for the english professor who has everything

December 8th, 2010 | Uncategorized


Diane DiMassa’s selling affordable prints of her popular English Language Series. Here’s what she says:

The prints are 8.5″x11″ high-quality signed prints on archival paper. They will last longer than you, easily.
How To Get One Fast:
Paypal, of course, to
The prints are $22.00 each+$7.00 Priority shipping w/tracking.
Please specify in a note either “FnF Book Cover” or “Shit Pee Poo” and quantity.
(Same shipping amount whatever quantity. Don’t ever make me do math.)
I am practically giving them away BECAUSE I LOVE YOU and because affordable art doesn’t really exist except for me; I’m an idiot.

Oh. Here’s the other one. DiMASSA RULES!


107 Responses to “for the english professor who has everything”

  1. bean says:

    Am I first? Fucking brilliant! (I hope that was a correct usage.)

    And, not to take away from the brilliance and eloquence that is Diane DiMassa, but I had to share this seasonally appropriate link on this last night of hanukah:

  2. monopole says:

    Awesome, DiMassa does indeed rule! I should get a fez for my turkey-cat!

  3. shadocat says:

    Gawd, I love this!

  4. Ian says:

    @bean(1). A bacon Nativity? I can’t imagine what the original 1st century CE participants in that scene would possibly think of being portrayed in pork.

    As for Diane DiMassa’s covers, all I can think of is a (slightly inappropriate) Billy Connolly quote: “I know, oh, at least 127 words and I still prefer fuck”.

  5. hairball_of_hope says:

    Chicken rules!

    Just wish there was some art for sale with the classic HH line, “I’m not your fuckin’ spritzhead girlfriend, I’m Hothead Paisan!”

  6. ready2agitate says:

    “Oh purr!”

    (I miss lampy too)

  7. ready2agitate says:

    ps I still have my b&w Hothead T-shirt where she declares:


  8. Megan says:

    These are wonderful, and I would love to have one. Unfortunately, there is no way in hell I’m letting PayPal have access to my information and money, which according to their terms of service, they can do whatever they want with, including freezing my accounts if they decide they don’t like me (Wikileaks is only the latest and highest-profile organisation to wake up one morning and discover that PayPal is no longer speaking to them, is taking their money and going home).

    I realise it’s a convenient service, but it provides appalling service, especially to people outside of the USA, and treats its customers extremely badly. Please consider using an alternative payment facility.

  9. freyakat says:

    @Megan: I share your same concerns about PayPal.
    I suggest you go to Diane Di Massa’s website to see if there is a way to write to her to ask if she will accept personal checks sent to her via the USPS.

  10. Ginjoint says:

    Mom asked me what I’d like for Christmas. On my list was the Fuck Snow Globe. Fingers crossed.

    From the previous thread: Damnit, Andi, now you’ve introduced me yet another site that will cost me vast swaths of time. Sheer, sparkling awesomeness. And go Kate! Smallville is the better for citizens like you.

    Elizabeth Edwards, rest in peace, baby. Fucking cancer, as Mom says. (It’s the only time she uses the F word, so I doubt I’m going to be seeing that snow globe come Christmas morn.)

  11. Kat says:

    Am I the only one who’s COMPLETELY lost?? What is this book/comic/grammar guide with nekkid person on it??????

  12. TAF says:

    Love Hothead. Love her, love her, love her! And thank you for sharing this – had a no-good-horrible-very-bad-day today and got a much needed laugh seeing this!

    (Disclaimer: I love you – in a platonic way – too!)

  13. bean says:

    Kat, Hothead Paisan, Homocidal Lesbian Terrorist was a cartoon drawn by Diane Dimassa in the 1990s. She expressed many of our deepest longings in some, uh, creative ways. She had a cat, named, obviously, Chicken. She had an extensive vocabulary and a way with words. Apparently, at some point in history, she was contracted to produce a grammar textbook. The above graphics are posters of said text, made available for sale by Hothead’s creatrix.

    Learn more about Hothead Paisan here:

    Predictably, there is also a wikipedia article about her.

    I believe she is naked in the second poster because, well, she probably wanted to be. I wouldn’t try to stop her, if I were you; even naked she’s probably armed.

  14. NLC says:

    I’ll be glad to be corrected if I’m wrong, but rather than Dimassa having written a text, I just assumed that the images above were just “modifications” that she made to the cover of some ancient standard high school text.

    For example [Click Here]

    Sort of a found art kinda thing.

  15. bean says:

    well, i meant, maybe Hothead had been contracted to produce a grammar text…not DiMassa…

  16. Kat says:

    Ah, thanks. I’ve heard of Hothead Paisan, but never knew the cartoonist’s name, and therefore didn’t know of her other projects.

  17. Feminista says:

    #14: Yes,I agree. The phrase I’ve seen is altered books. Sometimes the artist will remove sections of a book and replace with artwork. They look quite cool.

  18. NLC says:


    As Mork used to say “Ah, humor”.

    (Sorry, sometimes my language-processor becomes painfully literal towards the end of a long week….)

  19. Ginjoint says:

    NLC, I wonder if the folks at Library Thing are wondering about the sudden spike in interest in their 1.75 millionth popular book.

  20. Judybusy says:

    I caught a part of an interview with Neil Gaiman yesterday on NPR. They mentioned that he’s the editor of Best American Comics 2010. I thought this crowd would like to know!

  21. Anonymous says:

    You will find that you don’t have too many people responding on this particular post because of the graphic nature.
    It is what it is and while I don’t judge, it’s raunchy.
    I remain anonymous because I think it’s the best way to be.

  22. Renee S. says:


    [Ahem. –Mentor]

  23. Jain says:

    I, on the other hand, copied it to my facebook page. I might not have done that had I not, after 18 wonderful years teaching English, handed in my letter of resignation last week.

  24. hairball_of_hope says:

    Years ago, a friend and I were discussing the usage of “Fuck you” and the word “fuck” in general as a negative concept. She made a really good point:

    “I don’t understand why we say, ‘Fuck you’ when we’re mad at someone. We spend all this time trying to get laid. We crave sex. We use euphemisms for having sex, such as ‘Getting lucky’ and ‘Scored’ that indicate fucking your brains out is a good thing. So why do we say ‘Fuck you’ when we’re mad at someone? Why would you want this person to ‘get lucky’? Shouldn’t we be saying, ‘Unfuck you,’ hoping the person never gets laid ever again?”

    I thought she made an excellent point. I’ve just never been able to say ‘Unfuck you’ in the heat of argument. Given the current usage of ‘unfuck you’ as an undo-phrase for ‘fuck you’ (e.g. instead of saying “I’m sorry” one says “Unfuck you”), I think the point would be lost on whomever the original epithet was intended.

    Now about the Anonymous #21 comment… I haven’t experienced this crowd as a conclave of sheltered goody-two-shoes (shoeses?). There’s been ample and lusty raunch in these posts before, and if something offends one’s sensibilities, the wise choice is to simply skip the post and read something else.

    N.B. Some of us like our raunch topped with maple syrup. Grade B. I recall those posts extending well into the hundred-comment or so range.

    It’s definitely NSFW (Not Safe For Work); if you’re reading DTWOF on your work computer, you’re already risking the rath of the IT gods logging your online activities, there’s plenty they can hang you with if they are so inclined. This post isn’t likely to be the only thing that will cause you trouble or a pink slip. Hell, even the tagline “Homicidal Lesbian Terrorist” will likely trigger nanny filters on corporate Internet snoopware. Caveat websurfer.

    Also, my BS detectors were set off with this phrase,

    “It is what it is and while I don’t judge, it’s raunchy.”

    Anytime I hear or read something on the order of “… while I don’t judge …” I know immediately following it WILL be a judgment.

    Similarly-used phrases… “… not to hurt your feelings but …”, “… it’s none of my business but …”. Each of these will be immediately followed by something that hurts the listener’s feelings or butts into her/his business. I know there’s a linguistic term for this, prefacing an unpleasant remark with a lead-in that claims to be doing the opposite, but damned if I know what it is called.

    No doubt, someone among this raunchy yet erudite crowd will have the answer.

    Lastly, if someone takes a random DiMassa cartoon out of context, not only will the reader simply “not get it,” s/he will get exactly the opposite message from what DiMassa intended. I’m thinking of several HH episodes where an angry HH blows away various nasty misogynist and homophobic male stereotype characters, and either Roz, Lampy, or the fez-wearing Chicken (love that cat wisdom) has a talk with HH about her response.

    (… goes off in search of some grade B maple syrup …)

  25. ready2agitate says:

    dang. i miss hothead. did u know that the two compendiums are now one big fat book? i should go read it again. major catharsis back in the day.

    dang. i miss mo. did u know the books are now one big fat book? i should go…

    fuck myself (hee hee).

    (But aw shucks, hairball, I hate to see you take the bate – save your wrists, and beloved wit, for the rest of us…)

  26. freyakat says:

    @HoH — you can get some wonderful Grade B maple syrup today at the Union Square Greenmarket from
    Deep Mountain Maple. Yesterday I got a quart for $22. (Deep Mountain is at Union Square on Fridays and Saturdays.)

  27. Well, this is as good a place as any: The phrase Fuck me runnin’, meant to connote what in an earlier time would have been expressed as Blow me down — is that regional (i.e., Texas/Southern) or perhaps generational? How many of you out there have heard it or employed it?

    And it’s intriguing as to origin, since it implies no overt self-harm or hostility, but rather the *wham* of amazement.

  28. khatgrrl says:

    Anonymous may have forgotten that this is Alison’s blog and that she can post what ever she would like. I’m not much into censorship or the whole “while I don’t judge,” crap. If the blog offends you, stop reading it. I’m fairly certain that it isn’t required reading for anyone.

    [Ahem. –Mentor]

    Nice response HOH!

  29. Ginjoint says:

    Never heard it, Maggie, but TOTALLY going to employ it!

  30. Andrew B says:

    Re 27, what Ginjoint said. I wonder if the origin of the phrase has to do with the improbability of the act described.

  31. Andrew, I bet you’re right.

  32. Kate L says:

    “Frak!” was making progress in becoming a swear word until natural gas drilling in the northeastern United States got out of control. Fraking is the (often indiscriminate) use of high pressure fluids to widen fractures in organic-rich sedimentary rock to maximize the natural gas production from those rocks. When done precisely, a major source of hydrocarbons. When done incompetently, you may also fracture nearby rock layers such as fresh water aquifers. The result? People being able to light their tap water with a match. Originally, direction well drilling was used to maximize a well’s natural gas production by turning the drill bit horizontal when it reached the productive layer, but I’m guessing fraking is cheaper. Kind of like going fishing with dynamite is cheaper than using a rod and reel. Not that I’ve ever gone fishing with dynamite, or done any fraking.

  33. Kate L says:

    (Kate L # 32) “Not that I’ve ever gone fishing with dynamite, or done any fraking.”… that last part just sounds so sad!!!

  34. NLC says:

    …and of course, there’s George Carlin’s comment to the effect that the reasonable response to “Fuck you!” should, of course, be “Why, thank you.”

  35. When I was in high school, one man in that rural area was notorious for fishing with dynamite. He was never challenged because he was a volatile man in general. In sunny afternoons, we’d hear a boom from the direction of the lake and say with a wry grin, “There’s Gary getting catfish for dinner.”

    A favorite joke in that remote county centered around a man like Gary whose habits became known to the new, citified game warden. One morning as the suspect fisher was loading his bass boat, the game warden showed up at the dock and engaged him in conversation. The suspect amiably asked the warden if he’d like to join him on the water, and the warden swiftly agreed, hoping to find evidence of wrong-doing.

    They putted out to the middle of the lake, where the local man dropped anchor, popped open a beer, then flipped back the lid of his tackle box to reveal it stacked with sticks of dynamite. The game warden goggled, unable to react as the man picked up a stick, lit it with his cigarette, and laconically tossed it into the water. A few seconds later it sent up a muffled boom from under the water, which was followed by assorted fish floating to the top belly-up.

    As the man began netting these, the warden found his voice and launched into a torrent of protest, screaming about the charges he was going to bring this man up on. After a minute of listening, the man took another stick of dynamite, lit it, and placed it into the hand of the disbelieving warden, saying, “You gonna talk or you gonna fish?”

  36. Marj says:

    Kate L & Maggie J: on that basis “frak you!” – or indeed “fish you!” – is way more injurious than “fuck you!”

    In the UK we tend to say “fuck off!”, memorably sanitised by Jasper Carrott, a Brummie comedian, as “Go forth and multiply!”

  37. NLC says:

    Marj#36: “Go forth and multiply”

    Along the same lines, given the biblical connotations of the verb, I’ve always wondered about the phrase “Know thyself”…

  38. Anonymous says:

    […original message snipped…]

    [Dear “Anonymous”: OK, here’s the deal.

    If you really are interested in posting messages or opinions here, you are, of course free –and welcome– to do so. Any and all genuine postings will be respected here –whatever some previous responses might have indicated to the contrary (Ahem).

    However, by the same token all postings will remain respectful and civil.

    On the other hand, if –as the snipped portion of this message would seem to indicate– your actual intent is just to annoy, or pester folks here, well, it might be better if you did decide to play elsewhere.

    Your choice. –Mentor]

  39. Andrew B says:

    36, Marj, Woody Allen used the same joke in his standup routine in the early 60s. “Some guy ran into the fender of my car, and I said unto him, be fruitful, and multiply — but not in those words.”

    What does “Brummie” mean?

  40. khatgrrl says:

    Sorry Mentor. My intention was not to be disrespectful. (and of course it is required reading for you)

    [Thank you for saying so. Things seemed to be getting a little warm hereabouts, and if I read too much into your post, I apologize. –Mentor]

  41. Marj says:

    Andrew B, #39, Brummie is the word for people who come from Birmingham and speak the local vernacular. Like Cockney from London and Scouse from Liverpool. Didn’t know Woody Allen did it first – thanks.

    NLC, #37, “Know thyself” – hee!

  42. Lurk-A-Lot says:

    @ Marj re: your post in earlier thread(Tintin)

    Thank you for the info re: PLR.

    I had no idea that this exists. Checked out their FAQ and it turns out we have PLR here in Canada. Thanks again.

  43. Lurk-A-Lot says:

    Many a time I will find something that I’ve been occupied with will be the topic of discussion on the DTWF blog. Almost always, it’s been something AB posts about (leading me to believe we are kindred spirits or part of the same group soul, haha).

    Today, just before I got to the blog, I was thinking how recently I’ve been saying “fuck me” a lot. This is a new thing for me. Then I tune in, and it’s part of the discussion.

    Well, fuck me running!

  44. well fuck me! running or standing completely still!

  45. Acilius says:

    @h_o_h #24: I believe the word you’re trying to think of is “praeteritio.” Or perhaps “paraleipsis,” that also refers to the rhetorical device of raising a subject by saying that you are not going to raise it.

    There’s a book called The Mother Tongue: English and How it Got That Way, by Bill Bryson. I don’t much like the book, but there’s a very memorable passage about “fuck you.” He says that we may as well tell the person to “Have a nice dinner!” or “Make a lot of money!”

    On the other hand, the word “fuck” has always had a violent side. It likely originated with the Old Germanic fokken, which like the Indo-European base peug- from which it may ultimately be derived meant “fist” and “punch.” So, we have the image of an erect penis tipped with a glans as something like a forearm tipped with a clenched fist, and penis-in-vagina penetration as the male repeatedly punching his partner. This violent imagery survives in the angry use of the word “fuck.” That’s why Andrea Dworkin always referred to penis-in-vagina sexual intercourse as “fucking,” because she saw that the word “fuck” suggests sexual violence and she argued that in a society like ours sexual violence is implicit in heterosexual intercourse. For my part, I tend to avoid expressions like “fuck you” and “fucked up” and “I’m fucked” because they do seem to carry a strong suggestion of rape and its aftermath. I’ve never shouted “Get tortured!” at someone, so why would I shout “Get fucked!”?

  46. NLC says:

    There also seems to be some evidence that one of the reasons we use “swear words” so expressively, (especially short, percussive anglo-saxon-y swear words, and their analogs in other languages) may be kind of related to how we –or rather our brains– are wired to structure spoken language.

    For example there’s a common first-year computer-programmin exercise that goes like the following:

    Say you want to try to generate random words by stringing together letters. If you just start pasting letters together in a completely random order, you will, of course, get gibberish “QOWIJHE”, “OINDI”, etc.

    But letters aren’t randomly distributed in most languages. Various letters have different probabilities that they will follow other letters. For example, if you analyze an English dictionary, you find that if you have the letter “T”, you have a much better than average chance that the next letter will be “H”. (The extreme case here is “Q”; it is almost certain that the next letter will be “U”.)

    You can carry this further, by looking at the previous two letters to pick the odds of the next letter. E.g. if you have “TH”, the next letter will most likely be “E”, and so on. You can then use three letters to generate the next letter; and then four, and so on.

    Generating subsequent letters based on two- or three- letter sequences still results mostly in gibberish. But once you start getting up to four- or five-letter sequences you start “randomly creating” a lot of “real” words. And, as it turns out, a surprisingly large number of these tend to be swear words.

  47. EastBay K says:

    @Maggie #27

    didn’t “blow me down” get used in Popeye cartoons? i seem to remember that. (I’m neither from the south nor Texas, but I am working on my 5th decade on the planet.)

  48. Andi says:

    Ginjoint@10 – Thanks for your comments about my blog. You’re the first person to ever describe my writing as “Sheer, sparkling awesomeness.” Wow! I am grateful.

    Re: The F-Word. About six of us, women writers all, were at Happy Hour a week or so ago, talking about this very topic. It was all very intellectual and professional, (e.g., “When is profanity acceptable in print media?”) until someone said, “Has anyone seen the fucking check?” And then the conversation went something like this;

    Fuck no, I haven’t seen it.
    Well, then ask someone – I don’t fucking have all night.
    Hey, my fucking house burned down. You should pay my part of the fucking check.
    Oh, fuck the check, let’s just leave.
    What the fuck are you all talking about??!
    Where the fuck have you been? We’re talking about profanity and journalism. Fucking pay attention, okay?

    We were laughing so hard during this exchange that we could hardly breathe. In a heartbeat, a group of poised, professional writers and editors turned into a group of Very Bad Girls.

    It was SO much fun.

  49. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Acilius (#45)

    I knew I could count on someone in this gaggle of linguaphiles to come up with the word. I was thinking of either paralepsis or apophasis, not exactly sure of the distinction between the two as used in rhetoric. No doubt someone on this blog can elucidate the distinctions in usage for us.

    Interestingly, both words were featured in AWAD within the past week or two as part of the theme “What to avoid when using words.” I guess the words sublimed their way into my brain without really registering, as I plowed through the daily e-mail inbox tsunami.

    AWAD (A Word A Day) is the best thing to hit my inbox each day. Anu Garg rocks. It’s free, and quite entertaining and informative. Perfect for this crowd. My (long-retired) left-handed boss signed me up for an e-mail subscription sometime in the 1990s; to this day, we occasionally shoot each other e-mails about the interesting words Garg sends out.

    (… goes off to the kitchen for a pot of tea …)

  50. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Acilius (#45)

    re: “I’ve never shouted “Get tortured!” at someone, so why would I shout “Get fucked!”?”

    I was thinking of equivalents to the “Get tortured/Get fucked” phrase and others like them…

    “Get audited!” (anyone who has dealt with the IRS can attest to this one)

    “Go to the DMV!” (not quite hell, but a decent facsimile, sans eternal burning)

    I haven’t figured out a succinct phrase to wish someone the equivalent fun of preparing for a colonoscopy or other gastrointestinal procedure. I don’t think “Get a Fleet Kit #5!” will resonate with many.

    Suggestions welcomed for addition to this list of alternate curses.

    Since most of these fine words are Anglo-Saxon in origin, I have a question for the Francophones among us… in English, it’s not uncommon for someone to preface a vulgar remark with “Pardon my French.” What do French-speakers say in equivalent situations? “Pardon my English”?

    Not all languages use sex or violent associations of sex to perform the task of wishing others ill. In Yiddish, for example, there’s one that wishes the recipient “May all your teeth fall out but one. And may that one ache forever.” Long-winded, but effective imagery. “May a trolley car grow in your stomach.” New World object meets Old World language, with painful wishes.

    Other than the usage of “schmuck” and “putz” (both vulgar terms for the male anatomy, and both of which have crossed over to English), I can only think of one expression that’s vulgar in translation, “Go shit in the ocean” roughly standing in for “Go to Hell.”

  51. Alex K says:

    @24 HOH / 21 Anonymous:

    Hey, I looked at it and I thought what A thought. Raunchy.

    Yes, to see is to judge. But for me “raunchy” is not bad.

  52. Andrew B says:

    Marj, thanks for explaining “Brummie” and “Scouse”. I bet Allen and Carrott weren’t the only comedians who independently thought of that joke.

  53. ksbel6 says:

    Bill Cosby has a nice bit about that where he points out that when God says, “Go forth and multiply” he is actually quite angry…the same way we would say to our children, “Go to your room and stay there, you’re grounded.” Yet somehow, in church, it is always kind of used to tell the people to have lots of offspring. Weird, but not surprising that organized religion would twist that meaning.
    He’s much funnier when he’s talking about coin flips though!

  54. NLC says:

    Hmmm… I’m not sure where Cosby got this from. In the only place this phrase occurs in the Bible (Gen9:1 — the actual phrase is “Be fruitful and multiply” in the KJV) God is speaking to Noah and his sons after they leave the Ark. He’s certainly not angry with them and, far from grounding them, He’s establishing His covenant with Noah basically giving him and his sons dominion over the entire post-flood world.

    The main point is certainly right –that mainstream churches twist a lot of meanings– but it’s not clear what Cosby could mean in this case.

  55. Kate L says:

    This just in! New York state has issued a 7-month moratorium on fraking!!! Oh, wait, they mean the drilling practice…

  56. Fester Bestertester says:

    55: “Oh, wait, they mean the drilling practice…”

    Kate L, have you gone all Freudian on us?

  57. Kate L says:

    Life is just so frustrating, out here on the High Plains…

  58. little gator says:

    so who wants to discuss the phrase “bite me”?

  59. NLC says:

    This is pretty radically off-topic (there’s that word again…) but I just felt like mentioning this:

    Here’s a [pointer] to an article in the local paper about a neighbor of mine (well, about a mile and half away) and the display she puts up.

    If anyone finds themselves in western New England over the next few weeks, this really is amazing and worth a side-trip. (And Shirley is just a wonderful person.)

    Ah, Christmas in Vermont…

    (We now return you to your regularly schedule chat.)

  60. cd in Madison says:

    @little gator #58 <> Me, me, call on me! I’ve never understood why “bite me” is issued as an invitation. It makes much less sense to me than “Fuck you”. But then I didn’t understand “Pull my finger” for a long time, either.

  61. Judybusy says:

    Kate L @32–guess we’re late to the party. We just started using frak as a swear after getting hooked on Battlestar Galactica! (Thanks to Netflix streaming) Thanks for the geologically-related info. I’m still going to use it. I have a potty mouth and would love to curb the habit. In fact, I’ve used it a lot this weekend, dealing with our snowtastic blizzard!

  62. ksbel6 says:

    Hmmm…I always thought that was what God said to Adam and Eve after they ate the forbidden fruit. Maybe Cosby didn’t do his homework, and of course, I didn’t do mine 🙂

  63. hairball_of_hope says:

    I get to answer my own question about Francophones… the cashier at my local Greek diner is French (from Bretagne), so I asked her. First, she had no idea that in English, “Pardon my French” was used to preface vulgarities. She giggled at the idea. She had to think for a minute about what the French say for similar usage, and then she came up with, “I’m losing my Latin.”

    Don’t know if Quebecois French has a different expression, perhaps Calico would know.

  64. ksbel6 says:

    Everything I know about the Bible, I learned from Bill Cosby…

    America’s favorite father, Bill Cosby, wrote a book almost 25 years ago entitled Fatherhood. The first parent, according to Cosby, was not Adam or Eve. The first parent was God. And even God had trouble with his kids.

    The first thing that God said to his kids was what most parents say to their kids, “Don’t.” And Adam replied, “Don’t what?” And God said, “Don’t eat the forbidden fruit.” And Adam said, “Forbidden fruit? Really? Where is it?”

    Bill Cosby says, “That’s beginning to sound familiar isn’t it? You never realized that the pattern of your life had been laid down in the Garden of Eden.”

    “It’s over there,” said God, wondering why he hadn’t stopped after making the elephants. A few minutes later God saw the kids having an apple break and He was angry. “Didn’t I tell you not to eat that fruit?” the first parent said. “Uh-huh,” Adam replied.

    “Then why did you?” God asked.

    “I don’t know,” Adam said.

    “Right, then, get out of here; go forth, become fruitful and multiply,” said God. And we all know from our own experience that this was not a blessing, but a curse. How many of us can remember being told by our parents when we were young, “I hope you have kids just like you someday!” Bill Cosby suggests that this is precisely what God meant when he told his own children to go forth and multiply. God’s punishment was that Adam and Eve should have children of their own!

  65. NLC says:


    OK, I can’t help but repeat a joke a friend told me ages ago.

    A man goes to see his Rabbi, and says “Rebbe, my son causes me no end of trouble”, and he lays out a long list of complaints about his son, ending with “I’ve tried to be a good father, but I don’t know what to do.”

    The rabbi lets out a long sigh and says to the man “Listen, you have a son, I have a son…” and proceeds to tell the man of all the trials and tribulations that his son has put him through. After this the man leaves, greatly relieved over the relatively minor problems he has had with his own son.

    However, after the man leaves the Rabbi is depressed now that he has recalled all the problems his son has put him through, and he begins to pray. “G*d, my son causes me no end of trouble”, and he lays out a long list of complaints about his son, ending with “I’ve tried to be a good father, but I don’t know what to do.”

    Suddenly the Rabbi hears a great sigh and a voice says “Listen, you have a son, I have a son…”

  66. Andrew B says:

    The depressing thing about the Bible, and popular takes on the Bible, is how drastically it fails the Bechdel test. I was going to point out that Cosby was right — look how Adam and Eve’s kids turned out. Then I realized I ought to say, how Adam and Eve’s sons turned out. All the earnest New Standard Revised substitutions of “human” for “man” can’t disguise the fact that the actors are all male. Yet it’s one of the great works of world literature and within its limits offers much insight into people and our interactions. It’s not dismissible. (Not to mention that popular takes on it — Cosby’s or the anonymous Jewish one NLC cites — are often very funny.)

    It’s the kind of thing that can leave one grinding one’s teeth and muttering “Fuck you, you fucking fuck” to no one in particular. Fortunately, that can be satirized, too.

  67. cd in Madison says:

    Hey, Doonesbury is going there — a DADT theme week. And Mel may just be meeting a new girlfriend!

  68. little gator says:

    so, continuing on this thread that has few repsonses,
    i think “bite me” is more an “I dare you” than an invite.

    i recently moved to a new neighbordhood where you hear the word fuck far more than I ever have anywhere else.

    When the neighbors had a fight with lots of screaming and someone called the police, you could hear the would-be peacemaker screaming “will you just fucking chill?”

    They want to be tough scary wild dogs but dont’ quite manage. we call them the Bad Puppies.

    I recently noticed myself saying fuck and its many subvarieties without meaning to. Time to fucking pay attention to saying it less.

    $22 a fucking QUART!? Fuck,I remember not so long ago it was 8 a quart in supermarkets in the Boston suburbs. Used to have it every fucking day on my oatmeal back when I had money.

    gag me with a hamster.

  69. I always think “bite me” has an unspoken phrase of “on my ass” and is related to “kiss my ass”, but that could just be me. Still, it’s an odd request, involving pain to self as much as projecting hostility to another.

    My mother was a frequent and creative adherent of profanity, one of those folks who allegedly could swear for five minutes and not repeat herself, but she never used the word fuck nor would she allow it used in her presence. She said it was violent, not just profane, as Acilius refers to above. And she waxed wroth over the phrase “motherfucker”, which before feminism gave her the language for it she accurately identified as woman-hating.

    Her most emphatically profane single word was c**ksucker, which now makes me wonder about her private life with my father. I once heard her say pleasantly to someone who had just been rude to her in public “I hope when you get home, your mother comes out from under the porch ahd bites you”, which took both me and the recipient several long seconds to decode, during which time Mama strolled away. She preferred curses which made you think and, indeed, appreciate English, and would no doubt have howled with laughter at the comment that “your father smells of elderberries”. Not to mention farting in your general direction.

  70. NLC says:

    Maggie Jochild beat me to it, but I’ve always assumed that “Bite me” was simply a contraction of “Bite my ass” (or “dick”, both of which I’ve heard.)

    Granted, neither of these make a lot of sense, if you think very hard about it. But I don’t think reasoned discourse is typically the point in any context when such phrases are used…

  71. little gator says:

    as Bender the robot says “bite my shiny metal ass”

  72. Feminista says:

    Oh wise women and men of the fo,I need your advice.

    My biochemist brother-in-law has indicated he’d be interested in a field guide to mushrooms(no,not the magic kind). Since he lives in the SF Bay Area,if it’s specific to Northern California,so much the better. I only mention the biochemist part because he could handle a fairly technical though readable tome.

    Any ideas? I want to go through (natch)Powell’s online store.

  73. Jessica Bessica says:

    @72: I don’t have a title but an acquaintance of mine just got a mushroom hunting guide to Lands End (a point/area/park in SF). I hear it’s pretty cool. We’re gonna use it to go mushroom hunting next week.

    Maybe call up A Different Light bookstore and see if they can point you in the right direction. 415-431-0891

  74. Kate L says:

    I’m in my kitchen, monitoring our erudite discussion on the English language while listening to young Dr. Rachel Maddow on the television machine in the next room. Uh… Dr. Maddow’s television program is currently on MSNBC, which I can now view on my home television machine. She’s not actually in the next room, sitting on my television while talking to herself. Anyway, she’s just defended her reporting of a story reported on her show just yesterday, to the effect that the Ukranian government wants to open the Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster site as a tourist attraction. I believe her when she vouches for the accuracy of this report. After all, a Long Island, New York, congressman was recently on record saying that he hoped that the Plum Island biowarfare laboratory off the eastern end of Long Island would be developed for its real estate value once the biowarfare laboratory closes down in the near future. I don’t believe that Plum Island will be receiving civilian visitors anytime soon. It is far more likley to be placed in the U.S. military equivalent of the SuperFund program. Other decommissioned military sites in this program include the Black Hills Army Depot and the Badlands Bombing Range, both in South Dakota, and both of which I am quite familiar (ask me how!). I take no joy in saying this about Plum Island, because the successor to Plum Island, the National Biological and Agricultural Facility (NBAF), is currently under construction one mile from where I am at my kitchen table right now. The National Research Council recently estimated that there is a 70% chance of a significant biohazard leak in the estimated lifetime of the NBAF. I’m worried, but then what do I know… I used to think that New York City had only one airport! It turns out that there is more than one.

  75. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Andrew B (#66)

    Oh how right you are about the teeth-grinding part.

    This morning, a colleague showed a few of us an electronic holiday card he received from an artist college buddy.

    The cover was a sculpture the guy did of Madonna and child, looking very Egyptian-esque. Click on the card and it revealed a greeting, signed by the guy and his wife.

    The greeting was done in an iconographic font, with symbols replacing some of the letters. One letter was replaced by an Islamic crescent moon and star. Another letter was replaced by a Yin-Yang. The letters ‘Y’ in “Happy Holidays” were replaced by Jewish menorahs. A ‘T’ was replaced by a Roman Catholic cross. There was another symbol none of us could figure out.

    “Isn’t that nice,” said my cubemate. “He made sure to include all the traditions.”

    Others agreed.

    “Uh huh, he sure did include all the traditions. ‘Happy Holidays, Peace On Earth To Men’ sure continues the sexist tradition,” I noted dryly.

    “Oh, I didn’t notice.”

    “I’ll bet you would have noticed if the card said, ‘Peace On Earth To Women.'”

    “Oh, I guess you’re right, he could have said ‘Peace On Earth To All’.”

    (… goes back to grinding her teeth down to nubs …)

  76. Yeah, we’ve definitely lost ground in the “men means everybody” struggle since conservatism made feminism not what the kewl kidz claim.

    But the meaning seriously alters when any usage of mankind is replaced with humanity. In sometimes subtle but profound ways.

  77. Kate L says:

    (Renee S. #77) Oh, BABY!

  78. Kate L says:

    (Kate L #78) 🙂

  79. EastBay K says:

    Kate L. #74
    i heard that same news on NPR. certainly we are living in strange times.

    my bet is that both the Chernobyl story and the thousand-year-old soup story will be on ‘wait, wait’ this weekend.

  80. EastBay K says:

    sorry, not NPR but BBC.

  81. ready2agitate says:

    Kate L. got Rachel Maddow on her television machine in 2010 – happy new year, Kate L.!

  82. Andi says:

    Kate L. @74 – We Coloradans have two words to describe our own dilemma with toxic sites being developed as real estate —“Rocky Flats.” Care for a little plutonium in your back yard? What are they thinking???!

  83. little gator says:

    BTW, Hothead isn’t nekkid in that pic. She’s wearing a diaper held in place with a big safety pin.

    I’ve tried to introduce Hothead comix to Mr Gator, but he’s scared of her.

    Another fight in the street last night. The Bad Puppies have been renamed the Fuck Yous.

  84. Anonymous says:

    Do you people actually think that you and your opinions matter? I remain anonymous. Mentor, do your job!

  85. little gator says:

    yes, our opinions matter. So does yours.

  86. Kate L says:

    (Anonymous #85) The answer to your question is, “yes, our opinions matter”.

    At noon, I went home to let the dog out. I had a note from the postal service saying that they had tried to deliver a package to me, and that I could pick it up tomorrow. As I was driving back to Moo U, the postman waved me over and gave me the package so I wouldn’t have to wait. “What”, I wondered, “could possibly be so important?”. When I stopped at the local coffee shop for some green tea (Janeway’s favorite drink in later life), I opened the package. It was… it was… The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For !!! Oh, it will be a happy holiday, it will!!! And so, as we Unitarians say, a Festive Christmahannakwanzika to us all!

  87. Anonymous says:

    Does my opinion matter to you, little gator?
    I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place.
    I’m trying to fit in to a world that I don’t feel comfortable with. I’m just trying to be me and I don’t feel at all like myself.
    This trying to be a gay me is not easy. I’ve fought this feeling for years. Now, I’m doing my best to get out and be out. It’s not easy, it’s hard as hell. This is where I am and I’m not feeling comfortable.
    Maybe I’m at the wrong place. I don’t know. I’m just trying. It’s so darn hard. It’s hard as hell. I have no idea what I’m doing. Somebody, please step in and rescue me, OK?

  88. Acilius says:

    Things that are sometimes overrated (six items from an inexhaustible list):
    -Being comfortable
    -Being smart
    -Being right
    -Being in charge
    -Knowing what you’re doing
    -Having an influence on other people

    Things that are never overrated (an exhaustive list):

  89. NLC says:

    How can I miss an opportunity to follow a post by Acilius:


  90. Renee S. says:

    @ 89 Acilius..beautiful

    @ NLC…I wish I had time to travel to Chicago to see that!

  91. NLC, extraordinary. Insightful review of what sounds like compelling art.

  92. […] favorite blogs have featured comment threads that turned into lists of silly jokes.  On her blog, Alison Bechdel promoted some prints by Diane diMassa; as one of the prints shows a person holding up a sign with the word “fuck” written on […]

  93. Acilius says:

    @NLC: That play looks interesting- I admit my guard went up when I saw “for the sake of the women and children” given as a quote from the play- I can’t imagine a less Homeric expression. Still, interesting!

  94. Aunt Soozie says:

    it’ll all be okay, just stick around… don’t give up. keep working on being yer own self… it gets easier. promise. there’s a reason we call it gay! and this is our season, right?? merry and gay and bright and all of that stuff. This has nothing to do with bacon but some friends of mine started this facebook group called Zero Dollar Holidays and yes, the prints above are totally giftable and remarkably affordable… but if you wanna go cheaper check out my pals’ videos here…
    and Hi Alison. Had a vivid dream about you and Holly last night and a big gaggle of lesbians of assorted ages, sizes and shapes… was interesting… and you drew some dtwof cartoons for some reason but were wishing you didn’t have to?? hmmm… don’t know what it all means… but, probably not indicative of you having some miraculous cathartic burst that leads to the completion your project any sooner… sorry.

  95. Anonymous says:

    [To Anonymous’s Son

    I truly apologize if anything I’ve written here has in any way sounded disrespectful to your or your mother. I can only assure you that this was in no way the intent of how these messages have been handled up to this point.

    If you feel it is appropriate, Alison is interested in corresponding with you directly.

    Please email her at


  96. Here’s a question from someone who grew up celebrating Christmas (though I no longer do): Did you family open presents on Christmas eve or Christmas morning? And if the former, when did Santa come to deliver gifts?

  97. Kate L says:

    Maggie (#97) My family always opened gifts on Christmas Eve. It just made more sense to do that, somehow.

  98. Renee S. says:

    @Maggie 97

    A man named Mr. Gribble used to dress up like Santa and deliver one present to each of us kids on Christmas eve. We were allowed to open those that night, but all other presents were opened on Christmas Day. It took me forever to figure out how he got our presents in the first place, as I recognized my mom’s writing on the boxes. Then one night I saw him getting them out of the back seat of the family car! Rock on, Mr. Gribble, wherever you are.

  99. ksbel6 says:

    @97 We originally opened presents on Christmas morning, but when I was about 5 or 6, we started opening them on Christmas Eve (I believe this was directly related to the fact that I would not sleep Christmas Eve because I wanted to open the presents so much. I’m trans (FTM), so every year I would ask to be turned into a boy and I just couldn’t sleep thinking about the fact that I was going to open one of the boxes and find a “boy body” suit inside.) Anyway, Santa would come while we were at the late church service, so the packages would all be under the tree when we got home. As we got older and the truth came out, my parents would literally just tell us to sit still while they put the packages around the tree. By then, I probably could have easily slept all night, but it was too much of a tradition.
    Currently, I treat the season much more like the Twelve Days Of and I hand my kid a present whenever I feel like it 🙂 I do think it is more fun that way. One present gets boring, then I hand her another one. We manage to have something new to open periodically for a solid 3 weeks or so…oh, I guess that makes it about Twenty-One Days Of Christmas 🙂

  100. ksbel6 says:

    Oh, btw, for me, finding out there was no Santa, and that Birthday wishes do not actually come true, and eventually that there is no God (sorry, that’s what I believe) were all sooo very traumatic because I really believed that those things would change my body for me.

  101. NLC says:

    ksbel6@101: “…for me, finding out there was no Santa…”


    There’s …what!? Wait a minute..!?!

    Good grief, haven’t you people ever heard of spoiler alerts!!

    (Curled back up in a fetal position under my desk…)

  102. ksbel6 says:

    Sorry NLC, that was actually just a joke. Of course there’s a Santa Clause.

  103. Renee S. says:

    I wish I had a bacon sandwich.

  104. hairball_of_hope says:

    Chico and Groucho on the Sanity Clause in A Night At The Opera:

    What a lovely off-topic mash-up, opera and Santa.

    (… goes back to awaiting the first Met Opera broadcast of the season, Verdi’s Don Carlo …)

  105. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Renee (#104)

    No bacon sandwiches, perhaps two hard-boiled eggs?

  106. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate (#74)

    Somewhat related… the Environmental Working Group today released a study of Cr(VI) (hexavalent chromium) in US drinking water. The highest concentration found was in Norman OK, about 200 times the proposed California Cr(VI) limit for drinking water.

    Guess we’ll both be saying, “Bite my shiny chrome-plated ass!”

    (… goes back to drinking the supposedly safe(r) NYC tap water …)