maple syrup and other miracles

April 9th, 2009 | Uncategorized


When I tuned into the live streaming of the legislature on VT public radio Tuesday to follow the same sex marriage proceedings, I was surprised to find the Senate discussing rules about maple sugaring on state land.

But I guess it’s all in a day’s work. Regulate sap collection, make history. Then yesterday I happened to attend a real deal sugarhouse in full boil for the first time. A friend of Holly’s took us to his family operation. It was amazing. We drank fresh maple syrup right out of the pan, as soon as it was cool enough.



And look. Our friend Nichael has put up PDFs of our Daily Distress project!


71 Responses to “maple syrup and other miracles”

  1. DeLand DeLakes says:

    Firsties! And oh, yum. Perhaps this maple syrup needs to be consumed with waffles and vanilla ice cream, eh heh heh (as the old EC Comics villains used to say.)

  2. Maggie Jochild says:

    Beautiful photos, and a glorious product.

    Not to be a bummer, but maple syrup is in trouble from global warming. Here’s a Crooks and Liars article about it.

  3. Nora says:

    Oh, Vermont Maple syrup, how I love thee. When I was a kid, we’d buy it by the yellow-plastic gallon jug on our trip to Winooski every summer. Grade B or darker.

    My dad used to drink whatever was left over in the little glass pitcher we put out on the breakfast table. My mother, who grew up in North Carolina, would always comment, “that’s how you spot a true Yankee.”

  4. RadioWaco says:

    First time commenter, but not a first time reader here.

    Drinking freshly-made maple syrup? That’s hardcore. You should try a piece of sugar cane. Just cut it and chew the wooden heart to get the sugary juice.

    Is it just me or does the maple syrup dude in the second picture look kind of like a rugged version of Ray Bradbury?

    And Holly has some awesome glasses frames…I wish I could pull off wearing frames like that.

  5. Ellen O. says:

    What half this group apparently feels about bacon, I feel about maple syrup. I love the stuff. Grade B is my favorite, though are there darker versions? I sweeten my breakfast cereal with it, drizzle it on ice cream, and pour it into cow’s milk and rice milk for a pseudo-shake.

    I’ve got to get myself to a maple syrup festival one of these years. I also love the leaves of sugar maples when they turn: yellow, orange, green and red.

  6. Nona says:

    I love fresh maple syrup – my mom runs an antique store and lives in Bennington VT and every year a friend of hers comes to tap her trees and she gets about 10 or 12 gallons to sell in her store. That, of course, is minus the gallons she puts away for family and friends. Good stuff!

  7. Mame says:

    I don’t think there is any problem with a fab lesbian drinking maple syrup while wearing a shiny blue bra.

  8. ksbel6 says:

    Hmmm, maple syrup or bacon? My vote is for bacon, I vote salty everytime. Bag of chips vs cheesecake, pass the Fritos please.

  9. Ame says:

    Bacon dipped in the maple syrup that runs off the waffle/french toast/pancake is my favorite–best of both worlds.

  10. Anonymous says:

    The only syrup darker then B is grade C, whicis said to taste bitter and leafy and is only used industrially, which may be why “maple flavored” thing can tastes so nasty.

    B is best. I’ve had fresh sugar cane and it’s maple for me.

    Ever drunk sap straight from a tree? yum.

  11. freyakat says:

    Grade B or darker — yuuummmm!!

    I get Grade B here in NYC at the Union Square farmer’s market. Several store owners have told me that it is technically illegal here to sell any non-Grade-A maple syrup, which is why there is almost no Grade B in stores.
    Does anyone know why this rule would exist?

  12. NLC says:

    Ever drunk sap straight from a tree? yum.

    This is often sold as “Maple Water” (sometimes after being boiled down a little bit).

    The sugar content of raw sap is really low (if I remember my numbers correctly it takes something like 38 gals of sap to make 1 gal of syrup) but it’s popular hereabouts, for example, as a substitute for “plain” water” when making coffee.

  13. Acilius says:

    Thanks for the pdf of The Daily Distress!

  14. Andrew B says:

    Fry bacon in a skillet. Cook pancakes in the drippings. Eat with maple syrup. Crispy, salty, smoky, fat, sweet; and maple.

    (You may need to pour off some fat, depending on how much bacon you’ve cooked; but you want a pool of liquid fat to remain, so the pancakes absorb some while cooking. You don’t just want the bottom of the pan lightly greased. Not recommended by the American Heart Association.)

  15. iara says:

    Maple syrup! – My top choice for a “gift from America” when I travel abroad. Locally produced (well, at least if you live in Northeast) and totally against the stereotype of “American stuff.” It is always so appreciated!

  16. hairball_of_hope says:


    I miss Bright Food Shop. They used to serve grade B maple syrup with their banana walnut pancakes. YUM.

    I’m not aware of any rules/regs against selling non-grade A maple syrup, I think I’ve seen it at Zabar’s and/or Fairway, I’ll have to check next time I shop.

    It’s the only example I’m aware of where the lower grades are actually more prized than the higher grades. I don’t see anyone lusting after grade B eggs, beef, butter, etc.

    The whole maple syrup grading thing is based on antiquated laws dating from the days when the primary sugar sources in the US were beets and maples. The higher grades of maple syrup had less maple flavor, which made them more “all-purpose” sweeteners, and thus they could command a higher price. Although inexpensive sugar cane took over as the primary source for sugar, the strange grading of maple syrup remains.

  17. --MC says:

    This West Coaster only just found out this year that Grade B is the darker tastier stuff. Here all this time I thought I was getting the good stuff, Grade A …

  18. Ellen O. says:

    Woohoo! Designated Beneficiaries!

    Here’s a piece of legislation I can get really excited about, right here in my own state….

    Yesterday, Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter signed into law House Bill 1260, a measure that allows gay and lesbian and other unmarried couples to establish sweeping legal rights for each other — including inheritance, the ability to make medical decisions and hospital visitation rights.

    Groups representing gays and lesbians, senior citizens and low-income residents cheered the governor’s support for the Designated Beneficiary Agreement Act, which goes into effect July 1.

    I love how inclusive this new law is. Any couple can benefit from it and it is especially helpful for us “lowered” income folks.

    I’m not sure how they define couple, or even if two people have to be intimately involved or living together. I’m curious about that.

  19. iara says:

    Wow, I had forgotten that one of the two DTWOF strips reprinted in the Daily Distress is #349 – the one where Toni and Clarice go off to Vermont to get married. They stay in “Sugarbush Emu Ranch – Maple syrup, Justice of the Peace.”

  20. Ali says:

    Maple syrup is a rare and wonderful thing in the UK. I got some to put on our family pancakes for Shrove Tuesday – mad English people celebrate by flipping pancakes and racing with them in frying pans – it cost nearly £6 for only 330 grams ( don’t know why it is grams not liquid measurements?!)
    My son loved it though.
    @Ellen O I feel like Jezanna in episode 150 after the 1992 elections “I feel hopeful! I feel young again!”
    So much is happening and changing for the better.

  21. Therry and the cat says:

    Oooooohhhhh, maple syrup. We still have buckets on maple trees on our street. Last year I gave friends maple syrup sugared from our trees; there;s a sugar house up the road a bit. I gave a real lowlife friend a ride home from a meeting and he smelled like syrup — he’d been sugaring his own trees and smelled like sugar instead of cigarettes! He got married a few years back and gave up smoking and took up bathing on a more or less regular basis. Sigh. Love certainly took the ginger out of him, to quote an old opera routine.

    Remember an early Toni and Clarice strip when Toni is still interested in sex, and offers Clarice vanilla ice cream drizzled with maple syrup. AB’s fixation with the stuff goes back a long way!

  22. Scarlet Pimpernel says:

    I’ve been a lurker here for quite a while, but it’s only because I haven’t been able to get my computer to let me post here – I’ve tried lots of times but don’t know what I’m doing wrong.

    In any case, what is prompting me to try again is the following link:

    They sell Maple-Bacon lollipops. I thought some of you might appreciate them.

  23. Scarlet Pimpernel says:

    Yes!!! Victory!!!! A post!

  24. Kate L says:

    Sadly, I’ve never been to New England. But I have enjoyed genuine New England maple syrup, courtesy of two friends of mine who now live in Maine. That boiled-down tree sap sure is mighty tasty! Also, I can remember a song from childhood about liking maple syrup, but I can’t remember any more than that. Hairball, can you help me out on this? We seem to share the same brain!:)

  25. Anne Onimous says:

    I’ve been a lurker for quite some time and have never posted, but when folks start to talk bacon, it gets my attention and warrants a response. Try for the best maple flavored bacon (I’m sorry vegetarians and vegans!), among many other flavors. We take it camping, it needs no refrigeration if unopened, and, once opened, it doesn’t last long. Of all the things to comment on…

  26. Kate L says:

    As anyone mentioned MAPLE-CURED BACON?????????

  27. Kate L says:

    Pop Quiz for Alli,

    The aforementioned Great Pancake Race that takes place on Shrove Tuesday in Olney, England, UK, is competitive against a similar race in what western Kansas town?

  28. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate L

    You seem to be making better use of our shared cerebral resources!

    Childhood maple syrup song… that would make it late 1950s/early 1960s… still thinking… still thinking…

    Only thing I’ve come up with so far is the Gordon Lightfoot song from early 1970s, “Love and Maple Syrup”:

    Was the song in question a kids song or a commercial jingle?

    Never been to New England? You should pay your friends in Maine a visit. As a geologist, you’d probably really enjoy Acadia National Park and Mt. Desert Island. Lots of great hiking on Sargent and Cadillac Mountains, and plenty of rock for you to peruse.

    I’m no longer as fit as I was 30 years ago, don’t think I’m up to hiking the Jordan Cliffs Trail again, but I’m glad I did it once. It’s called an Iron Rung trail, because for a good part of it, you are hanging on to the sheer rockface by means of iron rungs bolted to the rock. I think it’s rated the most difficult or one of the most difficult trails in the park.

    In my youthful stupidity, I hiked it after a rainstorm, and the cliffs were really slick in places… nothing gives an adrenaline rush quite like hanging onto iron rungs for dear life while hiking a narrow slick ledge with a steep drop to terra firma below. The view is absolutely stunning, and worth the hike.

    Back in my cycling days, I used to camp in a old granite quarry which was converted to a private campground (national park facilities are considered “primitive”, which means no hot showers… gotta have a hot shower if I’m pedaling all day!).

    There’s also Thunder Hole, where the Atlantic Ocean pours in between the rocks and makes roaring thunder.

    Acadia is one of my favorite places on Earth. Highly recommended.

  29. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate L

    Liberal KS. And no, I didn’t know this bit of completely useful information, I had to Google it. I also love it that Gov. Kathleen Sebelius has actually run this race.

    Apparently they’ve been running with skillets and pancakes in the two towns since 1950. But why?

  30. Look what I found in the fridge.

  31. Ali says:

    @ Kate L What did we do before google???? Or wikipedia?!! I too looked it up – knowing HOH’s kudos I assumed she must be right – but I just cannot get to such literal place names – most of ours in East Anglia are derived from saxon, roman, viking or norman words and therefore are often unpronouncable and obscure – So was Liberal KS a liberal place to live?? So I found out something new today:
    Every Shrove Tuesday since 1950 the towns of Olney, England[8] and Liberal, Kansas, USA have competed in the International Pancake Race. Only local women may compete; they race along a previously agreed course and their times are compared to determine the international winner. In Olney the main women’s race is now supported by races for local school children and men.I am slightly miffed that the Us team won this year – so may need to move to Olney to boost morale for 2010 races!?!
    And also there is not just a casual link between Vermont, maple syrup and pancakes – it is in the great encyclopedia in the sky:
    Vermont pancakes usually have oatmeal or buckwheat flour added to the wheat flour, and require more baking powder to rise. The texture is coarser and the flavor more intense. The pancakes are served with maple syrup which is a famous product of Vermont. So any ideas why maple syrup is extortionate in the UK?

  32. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate L

    Was it Pete Seeger’s “Maple Syrup Time”?

  33. Ali says:

    Alison good to see pictures of Holly again – I hoped that stupid comments wouldn’t stop you from sharing the great fun you two get up to. As for Maple smoked bacon – I take it you do not share many of the DTWOF’s vegetarian leanings – yet you make turnips and lentils sound so appetising!!??
    Finally got my copy of the essential DTWOF from the postal office – they delivered it when I was out, I lost the card and then had to argue the point with them several times because i don’t have photo i.d. – The only way in the end he would give it to me was if I said what was in it and he opened it and checked…I think he was a bit surprised!!!

  34. hairball_of_hope says:


    I wonder if the extortionate price of maple syrup in the UK has something to do with tariffs. Consider the history between our countries… we dumped a load of British tea in Boston Harbor a few hundred years ago because of tea taxes, so perhaps there’s an historical tit-for-tat going on with maple syrup, which is produced mostly in those former British colonies that dumped the tea.

    Doesn’t explain it entirely, however. Canada produces lots of maple syrup, and they’re still part of the Commonwealth. Why tax their maple syrup? They also took in lots of Loyalists after the American Revolutionary War.

  35. Ali says:

    I’m sure it is taxed as a luxury item, but I’m also sure some form of captitalism is at hand – we have a very few huge supermarket chains in the UK and in a small rural town – no choices for buying syrup elsewhere. Also whilst maple syrup in things is quite common – the use of the syrup on its own is not widespread. But – and I mean this in all seriousness – how can you put syrup on savoury food like bacon and eggs???? I can barely face a bowl of cereal and milk in the morning let alone a cooked breakfast with a syrupy dressing!?! I suppose like sex with women – don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.

  36. NLC says:

    ah, h_o_h, you’ve prompted a flashback to my haiku days:

    the francophone bikers at
    thunder hole

  37. Sophie in Montreal says:

    Speaking of francophones – I can’t believe the similarities between Vermont and Québec. We have a whole tradition of “cabanes à sucre” here. I’m going to visit my Dad and my brother in France next month and guess what I’m bringing? Two bottles of maple syrup, one each. Pas de jaloux.

    And, yaaaaaaay for the Daily Distress PDFs!!!

  38. DeLand DeLakes says:

    Ali: Excellent way to make turnips appetizing: fry them in bacon grease. Parsnips are even better this way. 😀

  39. Maggie Jochild says:

    And during this time of Pesach, to tie together maple syrup, Vermont lesbians, and Passover meals: The infamous episode of Postcards from Buster, “Sugartime!”, featuring the children of two lesbian families. Margaret Spellings (may she rot in obscurity) made it a Right Wing cause celebre and many stations didn’t carry it, although here in Austin it aired twice. Great, totally innocuous episode.

  40. Anonymous says:

    Makes me remember drinking maple water with the minister’s daughter out in back of the rectory…

  41. Ready2Agitate says:

    There’s a very funny Roz Chast cartoon in this week’s New Yorker of the 10 Plagues (reference to the Passover seder), but derned if I can’t find it on-line to post!

  42. Kate L says:


    I think that the maple syrup song reference I was thinking of is actually from a Roger Miller* country and western song of the mid-sixties, but (as the saying goes) darned if I can find it in on-line!

    * Roger Miller wrote and sang “King of the Road” and, inerestingly enough for an American country and western star, “England Swings Like a Pendulum Do” (“Bobbies on bicycles two by two”, etc.).

  43. Timmytee says:

    @ anonymous: That sounds sinfully delicious! As for the rest of you, I’m now going to be late for work. I just baked a loaf of bread, and was going to tear off a heel and have it with my coffee, but now I need some French toast w/maple syrup. (Can’t find any bacon in the fridge, fortunately, or I’d *really* be late!) Best wishes from northwest Pennsylvania.–Tim

  44. NLC says:

    Kate L, I believe the Roger Miller line you are looking for is:

    “They say roses are red and violets are purple
    Sugar is sweet and so is maple surple…”

    (From his song “Dang Me” –which, if you want to hear, can be found pretty easily on YouTube)

  45. hairball_of_hope says:


    Thanks. Lyrics to “Dang Me” are here:—roger-miller-14955.html


    Different regional influences on that shared cerebral resource… I don’t think I heard much Roger Miller as a kid beyond crossover hits such as “King of the Road”… lots of rock and folk in the air around here in those days.

  46. hairball_of_hope says:

    (ooops… hit ‘Submit’ too soon)

    Speaking of folk, in the course of trying to track down this song, I read that Pete Seeger will be performing on 4/18 at Columbia Univ for Earth Day, and there will be a 90th birthday whoopdeedoo at Madison Square Garden for him (it’s a benefit for Clearwater, the Hudson River environmental org) on 5/3. The mind-boggling list of performers can be found here:

  47. hairball_of_hope says:


    Haiku… I compose haiku fairly regularly. I use it in lieu of meditation for stressful situations where meditating simply won’t work (e.g. sitting in rush hour traffic on the NJ Turnpike). The process of finding the right words, counting the syllables, and making a point with the words gets me through the immediate frustrating moments of the situation. I often end up with a laugh, because my tendency is to compose haiku that pokes fun at myself, my surroundings, the guy in the next car picking his nose, whatever. I laugh, I feel better, five minutes have passed, traffic starts moving again, and I promptly forget the haiku.

    De-clique-ification note: Haiku is a Japanese poetry form written in three lines with a total of 17 syllables, five on the first line, seven on the second, five on the last. It’s very popular in the US among übergeeks.

    On this blog, I suppose we’d have haiku with bacon and maple syrup as the dominant themes, but I’ll start with one about Thunder Hole:

    Water rushes in
    The rocks, the roar, the salt spray
    Thunder Hole haiku

  48. freyakat says:

    Hi Hairball_of_Hope,

    Thanks for letting me(us)know about the Pete Seeger/Clearwater Madison Square Garden concert!!!!!!!

    However, tickets have apparently been on sale since
    30 March, and the only ones left are the $250 ones.
    What can a PDTWOF do? (not much)

    aka Poor Dyke To Watch Out For

  49. hairball_of_hope says:


    You’ll probably be doing what I’m doing… taking the #1 up to Columbia in April, and waiting for the CD of the May concert to be released (I’m assuming they are recording the concert).

    Those tickets are steep for NSPDTWOF too (Not So Poor Dykes To Watch Out For). $250 for a concert ticket is way out of my budget, I’d be eating pasta e fagioli for a month to do that (although right now, pasta sounds a lot more appealing than the matzo I’m currently munching with my coffee).

    Clearwater did what they could to make the tickets affordable… there were some $19.19 tickets, most tickets were $90, but of course all of those were snarfed up within minutes, so all that are left are the $250 ones.

    FWIW, each ticket includes a one-year membership to Clearwater if you’re not already a member, so you’d get a member discount on the Clearwater Festival tickets in June.

    Ah yes, the great American idea of how to save money… spend money to save money. It sounds so Sydney. No wonder we’re in this financial hole.

  50. Kate L says:

    NLC was right! “Dang Me” was the Roger Miller song! hairball, I’m afraid that I’m not as athletic as I was in my youth, either. A problem with my cervical disks. 🙁

  51. hairball_of_hope says:


    Yeah, I’ve also acquired some gimpy parts over the years. They do make pretty accurate weather forecasts for me, but I’d be much happier leaving weather forecasts to the pros at NWS and NOAA.

  52. Calico says:

    Itttttt’s Baaaaconnnnnn! (Again!)
    Frssh warm Maple syrup is a real treat. I don’t eat/drink it very much anymore as it makes my insulin supply go all out in retaliation, but I love the sugaring season.
    A couple of weeks ago a little grocery in QC called “Les Provisions” had syrup on snow for sale outside, while they played old Soirée tunes on a sound system.
    Syrup, dill pickles and donuts-yum!

  53. hairball_of_hope says:


    I understand, the syrup, the doughnuts… but dill pickles?

    Good half-sour pickles are something I get on the Lower East Side. I never associated them with Québécois Things To Watch Out For.

  54. ksbel6 says:

    Joan Baez mentioned the Pete Seger concert when she was in MO a couple weeks back. Sounds like it will be an awesome concert.

    And I hate to think about “back when I was athletic”. I have recently developed back/hip issues. Doc says it is osteoarthritis and its time for me to slow down. I just keep screaming no, no, I won’t slow down!

  55. Maggie Jochild says:

    I’ll have y’all know, before I dared sit down before my computer, I made myself provisions: Four slices of thick bacon, brushed with maple syrup, cooked to crispy perfection and put in a sandwich of thick-sliced whole wheat bread, mayo, and heavily peppered tomato. Thus, I could read without hunger pangs.

    I adored Roger Miller as a kid, still have one of his albums. My favorite of all his songs is the funny/philosophical “You Can’t Roller Skate In A Buffalo Herd” (sung by him as “ya cain’t”. I still sing it frequently, especially lines like:

    Ya cain’t go a-swimmin’ in a baseball pool

    Ya cain’t drive around with a tiger in yer car

    Ya cain’t change film with a kid on yer back (back when you had to reel film onto a sprocket, of course)

    But you can be happy if you’ve a mind to
    All ya gotta do is put your mind to it
    Knuckle down, buckle down, do it do it do it

    Bacon and syrup helps, of course. The real question for this blog population is, do you pronounce it sur-up or seer-up?

  56. Acilius says:

    I can still TRY to fish in a watermelon patch, doggone it!

  57. Gabi B. says:

    Maggie Jochild:
    I loved the link to “postcards with Buster” I babysat all through middle school and high school in Austin and saw many Arthur cartoons.

    funny side note
    when my Aunt and Uncle were explaining that they would be having another baby to my cousin they referenced Arthur and his baby sister Kate so much that they ended up actually naming the new baby Kate.

  58. little gator says:

    sur-up when I’m being correct, slurp most of the time. Or just maple.

    I miss maple. MY finances have crashed and the price has more than doubled. But i wont buy the imitation junk. If i must have sweet and sticky I use honey. Which Mr Gator prefers since he has fond memorie sof his beekeeping grandfather.

    I miss maple slurp.

  59. hairball_of_hope says:


    My pronounciation of the tasty boiled tree sap is a smush between SIR-up and SEER-up, the first syllable vowel is much shorter than SEER, and the word coming out of my mouth is almost one syllable. Definitely a product of my combo New York and New England roots.

    I never thought to use the pronounciation of syrup as a regional identifier, I usually use the following words:


  60. Minnie says:

    hairball_of_hope, thanks for your kindness in providing details, and your personal use, of Haiku. I’ll give it a try:

    Thanks for the explan-
    ation! Here is the link to
    Roz Chast: The Ten Plagues.

    A couple of teaspoons of maple syrup on those bacon-grease sautéed turnips would be nice.

    I heard that “B” in maple syrup is a type-classification, not how good or bad it is.

    The season before this was a rough one, with both unfavorable weather and a short tapping season. So supplies went down, prices up.
    Now for some dark grade B maple syrup on a bowl of plain non-fat yogurt with some toasted sesame seeds sprinkled on top.

  61. Minnie says:

    I am sorry, the link above doesn’t work. I went to the New Yorker Cartoon bank,
    searched entire site for “Roz Chast”, then sorted by “latest”, and up came “the Ten Plagues”.

  62. hairball_of_hope says:

    The link to the Roz Chast cartoon is here:

    but it’s rendered too small (and as a low resolution .GIF) to actually read the text.

  63. Maggie Jochild says:

    Re the Roz Chast cartoon, kept deliberately tiny and uncopyable by The New Yorker — You’re right, Hairball, but I whipped out my “elder” lenses I keep by the monitor and had a gander. (I guess that should be goose? Different meaning, though.) Here’s what I could find, maybe someone else can fill in the gaps:

    R to L and back again like an ox plowing a field, in honor of this being the time of Pesach (Hebrew reference, y’all)
    Top Right — cannot tell
    Top Middle — Catalogues (spelled correctly witht he ending “ue”)
    Top Left — Spam
    Middle Left — Reality TV
    Upper Middle Middle — cannot tell (but very long words)
    Lower Middle Middle — Plaque
    Upper Middle Right — (something) Body Hair
    Lower Middle Right — cannot tell
    Bottom Right — Audits
    Bottom Middle — Megastores
    Bottom Left — Call Waiting

    I decided to come up with own version of the Ten Plagues, which began with me listing all the White Guy Right Wing Commenters dominating TV, and that took up the whole list. So I balled them into one and went on.

    (1) Rich White Guy Right Wing Commenters called in as experts on everything they are clueless about
    (2) Tyra Banks (as Kat said, she sucks out your brains) and alls looks-obsessed, diet-industry-subsidized propaganda
    (3) Gun sales through the roof when the first African-American wins the Presidency
    (4) Said President continuing Bush’s policy on “state secrets” and uncontitutional spying on Americans
    (5) The myth that this country’s Founders intended it as a Christan nation (when in fact they pointedly said otherwise)
    (6) The idea, still crammed down our throats, that “real” women wear dresses, make-up, and no body hair
    (7) The descendants of dirt-poor immigrants clamoring to build a wall to keep out future immigrants
    (8) The fact that every single news Broadcast doesn’t begin with reminding us that (to quote Seth Myers) “The guy who broke the world” is Dubya, pure and simple
    (9) No health care in the richest nation to ever exist on the planet
    (10) Torture. Evil of all evils.

    Okay, next…

  64. hairball_of_hope says:


    Good job! I pulled out my Sherlock Holmes magnifier and attempted to read the screen:

    Upper middle right is “Unwanted Body Hair” with an image of a very hairy back. Lower middle right is “Middle age spread” (dialogue is “At a certain point, it happens to everyone!”)

    I suppose the last plague (Audits) is the equivalent of the slaying of the first-born. Don’t know what we’d smear on our doorposts to replace the blood of a lamb… maybe laser toner?

  65. Judy M. says:

    In Western Mass. where I grew up, the sugar house was a regular field-trip stop for nursery schools and kindergartens. The visit ended with “sugar on snow”– maple syrup on crushed ice, accompanied by pickle slices.

    We’ve brought maple sugar chunks as gifts to friends in France. Less risk of a syrup contamination disaster in the suitcase. But my fantasy is to persuade a French artisanal ice cream maker to produce maple-walnut.

  66. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Judy M

    Pickle slices? My mother never told me about that. Obviously, I’ve never had real maple syrup on snow, only heard about it from her.

    So Calico, I guess dill pickles *are* among Québécois Things To Watch Out For.

    I learn something every time I read this blog.

  67. geogeek says:

    Re: ample syrup in the UK (I know it’s a typo, but I kind of like it, so I”m keeping it): sugar maples are native to the US and are actually really hard to grow in Europe. Most attempts to “farm” sugar maples have gone nowhere.

    Re: geology in New England: I now live in Washington state, but Mt Desert Island is a very cool pre-Cambrian granite, and there are a couple of places along the Maine coast where you can see tilted pillow deposits. Also great for hydrothemal alteration of some of Ordivician stuff – I think there’s a defunt zinc mine or something around Watertown.

  68. hairball_of_hope says:


    Thanks! I’m learning all sorts of good stuff from you and Kate. Am I mistaken, or are there some of those famous “Igneous Formations To Watch Out For” (dikes) in the Mt. Desert Island granite?

  69. Hayley says:

    In my meat eating youth…it was scrapple with ample maple syrup, buckwheat cakes that my Grandfather made that had a starter or mother or some such, and I still love corn mush with maple syrup…corn mush was Central PA’s answer to polenta. Most of our maple syrup came from family in Ontario. We visited once a year, brought back metal gallon cans of it and then my mom decanted it into glass jars and froze it. Freezes well and if you are lucky enough to be around for the thawing process, dig in for a syrup icee!!!

  70. geogeek says:

    @hoh: I’m not really sure. I didn’t see any myself, but granites are a pretty good place to go looking for dikes… or, of course, the little bar in Bangor near the dip in the road in the way out of town.

  71. rouputuan says:

    geogeek: “sugar maples are native to the US ” the canadians are going to love you for that savory tidbit of americanocentrism…