Mo punkin

November 1st, 2009 | Uncategorized

Mo punkin

Lookit this cool pumpkin carved by faithful readers Rebecca and Sarah of Charlottesville, VA! They based it on Mo’s face in the episode where Harriet brings home a VCR.

93 Responses to “Mo punkin”

  1. Acilius says:

    Fantastic! That’s my favorite piece of DTWOF homebrew yet.

  2. Alcharisi says:

    Aww, thanks!
    -Rebecca, co-carver

  3. Ian says:

    Awww that’s fantastic! Mo lives!!!

    I didn’t pick up my pumpkins – I don’t celebrate Hallowe’en anyway. It’s not a big holiday here in Blighty despite the tat manufacturers’ desperate attempts to make it so.

    I’m feeling in a good mood as I’ve just come back from a vigil held in Liverpool for a guy who was queer-bashed by a gang of youths aged 13-17 in Liverpool’s fledgling ‘gay quarter’ (just a street really) at random last week. He survived but with terrible head injuries. But there’s never been a gathering of the gay community like that in our town before. Various politicians and local gay activists spoke, some very moving, some with passion and anger.

    But it’s the first time I’ve ever taken part in a candlelit vigil/protest (at the grand old age of 35), for any issue and I’m so glad I went. There was a “family” feeling to it, which the big Pride in Manchester doesn’t have (at least for me), with somewhere up to 2,000 people there. I’m feeling really quite proud!

  4. Acilius says:

    Good for you Ian! Do you know whether the guy is likely to make full recovery?

  5. Ali says:

    Fabuloso to the carving -my 3 year old daugter did a very dodgy one of ME!!!! Not half so flattering. There were vigils all across the UK against “queer bashing”??? this weekend. Watching Better than Chocolate for the millionth time – I realised I didn’t get it then and I don’t now but that doesn’t make any difference. So perplexed but saddened I stand humbled by the example of so many who stand up to be counted. Because it is as Harvey Milk said only when they realise gay people are their neighbours and friends and family will they realise there is nothing to fear or hate.

  6. Ian says:

    @Acilius (4): Yes, he is thank goodness. He had fractures of the skull, the eye socket and other bits, but he’s out of hospital now, after about a week in Intensive Care. His boyfriend gave a speech and got huge cheers from the crowd which brought a tear to my eye.

    What was so horrible about the attack on James was that it appears to have been a random attack – just a gang that wants to attack someone and he was the one they picked. Could have been anyone.

    There was also a vigil either tonight or last night in Trafalgar Square, London for a poor, unfortunate guy who died of his injuries after being beaten up in Trafalgar Square by a gang. Did you hear about that? That was a real surprise as it’s London’s equivalent of Times Square in New York and always so busy.

  7. Acilius says:

    @Ian: Glad to hear that James is going to recover. Sorry about the other man.

    I get the impression that violent crime in general has been spiralling upward in English cities in recent years. Is this impression accurate? The rape news especially looks mind-bendingly awful.

  8. Jenna says:


  9. Aunt Soozie says:

    Sorry to hear about the violence Ian… sad.
    Great pumpkin carving!!! Love that. Mine sat on the front porch uncarved but it was there, none the less.
    The fairy costumes were excellent!

  10. Aunt Soozie says:

    Let’s see if this works… that link above should be a photo of my daughter and fairy friends…

  11. Acilius says:

    @Aunt Soozie: How cute!

  12. Niiice, Soozie! Lovely diaphanous wings.

  13. Aunt Soozie says:

    Thanks… the girls designed the costumes themselves (but they bought the wings…) the lion costume was made by the lion’s mommy.

  14. Pam I says:

    I was at the vigil in London, it was stunning as it filled Trafalgar Square to overflowing. It was to protest all hate crime and to honour Ian Baynham. On September 25th, he had just got off the bus in the square on his way to a night out. Got verbally abused by three teenagers – 2 17-y-o girls and an 18-y-o boy – he remonstrated, so they kicked him unconscious. He was effectively murdered on the spot, he died after 2 weeks on life support. The youth were ID’d and have been arrested. But this was in the middle of our central square, on a busy summer night.

    The vigil was organised by people who had set up a group (17-24-30 on Facebook) to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the three London bombs placed in black, asian and gay sites. Their name is from the three dates in April 1999.

    I have put pics of the vigil up on my blog. The first pic links two themes here – back to pumpkins.

  15. Juliet says:

    I don’t know if the crime is actually increasing in UK cities or whether the press are just reporting it more and/or the moral panic is picking up. I suspect the latter but it’s still worrying.

    I’m glad the vigil was packed; shame I didn’t know it was happening, I would have gone. The Admiral Duncan bombing happened on my 18th birthday.

    It’s so easy to forget how vulnerable we all are. The other night I was walking home down my very quiet, dimly lit road holding my girlfriend’s hand and four teenage boys on bikes came past and swung around. We ‘got away’ with nothing more than ‘oooo lesbos!’ (actually one of them apologised on behalf of his mate as he went by) but it was very unnerving nonetheless – there was a moment when I really wasn’t sure which way it was going to go.

    I go about my life forgetting and then I get a little reminder…

  16. Ian says:

    @Aunt Soozie: Those costumes are lovely! The wings are fab too.

    @Acillius: I think we hear more about violence these days thanks to the 24 hr rolling media. What people forget is that the population of the UK trebled in the 20th century, so more people, more crimes. I don’t think the incidence rate per capita has changed at all. Gang violence has always been a feature of society. The difference with these homophobic attacks is that they were so random and right in the heart of the city centres, whereas gang attacks usually take place in the suburbs.

    @Pam I: Those photos of the Trafalgar Sq vigil are stunning. I especially love the one of the two hands cradling a candle and the way the candlelight spills out through the hands. Do you mind if I bung that in my Art History journal? (he asks cheekily). It would be fantastic to include it and write about art in response to events.

  17. Pam I says:

    @ Ian, happy to have pics used for free if it’s not commercial. Send me your email (see About on my blog) and I’ll send you a clean copy, ie without the watermark.

    So am I an Artist now? I thought I was just a hack.

    NB There are lots of others’ pics from the vigil on the 17-24-30 Facebook page.

  18. Aunt Soozie says:

    You are most definitely an artist Pam!

  19. Feminista says:

    Aunt Soozie–Ah,they look adorable.

    I saw my grandchildren before they went out with their mom on Halloween–baby Giselle was a very cute ladybug,and her brother Joaquin was a Ninja.

    Attended a great bilingual Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) play produced by our local Latin@ theater group. This year’s production focused on 5 people during the Great Depression who find each other and a sense of community while looking for work on a WPA project near Mt. Hood,Oregon. There were some great period songs and dances–We’re in the Money & Pastures of Plenty.Traditional songs like the Mexican Canta y no Llores (Sing,don’t cry)were accompanied by guitar & ukelele and featured traditional dances.

  20. Feminista says:

    Hey,y’all. Check out Meta Watershed for the latest on Maggie. She’s on the mend,the Good Doctor is a wonderful advocate,and has been having some wonderful meals,which sound much better than the usual institutional glop.

  21. Straight Ally says:

    Here’s a link to Meta Watershed.

  22. Ian says:

    @Pam I: Thanks so much! That’s very kind of you and much appreciated. I’ll drop you a line later today.

    @Feminista: Glad you had a good New Year’s Eve! Or Hallowe’en as they call it. There’s a sizeable Latin@ community in my town (mostly Colombian) and one year we had a Dia de los Muertes parade of lights through a local park and a firework display on the lake. I preferred it a lot more to the tackfest that is Britain’s half-arsed attempt at the night.

    Also, that’s great news about Maggie. Good to hear she’s got an ally in there!

  23. Kate L says:

    Hi… I had the flu and a secondary bacterial infection in my lungs. It was bad. I’m better, now. Keep your fingers crossed for today’s referendums on gay marriage in Maine and (I think) Washington state here in the U.S.! I wonder what conservatives wil say tomorrow about holding referendums on civil rights issues if gay marriage is affirmed in both states!

  24. Gabi B. says:

    I love the pic. I wish I was that crafty.

  25. Lenore says:

    VCR? Escandalo!

  26. Melanie says:

    LOVE IT!!! Particularly the appalled expression, so appropriate! It makes me miss Mo and all the other DTWOF regulars.

  27. Dr. Empirical says:

    I find it funny to think of Mo getting so upset over what is now obsolete technology.

  28. Alex K says:

    “As Maine goes, so goes the nation.” Dammit.

  29. Khatgrrl says:

    I have to agree with the “Dammit”! Grumble!

  30. Dr. Empirical says:

    Cheer up. It looks like the Marriage In All But Name law in Washington will be upheld.

    Every time something like this pases, and the world doesn’t end, the bigots’ arguments get a little weaker.

  31. Kate L says:

    Oh, Dr. Empirical (#27, I still have a VCR! This reminds me of the NPR (National Public Radio in the U.S.) feature about a young Londoner being given a portable cassette tape player to use. It took him a while to figure it out. Blimey! I’m so out of it, I feel like cranking up the victrola and listening to some Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass!

    Dr. Empirical (#30). Sorry about Maine, glad to hear about Washington state. A woman I know who opposes gay marriage says she sees nothing wrong with putting civil rights issues to a public vote. When she was asked how she thought civil rights for blacks would have done in a public vote 40 years ago, she said that she was sure equal rights for blacks would have passed in this small Kansas town. Well, she didn’t live here then; I did. I am certain that a majority of voters here in the early 60’s would have voted down equal rights for blacks, just as gay marriage was voted down in Maine yesterday. Putting civil rights issues up for a public vote is bad policy, esp. when the proponents of restricting civil rights are fond of scheduling the vote in off-year elections where many voters don’t show up at the polls.

  32. Antoinette says:

    My Halloween gourd is now dismantled. Some seeds were preserved for spring and the rest of the innards strewn around the backyard for the wee beasties.

    Feeling disappointed about Maine this morning.

  33. --MC says:

    Hello from Seattle. Yeah, we got R-71 passed, plus we kept the T-Mobile executive from becoming mayor and kept the conservative ex-TV newsreader out of office also ..
    Sadly, we have just learned that Bailey-Coy, the bookstore on Capitol Hill, is closing at the end of the month. Alison read there back in 1999, which I missed for some stupid reason, but I always bought my DTWO4 collections there. That store will be missed.

  34. Ellen O. says:

    MC — sorry about Bailey-Coy. I heard about that closing from a writer friend (Rebecca Brown) yesterday. Is Elliot Bay still open? Will there still be bookstores in 20 years?

    Just curious — if voters in Maine had voted yes for gay marriage, would bringing civil rights to a vote been an okay idea? I’m not being snarky, just trying to understand this position better.

    I wish the gay marriage “fight” could be broadened to make it more inclusive. I’d love to see a designated partner policy, where I could leave my social security to whomever I could — spouse, brother, niece, etc. This propping up of traditional coupling with its limited vision of family — an idea that works for some but not all and not forever — simply doesn’t inspire me.

    Glad to see the HIV ban lifted for visitors to the U.S. though.

  35. DeLand DeLakes says:

    Question 1 is definitely a disappointment, especially since the “No” campaign ran such a tight ship. But I hope this does send the message that the grassroots are going to have to step up their game even more– we need leaders within the movement, because just like in the case of the Civil Rights Movement, the Democrats aren’t going to do anything to help until the movement gets too big to ignore, and their negligence too embarrassing to perpetuate.
    That said, this is not going to last, at least according to my favorite numbers pornographer:

  36. Virago says:

    As a Maine resident, I’m sad and angry today.

    Particularly galling is the bigots’ claim that the campaign was a “David versus Goliath” situation, with the anti-gay marriage side taking the part of David.

    Case in point is this quote:

    “It’s been the little guy against the big guy in terms of resources, financial resources,” said Marc Mutty, spokesman for Stand for Marriage Maine. [Virago’s note: He’s also spokesman for the state Catholic Diocese.] “We prevailed because the people of Maine, the silent majority, the folks back home spoke with their vote tonight.”

    “The little guy”? You mean Schubert Flint — the bigots’ P.R. colossus and coordinator of the Proposition 8 defeat — and the state Roman Catholic Diocese — which gave $555,000 to the effort to repeal the same-sex marriage law and collected $86,000 from parishioners in an appeal at Masses?

    Kate: “Putting civil rights issues up for a public vote is bad policy, esp. when the proponents of restricting civil rights are fond of scheduling the vote in off-year elections where many voters don’t show up at the polls.”

    Depressingly, gay marriage was repealed during an election that drew record off-year turnout — at least 50%, according to the Maine secretary of state. It’s frightening to think that so many people could be so wrong-headed.

    So, in answer to Ellen O.’s question — “If voters in Maine had voted yes for gay marriage, would bringing civil rights to a vote been an okay idea?” — I would still say “no.” Allowing the majority to determine whether a minority is afforded its civil rights is grossly incongruous, and I can’t support it.

    Got to go before I rupture a blood vessel. It’s good to have a forum like this where I know I’ll get support.

  37. Aunt Soozie says:

    Virago… yes, by all means… don’t rupture any blood vessels… this too shall pass… the backlash… and eventually we’ll all be able to get married if we wanna and if we believe in that sort of thing… it’s all a part of the process… have to harness that frustration and keep up the good fight and not let it cause cerebral hemorrhage. Cerebral hemorrhage can be such a total hassle. I hate when that happens. Have some chamomile tea… it always works for me.. and then of course, come to Alison’s blog to commune with wonderful people. aaaaaaahhhhhh! all better~!

  38. Therry and St. Jerome says:

    Back to the pumpkin — me and the cat have never seen a flop sweat so accurately portrayed on a pumpkin — very mo! That VCR was a deal breaker, if I recall.

    The husb and me went to NYC to take part in the Greenwich Village Halloween parade. We were part of a block wide silk ocean puppet! He was the captain, wearing a white cap hat, and I was a fish sock, flourishing a striped bass made of painted silk. And it rained!

    Why didn’t I see Mo at the parade?

  39. Virago says:

    T&St.J. That *is* an incredibly well-drawn Mo! The pumpkin is apparently an incredibly underestimated artistic medium.

    Aw, Aunt Soozie, thanks … As a Mo-like, tightly wound person, sometimes I drive myself crazy with the post-event analyses. Time to do something physical to get out of my head for a while. Maybe a little “Yoga for Inflexible People.”

    And I actually lean more toward Ellen O.’s “designated partner policy, where I could leave my social security to whomever I could — spouse, brother, niece, etc.,” rather than linking health insurance, pensions, etc., to being in a couple relationship. But yeah, if you want to, you should be able to get married.

  40. Virago says:

    P.S. Apparently I have an incredibly limited vocabulary, judging from the first sentence of my last post.

  41. NLC says:

    Virago:40 “Apparently, I have an incredibly limited vocabulary…”

    Total sympathy. One of my great break-through moments of self-awareness was the realization, many years back, that I had a three-and-a-half year old daughter who –for some mysterious reason– was walking around the house starting every sentence with the word “Actually”…

  42. Ian says:

    Another off-topic post – for British dykes and other carbon-based lifeforms, Sarah Waters is going to be “In Conversation” at FACT in Liverpool on Friday night at 7:30pm. Our queer arts festival Homotopia has just started and it’s a part of that. Can’t remember if it’s free or not, but you have to ring for a ticket either way.

    Just thought I’d mention it as there were a few fans of Ms Waters on here and there may be people in the area at the time.

  43. Renee S. says:

    Speaking of Sarah Waters, just finished watching the BBC movie version of Tipping the Velvet tonite. Thank you, Netflix!

  44. Acilius says:

    @MC: Sorry to hear about Bailey-Coy. Horizon Books on Capitol Hill closed this May (or was it April?), and now this. Is Spine & Crown still there? I suppose the Twice Sold Tales location on Harvard Avenue and the Half Price Books on Belmont are still in operation.

  45. Dr. Empirical says:

    My girlfriend turnd our pumpkin into pumpin pie! My mom was quite impressed.

    I roasted the seeds in a cajun spice mix of my own creation. Crunchy!

  46. --MC says:

    Ellen O — latest from Elliott Bay Book Co. is that they’re getting out of Pioneer Square and moving up to Cap Hill, so that’s some consolation.
    Acilius — Half Price and Twice Sold and Spine & Crown are clinging on to life, thankfully.

  47. Acilius says:

    @MC: Thanks for the update! I consider both parts of that to be good news. I avoid Pioneer Square, so I rarely get to Elliott Bay books. And Spine & Crown is my idea of the perfect bookstore. It’s tiny, cluttered, with an extremely idiosyncratic selection and a proprietor who is usually too engrossed in intellectual discussions with his regulars to bother you while you browse. I do have mixed feelings about the proprietor’s daughter’s habit of licking the logo on the Penguins, though I don’t know if she still does that. When she was three she used to lick every Penguin she could reach. I think she may by now have reached the ripe old age of four and outgrown such childish ways.

    On the other hand, Bailey-Coy was my wife’s idea of the perfect bookstore- spacious, clean, with a very small but very well-chosen selection of titles in social science, and usually a number of children who gather round her wheelchair and ask politely to pet her assistance dog. More than once she ended up reading to a circle of little ones there. So I’d better be diplomatic when I break the news to her.

  48. Andrew B says:

    Ellen O, 34, there is a principled argument to the conclusion that civil rights should not be submitted to the democratic process. Rights protect citizens against a tyranny of the majority. In a democracy they are the only such protection. Even if the majority is willing to ratify a right at the time it’s asked, that does not grant sufficient protection. If the majority turns tyrannical later, it can simply repeal the law that once protected the right. And if the majority is tyrannically inclined when it’s first asked to vote on the right, then the vote places a veneer of democratic legitimacy over what is really tyranny.

    The idea that there are rights which can override the democratic process is very widespread. It’s advocated by everyone from union busters to abortion rights advocates to the gun nuts, among many others.

    The question hanging over this is how to decide which questions are matters of right and which can be left to the democratic process. I don’t want to get into whether gay marriage really is a civil right. But the claim that it is a civil right is as plausible as plenty of other claims about civil rights. That claim does form the basis of a principled argument for refusing to submit gay marriage to the political process. It’s not (necessarily) just a tactical decision.

  49. Ali says:

    @ Andrew “The question hanging over this is how to decide which questions are matters of right and which can be left to the democratic process.” absolutely!
    @ Virago ““If voters in Maine had voted yes for gay marriage, would bringing civil rights to a vote been an okay idea?” — I would still say “no.” Allowing the majority to determine whether a minority is afforded its civil rights is grossly incongruous, and I can’t support it.”
    You are all so right – minorities should have them same rights as majorities – and neither should be able to restrict the rights of others. The problem is when you are inside a system benefiting from it you can rarely see the incongruity or unfairness of it – the “I’m all right” mentality is far too much of an opiate.

  50. Acilius says:


    I grant you that the electoral process in modern states is a very strange way of deciding inportant questions. Large numbers of people file into little booths where they will be briefly isolated from human contact. Alone in the booth, each person fills out a form expressing his or her preferences on various questions. Public policy is set based on a tabulation of these anonymous responses.

    What I have to disagree with is the identification of this odd ritual as THE political process, as though any process for deciding questions of civil rights and public policy were not political. The deliberations of courts are political processes, and are usually reactionary political processes at that. When courts have been forces for social progress, as the US Supreme Court was from about 1954 to about 1974 and other courts have been here and there, it’s been because there were movements in civil society that pushed them in that direction. Left to their own devices, the judges give us Dred Scott, the Reconstruction cases, Plessy v Ferguson, Hopwood v Texas, Bush v Gore, Ledbetter, etc etc etc.

    What is true of the judges is true of legislators, army officers, and all the other authorities various groups turn to when voting doesn’t produce good results. As of course it would be- those groups are all chosen by the elite and staffed by people who either belong to the elite or aspire to join it.

    As for the 0-31 result of the state referenda on marriage equality, I’d call for some historical perspective. The losses keep coming, it’s true. But they get narrower and narrower, and the defeated measures are bolder and bolder. Five years ago, a measure like the one that barely lost in Maine on Tuesday would never have made it to the ballot- it would have been much too radical. Ten years ago, it would have been science fiction. Today, civil unions are the conservative position; when Bill Clinton was president, they were the most anyone involved in the issue thought we would see in our lifetimes. That progress has not come from the abstract rightness of marriage equality and certainly not from the benevolence of any group in power, but from the debates that have gone on around the country. Even people who have voted to discriminate against same-sexers have seen people standing up for their rights and asking why they shouldn’t be free to live their lives. The longer we keep that going, the more effect it will have. If we retreat to the courts or the academy, we may get some good results in the short term, but we will never build the social consensus that is the chief reward of political activity.

  51. Feminista says:

    Brilliant analysis,Acilius. I’m all for putting things in historical perspective.

    In other news,my dear niece Emily is working at *Bounders* in San Jose,CA. After a long job search,she says she’s delighted “to be paid to work with books.” She’s also penned some delightful verse,which I will post if anyone’s interested.

  52. Aunt Soozie says:

    Alex… all I wanna know is how did you happen across that video? are you doing some kind of research? wait, maybe i don’t wanna know.

  53. Alex K says:

    @53 / Aunt Soozie — both SCIENCE and NATURE featured it as “great research of the week”.

    Oh, those cheeky boffins!

  54. Andrew B says:

    Acilius, 51, I don’t think voting is all that strange a way to make decisions, at least not compared to the alternatives that have been tried: the best military commander, the eldest son of the last screwup (wait, that also happens in democracy), the guy with the best handwriting (and of course I do mean “guy”)… You’re concerned about anonymity and isolation, but making decisions openly in groups gives an advantage to those who are good at public speaking and allows individual rewards and punishments for supporting one or another position. It’s also unworkable for more than very small organizations.

    I agree with much of the rest of what you have to say, except that in 49 I wasn’t trying to say what the political process “really” is. Quite a lot of seemingly non-political decisions have a political element, as feminism reminded us. Still, we can distinguish between the ordinary legislative process and other processes, such as judicial review, that can provide some protection against a tyranny of the majority. My point was that this can provide a reason for refusing to submit issues like marriage equality to the democratic process — regardless of what outcome that process would have had. I was responding to Ellen O’s question in 34: “if voters in Maine had voted yes…”. You may well be right that continued electoral efforts are the best tactic, but that is exactly what I was not trying to address. And while you are right that “movements in civil society” were one influence on the Warren court, there were others — e.g. elite Cold War concerns about how the USA was perceived in post-colonial countries and legal action by the NAACP and others.

  55. Acilius says:

    @Feminista: “Brilliant”? I’m blushing. Thank you!

    @Andrew B: Thank you for your thoughtful reply. For my part, the only part of the Anglo-American judicial system that I see as a defense against the tyranny of the majority is the jury system. If you put twelve randomly selected citizens in a room and insist that they sit down together and talk until they come to a consensus, you get far different and far more enlightened results than you would if you sent the same twelve people to file into little booths one by one. Not perfect results certainly, but how hard do you think prosecutors would have to work to prove cases against poor defendants if criminal verdicts were decided the way we decide elections for public office? Judges and prosecutors are no real defense against the tyranny of the majority, since they hold their positions by virtue of the ability of their sponsors to follow and manipulate majority opinion.

    Also, I must say that the examples you give of influences on the Warren Court and the early Burger Court are also examples of civil society movements. The elites who were concerned about how the USA was perceived in the countries undergoing decolonization may not have been part of mass movements, but the perceptions people had in those countries were relevant to their government’s policies only insofar as they showed up in popular movements that made demands for or against alliances with the USA.

    While the the NAACP and others presented fine arguments for civil rights and civil liberties in federal court in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, their predecessors had been making equally fine arguments in the same courts since the 1870s, only to meet with judicial rulings that upheld absurdly narrow readings of the Reconstruction Amendments. What changed was not the soundness of the arguments the lawyers brought to court, but the willingness of the judges to listen to those arguments. And that willingness in turn came from a recognition of political demands for equality.

    Secret ballots may be the best way we’ve come up with so far to minimize voter intimidation and bribery, and for that reason may sometimes be necessary. But that doesn’t keep elections by secret ballot from being a bizarre way of making political decisions. Politics is about people, about relationships among people. It’s how we keep groups of people working together. So it is not intuitively obvious that political decisions ought to result from a process that requires individual people to be concealed from those around them and to interact only with an inanimate object.

    And it isn’t just casting ballots in secret that is strange. Counting votes is strange too. Social scientists have studied groups that operate by consensus and contrasted them with groups that operate by majority vote. What they keep finding is that the groups that make decisions by consensus don’t take any longer to get things done than do those that make decisions by majority vote. Majority-vote groups may announce decisions more quickly, since all they need is 50% + 1. But after they’ve announced that decision, they have to spend as much time cajoling and wheedling and browbeating the minority into coming along with what they are supposed to do as the consensus-based groups had spent in open discussion.

    Anyway, I grant that we are stuck with mass society, and bureaucratization, and vast inequalities of income, and other circumstances that make direct democracy impossible. So we are stuck with a choice between, on the one hand, doing a lot of voting and getting involved in campaigns preparatory to voting, or, on the other hand, becoming isolated from each other and letting the power elite do as it will.

  56. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Feminista (#52)

    (… Warning, Bounders rant …)

    I hope your niece is more helpful than the Bounders folks I dealt with earlier today. Stupid me, I decided to stop in Bounders to look at the new book on Thucydides.

    Mistake #1 was going to Bounders. Mistake #2 was going to Bounders after a super-duper retina exam, my eyes were so dilated I could barely make out the large print on the shelf category labels. Mistake #3 was actually expecting someone at Bounders to find the book for me.

    While I waited on clerk #2 to rummage through the recesses of the store looking for the book, I trolled the so-called “new and noteworthy” tables. Their idea of “new” included titles from the past 35 years (when did Robert Caro’s “The Power Broker” come out, sometime in the 1970s?).

    Then I stumbled on their “Spirit of the Season” table and had a Mo flashback. Nestled in the collection of vaguely Christian and Christmas-y titles was their idea of a Jewish holiday book. A Haggadah. It reminded me of Mo’s first day on the job at Bounders, where her manager told a customer that they had Jewish Christmas cards.

    N.B. A Haggadah is the prayer book used during the Passover Seder which tells the story of the Israelites’ exodus from slavery in Egypt.

  57. Acilius says:

    @h_o_h: Yikes!

    @Feminista #52: I’m interested in Emily’s verse!

  58. Ellen O. says:

    HoH [57]
    That reminds me of the Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year, which occurs in Sept.or Oct.) display at Whole Foods. A round challah (which is appropriate) but also macaroons (a Passover treat–Passover is in the spring, and Hamantashen (A Purim treat–Purim is in February or March.

    At least they are trying…

  59. freyakat says:

    HoH (#57)

    Although this is not directly related to the bookstore rant: remember back towards the beginning of the DTWOF saga when Mo, who has never gone to a Passover seder, shows up at Naomi’s seder with a contribution of ryebread?

  60. NLC says:

    Using HOH#57 as a starting point, I want to tell a related story. I guess the point here has more to do with what we have lost.

    When we used to live in Cambridge (MA, Ian) I would (happily) frequent the excellent –and now sadly departed– Wordsworth in Harvard Square.

    You can think of it as the ideal of an independent bookstore. They seemed to have one of every book you could imagine on its shelves (backed by a seemingly inexhaustible warehouse from which replacements magically appeared whenever a book was bought). And for the rare (and I do mean rare) book that wasn’t there, they were more than glad to (quickly) order books for customers. And offering –rare at the time– discounts on many books. (All with the added perq of being in the heart of Harvard Square; for example next door to the well-packed comix store where I bought my first D2WO4 collections –still a little hard to find at that time.)

    But the real gem was the staff. Clearly skimmed from the surrounding schools and community it was obvious that all staff was selected on the basis of courtesy, helpfulness, and –above all– familiarity with the stock.

    I can’t tell you what a joy it was to ask for a book by an author like Eliade or Maimonides and not have to spell the name for the person behind the service desk. (I once heard a speaker mention a book –which turned out to be Redfield Jamison’s Touched with Fire. I went up to the service desk, said that I thought the book had the word “Fire” in the title and it was about Manic-Depression. In less than 10 secs she had identified the book.)

    In an attempt to –loosely– tie this into the current thread (with a somewhat more humourous bent than HOH’s story, especially given the generally excellent nature of Wordsworth’s) I once went to the service desk looking for a copy of Book of Mormon.

    After checking out the shelves, I approached the service desk and asked if they had a copy in stock. She typed at the computer for a couple minutes, turned to me and said: “Sorry, I don’t seem to find a copy. Do you have a name for the author?”

    Anyway, now I have only the dozen of Wordsworth bookmarks that I collected over the years, and which I still use. RIP Wordsworth. You remain much missed.

  61. hairball_of_hope says:

    @freyakat (#60)

    Reminds me of a time I flew to SF during Passover. Normally I would have ordered a vegetarian meal, but this being the holiday, I ordered a kosher meal for the flight. It was certainly kosher… it was a sandwich on challah. My traveling partner had ordered the veggie meal. We looked at each other’s plates, her meal was suitable for Passover, and we switched.

    My Bounders rant left out all the fun I had trying to get the clerks to find the book for me after they sent me on the goosechase to the second floor (“It’s in World History, at the beginning, the Classical Studies section.”). Nevermind them spelling Thucydides, clerk #2 couldn’t even spell the author’s last name (“That’s KagAN, not EN,” I advised.).

    After I made clerk #2 actually look for the book on the shelves, he said, “The computer says we have eight copies, maybe they’re all sold out.”

    “Uh, the book came out last week. I don’t think there’s been a rush of people eager to read about the Peloponnesian War,” I replied. I laughed a bit at the thought of this. There was not a glimmer of recognition on his part.

    On the way home, I thought about my intro to Thucydides 40 years ago. My history teacher assigned each of us a topic for reports. While all the favored goody-two-shoes in the class got easy topics to report on, I got Thucydides.

    I grumbled about this to my cousin the librarian, “I can’t even spell or pronounce this guy’s name, and they have easy stuff to report on!” My cousin gave me the 30-second synopsis of why Thucydides was a groundbreaking historian and why we still read his work 2500 years later, as she lead me to the appropriate section of books in the 900s. “You’ll enjoy reading this,” she told me. She was right. And I got an A on the report.

    I’ll bet the spawn of the goody-two-shoes are working in Bounders.

  62. Kate L says:

    Feminista (#52) How nice for your niece to be working at the Bounders bookstore! 🙂 However, recently I was walking by one of our local aggie college-town bars when I saw a sign out in front that said, “Pounders on Patio”. I read it as, “Bounders on Patio!

  63. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate L (#63)

    I’m oh so hopelessly removed from bar scene days… what are Pounders? Is this yet another alcohol thing I have no clue about? I recall my amazement when I finally figured out what Jello shots were.

  64. Acilius says:

    @all: I’ve been wanting to apologize for the excessive length of my comment #56 above. I’ll try to be less long-winded in the future.

  65. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Acilius (#65)

    It didn’t seem excessively wordy to me (said she the loquacious one). I had been planning on writing about my experiences sitting on juries (criminal, civil, and grand), it’s not at all like “Twelve Angry Men,” and the concept of “jury nullification” does not happen, at least not in my experiences.

    But those ideas got overwashed by my encounter with the Bounders noodniks who seemed to be indifferent/insolent burger-flippers transplanted to a bookstore. I should have walked right out of that place with the insufferably bad customer service. I wasn’t sure I hadn’t missed the book because my eyes were still too dilated to see beyond really large print, and I really needed help. Lots of luck with that.

    I really should have walked down to Three Lives & Co., a REAL bookstore with real book people. Sad about Wordsworth, I’ve been there many times. Sad for all the now-closed independent bookstores with knowledgeable staff who loved books and treated customers with respect.

  66. --MC says:

    HOH, it looks like pounders are an unholy mixture of Jagermeister and beer. Ugh! Also, they do not seem to be named after CCH Pounder.

  67. Kate L says:

    hairball (#64), Pounders are apparently some powerful alcoholic drink, and not the Bounders on the bar’s patio.

  68. Dr. Empirical says:

    Note to Donna, who, in an earleir thread asked about animation-related stuff in the LA area: Have you been following Mark Evanier’s blog? If not you missed this:

    “And if you’re in the Los Angeles/Glendale area, you can be part of the studio audience for a broadcast! A week from today — Monday evening, November 16, Joe is recording an episode with some very special guests and one or two not-so-special ones. They include animation voice actors June Foray and Gregg Berger, Bill Marx (son of Harpo), the great comedy writer Bob Mills, animation writer-historian Earl Kress…and me. It all starts at 7 PM out at the Glendale Library Auditorium and while you’re there, you’ll have the chance to purchase (and have autographed) books by several of those folks. Check out this page for more details.”

  69. Kate L says:

    I saw my doctor today, and she said that it was high time that I have my first mammogram. After our office visit, I walked across the hallway to the Women’s Imaging Center and made my appointment… for November 20, by coincidence what would have been my late mother’s 88th birthday (she did not die of cancer, btw). I know the photos of women getting mammograms seem to have them posing in gowns like they’re being sculpted as Greek statues, but isn’t it really going to be just pressed me under glass?

  70. AEB says:

    Completely off topic, I notice that Rachel Maddow has achieved the high distinction of being mentioned in Doonesbury (November 7).

  71. laura says:

    @ Kate L, good luck. It’s hight time I have my second mammogram myself.

    I don’t remember about gowns, but I do remember it not being as terrible as I expected. Funny thing was, I exchanged notes with a friend afterwards (we have REALLY differing sizes) and our respective doctors (in different countries) had said to each of us the same sentence “You are lucky with your size: it is terrible for women who have large/small breasts”.

  72. Ali says:

    I hadn’t looked at comments for a few days because there were only a few more and that when we usually run out of things to say and platitudes come to mind – I am sure I must be thinking of some other blog!?!? Also if I do comment it is usually just as AB does a new post and my pithy reply is left unseen and unanswered. Now I’ve gone further than looking for a new post – I am really interested but having has a sickness bug feel too tired to take it all in – so I’ll (as Arnie says) Be Back!
    Aa a recovering lady’s boredom sets in – no one is replying to my blog post about where were you and what were you doing at the fall of the Berlin Wall – any of you want to add your memories it will keep me from Daytime telly!?!?

  73. hairball_of_hope says:

    From the “Clearing the Air” department comes word that CNN’s right-wing pompous windbag, Lou Dobbs, has resigned. Good riddance. I hear the John Birch Society is looking for xenophobic racists to spout their noxious views. Dobbs would fit right in.

  74. Feminista says:

    @ Kate L and others: Mammograms,while not fun,are less uncomfortable than a pelvic and pap smear. I’ve found the nurses and x-ray technicians to be very kind. If you still have periods and get tender breasts pre-menstrually,time your appointment for when you’re not sore. This may be hard to determine ahead of time if you have perimenopausal unpredictable cycles,but one can always reschedule.

    @Acilius: I’ll post Emily’s verse soon.

  75. Feminista says:

    And here they are, A Toast to the Muses and Rex Occidental:

    A Toast to the Muses

    A toast to the Muses
    Those goddesses nine
    Inspire and confuse us
    with music and rhyme.

    This poetry fine
    that moves and amuses
    owes to the devine:
    a toast to the Muses!

    This poor pen abuses
    each painstaking line
    those goddesses nine.

    I cannot define
    the joy that infuses
    my heart when they deign
    to inspire and confuse us.

    And when a Muse chooses
    a bard to refine,
    rejoice as she oozes
    with music and rhyme.

    Before they accuse us
    of ignoring our wine,
    I make my excuses,
    I’ve run out of time:
    a toast!

    Rex Occidental

    Rex Occidental,
    Regina gentle,
    your love parental
    builds kingdom monumental.

    Mightly oak,by strength of sword empowered,
    never broke,but over foes as towered.
    On his folk,largesse has richly showered;
    well he’s spoke,rejoicing as they’ve flowered.
    “Our King undoubted!”
    the West has shouted.
    Victory has sprouted:
    his fleeting foes he’s routed.

    Rex Occidental…

    Fairest rose,whose grace is undisputed,
    only grows where chivalry has rooted.
    Where she goes,the world ’round her seems muted,
    for she glows with radiance undiluted.
    Our motivation,
    our King’s vocation.
    All adoration
    to Her,our inspiration.

    Rex Occidental…

    Ancient throne: the wisdom of the ages
    it has known from sovereigns and from sages.
    Knights we’ve grown: whenever battle wages,
    Fate has shown the West is in her pages.
    Our recreation,
    lays the foundation
    for our collaboration.

    Rex Occidental…

    –Emily S.,10/09

  76. Acilius says:

    Thanks, Feminista!

  77. Ian says:

    That Rex Occidental could be sung like a Church of England hymn such as Jerusalem. It needs a classical score.

    Fab poetry Feminista, that’s one talented niece!

  78. Renee S. says:

    @ Laura #73…As one with an ample bosom, I recall hearing this line the first time I went for my mammogram. “Sally, bring out the big plates!”
    After that experience, I then officially could be called “ma’am.” (Referencing comedian Margaret Smith’s line, “I don’t think I should be called ma’am until I’ve had my first mammogram.”)

    @Ali #74 wall fall posted

    To All, off topic: I refute “the woman who has tiny hands can’t play guitar” theory. Case in point:

  79. Ali says:

    Renee and Acilius Thank you for the comments – keep them coming – Having born in 1975 – there are only so many “Where were you when ” questions I get to ask and have a response to in my own right. So I reiterate where were you at the fall of the Berlin wall – follow the link to post:

  80. Dr. Empirical says:

    Renee, I never said “the woman who has tiny hands can’t play guitar”.

    Please don’t put words in my mouth.

  81. Acilius says:

    @Ali: You’re welcome!

    @Dr E: I don’t know that Renee is thinking of you this time. On the earlier thread, you may have been right, she may have been reading something into your remarks beyond what you were saying. But this time I think you may be doing the same thing to her. She does not mention you, and she did make it clear previously that she has heard this “theory” from many men, and that it seems to be believed in many places.

    If you are doing the same thing, maybe you are doing it for the same reason. Male guitarists have refused to take Renee seriously, saying that she couldn’t play properly because her hands are too small. Since she has suffered that insult repeatedly, it makes sense that Renee would be on the alert, looking for signs that it’s coming again and ready to defend herself.

    For your part, you were accused on the earlier thread of something you hadn’t meant to do, and that of course is a very unpleasant experience. So it would be natural for you also to go on a hair-trigger alert. Natural, but I think unnecessary. The topic of the Berlin Wall has me thinking of the Cold War; so let me call on both of you to return from your Fail-Safe points and stand down from alert.

  82. Renee S. says:

    @ Dr. E #81
    Apologies, Dr. E., but, as Acilius indicates above, I was only referring to the general theory, as I’ve heard it many times from many different people.

    But hey, don’t those youngsters do well in the above video?

    Peace, brother.

  83. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Renee (#84)

    Hey, I’ve seen your videos, you can play my fretboard anytime… ;).

    (… goes back to staring at her own hands …)

  84. hairball_of_hope says:

    Interesting reading from Harmon Leon, who reports on his latest Phelps wackos tag-a-long here:

    Quoting from the article:

    Two redneck guys act like they’re a couple, planting a kiss on each other’s cheek, achieving the opposite of the WBC intended actions — encouraging small-city gay tolerance, while not a single damn passerby agrees with their statements.

    Even in Topeka, they ignore the Phelps clan. Hooray for Kansas.

  85. hairball_of_hope says:

    From the Fabulous Fad Gift department, comes word of this year’s hottest kid gifts, robotic hamsters called Zhu Zhu Pets:

    PETA would approve.

    No cage to clean, no offspring to offload. Moms definitely would approve.

    It reminds me of the scene in “Sleeper” where the robotic dog comes in and announces, “Hi, my name is Rags. Woof woof.” Woody Allen’s character questions, “Does it leave little batteries around?”

  86. Renee S. says:

    @ HOH # 86 RE: Westboro my fave paragraph of the article:

    Another Code Red! A girthy guy jumps on the top of the stairs and slowly undoes the belt on his jeans. “Everyone turn your heads!” screams Shirley. There’s much fanfare. The Westboro Baptist Church covers their eyes like it was Raiders of the Lost Ark right before all the Nazis melt.

    #85 (blush!) I’ll be glad to tune your guitar.

  87. Calico says:

    The Phelps clan prove that truth can indeed be (much) stranger than fiction.

    “He has drinking breath!” Priceless.

  88. Kate L says:

    Hairball (#86)

    “Pulling up early to the Topeka Performing Arts Center, a large, gray building in the heart of a dismal downtown in a culturally repressed part of the planet, fans of standup comedy slowly trickle in for the show.”

    Actually, Topeka’s the big city ’round here. And the building in question is made out of light tan limestone with art decco trim. Art decco seemed like a good idea back in the 30’s when the place was built. I can remember going to Topeka a few years ago to see the new Unitarian minister have her installation ceremony. I told my fellow carpoolers that all we had to do was look for the church with the Phelps people protesting out in front. Little did I know that on Sunday morning, that meant ALL the churches in Topeka! We finally found the Unitarian Fellowship, then had to walk a sidewalk gauntlet of the Phelps protestors. Two women friends of mine joined hand to walk the gauntlet. Have any of us done anything that brave?

  89. Pam I says:

    re Phelps, reminder from a previous discussion – use them as data for a fundraiser. People pledge x $$ for how long they hang about / hpw many of them turn up / how many times they shout Fags etc. Brilliant. Can’t wait for them to turn up in sunny Tottenham.

  90. --MC says:

    This made me sad when I heard about it. Window Media has shut down due to tax debt — taking with it several gay newspapers and magazines including the Southern Voice, David, The Washington Blade, Houston Voice, South Florida Blade, and 411 Magazine.