especially liked their version of Leporello’s Catalogue Aria (from Don Giovanni) as if sung by a tomcat. It’s on their second CD, “Mutiny at the Matinee”.

    I’m using the Derivative Duo’s Honolulu Chorus to work out the melody line to the Messiah, which is not easy. It would help if I were actually a musician instead of just a lyricist. I know what all the musical symbols mean and can decipher them, but that’s not the same as being able to sight-read Handel.

    Jana C.H.
    “For We the People govern for e-e-ver!”

  306. LM says:

    Heard of, but, sadly, never heard the Derivative Duo. I’ll have to see if I can find my ancient “Pink” cassett. One antifact in search of another. Good luck, compose yourself, and Grannies Rule!

  307. Maggie Jochild says:

    Jana, I wasn’t sure if you were serious or not for much of that post — we do tongue-in-cheek so well here.

    Years ago I knew a couple of dykes who rewrote the lyrics to the portion of Handel’s Messiah where the lines begin with “We like sheep…” Only their version was a riff on bestiology, i.e., all the ways they liked sheep.

  308. cybercita says:

    i used to have a friend who would sing “all we like sheep, but young boys will do.”

  309. Jana C.H. says:

    Now that I look at it, I realize my last post did sound something like the Maoist Orange Cake opera discussions of the past.

    Here’s the Impeachment Chorus as I have it now. If it seems a bit muddy near the end, that’s where I split the singers into two semi-choruses who answer each other back and forth, to simulate the counterpoint. I don’t have that part worked out in detail, and even if I did I couldn’t put it across in this form. Are there any actual musicians out there who plan to come to our Thursday meeting? I also need to transpose the whole thing down. In my youth when I did a lot of singing I could hit those high notes, but only when the Force was with me. Not too many sopranis with the Grannies.

    Impeachment Chorus

    Let’s impeach ’em. Let’s impeach ’em.
    Let’s impeach ’em. Let’s impeach ’em.
    Cheney and Bush.

    That’ll teach ’em. That’ll teach ’em.
    Let’s impeach ’em. Let’s impeach ’em.
    Let’s give em the push.

    For the Republic stands in great danger,
    Let’s impeach ’em. Let’s impeach ’em.
    That’ll teach ’em. That’ll teach ’em.
    Not from a terrorist or a stranger.
    Let’s impeach ’em. Let’s impeach ’em.
    That’ll teach ’em. That’ll teach ’em.

    Stop this unconstitutional tyrant.
    Let’s impeach ’em. Let’s impeach ’em, etc.
    I can’t contain my fury or my rant.
    Let’s impeach ’em. Let’s impeach ’em, etc.
    Join me in low or middle or high rant.
    Let’s impeach ’em. Let’s impeach ’em, etc.
    Impeach them!

    The Constitution stands– Still it stands.
    The Constitution stands.
    It’s in our hands, it’s in our hands.

    For We the People govern forever.
    For We the People govern forever., etc, etc.

    Forever and ever, We the People, We the People–
    Forever and ever, We the People, We the People–

    Forever and ever, We the People, We the People–
    And Cap’talists—
    Forever and ever, We the People, We the People–

    Forever and ever, We the People, We the People–
    Liberals, Conservatives.
    For We the People, We the People, We the People,
    For We the People govern forever, etc.

    Liberals, Conservatives. Liberals, Conservatives.
    Liberals, Conservatives. Liberals, Conservatives.
    For We the People govern forever.
    Liberals, Conservatives. Liberals, Conservatives.
    Let’s impeach ’em. Let’s impeach ’em.
    Let’s impeach ’em. Let’s impeach ’em.
    Impeach them!

    Jana C.H.
    Saith Anna Russell: I’m not making this up, you know!

  310. Silvio Soprani says:


    Let us, Indeed!

  311. Aunt Soozie says:

    Oh, Dr E. that’s so cute…you think we leave our underwear on for those pillow fights…

  312. Maggie Jochild says:

    I know, Aunt Soozie — commando all the way, right?

    Except for Ripley. She wears her undies, but then, she has flamethrower.

  313. Deena in OR says:

    Hey Jana-
    If I send you my email, would you send me the charts? Or do you have them in e-format?

  314. Deena in OR says:

    Soozie, Maggie…How’s a poor girl supposed to get any sleep with those visions running through her head, huh???

  315. Jana C.H. says:


    Are you referring to my Impeachment Chorus score? I do not have it in digital form. I printed out out from a website which I can no longer find. If you want to work on the reduction, I would be delighted. I’m trying to keep the actual counterpoint (two groups singing at the same time) to a minimum, though I can’t eliminate it altogether. Two semichoruses answering each other back and forth is probably the most that the Grannies would be willing to handle. The Seattle group, at least, does not go in for heavy-duty rehersal, and this is going to require a conductor no matter what I do with it.

    I would be happy to discuss this via e-mail. You can find my e-mail address on Smirking Chimp, but you have to register on the Chimp to contact me there. I haven’t been able to figure out another means to give someone my e-mail address without actually posting it. Maybe I should just give in and do it; I can always delete unwanted e-mail.

    Jana C.H.
    Saith JcH: Do whatever you like with Wagner, but mess with Gilbert and Sullivan and you die!

  316. Jana C.H. says:

    Deena– Maggie Jochild and Geogeek have my e-mail address. If you are in direct contact with either of them they can give it to you. I hereby give my permission.

  317. Natkat says:

    Wait…….Syndey isn’t doing any recycling….her Mom is. She is organizing her Mom’s recycling.

    Oy! Reminds me of my GF’s parents’ recent visit. She was their gopher the entire two weeks. It was painful to watch. Sydney’s Mom constantly summoning her to the computer after she had already asked her to take care of her recycling is exactly what I watched my sweetie’s parents do to her.

  318. Megan Stalheim, Peace Corps Cameroon says:

    dude, the backstory is key 🙂 i wondered at first why you kept posting them with “sorry this is late” and this is much more interesting. i mean i think we’re all grateful you put them up at all you certainly don’t need to appoligize.

    by the way your comic is a lifeline to me in a country where being a dyke is illegal.

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