library love

August 30th, 2010 | Uncategorized

Photo on 2010-08-30 at 21.07 #3

Yale University Press published this really beautiful book last year called Unpacking My Library: Architects and Their Books. It begins with Walter Benjamin’s famous essay about collecting books, Unpacking My Library. Then it shows you the actual bookshelves of 12 architects. Close-up, all the books on all the the shelves. As someone who always ends up in the corner at parties poring over the host’s bookshelves, this was a voyeuristic treat.

Now they’re doing a follow-up book about writers and their books, and I’ve been asked to be part of it. The photographers were here the other week, which prompted me to rein my books back into some sort of order after years of entropy. The editors asked each architect, and now each writer, to name their top ten books. That was quite a job. But I’ve finally narrowed them down. Since I’m a cartoonist, they want me to illustrate mine. So I’ve been working on drawing all these books. It’s a strange task…I feel like I’m not so much drawing the book covers as recreating the book covers. They just look like the books, especially in the case of books that have drawings on the cover, like these two.

gorey drawing small

tintin drawing small

It’s a laborious activity. Like, am I really going to finish coloring that Tintin cover? And to what end? Plus I should have dug out my Gillott tit quill pen nibs for the Gorey drawing. I have some somewhere. But I just I used my regular nib, which is way too coarse and sprawling.

227 Responses to “library love”

  1. Dr. Empirical says:

    I’m just back from the Baltimore Comic Con, where I saw a lot of Gorey and Herge’ swipes that weren’t half as credible.

  2. Isaac says:

    Those images of your swipes of Gorey and Hergé put me in mind of the “Covered” blog.

    Do you know about that project? There’s a lot of goofy fun stuff there.

  3. meg says:

    Ahhh, Mr Earbrass! And Tin-Tin!

    What are the others? Inquiring minds want to know….

    I don’t think I could come up with a “top ten” list of books from my library, unless that list was subject to yearly/monthly/daily/hourly revision – there’s just too much Good Stuff.

    I want it all.

    (what can I say? I’m an American)

  4. Ellen Orleans says:

    Wait, so the other writers just get to list their favs (2 minutes to type ’em out) but you have illustrate all the covers? Geez. It feels like a final exam for an illustration class.

  5. Kate L says:

    AB… do you think that electronic “books” like Kindle will replace the paper pages and cadboard cover kind, or do you think there will always be a place for corporeal, touchable reading material?
    -Kate L (back from California dreamin’ of what might have been).

  6. Kate L says:

    Maggie #64 (from “A Quite Day”) You’re 56? I turn 56 in a week. Wow, these eerie similarities between us are just like all those comparisons between Lincoln and John F. Kennedy we recall from the early 60’s! No wonder people never see us in the same room at the same time! 🙂

  7. ksbel6 says:

    I know my favorite book of all time is The Count of Monte Cristo. Probably has more to do with the age at which I first read it than anything else. But after that, wow, I’m not sure I could pick between all the rest.

  8. Aussie Bird says:

    Out of curiosity what were the other books in the top ten?

  9. NLC says:

    Kate L#5:

    There was a discussion about the Kindle (and other “electronic readers [ERs]) occasioned, as I recall, by Nicholson Baker’s review in the New Yorker.

    Here’s my (very) brief take on the issue:

    The whole question is often reduced to the whether ERs will “replace” books? But to my ear this is like asking will CDs/mp3s/etc “replace”, say, a live string quartet?

    Phrased that way, the answer is obviously no. But that is not to say the CDs(etc) are useless. Each has its own, very useful place.

    My Kindle[*], for example has over eighty books. Thrown in my bag it takes up much less room than a medium size paperback. If I suddenly find myself, say, sitting in a waiting room, I can pull out the complete Jane Austen (etc, etc, etc), and take it from there. I find that a genuine advantage.

    To return to the CD-analogy, attending a live concert where, say, the entire set of Beethoven String Quartets was played in a single evening would be a (if I was very lucky) a once in a life-time event. But if I decide I *do* want to hear them all, all I need to do is slap the disks in the player, and sit back.

    So, again, is a CD a “replacement” for a string quartet? No, of course, not. But the CD –and the ER– has its place.

    [* This, by the way, was a gift; I freely admit I’m not sure how willing I would have been to shell out the full price myself.]

  10. hairball_of_hope says:

    @NLC (#9)

    I have issues with the proprietary and closed formats of ebooks, and with the implementation of DRM (digital rights management, aka copy protection). I will never have a problem reading any deadtree book I come across; in my collection, in a store, in a library, in a junk pile, for eternity, so long as I have at least one good working eye or a Kurzweil reader.

    Not so for proprietary formats used by Kindle, iPad, Sony eReader, et al. Not only can I not read my own purchased copy on the device of my choice, I am locked into that choice forever. Should Amazon (or any vendor) decide to stop supporting/producing the reader, my existing collection of legally-purchased content becomes unusable without a working device. It won’t take many years for that to happen, just take a look at your own technology graveyard. I’m sure many folks reading this blog have data stored on floppies; how many of us have floppy drives on our computers to access that data? ZIP disks? Bernoulli disks? Jaz disks? Magtapes? You get the idea.

    Then there’s the issue of ownership and control of the legally-purchased content. With a deadtree book, I am free to loan or give away the book. Can’t do that with ebooks, they are locked to the specific device.

    Control? You thought you OWNED that legally-purchased copy of Orwell’s “1984” that you downloaded from Amazon? Think again. Amazon had some issues with the copyright on the ebook editions of “1984” and “Animal Farm” that they sold, so they reached out to every Kindle in existence and REMOTELY DELETED the ebooks, without warning the owners and without the owners’ consent. Irony to the nth degree.

    Lest I sound like a total Luddite, I do think ereaders/ebooks have their place. I would use a Kindle for disposable media, the things that end up in the recycling pile: the daily newspapers, the weekly/monthly magazines, and if I were one who bought cheap novels to read on the beach, that sort of book.

    But since my book buying habits tend to favor things I’m inclined to keep, I’ll pass on the Kindle.

    (… goes back to thinking how horrified I’d be if someone wanted to photograph my dust-encrusted bookshelves with piles of books blocking the nice upright spines …)

  11. I saw this story in the Times, and I flashed on the strip panel where Jezanna’s customer is thumbing through the book and says something like, “Oh, I just wanted to look at the books, I’ll order them from when I get home.”

    I wonder if Jezanna would be happy or sad that after eating the small independents alive, the big box stores are now imploding, taking the last vestiges of books with them.

    [Freed from spam-filter limbo. –Mentor]

  12. NLC says:


    I’m make two quick points and then drop out:

    Fear of obsolete media: This is a problem with most technologies, of course. But returning to the music-media analogy, should those boxes of 8-track tapes in my basement prevent me from collecting more CD/mp3-tracks?

    Concerning the “1984 incident”: As has been pointed out previously, these were not “legally-purchased cop[ies]”. This was effectively stolen merchandise (as the link posted above makes clear). I find it hard not to feel that Amazon’s actions (quietly/quickly retracting the illegal copies and reimbursing the buyers) was not exactly the correct one.

  13. Elvis says:

    Alison, what a cool project! What Ellen said, though, is interesting: If you are the only one drawing all of this, are they aware of the huge difference in workload?

    Still, it would be kind of fun to create a drawn version of one’s favorite things. If one could draw……

  14. Kat says:

    whoops, #12 was me…

  15. Duncan says:

    I agree with HoH, and NLC missed some more important points. It’s not just the 1984 incident — as HoH said, per copy of any book is tied to the device and the vendor. I can’t lend a book I like to a friend, or donate it to the library or sell it to the used bookstore and buy more books. That is precisely the reason Amazon and other big corporations are pushing e-books, to change fundamentally the meaning of owning a copy of a book. It’s nice that so many consumers are willing to help big corporations this way, of course; altruism is wonderful, as the Republicans know.

    The remark about the 8-track cassettes in the basement is equally off-the-mark. No, of course having a bunch of old cassettes shouldn’t stop you from giving more money to Time-Warner et al. to upgrade your collection. It’s very Christian of you. I myself still have 1700 vinyl lps, and a turntable to play them on, though I admit I don’t play them often, and I’ve bought CDs of many of those I want to hear the most. But I can still lend and sell the CDs. The corporate e-readers are a different category of thing altogether, more like iTunes if I understand it correctly. And a lot of e-reader fans are downright eager to buy into planned obsolescence: the Kindle is the wave of the future! printed books are obsolete! get with the program, don’t be an uncool loser! This doesn’t cut any ice with me, of course; I’m a fag, if I wanted to be a sheep I’d have become heterosexual decades ago. But the important thing is that this stuff is not an argument, it’s totally irrelevant. It amazes me how many otherwise intelligent people buy into it.

    There are times — like when I’m packing books before going on a long vacation — when I think that an e-reader would be nice. But not yet.

  16. Ian says:

    Ohhhh, your Tintin cover reminds me – I bought a Tintin activity book in a seconds bookshop. So many different creative things to do in it. AB, I think you’d love it in a sort of nostalgic kind of way. I haven’t used it – how would I mail it to you? Always supposing you’d actually want it!

  17. Andrew B says:

    On the topic of examining bookshelves: when I heard Alison read from Fun Home, in a bookstore, I glanced over at the shelves near my seat. Appropriately, I was in the gardening section.

    Alison, “And to what end?” I don’t know. I don’t understand exactly what the editors wanted you to do and how it will finally be displayed. Will you get paid if you don’t finish coloring the Tintin cover? Maybe leaving Tintin half-colored, like using the coarse and sprawling nib, will emphasize the difference between original and copy. Maybe getting sick of laborious correctness is an appropriate response, and worth expressing.

    How about drawing the back covers? How about the spines? How about drawing the side opposite the spines, i.e. the closed book with only the edges of the covers and pages visible? Am I being a wiseass? Aren’t cartoonists supposed to be wiseasses, at least some of the time?

    Incidentally, the front of the Captain’s right foot appears to have been amputated. Or maybe it’s just under a small snow drift, I don’t know.

  18. Andrew B says:

    Two free associations:

    (1) Steve Miller keeps singing, “Library love, it’s driving me mad, it’s making me crazy”.

    (2) Vanilla Library Love

    In each case you have to pronounce it “libr’y” to make the syllables come out right, of course.

  19. hairball_of_hope says:

    @NLC (#11)

    Not at all. If you really wanted to convert your 8-tracks to MP3, you could do it, as long as you had a working 8-track deck with audio outputs, and the appropriate A/D hardware and software. The content is not locked, and is not lost forever, provided you have hardware to access the content.

    I too, have 8-tracks, vinyl, scads of cassettes, CDs, etc. I have purchased the same music in multiple formats over the years (which of course is what the purveyors of music want us to do). But I’ve also digitized some of my cassettes and ripped some of my CDs to .WAV, .MP3, and .OGG, all of which is legal under the “fair use” provisions of the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act), so I haven’t had to repurchase all of my music to listen to it on my computer, MP3 player, iPod, whatever, as long as I’m willing to invest the time/effort/technology to convert them (or to pay someone else to do the conversions). I also don’t buy iTunes or any music with DRM. I want to be able to access my purchased music now and in the future in the manner of my choosing.

    Not so for ebooks. The format is closed, proprietary, and locked to a specific device via DRM, so I don’t have that flexibility in the future as new formats and devices emerge. The “anti-circumvention” provisions in the DMCA prevent me from legally converting the ebooks to a different format or from using them on a different device.

    It goes beyond ebooks of course. Consider the ubiquitous Adobe .PDF format. PDFs can be created with all sorts of content restrictions: preventing the document from being opened on a computer for which it was not licensed, prohibiting printing and/or cut-paste, password restrictions, etc. Even if you pay for the content, you can’t control how you access it.

    True story: A colleague purchased a standards PDF document from a national engineering standards organization. Three years later, he tried to open it on his company-issued laptop, and was unable to do so, because his laptop had been replaced in the ensuing three years and the license key was specific to the old laptop. The standards org refused to give him a license key for the new laptop, and told him he’d have to buy the document again (several hundred dollars). He was under a deadline to get his report out and needed the document, but he was so angry he dug through three years of purchase orders to find the one where he paid for the document, and e-mailed it to the standards org and the corporate legal dept, stating that if they didn’t issue a license key for the new laptop, we’d be taking them to court. They relented, and he got his license key. Average Joe Blow engineer who doesn’t work for a large company with a legal dept would be SOL.

    I suppose my feelings about ebooks are intimately tied into my feelings about books of the deadtree variety. I have a reverence for books. I grew up treating books as special, never bending pages or cracking spines, and NEVER writing in them, save for writing my name on the frontispiece or title page in small print. I keep books. I go back to books, despite all the wonderful stuff I read online. Having unfettered access to the content of books is high on my list of likes about books, and restricted access is among the things that keep me from embracing ebooks.

    Beyond the recyclable daily/weekly/monthly media, I would use an ereader for textbooks. Certainly it’s way more convenient (and conducive to studying) to carry around a Kindle or iPad with a semester’s worth of textbooks than to carry around the hard copies. Looking at my bookshelves, I think I kept fewer than a dozen textbooks from my academic career, mostly statistics or reference texts that I knew I might need in the future. With the advent of the Internet, Google, and Wikipedia, I’m not sure I would keep them today.

    For me it’s the type of content that would determine my use of an ereader. Content that I would be unlikely to retain in deadwood form (newspapers, magazines, textbooks) would be fine on an ereader. Content that I would normally keep (most books) would not be my choice for an ereader, unless they were in addition to the hardcopy (e.g. technical or reference books that I might take to a jobsite, it being wildly impractical to tote most of these heavy tomes on the road).

    Now about that “reach out and delete” from Amazon… if Amazon had sold hardcopies of “1984” and “Animal Farm” without the proper copyrights, could they enter your home and remove your legally-purchased copies, leaving a refund on your kitchen table? Of course not. So why is it ok for them to do the functional equivalent on the electronic form of the same material? In the case of the deadwood Orwell books, they could send you a letter or e-mail requesting you return them to receive a refund, but most folks would ignore the request, and the unlawful Orwell books would remain on personal bookshelves. The hardcopy editions could live on for a very long time, because legally the owners could loan or give them away to others, who in turn could do the same. But the softcopies are each tied to a specific Kindle, so Amazon could have simply let the existing copies live on, knowing that when the Kindle bit the dust, the softcopies of the Orwell books would also disappear.

    The only reason they reached out and deleted was because the technology made it easy and feasible to do so. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.

    (… goes back to her observation that the name “Kindle” might be a tad ironic reference to the censorship described in Ray Bradbury’s classic “Farenheit 451” …)

  20. Kate L says:

    Oh, hairball, how ’bout this comeback? “The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled”. – Plutarch (I Think)

  21. I love it when somebody starts HoH’s engine. Especially when I agree with her.

    HoH (and weren’t you Philip K. Dick, or was it someone else having a lot of fun with that name here), over at the FB you eschew, those of us who inhabit both realms often invoke your name whenever there is a technical question we cannot answer — someone will invariably say “Too bad HoH isn’t here, SHE’D know.”

    I think the hype about e-books is actually fairly identical to the “Republicans gonna sweep the midterms” fantasy: Corporations and Republicans (if they can be pried apart like a bivalve) both understand and count on the fact that repeatedly lying about “what the people think” will tend to make the longing-to-belong crowd adopt that belief system or buy that product, because conforming is much less frightening than critical thinking. Or so they have been told.

  22. Mentor says:

    [Concerning AB’s illustrations for The List: Since the list depicts AB’s internal view of these books, perhaps the illustrations could be “intermingled”? For example, on The Unstrung Harp maybe Mr Earbrass could be replaced by TinTin, etc?

    Or, for that matter, replaced by AB herself? –Mentor]

  23. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate L, et al.

    I have to note two typos in the postscript to #18, the phrase should be “the observation” not “her observation.” I don’t want to appear to be a plagiarist, the “Bootnote” in the Register article that I linked to made the observation about “Fahrenheit 451.” As for the second typo, yes, I do know how to spell “Fahrenheit,” I just can’t type worth a damn.

    @Duncan (#14)

    Great points about planned obsolescence, and the prevailing hype about how wonderful all the newfangled tech stuff is and how only losers embrace old stuff.

    I’m always leery of planned obsolescence and the future availability of parts, supplies etc., even for the seemingly most mundane of purchases. I resisted buying an Aeropress coffeemaker for years until I figured out that I could use standard laboratory filter paper intended for a Büchner funnel in case I couldn’t find the Aeropress filters at Zabar’s. (Yeah, I know I could use gold filters, but I dislike them because it’s one more thing I have to wash while running late for work.)

    Planned obsolescence is tied into all the consumerism crap that I usually reject. I prefer a few well-made durable items instead of a gaggle of shiny new ones that crap out or become obsolete quickly.

    (… goes back to her growing farm of computers, the old ones never fading away, they just join the farm …)

  24. Therry and St. Jerome says:

    I have three books that I read every year, and whose authors I track fanatically. One is The Code of the Woosters, by P.G. Wodehouse. I need say nothing about Wodehouse. YOu know him or you don’t. The second is A Suitable Boy, by VIkram Seth, which has a nice queer subplot. 1600 pages. Once a year. The third is a work of science fiction, River of Gods, about artificial intelligence and the 100th anniversary of Indian independence. Incredibly satisfying.

    And of course The Essential DTWOF. Was reading it, twice, this weekend, and came upon the closing of Madwimmin, and just today, came upon the closing of a Bunns and Noodle in NYC. Somehow, there’s a nice symmetry there.

  25. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Maggie (#20)

    No, that wasn’t me masquerading under the nom de plume (technically, it’s a nom de connexion) of Philip K. Dick. Perhaps it was Elvis, who was inadvertently outted as Kat, since she inhabits both this blog and FB.

    I got a chuckle out of your mention that my nom de connexion gets invoked whenever there’s a technical question. Must be all those books in my head.

    As for starting my engine, sometimes I’d like to jump in, but I have too little time to think/write coherently, and when I finally emerge from the abyss, the conversation has moved on and it seems silly to refer back to something old (which is why I never answered your question about what set off my BS detectors in your fantastic tale of Menlo Park). Today however, I am freezing my boobies in this computer room watching a contractor test some new software that was installed over the weekend. I am actually warming my hands on the fan exhausts of the servers. My laptop fan is not on at all. Time to get some lunch and thaw out.

    (… goes back to watching RAID arrays and databases rebuild, akin to watching grass grow and paint dry …)

  26. Therry and St. Jerome says:

    Drat! Left out the author of RIver of Gods. It’s Ian McDonald. Lives in Belfast.

  27. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Therry and St. Jerome (#23)

    Yes, the huge B&N across from Lincoln Center is closing. That leaves only the B&N on Broadway and W.82 St. serving the Upper West Side. The Chelsea B&N on 6th Ave. and W.21 St. closed almost three years ago, and the storefront was vacant until a month ago, when a Trader Joe’s moved in.

    It’s really a sign of how stupidly expensive real estate (commercial and residential) is in Manhattan, and how bad B&N’s finances are. Bookstores, whether large megabox chains or independents, simply can’t afford leases.

    I’ve often noted that the bigbox bookstores have become de facto libraries. People peruse the books in-store, perhaps reading them in the café (or in the long-ago removed chairs sprinkled throughout the store), and then don’t buy them. Folks sit in the café nursing their lattes, using the free WiFi while doing their homework.

    That sucks, of course. It’s bad for the store, bad for the books (I don’t want to buy a shop-worn copy of a book), and bad for libraries, which need public support to increase funding, patron hours, money for collections and cataloguing, and staff.

    So perhaps the silver lining in this cloud is that folks who were using the Lincoln Center B&N as a library might actually start clamoring for REAL LIBRARY services in their neighborhoods.

    (… goes back to mourning the old McGraw-Hill bookstore and ComputerBookWorks, where geeks would get to fondle all those tech books in the flesh, and schmooze with other nerdlings …)

  28. hairball_of_hope says:

    One more comment on ebooks/ereaders and then I really will go out for lunch…

    If ebook content is speech-enabled on mainstream devices such as a Kindle, it’s a huge boon to the visual/motion-impaired and dyslexic communities. Commercial audio versions of books are usually limited to the most popular and best-selling titles.

    Titles available via the Library of Congress National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, and Recordings for the Blind & Dyslexic are limited in scope (emphasis on educational materials for RFB&D, Congressional meddling in NLS), and dyslexic readers are excluded from the NLS program unless there’s a physical basis for it (e.g. traumatic brain injury).

    These programs also don’t do a lot for students. Students who need specific textbooks converted to speech have to provide two copies to RFB&D, and wait for however long it takes for a reader to process the book to audio. That’s why Kurzweil readers and other OCR technology are crucial for these students, but they are expensive technology out of the reach of many who need them, and many of the tech devices are not portable, so they are useless in a classroom setting where a student may have to read a handout in class.

    Providing text-to-speech in a mass market device is a gamechanger for the disabled. They can download the same textbooks and mass market books as everyone else, turn on the text-to-speech function, and they’re in the game. The fact that the technology is part of the device makes the added cost negligible, similar to how the closed-captioning technology required in every new TV changed the playing field for the hearing-impaired.

    The Kindle 2 shipped with a text-to-speech program buried under the ‘Experimental’ menu, but then the Author’s Guild got involved and put a nix to that. Amazon caved, and now a publisher has to explicitly enable text-to-speech for each title for the feature to work.

    Nevermind that the DMCA exempts format conversions for disabled accessibility, and that the flat drone computer speech of text-to-speech conversion is nothing at all like a reading on an audio book. There won’t be tons of folks clamoring for this in lieu of recorded audio books. It comes down to money, and the belief that money trumps any requirement of society’s members to do good without regard to payment.


    (… ok, now I’m going out for lunch …)

  29. HoH, you may be entertained to hear that the phantasmagorical Millie Menlo and Spurs tale has morphed into a Dickensian serial I am telling via FB, a periodic lesbian Western with real events and historical figures intermingled through the lives of my imaginary characters. I am sorely afraid I won’t be able to stop and these exercises in the imagination will need to be coalesced into a novel — at which point my tongue-in-cheek flights and cultural anachronisms will whip round to bite me on my giant white ass.

    I cannot at present, however, resist Spurs’ siren call.

  30. Andrew B says:

    Mentor, 22, you reminded me of the climax of Being John Malkovich, in which there’s a chase scene through Malkovich’s subconscious. I can’t fill this out in detail because I don’t know what the rest of AB’s books are, but I’m picturing, say, Tintin putting the moves on Mr. Earbrass on the sofa.

  31. Marj says:

    I was thinking along the same lines as Andrew B #18 … laborious reproduction of the covers seems an inordinate waste of your talents and time. Plus, should you really try to impose order on the entropy? Is it not, in fact entropy, but rather an expression of your artistic persona?

    HoH, Maggie J, NLC – yay! Must be a slow Tuesday…

  32. NLC says:


    I take it as given that anything done on this list is always more fun than what I should be doing…

  33. hairball_of_hope says:

    How did I forget to mention that Duncan wins the prize for most witty observation: “I’m a fag, if I wanted to be a sheep I’d have become heterosexual decades ago.”

  34. Kate L says:

    Andrew (#18) Yeah, Steve Miller’s Radar Love* kept running through my mind when I first saw this post from AB. And, you know what would be great? A stop-action clip of Pixelated Cat rocking out to a remix of We’ve Got a Thing They Call Library Love, with the sound of a hummingbird’s wings as the backbeat. Yeah, the would be so cool
    (It’s late at night on the High Plains of North America, and Kate L is very, very sleepy).

    * Radar Love: Ask your parents, young ones. Hey, the 70’s were cool!

  35. ready2agitate says:

    ksbel6 #7: I, too, tried to think of my top 10 books, and then I was like, well, would I still put that in my top 10 if I read it today?

    Kate L. – are those womyn geologists in Kansas still smiling atchya? This could be the gradual beginning of a whole new chapter for you, me thinks…

  36. musicgeek says:

    Kate L. #34: I think you mean Steve Miller’s “Jungle Love,” or perhaps Golden Earring’s “Radar Love”? I’m a former record store clerk who became a librarian/archivist, so I appreciate the comment either way. And, yes, the 70s were lots of fun. How ’bout “Love Grows (Where My Library Goes)”?

  37. musicgeek — groan. But good one.

  38. Ian says:

    All this talk of music and libraries just made Mo and Sydney’s tryst in the HQ70s pop into my head with a cheesy p0rn music bow chicka bow bow chicka bow bow bow soundtrack.

  39. Kate L says:

    (Ready2Agitate #35). Yes, the womyn geologists still look at me with what I believe is a look of recognition, and I think that we could be… friends. I should add that I’ve also finally got my hair where I want it to be. The key turned out to be going to a man’s barber, and asking for the hair on the side of my head to be “above the ears”.

  40. khatgrrl says:

    Kate L, it seems as though outing yourself as been quite liberating. From the little glimpses I see here, you seem to be in good spirits and happier than you were before. I hope that this is indeed true. I’m very happy for you.

  41. Calico says:

    Ah, Tintin…always and forever in my heart.

    Here’s some interesting news from San Fran:

  42. Dr. Empirical says:

    Re: link in #41: Peter, Paul and Mary, the song’s creators?

    Excuse me, but Woody Guthrie wrote This Land is Your Land.

  43. Good catch, Dr. E. Even more important when you read all the radical verses Guthrie wrote that nobody except Pete Seeger seems to have the courage to sing.

  44. Kate L says:

    (khatgrrl, #40) I think that I am happier! 🙂 Who’d of guessed??? Presented for your consideration: the scene is the near future. A newly butch Kate L has breakfast at the newly-opened bagelry in the Student Union. As she downs her bagel and lox and coffee (black, like Janeway always took it), she thinks to herself, “Things are going to start happening to me, now!”.

  45. Feminista says:

    #43: Rise up Singing also has these verses.

  46. Kate L says:

    Feminista (#45) Rise Up Singing, the little gray-covered hymnal used in Unitarian Fellowships. Whenever I’d convene a service, I’d always find appropriate songs and readings for the subject matter at hand in that book. Including once when I convened for a lesbian political activist, who mentioned during her talk that Sunday morning that it was interesting that the songs and readings I selected were all by lesbian writers that she admired. Actually, I had known nothing about the backgrounds of the authors.Could my subconscious have been trying to get her attention?

  47. ksbel6 says:

    @ebooks, etc. My daughter has an iPod and only occasionally purchases songs/videos from iTunes for it when she gets a gift card. The majority of the time though, when she has discovered a “new” song/group the conversation goes like this:
    Her: I have this cool new group I want on my iPod.
    Me: Great! Who?
    Her: Green Day. They are awesome.
    Me: I have every cd, just go grab them and we can get them loaded.
    Her: No way! You listen to Green Day?
    Me: Yep, and so did you when you were an infant. That’s probably why you like them.

    I’m pretty sure 97% of her iPod is from my cd collection.

    Did you guys catch Pete Seger’s birthday party last year? I think it was in Central Park? It was televised on PBS and had a terrific group of singers…I remember specifically Joan Baez was there. It was amazing to watch.

  48. khatgrrl says:

    Maggie, I think that Arlo sometimes sings those verses too. I just yelled at someone a few weeks ago that “Peter, Paul and Mary did NOT write that song.” Funny that it should come up again so soon.

    Kate L, glad to hear that you are happier.

    ksbel6, saw the concert on TV. There were tons of big names there. Great concert for a great man.

  49. Olivia says:

    Here I go again being off topic and probably not too popular with my choice of books.
    I love Nelson DeMille and especially one of his character’s, John Corey. He’s witty, snarky, and a royal pain in the butt..but he makes me laugh, regardless of the situation he’s in.
    Looks like I’m a blog behind. A day late and a dollar short..that’s me! Some of us poor folk have to work 🙂
    Hope you all enjoy your week and our long holiday weekend too!

  50. freyakat says:

    @ksbel6 — I actually was at the Pete Seeger concert last year. It was a very special thing to be there, even though it was at Madison Square Garden as opposed to Central Park, i.e. in a closed space as opposed to being outside, out in the world with the big blue sky above us.

    If I remember correctly I first heard about the concert right here on this blog, and I’m so glad about that. However, by the time I heard about it all the $19.19 tickets were sold out, as well
    as anything remotely in my price range. My sister, who had just gotten a raise, gave me an early birthday present (one half of the ticket cost), and that made it possible for me to get one of the last remaining tickets. Yay for sisters!

    Pete Seeger is a very special person. It’s so heartening to see and hear and know about the people throughout the ages who have looked at what was going around around them and who have done all sorts of courageous things to try to make things better for us all.

    Perhaps off-topic, there’s a new film that will soon be making its way to theaters and then to PBS. It’s called “Freedom Riders”. Catch it if you can.

  51. Pam I says:

    Books. A Short Story.
    As college wakes up for the new year, the librarians are sorting their shelves and installing new gadgets like the automatic book-checker-outer that will delete one job. I went for a mooch and found a pile of beautiful gold-edged books on a table. Encyclopaedia Britannica, the complete set, 29 volumes, the 2003 printing. They have been monitoring its use. No-one has looked at any of it for five years. It is going to the deleted pile.

    The End.

  52. Acilius says:

    @Pam: The End, indeed.

  53. Marj says:

    Pam I #51 – its only value these days is as a beautiful artefact (what price quality of writing and research if it isn’t current?) Once upon a time, I worked in a real library with real reference books. I had great arm muscles.

    I’d have been sorely tempted to take it home.

  54. ksbel6 says:

    @Pam: That is so sad. I had my old childhood encyclopedia set (some of you may remember them, they were sold by door to door, the covers were beige, and they had A to Z type books but they covered specific topics, like health, space, etc.) My daughter used to sit on the floor when she was little and just read page after page of them. She was born in 1997. I was born in 1971. Things change, but not that fast and not that often.

  55. hairball_of_hope says:

    @freyakat (#50)

    You remembered correctly about the Pete Seeger 90th birthday concert. I lamented on the blog how I could not afford the several hundred dollar ticket price with my then-impending (and perhaps always-impending) job loss. So glad to hear you found a way to get a ticket and enjoyed the concert.

    @Pam I, ksbel6, Marj

    Count me as one of the childhood encyclopedia and dictionary readers. It’s a lovely way to while away the hours on a rainy day, and surely more life-enhancing than watching the idiot box. playing video games, or random web surfing.

    I would have been so tempted to take home the 2003 EB from the library’s deleted pile and start reading. There’s quite a bit of value in reading the encyclopedia above what one gets reading Wikipedia.

    For starters, the material is uniformly well-written and well-researched. Secondly, there’s an enormous amount of material in any decent encyclopedia that is unlikely to become obsolete or outdated. I seriously doubt anyone has made radical discoveries regarding the Peloponnesian War, for example (I recently read a book on Thucydides, and while the author made analogies with current wars, there wasn’t anything about the main subject that was new). Thirdly, reading older encyclopedia articles that are more topical often reveals the subtle and not-so-subtle geopolitical bias that creeps into supposedly neutral material.

    I recall as a kid reading an encyclopedia article about the USSR, and seeing a picture of a woman with stainless steel teeth. The caption was ostensibly neutral, describing a woman who was showing off her new stainless steel teeth as a testament to the USSR’s wonderful medical care. As a kid in the capitalist USA, I was horrified by the total disregard for the aesthetics of the teeth (and wondered if the metal teeth made chewing uncomfortable). As I grew older, I realized that use of the photo was a subtle anti-communist/anti-USSR bias in the article, neatly skewering the claims of advanced healthcare in the USSR.

    Perhaps printed encyclopedias will make an eventual resurgence, in the way that vinyl (records and LPs to us alter kockers) has made a niche comeback in the oh-so-hip 21st century.

    (… goes back to her hurricane watch in the big city, and wishes it would rain already and get all the damn pollen out of the air …)

  56. hairball_of_hope says:

    Typo, dammit. That’s supposed to be “wile away” not “while away.”

    Forget spell-check and grammar-check, I need brain-check. I seem to have checked my brain at the door. Damned perimenopause.

    (… goes back to wondering how much to tip the brain-check person to retrieve her brain …)

  57. Ellen Orleans says:

    I have dozens of encyclopedias that I rescued from the library. (They were going to throw them out.) I plan to cut them up for an alphabetical art project.

    I heard on NPR that there may not be another printed edition of the Oxford English Dictionary.

  58. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Ellen O (#57)

    No more printed OED? Oh that IS sad. The real joy of looking something up in the printed dictionary is found in all the interesting words one stumbles upon along the way. There just isn’t the same serendipitous browsing opportunity in any electronic version of dictionaries that I’ve tried.

    My eyes are at the stage where I can’t comfortably read the microprint Compact OED with the included rectangular B&L magnifier, I have to use a higher-powered magnifier. I’ve often imagined that if I had the excess cash (HAH!) and available shelf space (DOUBLE HAH!) it would be nice to have the full set of the OED on my shelves.

    In other unprinted news, the US Treasury Dept has announced that they will stop issuing printed Savings Bonds for folks who buy them via payroll deductions. They will only issue bonds via an online Treasury Direct account that the person has to set up in advance. That sucks. One of the most useful items in an “Emergency Go Bag” is a pile of paper savings bonds in a ziplock bag. No matter where you end up when you evacuate, you have safe readily available cash, just walk into any US bank and cash in what you need with proper ID, no bank account required. It’s great for dealing with natural disasters when your home bank accounts may be underwater, without power/telecom, or otherwise inaccessible.

    (… goes back to wondering what the authorities would burn in a paperless “Fahrenheit 451” world …)

  59. ZOMG, I get to correct Hairball of Hope!

    Re #56, you were right the first time, it is “while away”, not “wile away”, although the latter does have some usage. (All very interestingly discussed at )

    But my authority is Joanna Russ and her mention of Whileaway in The Female Man. A book to read if you have not, as it permanently altered science fiction AND had a great, not quite explicit lesbian sex scene that nearly made me pass out back at age 19.

  60. P.S. You know that laminated “list” that Ross Geller used to carry around? Joanna Russ is on mine, as I will let Marge Piercy know before we set up cohabitation.

  61. P.S.S. For a cartoon that is extremely funny and has a literary reference, check out the xkcd link below which was originally shared by Josiah on FB with the accurate description of “full of win”:

  62. NLC says:

    Attention De-cliqueification Squad:
    “… that laminated ‘list’ that Ross Geller used to carry around…”

  63. Okay, de-cliquefication: On the TV show Friends, one of the main characters Ross tells his then girlfriend Rachel (another of the “Friends”) that he wants to have a “list” of women he can have sex with should the possibility ever arise even though he is in a monogamous relationship with her. When she hears who is on the list — all very famous and glamourous sex symbols — she knows it’s a fantasy that will never occur and agrees to the list. Much entertainment ensues as Ross considers one or another unattainable celebrity for his final choices, with the other male characters interjecting equally ridiculous criteria. Eventually Ross rejects Isabella Rossellini because she lives outside the U.S. and he would never meet her — which makes Rachel laugh out loud. Ross types his list on a card and has it laminated to carry in his wallet. Near the end of the show, they are all in the coffeehouse when, incredibly, Isabella Rossellini stops in. Ross bumbles up to her in his excitement and tries to explain to her that she is “on his list”. She naturally shoots him down, and he stupidly brings out his card, forgetting he had deleted her in favor of Dorothy Hamill. When she sees she is not actually on the list, she challenges him and he tries to claim it’s not the final list. Dripping with scorn, she says “It’s LAMINATED.” Then she adds “I too have a list, and you are not on it.”

    Now — how sad is it that I typed all the above from memory? No wonder encyclopedias are going in the trash.

  64. Fester Bestertester says:

    (OK, but only because it’s Friday afternoon and Earl is on the way…)

    I wish I could remember who said this so that I could give due credit, but some comedian once did a bit about him and his wife making a comparable, one-person “Free one-nighter” list.

    “She picked Antonio Banderas.”

    “I picked the girl at the video store.”

  65. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Maggie (#59,61)

    Damn, I guess I didn’t check my brain at the door, I dropped it down the storm sewer.

    Not having the OED nearby, or even Strunk & White, I looked at my original post (after clicking ‘Post’, of course), and it didn’t look right. I looked up the definition and etymology of both spellings on my laptop, which has a copy of Random House Unabridged, 1st ed. It lists both spellings, without a preference for either form in the v.t. definition, with the same etymology:

    [bef. 900; ME; OE hwil; c. D wijl, G weile, ON hvila, Goth hweila]

    Looking at the etymology, I decided “wile” must be the most correct form. Duh.

    Now I get to correct the great Maggie Jochild… it’s P.P.S. (Post Post Script), not P.S.S. We’re even. ;).

    (… goes back to plowing through a pile of boring documents that I have to finish reviewing before I leave today… )

  66. Crushed. Simply crushed.

    Fester — too damned funny.

  67. Kate L says:

    The Koch brothers, oil magnates out of Wichita (what we simple Kansas folk call “the City”) are making themselves known in national politics. First, they helped jumpstart the Tea Party. Now, they are bankrolling an effort to repeal California’s 2006 climate change law. But the Kochs have been active in politics for some time; in 1996, they bankrolled a ton of negative advertisements against Jill Docking, the Democrat who was running ahead in the polls in her effort to become the first Democrat elected to the U.S. Senate from Kansas since Kansas achieived statehood back in 1861. Thanks to the negative ads, Jill Docking’s Republican opponent, Sam Brownback, was elected to the Senate instead. Btw, Sam Brownback is a Koch family in-law. See the harm that allowing different-sex marriage can cause???

  68. grrljock says:

    @Maggie Jochild (#63) – your recounting may be funnier than the actual episode, though I wouldn’t know as I apparently missed this one (or had stopped watching the show before). Sometimes Ross’ whininess grated on my nerves, but this could be because he reminded me too much of myself (personal equivalent: kicking and spilling my can of soda upon approaching Jamila Wideman for an autograph).

  69. ksbel6 says:

    @Fester: I too remember that joke, and also cannot remember who tells it. It made me laugh again though!

  70. Marj says:

    I like the old-fashioned spelling: encyclopaedia.

    We had an old set of Arthur Mee encyclopaedias, another door-to-door sales effort I think, probably from the 1930s. Shockingly racist and imperialist. It did however contain my earliest French lessons, in a comic strip format.

    It’s true about the OED. The current 23 volume edition will be the last. Sic transit gloria mundi.

  71. I like the old-fashionable spelling of Arthur Mee: Arthur Moi.

  72. Pam I. says:

    Get your OED now while stocks last. Yours for 750GBP/$995, or 865gbp with CD backup.

  73. Dr. Empirical says:

    Just to show that there’s no shortage of juvenile behavior among scientists:

    Individual differences in the use of social information in foraging by captive great tits.

    Anim Behav. 2000 Jul;60(1):131-140. PubMedPMID: 10924212.

    Don’t get me started on Uranus!

  74. grumpy says:

    the koch bros were also caught red handed dumping literally tons of carcinogens but bush invalidated any convictions or fines *

  75. little gator says:

    These books are your books,
    These books are my books,
    From he open stacks to
    the magazine nooks…

  76. Kate L says:

    A friend back east (Massachuesetts) e-mailed to congratulate me on coming out. She asked me how I was feeling about doing this in my midwestern hometown of Smallville. Well, Smallville ain’t no metropolis like Boston or Montpelier. Here’s what I told her:

    How do I feel? I recollect a scene from an old Steve Martin movie. Steve plays the role of Navin Johnson, a simple country boy who moves to the big city. When the new phone book with his name in it comes out, he runs around shouting, “The new phone books are here! The new phone books are here! Things are going to start happening to me, now!” In the very next scene, a serial killer is selecting his next victim by randomly placing his finger on a name from the new phone book. The name he selects? “Johnson, Navin”.

  77. ready2agitate says:

    …you mean like something horrible might just happen to you now, now that you’re no longer in the closet? I doubt that. It’s scary to be sure, but you are free now, and we oughta throw you a big ole’ hell yeah party, Kate!

    PS Big expose (accent over the second “e,” y’all) on the Koch brothers in the recent New Yorker. AB, you read it? Oy – now THAT’s scary! 😉

  78. Andrew B says:

    Kate L, 76, I like that Steve Martin story. First, it appeals to my sunny, optimistic, glass-half-full nature. But more than that, think of it this way. You could be hiding behind perfectly coiffed hair, makeup, clothes you don’t like, the whole bit, and some lunatic could pick your name out of the phone book. You might as well be who you are.

  79. Renee S. says:

    ahem, way off topic…

    I just had to share this video, I never heard of this instrument before:!

  80. NLC says:

    Renee S#79:

    Harp guitars have been around forever. (The local music store I frequented as a kid had one hanging on the wall, –although nowhere as fancy as the one in the video– giving me endless fascination.)

    In short it’s a normal guitar plus a number of open bass strings. This mimics certain types of lutes, in that they had the “normal” strings plus various numbers of open bass strings allowing the player to pluck those low notes without needing “spend a finger” fretting the note. (For the guitarists here, think of it as dropped-D tuning on steroids.)

    But, yeah, a beautiful instrument, played equally beatifully.

  81. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Renee, NLC

    Did you see the collection of harp guitars and other luthier creations propped up in the background of that video? Some beautiful instruments.

  82. Kate L says:

    The Fred Phelps people from Topeka will be at the next Smallville city commission meeting Tuesday night. So will I. I won’t be wearing make-up.

  83. NLC says:

    P,S. I meant to say something like “Harp guitars have been around forever, but Renee is right that its still pretty rare to see one in public performance”.

    P.P.S. (Happy HOH?) One of my favorite guitarists, Narciso Yepes, was famous for playing a 10-string guitar, which was basically a “normal” guitar with four extra string. Although the extra strings were actually over the (fretted) neck, the extra lower strings were often used as “open” bass strings, similar to those on the harp guitar.

    (For those who don’t play guitar, this is different from a standard 12-string guitar, which is more or less a 6-string guitar with doubled strings.)

  84. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate L (#82)

    Good luck, keep your chin up. Suggestion: Since the Phelps wackos routinely desecrate the US flag, and since there’s a pretty strong pro-military/pro-US sentiment in Smallville, try doing a classic divide-and-conquer tactic on your foes.

    With any luck, at least one of the Phelpses will be wearing their classic upside-down American flag as a skirt, and will stomp on it.

    Pile it on thick… Wear an American flag lapel pin, and use language and images straight out of Fox News. Make mention that the opponents to this legislation shamefully disrupt the funerals of American military heroes who died in defense of freedom, and they defile the flag of the US, just as the jihaddists and Taliban do. Invoke the memories of the veterans in your immediate family, and refer to their sacrifices for freedom as an ongoing struggle for equality for all Americans, “to form a more perfect union.”

    Get the pro-military/pro-US supporters in the crowd to question the motives of the Phelpses… “… no freedom-loving American patriot can possibly give credence to the aims of this group, who have much more in common with the Taliban than the good citizens of Smallville.”

    You get the drift. Then go home and take a shower to get rid of all the Phelps cooties.

  85. Ian says:

    I just got home today from a 3-day trip around London, visiting galleries and museums. I’m exhausted. BUT! Today I visited the British Museum and held a 1.8 million year old stone axe, a 1.2 million year old stone axe and a very beautiful 500,000 year old green quartz stone hand axe in my hands as part of their hands-on programme. They were found in Olduvai Gorge by Prof Leakey and his first wife in the 1930s.

    I am still in awe nearly 10 hours later. It’s quite possibly one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. It was awe-inspiring to think that the human hands that created it, held it and used it were of a completely different species. We had a good discussion with the ‘hands-on’ volunteer over whether it would necessarily have been males who fashioned them. What was rather humbling was that the green quartz one was probably STILL sharper than half the stainless steel cutlery in my kitchen drawers.

    I’ll be putting up photos of the w’end in the usual place – just thought I’d threaten you with that! But I had to share that with you all.

  86. ksbel6 says:

    Good news on the Phelps front, they were supposed to be here in my own Smallville last week for a soldier’s funeral, but they didn’t show. I’m hoping that is a sign that they are getting sloppy at their job. Also, there were LOTS of people ready to do some peaceful standing around in front of them to help block their view, etc. But it turned out none of that was needed.

  87. Renee S. says:

    @NLC and HOH…Yes, HOH, they are very beautiful! I sure would like to try one of those out.
    I never saw such a thing, but NLC is right, they have been around a long time. I went to , and they had pages and pages of old photographs that were full of performers with harpguitars. I collect photos of women playing guitars for my screen saver, and snatched a couple of these for my files. […wondering how I could build one with a couple of cigar boxes…off to the drawing board].

  88. Marj says:

    Kate L #82: Good luck on Tuesday, I’ll be with you in spirit. Actually, I’d love to be there in person to wave a goofy placard at those crazies…

    Ian #85:awesome. Look forward to the pics.

    Must get back to ukulele practice. I can’t even manage 4 strings…

  89. Pam I. says:

    @ Kate L, re Phelpses. I’ve seen a great slide show of poster responses somewhere lately. Cant find the one I’m looking for but here’s another. Ridicule is the direct answer, alongside HoH’s ways to get any undecideds in the crowd against them.
    God Hates Jedi is a good start. Also ‘I’m With Stupid’.

  90. ksbel6 says:

    @89: I posted a link to one a couple of weeks ago (or maybe it was yesterday, I struggle with keeping track) that Ivan Coyote had up on her FB page if you want to hunt it down.

  91. ksbel6 says:

    @89: Oh, another great response is to set up a booth to take donations to groups like HRC and Freedom to Marry. Some guy did that somewhere recently (see how I’m losing track?) and made tons of money for the two groups. All he did was ask for donations and which group did the folks want to support. Pretty cool response.

  92. Dr. Empirical says:

    I occasionally cruise eBay for harp guitar pictures. There was such a fascinating variety of designs!

    I once sent my dad a link to a particularly beautiful one, and he actually bid on it! It would have been a great Christmas, but the price soon escalated beyond what even an old man with a bad case of Retired-Guy-With-Too-Much-Money Syndrome was willing to pay.

  93. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Pam, ksbel6

    All great ideas, but note that the event is a city hearing on passing the LGBT anti-discrimination ordinance, where Kate will be testifying, not protesting.

    Theatrics and protest have their places, but in this situation the anti-LGBT forces want to have the media focused on the “otherness” of “them,” while the serious and important work of changing minds and getting legislation passed (or vetoed) gets scant attention in the 30-second camera sweep of the most-outrageous protesters from each side.

    Hence my suggestions to Kate to flip the “otherness” label onto the Phelpses and their allies; relate through testimony how “other and alien” the Phelpses are, how “us-like” the forces of freedom and non-discrimination are, and drive a wedge between the conservative pro-US/pro-military sentiment and the conservative anti-LGBT sentiment. People don’t always vote *for* something, they often vote *against* something. Put the idea in the minds of the city council members that alliance/agreement with the Phelpses is a bad thing, and they may vote *against* Phelps, not necessarily *for* LGBT anti-discrimination. No matter, the outcome would be the same, an anti-discrimination ordinance in Smallville that might make life better for LGBT (depending upon how it is enforced, of course).

    Now if that’s me testifying, I’d be using lofty aspirational language glorifying freedom (think Ronald Reagan) and directing public opprobrium toward the Phelps gang.

    (… puts on her politcal speechwriting hat …)

    “Shame on these opponents, who desecrate the American flag and invade the funerals of fallen American hero servicemembers with their profane protests. They rejoice at each death of an American servicemember, just as the jihaddists and the Taliban rejoice. They have more in common with the Taliban and enemies of freedom and America than with the thoughtful and freedom-loving citizens of Smallville. My family members have served and sacrificed in the US military for the ideals and freedom of America. [Insert personal details about family servicemembers here.] This is a great country whose founders came to these shores in search of liberty and freedom from tyranny. Our Nation has worked to provide equality for all in the past 234 years. Our citizens have defended the freedoms of our Nation at great cost, on the battlefield and at home. This ordinance is not about religious beliefs, it is about according each person the freedom and equality sought by the Founding Fathers when they bravely wrote those ideals in the Declaration of Independence, and for the generations who bravely defended these freedoms in the service of our great Nation. A vote for this ordinance is an affirmation of the ideals of America, ‘equality for all, with malice toward none.’ Thank you.”

    I suppose if I channeled William Safire, I’d have put some alliteration in there (he wrote the famous line “nattering nabobs of negativism” in Spiro Agnew’s 1970 speech skewering the liberal bias of the media), but not many can pull off alliterative speech without sounding silly.

    You might want to view Phil Zwickler’s documentary “Rights and Reactions” about the 1986 NYC City Council passage of an LGBT anti-discrimination ordinance. It won the 1988 Teddy Award at the Berlin International Film Festival, and was shown on the local PBS affiliate a few times during Pride Month over the years. Zwickler’s memorial foundation website has downloadable clips:

    (… goes back to celebrating Labor Day, a day without labor …)

  94. Diamond says:

    Speaking of harps, which we almost were, the wonderful Fiona Katie Roberts makes her own, not out of cigar boxes as far as I know, but out of fishing line and old bits of kitchen shelving . . .

  95. ksbel6 says:

    Speaking of movies, Hannah Free was really good.

  96. Renee S. says:

    @Diamond #94…wow! that’s fantastic. Thanks for sharing the video…
    @HOH Hairball of Hope harasses homo-haters heartily!

  97. ready2agitate says:

    and with “h”utzpah!

    hear! hear!

  98. Kate L says:

    Thanks, everyone, for your encouragement! I have to wonder, though: WWJD*?

    * – What Would Janeway Do?

  99. Marj says:

    HoH #93 – Where do I sign?

  100. Dr. Empirical says:

    The woman I just interviewed for a job has a BS in geology. I could hardly keep a straight face as I spoke with her. Woman geologist…

  101. Kate L says:

    Dr. Empirical (#100) That woman geologist? One of Us! One of Us!. Tuesday night’s city commission confrontation with the Phelps family looms large in my thoughts, now. Therefore I beseech Saint Mo, Saint Sydney, Saint Janeway and all the saints; protect your servant, Kate, as she travels through the valley of prejudice.

    Who knows, if a melee breaks out, you might get to see me on YouTube!

  102. Dr. Empirical says:

    My understanding is that the Phelps’ will do their best to provoke a melee, because the resulting lawsuit will be a source of income.

    Janeway would keep her cool, and so should you. Remember that they don’t really care about the issue, they only care about pissing you off. The way to win this is to have more class than they do.

  103. Kate L says:

    Me again. I’ve been waiting for this all day. Last week’s Gallup generic congressional ballot poll (“Would you vote for a Democrat or Republican for Congress?”) had the Republicans up by a whopping (and historic) 10% over the Democrats. It was the biggest Republican advantage in decades of Gallup polling, and led to the week-long orgasim of Republican leaders over the November congressional elections. Well, this week’s Gallup generic congressional ballot poll has just been released. It’s now a 46% to 46% tie between Democrats and Republicans. As MSNBC’s Chris Matthews would point out, years of gerrymandering give the Republicans a 3% advatage in any congressional election, but still… there must have been a tremendous turn away from the Republicans in the last week to wipe out their earlier advantage! In your face, “Speaker” John Boehner!

  104. Kate L says:

    Wow, this may make three in a row for me, but I’ve just returned from the Smallville city commission meeting!

    It was the best of times, it was the worst of times The Phelps family carried their hateful signs across the street from the Smallville city hall before the commission meeting began, then left. Those of us in the counter-demonstration down the block (about 100 of us) outnumbered them 5 to 1. Many of us stayed for the commission meeting.

    It’s morning in America, again. One of the usual local anti-LGBT folk got up to speak at public comment time at the start of the city commission meeting. He admitted that he “had been” gay, but was “better”, now. He went on to talk about “redemption” and “cure” from the LGBT lifestyle. I think that is revelation about his past explains a lot about his anti-LGBT rights activities, and it was really, truly, just sad.

    1984 came early this year. After public comments was over (more people spoke in favor of adding sexual orientation and gender identity and expression to the city human rights ordinance than against it), two of the five commissioners announced their eternal, unalterable opposition to doing so. One of them even threatened to boycott city commission meetings to deny the commission a quorum until the matter goes away.

    So, that’s the news from Smallville. We’ve managed to cripple the functioning of city government with our incessant braying for equal rights! Who do we think we are… human beings???

  105. Kat says:

    Good on you, Kate. We’re proud of you!!

    The new dean of student life at my school is a (figurative) woman geologist. I can’t tell you all how amazing a presence she has, and how refreshing it is to have someone to counter the energy created by an administration full of French “alpha males.”

    ……sighs contentedly…..

  106. Renee S. says:

    @ Ian #85
    I am so jealous!!! yes, please let’s see photos!

  107. Ian says:

    I must say, your wingnuts REALLY know how to make themselves popular around the world, don’t they?

    Burning copies of the Koran? Does anyone here live in Florida and do you have a fire extinguisher?

    @ReneeS(107): Are you on Facebook Renee? I posted them on there. If not, should I send the link to your email on your guitar website?

  108. Marj says:

    Hurrah for Kate #104!

    Meanwhile back at Wingnut Central (Ian #108) “the Dove World Outreach Center”. How tragically misnamed.

  109. I’ve been to browse through Ian’s snaps twice and now I can’t get this song out of my head:
    A foggy day in London Town
    Had me low and had me down
    I viewed the morning with alarm
    The British Museum had lost its charm

    I miss Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly.

    On quite another note: History Detectives once again blew my mind, this time with an episode tracing the history of Jemima Wilkinson, the charismatic leader of the 18th century Quaker offshoot called Universal Friends, the first religion founded by an American-born woman. Wilkinson and her religion were enormously controversial in New England, not the least because she claimed to be beyond gender (dressing in mixed gender ways) and she espoused living collectively without honoring race or class divisions. The group eventually fled to the “frontier” of Gennessee County, NY to live as they wished. You can watch this episode, wonderfully investigated by Gwen Wright, at the link below.

  110. Amy says:

    85 Ian, I got a chill reading your description of the green quartz ax. How does one find your pictures?

    104 Kate, amazing. I agree that Janeway would keep her cool, and she’d also act as bravely as you are.

  111. Renee S. says:

    @ Ian, and anyone else, my FB is Renee Stokley.
    There is more than one Renee Stokley (!!), I’m the one wearing the porkpie hat and holding a cigarbox guitar.

  112. Ian says:

    @Kate L(104): Amy’s right – Janeway would be very proud of you!

  113. Ian says:

    V&A photos can be seen here:

    Apols for whatever the term is for making lots of sequential posts. It’s early morning and the tea hasn’t kicked in yet.

  114. Kate L says:

    I was lecturing in class this morning, and tried to sit down on one of those chairs that should adjust up or down. Only this one was stuck in its highest position. I had to climb up on it like a little kid, and I slid right off in front of my class! Fortunately, I landed on my hip, which is well padded!

  115. Bechadelic1 says:

    Umm, where I’m located, the 10th of September just began, so Happy Birthday Alison. Have a good one.

  116. Pam I. says:

    And happy new year too, to those to whom it matters.

  117. Ian says:

    Not quite the 10th here yet, but I’ll wish Alison a very Happy Birthday as well!

    @Pam I: Is it Rosh Hashanah already?

  118. Aunt Soozie says:

    Ian… stunning photos… yes, what Pam said… L’shana Tovah…
    and Happy Almost Yer Birthday to Alison!!!

  119. ksbel6 says:

    The great state of Missouri has managed to ban another award winning book. “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian” was banned by the Stockton School Board. Which is really good, because they banned it because it references masturbation and we all know that kids do not masturbate. Especially kids in middle and high school. They definitely do not do that. Neither do teachers.
    Funny story…I bought my daughter (currently age 13) that book last summer while I was in the big city. She totally loved(s) it!

  120. ksbel6 says:

    @121: I thought they handled that topic so very well on the old Roseanne show when John Goodman says to DJ, “everyone does it, no one talks about it.”

  121. Acilius says:

    Happy birthday AB!

  122. Kate L says:

    Today is Your Birthday,
    Happy Birthday to You! *

    * Another of my late 60’s cultural references. Kudos to whoever knows the band and album this song came from!

  123. shadocat says:

    This just in-now the Phelps clan say that THEY will be burning a copy of the Qur’an on Saturday:

    (Kate-wasn’t it the Beatles? I’m guessing Rubber Soul?)

  124. shadocat says:

    And a Happy Birthday to you, Alison!

  125. Kate L says:

    shadocat (#125) Yes, it was the Beatles, but not from Rubber Soul! It was on the “infamous” White Album a few years later!!! 🙂

  126. shadocat says:

    The White Album was my other choice; parents made me take it back to the store from whence I bought it, so I didn’t get to own it for very long…

  127. Pam I says:

    @ Shadocat, re Phelpses, I’m beginning to think that a global news blackout would be better. Just a total boycott. Look them up in the archives but then nothing since, say, 9-11-10. I always chip in to the comments, but I think I must stop. Do we agree, world?

    OTOH, their obituaries will be OK.

  128. Thank you for the birthday wishes!

  129. Kat says:

    Kate L, even though i’m a total Beatles fan, trying to find the cultural reference for “it’s your birthday, happy birthday to you” made me think of the Simpsons. There’s an episode where a large, white guy thinks he’s Michael Jackson and sings Lisa a birthday song.

    “Lisa it’s your birthday,
    Happy birthday Lisa”

    I agree with Pam I. Global news ban on the Phelpsies. They so clearly just want attention.

    It’s Alison’s b-day? Happy Birthday!!!

  130. Ellen Orleans says:

    Happy 50th Alison! I hope you are celebrating your half century in a big way.

  131. Kate L says:

    Alison – think of this as your first half-century! I can say that because I’m 56. Kat (#132) Michael Jackson bought the rights to a lot of Beatle’s songs, so the episode of the Simpsons with the birthday song may have been a subtle dig by Simpson creator Matt Groening. But honest, the song is there, on the album that technically has no name (and, no cover illustration). Please believe me, you don’t have to play it backwards or anything*! 🙂

  132. judybusy says:

    Happy birthday, Alison! I hope Holly did right by you, celebrating however you wished!

  133. Kate L says:

    * – Another 60’s reference. The whole playing albums backwards thing got it start in, I think, 1965. Supposedly, there were secret messages on the new Beatle’s album that could only be heard by somehow getting your record player to run the album backwards!

    Oh, and another thing. I used to compare my birthdays to the constitutional age requirements for various federal elective offices in the United States. When I was 25, I thought, “Old enough to run for congress!”. When I was 30 it was, “Old enough to run for the Senate!”. 35? “Old enough to run for president!”, naturally! But now that I’m fifty-something… I’ve run out of federal offices to be elgible for! Worse yet, I’ve found out that our great neighbor to the north, Canada, actually sets maximum age limits for some of their federal offices!!!

  134. Happy 50th, Alison. I think/hope you’ll find it as liberating a landmark as 40 was.

    And…Paul is dead.

  135. Feminista says:

    To the next 50 years,Alison.

  136. Ian says:

    A friend of mine hired a hall and had a huge party. Another celebrated by going on holiday somewhere. But yet another is due to turn 50 in December and she’s dreading it so much she won’t even discuss the matter.

    I’d quite like to get a star named after her or buy her an acre of the moon for her 50th. Does that sound like a good gift? I mean it’s not often someone gives you the moon or the star(s)!

  137. Speaking personally, Ian, I’d be thrilled if someone had a star named after me. It’s a sweet hint of immortality and I bet she’ll remember you fondly every time she gazed at the night sky.

  138. Kate L says:

    Maggie (#137) I am the walrus!

    Also, Yahoo!News keeps insisting on showing me S.F. Bay area news as my local news whenever I go to their main webpage. Do you think that Yahoo! is being subtly critical of my not moving out to San Fran back in the 70’s? Or, maybe this is just their build-up to the personalized Yahoo! Wayback time travel service that I keep hearing rumors about!California (and the 70’s), here I come!

  139. Renee S. says:

    Birthday Wishes

    Wonder if Lois wrote this song for AB:

  140. Speaking of San Fran in the 1970’s, Judy Freespirit passed on today, a pioneering voice in fat liberation, disabled activism, and lesbian-feminist writing. Susan Stinson wrote a great tribute to her at her blog here:

  141. It’s Alison’s birthday?

    Well, then. Happy Birthday to America’s Favorite Lesbian Cartoonist!

  142. Kat says:

    @ Kate (#134): right after I posted this, I thought to myself “Someone’s going to call me on this….”

  143. Kat says:

    There was a post on Shakesville today about books that pass the Bechdel Test. It asks for suggestions, and I can’t help but think that either a) people don’t ACTUALLY know what the test entails, or b) it’s really effing hard to find books that pass it.

  144. Kate L says:

    (Kat #145) You are me and we are all together!

    Maggie (#143) Thanks for the link. Along my pathway, I’ve lost just over 40 pounds during the past few years. And, guess what, people have been highly critical of my weight loss!!! The name of this game is, You Just Can’t Win!

  145. ready2agitate says:

    Happy Birthday, Alison – thank you for being you!

    (you’re 50, and we Jews just marked the beginning of 5771, so truly, you’re a young’un, in the scheme of things!) 😉

  146. Stephen Gordon says:

    Two notes on the nature of electronic readers/eBooks–

    1) There was an article published about students at the University of Washington who were given free Kindles with all their textbooks for a semester as part of a study, but the kids hated them and were glad to be rid of them because it’s hard to flip back to previous pages in an eBook, and you can’t see the pages you’re flipping past. It’s also harder to use an index on an eBook.

    2) Who controls the publication of eBooks? If all books are to be originally published as eBooks and the e-readers are owned by large corporations, they exist as a horrible censor. If you can only download books onto an e-Reader and they can only be read if they are in the format approved by the company, then the authors who get read are determined by the company, who may or may not approve of certain books. How can you have underground publishing if all publishing is controlled by a corporate oligarchy? What if the company or companies don’t like what’s in certain books and refuses to have them published on an e-Reader? It’s a lot easier to print things than to develop software to make new eBooks or to implant new files into preexisting software.

  147. NLC says:

    Stephen Gordon#149:
    [re: Point 1: “flipping back/using the index/etc”]
    Yes, this echoes a point I made when we discussed e-books a while back. The distinction reflects the (many) things that books are used for. Put simply, Kindles, etc, are great for “reading” (i.e. starting at line one, going through to the end). They suck for “browsing” (hopping around, thumbing though, etc).

    Jane Austen, yes. Cramming for History finals, no.

  148. NLC says:

    Continuing our recent bout of Ian-envy:

    Our local classical station just spent much of the afternoon broadcasting (live) the last several hours of The Proms. Did any one here happen to be there? (Or at one of the “satellite parks”?)

    All together now:
    “…bring me my arrows of desire.”

  149. Kate L says:

    Nope, didn’t listen to the Proms, the most famous classical music – apalooza in the World. But I was eatin’ a late breakfast at a local, locally-owned dinner, locovore that I am. I must appear harmless, because several of the young women waitresses were talking in a corner right next to me. One of them asked another if the friend she just said she had kissed was a “guy or a gal”; she then said that either was fine and then added, “Hey, I play softball!”. So, I was just wondering… is “playing softball” some young, hip lesbian euphemism?

  150. Stephen Gordon says:

    Sure. A high proportion of the softball teams in the high schools. You could be heterosexual and play on the softball team, but your teammates might flirt with you.

  151. ksbel6 says:

    As a life-time softball player/coach, I can tell you that the percentage of high school girls that play softball that also consider themselves LBGTQ is very small, probably less than 10%. However, when you jump to the college level, and the higher up the college is in scholarships allowed (DivI NCAA vs. NAIA or something smaller) the higher that percentage becomes. So, a player at Central Methodist University in Fayette, MO is most likely not going to consider themselves queer in anyway. However, the majority of players at Stanford (UCLA, Arizona, etc.) will. So, in some circles it becomes common to equate playing softball with being queer, but not really at the high school level. I hope that explains things.
    The funny thing is, that the majority of women’s sports are dominated by those that consider themselves queer. So, the higher up the level of competition, the more likely the percentage of queers will out number the percentage of straights. That has always fascinated my scientific mind. Why is that? Are the percentages among the queers between femmes and butches equal? What a great study that would be…

  152. Pam I says:

    @ksbel6, could it be because lesbians have realised that you don’t have to do what you’re told? Only women who have discovered this, make it to be queer. Then, as staying fit and sporty past early teens is against the rules of dude-dom, there could well be a correlation lesbian/sporty, getting more so the older you get.
    *goes back to remembering that she hid from games lessons from age 15 and therefore didn’t make the turn till 27*

  153. Kate L says:

    Interesting, the discussion that a conversation overheard yesterday morning at a small-town diner on the American Great Plains can lead to. Although, I’d like to point out that wearing a dress and make-up does not necessarily make you submissive to the patriarchal hegemony. Really, it doesn’t. Not necessarily. But I guess I’m leaving that world behind, since I came out at that city commission meeting (and on the live local cable access coverage of the city commision meeting) a few weeks ago. So… maybe I’m living the proof of what Pam I (#155) has said! Wow, I just reached a conclusion in this post that I didn’t have in mind when I started typing!!!

  154. ksbel6 says:

    @Pam I: I would say that most definitely has something to do with it. For the average person to be really good at a sport, one has to start it at a young age. So these girls most likely started playing their respective sports at ages when most little girls are taking dance lessons (which is not a bad thing, it just isn’t going to improve your ball handling skills). There are soooo many factors though…like are you trying to impress your father, or your mother, or your sister, or…
    Too many methinks to pin it down. The one thing we know for sure is that girls that play sports are much more confident and therefore perform better academically, which in general leads to a more successful career.

  155. Ian says:

    @NLC(151): Don’t envy me. My chief memory of this year’s Last Night of the Proms is my homophobic, bigoted 66 yo uncle being on the phone at the start, criticising the dresses the opera singers were wearing. In a ‘what does she look like’ kind of way.

    Talk about your verbal minefields. I was quite tempted to respond, “Well I think she looks simply darling“, although I agreed (mentally) that the dress probably was a mistake.

  156. dr. Empirical says:

    Before Elena Kagan was confirmed for the supreme court, various right-wing hate-monkeys spread the rumor that she’s a lesbian.

    Their proof? She plays softball!

  157. Marj says:

    A bit late, having been off-line all weekend – but Many Happy Returns Alison!

  158. ksbel6 says:

    @159: I would have been like, “Oh really, where?” And had they said, “UCLA.” Then I would have said, “Yep.” But, had they said, “slow pitch in the local Tuesday night league.” Then I would have said, “Nope.” 🙂

  159. Pam I says:

    @ ksbel6, how right am I that it takes guts to be queer? And/or that it’s extra attractive to people who see themselves as rule breakers? No-one seems to ask those quesions when they try to come up with explanations based on biology or similar. How about, how conformist are you? There’s a PhD for someone, I relinquish copyright.

  160. ksbel6 says:

    The crazy thing about me, is that I’m really not a rule breaker. I really do not feel like I’m leading a life of rebellion. I’m quite sure that LOTS of queer folk do like to say they are nonconformist, but that’s not me. Although I’m positive that other people would describe me as a rule breaker, that’s kind of a weird deal also. How we describe ourselves vs. how others describe us. I found out this school year that the most tightly wound teacher in the building starts her year by telling all of her students on the first day of school how relaxed and laid back she is. They all just laugh at her. But she doesn’t see herself that way…see what I mean? It is all so complicated!

  161. Kate L says:

    Things are going to start happening to me, now.” – Steve Martin

    I was expecting some consequence regarding my having come out for adding LGBT to the local human rights ordinance at a recent city commission meeting. Turns out, it was on my birthday last week. In the Police Blotter section of the local newspaper of record. I was incorrectly identified for “illegal use of a driver’s license”. It wasn’t me. The local police department has now apologized to me for giving the paper incorrect information, claiming that my name was “in the system” (last June, I was identified by the local police as the victim of a drunk driver who ran into me on main street. How that gets conflated with “illegal use of a driver’s license” is beyond me.) The police say to expect a retraction in the local newspaper “in a few days”.

  162. Acilius says:

    Hope you had a happy birthday Kate, aside from the part where you were libeled of course.

  163. ksbel6 says:

    @Kate L: How does one illegally use their driver’s license, just out of curiosity? I have all sorts of funny images in my head of a person using their license as some sort of switch blade like object to attack an old woman and steal her purse.

  164. Renee S. says:

    wondering where HOH has been….?

  165. beanie says:

    I miss HOH as much as anyone, but, heck, for that matter where’s Alison?

  166. Kate L says:

    (Acilius #165) Thanks! Whoever said that there is no such thing as bad publicity was wrong. (ksbel6 #166) I’ve wondered how you can illegally use a driver’s license, also. I’ve decided, though, that it’s best if I’m not too familiar with the facts of that case. I was at the city commission meeting last night. One of the commissioners in favor of adding LGBT to the local human rights ordinance came over and spoke with me during a break. Even he had seen the police blotter item! The city commissioner who threatened to boycott meetings to deny the commission a quorum until it dropped the whole idea of adding LGBT to the ordinance was not there; I arrived 10 minutes late, so I don’t know if he was unavoidably away or if he was acting on his plan.

  167. beanie says:

    Concerning “illegal use of a driver’s license”:

    In the cases where I’ve seen this charge show up (please don’t ask me for details) my understanding was that the driver’s license in question didn’t belong to person being charged.

    One example might be using someone else’s license as a fake ID.

  168. Kate L says:

    (beanie #170) Thanks, that’s kind of what I figured. I just came back from the newly-opened Einstein’s bagelry in the basement of the campus library. I came back empty-handed, because this Einstein’s bagelry had no lox!!! This day is just getting better and better…

  169. Ian says:

    What is lox? And for that matter, where is everybody?

  170. Fester Bestertester says:

    LOX = Liquid Oxygen

    (Kate L’s astronomic background is showing…)

  171. Andrew B says:

    Ian, 172, lox is smoked salmon. The traditional accompaniments to a bagel are cream cheese and lox. And the fact that I am answering this makes me wonder where the heck hoh is.

    Actually, that makes me think (look out) — Rosh Hashanah was last Thursday and Yom Kippur is this coming Saturday. I don’t know how observant hoh is, but I’ve had the impression she keeps kosher. She might be taking some time away from the net around the holidays. Maybe R2A also. Just a possibility. It wouldn’t be required.

  172. Ian says:

    Ahhh all is revealed! Thanks Andrew B. People had been talking about it on here but I never quite knew what it was. A smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel does sound very nice.

    A week-long break from the internet. What a pleasurable/scary thought!

  173. bean says:

    what is lox??? WHAT IS LOX???

    ok, it’s true most people consider smoked salmon to be lox. in truth, we used to serve (at least) two plates of fish on our table: Nova Scotia Smoked Salmon (known as “Nova”) and salted Gravlox (known as “lox” or more strangely “belly”)
    Q: “Could you please pass the lox?”
    A: “Do you want the Nova or the belly?”

    (often, in addition to the Nova and Belly lox, we also had smoked whitefish, kippered salmon, smoked sable, and/or pickled herring. what is it with Jews and our smoked fish? I don’t know, but damn, that stuff is good.)

    Lox is Jewish American soul food that came to America via Russian immigrants, Jewish and not, by way of New York City. (I can’t really speak to it’s presence or lack of in other lands) As you can see, some of us are rather passionate about it.

    If you ever pass through New York City, do yourself a favor and go to Zabar’s and spend the money to have them hand slice you a quarter lb. of the Nova. Buy some cream cheese, maybe a red onion, and a chocolate Babka. But don’t buy your Bagels there; go the H & H across the street.

    Then, you’ll know what lox is.

    ok, now i’m REALLY hungry.

  174. Ian says:

    It’s ok. We have smoked salmon in Britain too. Unless it’s smoked in a very particular and kosher way I don’t think there’ll be much difference. I don’t know if there’s still a Jewish fishmongers or even a butcher’s shop in Liverpool still, but I know there is in Manchester. There’s a very good Jewish bakers in Salford where the Rabbi comes every day to bless the bread.

  175. hairball_of_hope says:

    Oy! I’m late to the party, everyone else got to answer the lox questions. Bean is correct, get the hand-sliced nova (about $36/lb) and cream cheese at Zabar’s (I suggest the scallion cream cheese), but go across the street (W. 80th at Broadway) for the bagels at H&H. Bagels are made on the premises, and nothing is better than a hot bagel straight out of the oven. H&H also has a large store around W.44 St and the West Side Highway, in case you’re in midtown or stuck in traffic on the highway.

    The smoked fish counter at Zabar’s will give you free tastes of the various goodies, so you can sample the differences between belly lox, nova, wild smoked salmon, Scottish smoked salmon, and the double-smoked salmon.

    I prefer nova, but my budget these days rarely allows the hand-sliced stuff, I get the machine-sliced nova at Zabar’s (in the refrigerator case below the cream cheese), it’s only about $20/lb. I’ve learned to deal with it for the price, I’m grateful I can afford lox in the first place.

    I did take some time off the Internet, not because of the Jewish holidays per se, but because I have been working crazy hours in these holiday-shortened weeks (the amount of work remains the same, with fewer days to accomplish it, so I work loooong hours).

    I have few vices in the food world, but smoked fish are among the biggies (chocolate is my top vice). You can park me in front of the smoked fish counter (or as we called it in my youth, the appetizing department). For some strange reason, it was traditional in my family to break the Yom Kippur fast with pickled herring in cream sauce with onions. I was tempted to pick some up at Zabar’s on my last visit, along with pickled herring in wine sauce, but I resisted. Too much sodium.

    All these folks wondering where I’ve been, and I’ve been wondering where Ginjoint is hiding. Perhaps the miserable season the Chicago Cubs are having has caused her to hide under the bed until winter. Also, since we’re talking about NYC food, where the heck is Cybercita these days? She’s the resident foodie around here.

    Now I’m hungry. Time to carbo-load before the fast. I’ve already gotten all the caffeine (and associated headaches from withdrawal) out of my system.

    (… goes back to her peppermint tea and ibuprofen, wishing for good black coffee to go along with a bagel mit schmear, und a bissel nova …)

  176. Scallion cream cheese, hitting my taste buds right where they live, groan…

    For the avio-philes among us, Treehugger has a slideshow up of “Extraordinary Photos of Commonplace Birds”, with some good links among the exposition:

  177. Marj says:

    Blue tits like bacon! Clearly shiksa birds…

  178. Kate L says:

    (hairball #178) Oh, hairball, what if they opened an Einstein’s bagelry without lox?!! Indeed, I am at the restaurant at the end of the universe*!

    * – Hip late 20th century popular fiction reference. As always, young ones ask your parents to explain!

  179. khatgrrl says:

    Kate L. A guess that you have run into the only BYOL bagelry! Doesn’t seem quite fair. Crumbs! Sorry to hear about the “license thing”, did they ever print a retraction?

  180. Without lox? But you do have your towel, right?

  181. Kate L says:


    khatgrrl (#182) The local paper printed a retraction saying that they had identified the wrong Kate L______. Since they identified me as being the correct age at the other person’s address, I think all this does is give the other person a claim to reasonable doubt. The local paper is the official county paper of record,after all. The scary thing is, it was the local police department that conflated our two identities (I was mentioned in a local police report from last summer as being the victim of a drunk driver who hit me. Also, in the past two years, I’ve been cited for having a brake light out, and I was ticketed for driving 31 miles per hour on main street (the local high school school zone speed limit runs longer than the grade school and middle school school zones, it turns out). Hence, my name was “in the system”). What if the other person had blown off a court date? Would a bench warrant have been issued for me at my home address? My current address was incorrectly listed as an alternate address for the other person, according to the woman officer who kept apologizing to me over the phone.

  182. Kate L says:

    Hairball, did you see the NYC twister??? I can relate, sister!

  183. khatgrrl says:

    Kate L (184) Well atleast you got a retraction, of sorts, and an apology. Nice that it was from a woman, I do love a woman in uniform. I hope that everything is truly taken care of. Sounds like you got the fuzzy end of that lollipop!

  184. Therry and St. Jerome says:

    I’m really late to the lox thread, but I want to put in a word for Russ and Daughters for the most creamy sable you’ve ever tasted. When I visit my niece on the Lower East Side, we make a pilgrimage together to get in line at Russ and Daughters. I know with Jews and smoked fish, but skiksas, they’re on to something. And L’shana tova to all!

  185. Kate L says:

    I went over to the new Einstein’s today to see if the lox shipment had arrived from back east via pony express. They were closed.

    Therefore, I went to the general store and bought me some smoked lox, plain bagels, an onion, and capers. Once I find a local store that carries capers. Maybe over in Pixlie*. Yes, I know that this just isn’t the same as going into the corner bodega for a coffee and bagel, but I’m afraid that this is what I’ve been reduced to, out here on the high plains of North America. I tremble to think of what Cristine O’Donnell would say about such blatant self-gratification!!!

    * – Kudos to anyone who knows what 60’s sitcom made greater metropolitan Pixlie a by-word in the American idiom!

  186. khatgrrl says:

    Green acres is the place to be
    Farm living is the life for me
    Land spreading out,
    so far and wide
    Keep Manhattan,
    just give me that countryside.

  187. Kate L says:

    khatgrrl wins! 🙂 The first store had no capers. The second one did. Of course, I got me some whipped cream cheese, too. A male professor felt that I had not been sufficiently deferential to him during a student’s defense on Friday. He spent about 15 minutes after the defense screaming at me in my office. Should I have gone all grrrrl on him? Opinions, please!

  188. E.T. says:

    Uh oh, KateL @190 – Why did you let someone scream at you for one minute… let alone 15? Document and record. It has been my unfortunate experience that once a person gets away with it once, more abusive behavior will follow. It’s a shame people can’t put their ego to better use. About a decade ago, I would have let it go. Now, however, I would heighten my chair, ask the individual to come to my office, and lay down the law; inclusive of the concepts of dignity and respect and zero tolerance.

  189. bean says:

    @Therry #187: i’ve been trying to figure out how to marry into THAT family for about a decade. exactly how many daughters are there, and are any of them single???? and, are you implying that Russ’s daughters are not NJGs? (not that that would matter. i’d do a LOT for smoked sable…)

  190. Stephen Gordon says:

    Lox is nasty slimy pink stuff that sells itself as salmon but is horrible and evil and not related to any fish anywhere. Smoked salmon should be dry and in filleted slabs.

  191. khatgrrl says:

    I agree with E.T. #191. I think that I would have escorted him from my office. (Perhaps with a pair of steel toed boots.) But seriously, do document this interaction. Sounds like harrassment. Seems like he needs to be knocked down a peg or two. Do watch your back. Sounds like he is a weasel who would most likely lie to cover his own ass.

  192. bean says:

    @193 Stephen: it’s true there is some extremely poor quality lox out there: preserved with nitrites, colored with artificial coloring, flavored with high fructose corn syrup, frozen until the texture resembles nothing from nature. it’s best to avoid this stuff.

    the smoked salmon you describe is good, but it’s not lox, and i probably wouldn’t put it on a bagel, or dilute it with cream cheese.

    but slimy is a matter of opinion, and even the best lox may seem slimy to those not conditioned to respond to it’s fishy charms. that’s ok; more for us.

    bean (who really needs a life)

  193. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Therry, bean

    Yum, I like Russ et filles too (the fish, not the daughters, all the original Russ daughters appear to have been straight, not sure about the current generation of Russes working the counter). Sable is good stuff, I’ve been known to put sable *and* nova on my bagel when I can’t make up my mind.

    It’s more of a schlep to Houston St. than to Broadway for me, so I frequent Zabar’s for my smoked fish fixation. Of course, if I’m in the Lower East Side neighborhood, I also stop at Yonah Schimmel’s knish bakery for the real deal, unlike those frozen knishes that the street vendors sell.

    @Stephen, bean

    Lox is *NOT* slimy. The old-timey prepackaged lox came swimming in some kind of oil to keep it from drying out, perhaps that’s where you’ve gotten your impression? The modern prepackaged lox comes in vacuum-sealed packages, no oil necessary (or barely a smidge). Just make sure you’re not buying lox that has been prefrozen and thawed for sale, the texture will be all wrong (mushy). And of course, if you’re buying the hand-sliced stuff at the appetizing counter, you’re getting the best taste and texture imaginable (as you should, for those prices).

    @Kate L

    Sorry to break the news to you, but Einstein’s bagels are not authentic, they are not boiled. Many of the Einstein’s franchisees are using frozen raw or par-baked bagels and simply baking them on premises. Real bagels are made from high-gluten flour, the dough is shaped into bagels, allowed to rise, then the bagels are boiled, drained, and finally baked. The boiling is what sets the gluten to form the crunchy exterior while they bake.

    Head east to KC, they have real bagels. I’ll bet ksbel6 knows of good bagel places in KC.

    Now about bialys, a harder-to-find cousin of bagels… If you find a real bagel shop, ask if they have bialys. Bialys are made from the same high-gluten flour as bagels, but they are not boiled, they are only baked. They are round and flat, with an indented center that holds the topping, usually onion or garlic, and are very yummy. They are quite chewy, you could give a piece of a bialy to a teething toddler and keep her/him quiet for hours.

    An even harder to find relative of the bialy is the pletzl. It’s a larger flatbread made from the same bialy dough, usually topped with onion. It’s the Eastern European Jewish version of focaccia. The first time I ever had a sandwich on focaccia, I said, “Hey, this is a pletzl!” None of my dining companions had ever heard of pletzl, but they understood when I explained the bialy connection.

    After you pick up your lox at Russ and Daughters’, and your knishes at Yonah Schimmel’s, head over to Kossar’s for bialys and pletzl.

    Alas, Guss’ Pickles is gone, so the LES food tour is incomplete. I loved picking out a huge garlic dill (or two) from the barrel and munching on it as I wandered Orchard St.

    (… goes back to thinking about that old joke that Slim’s Bagels had on the awning – “If a seagull flies over the sea, what flies over the bay?” …)

  194. hairball_of_hope says:

    @khatgrrl (#189)

    (… sings along …)

    New York is where I’d rather stay
    I get allergic smelling hay
    I just adore a penthouse view
    Darling I love you but give me Park Avenue

    (… goes off in search of the girls from Petticoat Junction [sans petticoats] …)

  195. bean says:

    dude, if you’re all the way down there, you might as well just get a pastrami sandwich. if you do that sort of thing. (and, yes, i know they’re not kosher.)

  196. ksbel6 says:

    @hoh, etc. I hate to disappoint, but I do not do the bagel shop thing. So while I’m sure KC has its share of wonderful shops, I do not know of any 🙂

    I’m much more of an “I’ll just eat a quick bowl of cereal before I head out” kind of a kid.

  197. hairball_of_hope says:

    @bean (#198)

    Pastrami is kosher, depending upon where you buy it, of course.

    I miss the old Second Ave Kosher Deli. It had wonderful food. After the owner Abe Lebewohl was murdered, it stayed open for a few years under the watchful eyes of his daughter Sharon and his brother Jack. It closed in 2006. Jack’s kids reopened it last year on E.33 St and 3rd Ave (say toity-toid-an-toid in your best Brooklynese), and I have one word for it: AVOID.

    I ate there once last year, right around the High Holidays. Mushroom barley soup was good, but not authentic (Shiitake mushrooms? My grandmother never saw such a thing). The deli counter meats were terrible. Soup and half a sandwich was $14. And they ripped me off $3 for a cup of herbal tea. $3 for a teabag? A disappointing $22 lunch, including tax and tip.

    If I get the urge for pastrami or corned beef in midtown, I head to Ben’s Kosher Deli on W.38th (between 7th and 8th Ave), in the spot formerly occupied by Louis G. Siegel’s restaurant. Upper West Side destination is Fine and Schapiro’s on W.72nd. Ben’s is closer to home and work, so I eat there more often than F&S.

    Ben’s is ok, it’s primarily a Queens/Long Island chain. If I schlep out to Queens or Long Island I eat at Mazur’s, not Ben’s. Mazur’s… now THAT’S good kosher deli.

    (… goes off in search of brunch …)

  198. hairball_of_hope says:

    More Lower East Side food… How did I forget the passing of Ratner’s? I used to go there for blintzes and pierogen.

    A zillion years ago at work on Sundays, we used to order in brunch from the Lower East Side. Two guys would take a truck and hit all the food spots for pickup, and then we’d sit down and eat. The Chinese guys would get Cha Shu Bao (Chinese pork buns), the Jewish guys would get blintzes (Eastern European/Russian/Jewish version of crêpes), the Italian guys would get hero sandwiches from a salumeria. Now most of the LES is Chinese, not as much variety in the cuisine.

    (… goes back to deciding what to eat for brunch …)

  199. hairball_of_hope says:

    @ksbel6 (#199)

    Not a bagel maven? We’ll have to indoctrinate you. ;).

    You’d probably have to head north to St. Louis for real bagels. You can schmear Neufchâtel instead of cream cheese on the bagels, Neufchâtel is almost fat-free. Actually, the American version of Neufchâtel isn’t much like the real French item, it’s just a fancy way to market low-fat cream cheese.

    (… goes back to reading the latest episode of “Bagels To Watch Out For” …)

  200. Kate L says:

    Thanks for the advice. This is the second time this guy has talked to me like this. I plan on talking to our interim chair on Monday about it. I saw both the guy and our interim chair in the department main office as I was going home late Friday night. They had just returned from going to a book sale in Topeka together (100 mile round trip), so I’ll have to tred carefully. I didn’t say anything then because old yeller (actually, a young assisatnt professor) made a point of being right there when I spoke briefly with the interim chair in the hallway. My eyes got wide and kept him in my field of view as the interim chair and I spoke. I think I’ve seen a scene like that from Law & Order SVU, when an abused woman talks to office Benson like nothing his wrong, and all the time she’s wide-eyed and watching the perp. This is not what I cut my hair short for.

    (hairball) One of the bakery goods you mentioned sounds like a kolache; I’ve baked kolaches using my grandmother’s recipe from the old country. Heck, I’ve even baked kolaches alongside a woman I knew who was a special agent for the FBI. I hate to say it, but her recipe (from a different eastern European country) was superior to my family recipe!

  201. Kolaches are big in central Texas because of all the towns around here that were settled by Czechs in the 1800s. The older local inhabitants speak what is called “Tex-Czech” and there’s still one newspaper published in Czech and English.

    Wonder if THEY’D get asked for their papers by Homeland Security? But no, it’s not a race thing, not at all.

  202. Kate L says:

    Maggie… my grandparents were from Prague. And then they moved to Texas. Heck, my parents first met in San Antonio (“San Antone” as they colloquially pronounced it). My first word was in Czech, according to my mother. Is this another example of the eerie coincidences in our lives??? I am you and you are me and we are all together!

  203. Ian says:

    I’m dreaming of an avocado, brie and bacon toasted ciabatta I had in London the other weekend.

    @KateL: The next time he attempts to intimidate you or scream at you, just hold up your hand, tell him that unless he is prepared to talk to you in a reasonable and polite manner you are not prepared to continue the discussion and leave. If he persists, tell him that because of his behaviour you refuse to have discussions with him without another member of staff present. End of discussion. An Asst Prof. Who the fuck does he think he is? Chomsky?

  204. Kate L: Googoogoojoob!

    Anybody remember what Martina Navratilova asked the U.S. State Department when she appealed to them as she defected from the U.S.S.R.? Can you cache a Czech?

  205. ksbel6 says:

    @hoh: Actually, I would have to head significantly south from where I am to get to St. Louis (I am only 20 miles from Iowa). And, some people don’t realize this, but KC is quite a bit north of St. Louis as well. I-70 does cut all the way across the state from one city to the other, but from KC to St. Louis it runs slightly southeast the entire way. I will try to remember the fat free cream cheese in the event anyone every tries to get me addicted! The main thing for me is that I’m just really not a bread person at all…no pancakes, etc. If I’m going to have some sort of a bread type item I much prefer tortillas, which I use to make sandwiches with all the time. I assume that is because I was born in Corpus Christi and my mom used to give them to me to chew on when I was teething 🙂 I have even been known just to lay one flat on a stove burner to heat it up just a bit and then just eat it plain. Any type of thick bread though just does not sound very good.

  206. Andrew B says:

    A couple of comments from my favorite food writer and one of my all-around favorites, Calvin Trillin. I was going to restrain myself but this bagels and lox conversation just went on too long.

    First of all, I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but according to Trillin (a Kansas City native), bagels in Kansas City just taste like round bread. Actually it was one of Trillin’s daughters who said this, but he quotes her approvingly. This information is very out of date (circa mid-70s), so I hope civilization has come to KC in the meantime. Good luck Kate. (No idea about St Louis.)

    Second, for hoh and anyone else who ventures to Russ and Daughters: according to Trillin, in the early 70s there was an excellent cheese shop next to Russ and Daughters and an excellent bagel bakery next to that. It’s a little unclear whether he means literally next door or just nearby. At the time, these were called Ben’s and Tanenbaum’s (or possibly Moishe’s) respectively. If these still exist, are they any good?

    Anyway, I’m bookmarking this page, and not for the Tintin swipe (sorry Alison). Hoh, if you ever started your own blog, I’d follow it. Find a copy of Trillin’s American Fried or The Tummy Trilogy and read “A Sunday Morning Tale”. I think you’ll like it.

  207. shadocat says:

    Sorry Andrew, but Calvin Trillin is really more of a New Yorker than a Kansas Citian now, and I believe the last time he had a bagel here was over 25 years ago. I recomend the Jeruselem Bakery on Westport Road, for a good, authentic boiled bagel. There are probably many more places but this one was at the top of my head.

  208. ready2agitate says:

    Oy vey iz mir am I late, y’all. Yes, I took 48 hrs off interweb & phone (and when it was over, I no longer had the urge!) And then another 25 hrs sans internet again this wkd. Someone here gets a prize.

    But wait, the 2nd Ave Deli in NY is gone??? How sad.

    On to less important things – it’s only six weeks till the mid-term elections. On Tues, it’s possible that Harry Reid will propose a very pro-immigrant piece of legislation (the DREAM Act) as an addition to the defense spending bill, allowing the kids of undocumented adult immigrants to have access to public college and other things only available to citizens. (All in the name of courting the Latin@ vote, mind you, but even introducing it would be a good thing, imop.)

    bean, will you vote for Deval Patrick for governor of Mass.? (Just say “Governor Baker” if you want to give yourself the willies!)

    Why do I occasionally have dreams about Alison? It’s weird, I tell ya. She had just created a large and busy black and white drawing with diverse characters doing all sorts of different things, kind of a la a Roz Chast. Then I was explaining to Alison all the details and what they meant (as if she didn’t know). I think we were looking at it on a computer screen. Anyone care to interpret?

  209. ready2agitate says:

    a la la la la…

  210. ready2agitate says:

    PS I’m going to New Orleans this week for work (for the first time ever). I doubt I’ll have much free time, but if there’s anything I should try to see (like Tipitina’s, right Renee?), please give a shout! (I signed up for a tour of the Levees and all the work 5 years post-Katrina, which should be a highlight). Thx.

  211. ready2agitate says:

    OK last one and then I’ll shut up – here’s the story on the immigration proposal (hi feminista!)

  212. Renee S. says:

    @HOH #197

    Betty Jo was my favorite. The tomboy. Until the producers started to worry too much about the tomboy thing and quickly femmed her up and married her off in subsequent seasons. She was the first one to get married on the show. I was soooo pissed off! I think I was about 9 or 10.

    I had a BIG crush on her when I was a kid. I could relate to her. She wore boys clothes, she played baseball, she hated dresses. But then, darn it! They ruined her.

    I also was fascinated with Miss Jane Hathaway (Nancy Culp) on the Beverly Hillbillies.

    Anybody remember Ralph from Green Acres? She was a plumber or carpenter or something in business with her brother. In one episode, I distinctly remember her going in for a haircut at the barbershop saying, “Give me the butch cut.” (!)

    So really, all three of those shows featured gender benders in some form…hmmm very interesting.

  213. Renee S. says:

    @r2a #213

    Well, Tiptina’s is great, but I really enjoyed just walking around in the Quarter in the afternoon, just poking my head in every little place that was playing music.
    And it’s everywhere, and it’s all good!

    Have a great time!!

  214. Kate L says:

    Renee #215) I had a crush on one of the characters on The Lives of Dobie Gillis. No, not Dobie. Not even Dobie’s beatnik friend, Maynard G. Krebs (played by Gilligan Island’s Bob Denver). You’ve guessed it – it was Dobie’s girlfriend, Zelda, played by Sheila Kuehl. Shiela later came out as lebian in real life, and was elected to the California state legislature from Los Angeles. I’ve always wondered if I was sending her vibes through the airwaves. Oh, and I had favorite television shows even before I started grade school! Anyone remember Pete and Gladys? How about Mr. Lucky? And, Peter Gunn (which had a jazz soundtrack by Henry Mancini… either that soundtrack album or a recording of Carol Burnett singing The Trolly Song was the first record* I ever owned!).

    * – Record: vinyl analog sound recording popular in the 20th century.

  215. hairball_of_hope says:


    L’shanah tovah tika tevu.

    Kate L used to live in New Orleans, perhaps she’s got some recommendations from a local perspective.

    Last time I was in NOLA, I stumbled upon a really neat jewelry and Judaica shop in the Vieux Carré (French Quarter). A totally unexpected finding in New Orleans for me. Original artist creations, good selection of very nice earrings, reasonably priced for quality art jewelry. A quick Google tells me the name of the place is Dashka Roth, 332 Chartres St.

    Food will be tough for you. Good luck finding vegetarian fare, or at a minimum, cuisine sans cochon. I think the various outposts of Emeril’s empire are overrated, but the wood-fired pizza at NOLA’s was good, and I’ve had decent fish at Emeril’s on (gotta Google the spelling) Tchoupitoulas (pronounced Chop It Too Less), down the block from the Embassy Suites.

    Of course, you’ll have to go to Café Du Monde for beignets and that weird-tasting chicory coffee. Sit outside and all the powdered sugar from the beignets will end up on your clothes. “What are beignets?” I wondered, when I went to the café. One look at them and I said, “Zeppole.” Fried dough oozing with grease, covered in powdered sugar, sold in a grease-stained paper bag.

    Don’t know if it’s still there, but there was an interesting coffee house/bar in the FQ (name escapes me, I have the T-shirt somewhere) that was a comfortable hangout, not touristy at all.

    Oh, and don’t go looking for a streetcar named Desire. It’s now a bus. Not romantic at all.

    (… goes off searching for Blanche DuBois, and Stella and Stanley Kowalski …)

  216. Kate L says:

    (#213, Ready2Agitate). Yes, I lived in New Orleans, back in the early 80’s. And in Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi, 90 miles east along I-10, in the early 90’s. Both were largely destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. However, it’s funny that hairball should mention me as a food critic for the Big Easy, because I was thinking just this weekend about my two favorite “poor-boy” sandwiches (I could never pronounce them “po-boy”, as many do). The Ninth Ward, in many ways the heart of the New Orleans that I knew, may be gone but there should be plenty of places elsewhere in town serving poor boys. My favorite were catfish poor boys and (if you like spicy) hot sausage poor boys! Oh, and hairball, Tchoupitoulas was my favorite street name in New Orleans! Tennessee Williams just wasn’t gutsy enough to call his play, “A Streetcar Named Tchoupitoulas”!

  217. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate L (#219)

    Mother’s is still around, still serving authentic Nawlins po’boys on Poydras off Tchoupitoulas. I don’t think there’s a single thing R2A can eat on the menu, though. Shellfish and pig products are off limits, and she’s a vegetarian, which knocks the roast beef debris out of contention. I suppose she could have just the baguette and fixings, with a healthy schmear of Zatarain’s mustard. That would be a really poor po’boy.

    (… does her best Blanche DuBois imitation… “I’ve always depended upon the kindness of strangers” …)

  218. Dr. Empirical says:

    You really need a native guide if you’re going to venture out of the Quarter, but try to get out of the Quarter.

  219. Mentor says:

    [In case anyone is in the neighborhood, and/or wasn’t aware, Alison is at George Mason Univ in Fairfax VA today (Sept 20) giving a talk as part of their Fall Book Festival. (More details on the Events page.) –Mentor]

  220. Okay, I just put this up at FB but I think the memory was sparked by the thread here and it occurs to me that someone here may be able to identify this performer:

    When I was around ten, there was a comedian who broke what was then new ground, named Ronnie something (I think). He was on Carson first. He would claim to be an expert in European folk music and sit down at a piano, dressed all in black, and play a few quiet notes. Then he would sing, slowly and mournfully, in a broken Yiddish accent…
    “Somevun putten matches to mein floren”

    When a few folks in the audience tittered, he looked at them balefully before repeating the line. The second time, fewer people laughed, now uncertain about his seriousness. My mother was taken in by him the first time and told us it was the way of ethnic folk songs to talk about small things which hinted at larger tragedy, to hush and listen. He continued quietly
    “Whoever putten matches to mein floren”

    After a dramatic pause, he suddenly screamed “SUCKEN EGGS!”

    It brought the house down. My little brother and I literally rolled on the floor as he did a second repressed verse that, gloriously, also ended with the explosion of SUCKEN EGGS!

    It became a shtick of ours that when we were engaged in some quiet activity, like putting together a puzzle, doing homework, or at a tense family dinner, out of the blue one of us would shriek SUCKEN EGGS! Bill and I found it endlessly hilarious, my mother much less so.

  221. Anonymous says:

    #213 R2A: What kind of work do you do? I hope you have a good time in Nawlins. I remember reading about their African American history sites,so that might be worth a visit to our friends at Google.

  222. j.b.t. says:

    Hi All,

    Totally off topic, but… a request for assistance:

    I am writing an essay for a statistics class on the way the American people have morphed from “citizens” into “consumers.” I remember reading a passage about this in Judith Levine’s book Not Buying it, which I originally read because Alison recommended it. (It was great.) I loaned my copy out, however, and did not get it back.

    Does anyone out there have the book and happen to remember that passage? Normally I am the type who would gladly search for something like this (Diversion! Yay!) for someone else, and I am hoping some kind of karmic thing will happen and someone out there on the DTWOF blog will find me a short quote for my essay.

    I realize this is an unreasonable request. But as Mary Chapin Carpenter says, “It’s too much to expect, but it’s not too much to ask.”


  223. Marj says:

    “Can you cache a Czech?” – I can’t BELIEVE I never heard that before! Wonderful.

  224. ready2agitate says:

    Thanks, all! I’ve jotted some notes and hope for a fun adventure. Not sure I’ll be able to get out of the Quarter, Dr E, but I should at least try. And food, acht – it will be a challenge! But I’ll manage. I’m not a lawyer, but I’ll be there with many hundreds of left-wing lawyerly types for a convention/conference thing.

    I loved Petticoat Junction, and yes, I remember Ralph on Green Acres. 🙂