out with the old

March 10th, 2009 | Uncategorized

My drafting table drawer has been growing increasingly crowded and dysfunctional, but I never have time to deal with it. This afternoon, however, I couldn’t take it any more. I started excavating, and realized that a lot of the stuff I’ve accumulated is actually obsolete. Like this little mirror.


I used to use this for drawing expressions. I’d look at it and draw as I made a face. Now I use a digital camera for that. Well, actually, I don’t use a camera for expressions, generally. I seem to be able to manage drawing those out of my head.

Then there’s this broken plastic L ruler I could never bear to throw away.

great ruler

This thing was so great, but I could never find a new one. I must have bought it in the ’80s. Just a flexible see-through L ruler, good for quick right angles. It was perfect for marking the spaces between the panels in Dykes To Watch Out For. Finally two years or so ago I dropped it and it had become so brittle, it just broke into pieces.

Dead rapidographs, eraser nubs, unsatisfactory automatic pencils. White out is another digital casualty.

liquid paper

Then I started looking around the room and noticed other obsolete stuff taking up valuable real estate, like these Kodak Carousel slide boxes. I’ve always loved how they looked on my shelves.

slide boxes

The graphic design is beautiful, plus they just made me feel important, or legitimate, somehow. I dragged these all over the country for years, giving talks about my work. Until Powerpoint came along. Now they’re going into the storage area. With the 8-tracks and the stereopticon.

Huh…this is weird. I was going to post one more picture, but on an unrelated note. A very nice woman named Robyn gave me this little Ganesh sculpture in Maine the other week…


…and I don’t have her address. So I wanted to say, in case you’re looking at the blog, Robyn, could you email me your address so I can thank you properly?

But as Robyn handed this beautiful, weighty little statue to me, she explained that Ganesh is the Remover of Obstacles. So, um, I totally didn’t see it coming when I started to write this post, but I think he’s having an effect already.

155 Responses to “out with the old”

  1. Steph says:

    Stereopticon? Sounds like it could be found in the TARDIS.

    I could never be a archivist. I love throwing stuff out. Except for books. And old photos. And letters. …Maybe I could be an archivist after all.

  2. hairball_of_hope says:

    Ooooh, Liquid Paper, the good kind in the green label bottle (pen and ink). Extra points to anyone who knows the connection between Liquid Paper and The Monkees.

  3. cybercita says:

    hey, alison, could you let us know if and when the new york times piece is up? i keep checking the book section on the website but haven’t located it yet. thanks.

  4. Timmytee says:

    Ganesh seems to be poised to blog, draw, take photographs and groom the cat all at the same time!

  5. Bookish.In.Brooklyn says:

    The slide carousel boxes remind me of your presentations I used to attend at the feminist bookstore in Northampton, which I guess also became obsolete a while ago.

  6. Bookish.in.Brooklyn says:

    Those Kodak slide boxes remind me of your talks that I used to attend at the feminist bookstore in Northampton… which I guess also became obsolete a while ago.

  7. Kate L says:

    Oh, hairball…

    Mickey Nesbitt of the Monkeys was heir to his mother’s vast fortune for the invention of Liquid Paper. Now, then, why don’t you give me that reward you mentioned? πŸ˜‰

  8. Dr. Empirical says:

    So is Mike going to have to get a job now? Those liquid paper royalties must be drying up!

  9. Timmytee says:

    Kate L.: Mickey Dolenz? or Mike Nesmith?

  10. Mike was my favorite. Oh, no, wait. It was Peter.

  11. At any rate, not Mickey.

  12. Kate L says:

    Mike Nesbitt. Damn. Now I’ll never get that reward!

  13. hairball_of_hope says:

    Oh so close… Mike Nesmith of the Monkees was indeed the heir to his mom’s Liquid Paper fortune, although he only inherited half of it. The other half set up some charitable foundations that supported women artists and entrepreneurs. She sold the Liquid Paper Corp in the late 1970s for roughly $50 million, plus royalties for another 20 years. I don’t think Mike’s going to run out of money any time soon.

  14. cybercita says:

    could you please say something about the times piece? pretty please?

  15. Ian says:

    We used to sniff liquid paper in school and pretend it was like glue-sniffing which was the latest “won’t somebody please think of the children?” drugs scare of the time. Just 3 years later ecstasy (or MDMA) hit these shores …

    My Mum used to collect little elephant statuettes and although as a Puritan, she didn’t want statues of Ganesh in her house, I’ve seen many and that one you got from Robyn is rather wonderful.

  16. Ian says:

    PS I’m different, I like finding old and obsolete things and finding new ways to use them. New to me anyway. Hmmm, maybe some of that post-modern Judson Church crap did rub off on me after all.

  17. Stella says:

    cybercita: Which Times article are you talking about? Sorry I’m so dense, I can’t keep up with the news these days!

  18. cybercita says:

    alison wrote a graphic book review about a graphic novel for the times book review, but i haven’t found it yet…

  19. Feminista says:

    Thanks to those of you who sent me light and/or good wishes.Fortunately,tonight’s all quiet on the western front.

    AB & anyone else with “outdated” stuff,some recycling center or DIY art/craft groups would make great use of various and sundry objects and gadgets.

    For example, I’ve seen old CDs made into mobiles,earrings made out of wire and acupuncture needles,old shoe and cigar boxes used as bases for found art projects,etc.,soy milk containers made into purses,and altered books made from older hardbacks.

    And old slides and carousels could be denoted to libraries or the history center of your choice.

  20. Feminista says:

    Oops,that should read donated in the last paragraph.

  21. Ready2Agitate says:

    you say denoted, I say donated… πŸ˜‰ glad you’re kickin’ Feminista.

    This post reminds me of that Ganesha store (yes a whole store) located, where, in Haight-Ashbury?

    I have those carousel boxes. From Central America travels in the 1980s. Keep thinking I should bring ’em somewhere and have everything digitized….

    And a propos of language/etymology discussion last thread, I was just listening to that seminal – nay, central – album of some years ago: “Testimony” (by Ferron). Hunh.

  22. Feminista says:

    R2A,great idea to have the slides digitized. I saw my share of Nicaraguan slide shows in the 80s,as a number of Portlanders lived in or were on solidarity brigades there post-1979 and pre-Chamorro. One friend,who was in the Ministry of Ed.,wrote about her time directing literacy brigades: And Also Teach them to Read by Sheryl (now Shayla)Hirshon,with photos by another friend,Larry Boyd.

    Have you been keeping up with the election results in El Salvador? My sister was an election observer for Round I of 2009 voting,though I haven’t heard her story yet.

  23. Cybercita!
    Thank you so much for asking about the New York Times Book Review piece that I’m doing. I’m just turning in the final art today. I suspect it might not run till the 22nd, since they’ve probably already gone to press with the issue for the 15th. But I’ll post something here when it’s out.

  24. hairball_of_hope says:


    Sniffing Liquid Paper in the old days was REALLY bad for your liver… the solvent was 1,1,1-trichloroethane, nasty stuff, now banned for its role in ozone depletion.


    They used to sell the solvent separately as Liquid Paper Thinner, and I always carried a bottle around with me to use as a stain and gunk remover. It was fabulous for removing chewing gum, grease, and tomato sauce from clothes.

    Back in the days when I had to wear full corporate drag on business trips, I was in AB’s fair city of Burlington VT, and ate lunch at some Italian place in the downtown pedestrian mall (name escapes me right now).

    As typical for me, I ended up wearing some of my food, there were little red speckles of marinara sauce on my ivory-colored silk blouse. I ducked into the ladies room with my purse, whipped out the Liquid Paper Thinner and some paper towels, and in about four minutes there was no evidence of lunch on my blouse.

    My work colleagues were amazed, bemoaning how many silk ties they had ruined with messy lunches over the years. They all wanted to know how I did it… I told them I channeled my inner chemist.

    I’m sure I’ll have to answer to Mother Nature someday for my small part in depleting the ozone layer with my many stain removals.

    Back to sniffing… as kids we all sniffed the purple mimeographed handouts in school, but that was only methanol (methyl alcohol, or methylated spirits for you folks across the pond). I suppose one could go blind from sniffing too much of it, but you really have to drink it to do damage. Methanol is the toxin found in moonshine, bathtub gin, and other home-distilled beverages… if the still is not running at the correct temperature, there will be methanol contamination of the desired ethanol (booze), and lots of blind and/or dead folks at the end of your wild party.

  25. hairball_of_hope says:

    Thinking about those slides (and yeah, I’ve got little boxes of them stashed somewhere), makes me want to start singing:

    They give us those nice bright colors
    They give us the greens of summers
    Makes you think all the world’s a sunny day, Oh yeah
    I got a Nikon camera
    I love to take a photograph
    So mama don’t take my Kodachrome away

    Mama don’t take my Kodachrome away…

  26. hairball_of_hope says:

    I’ve been meaning to thank Maggie for pointing me in the direction of the Online Etymology Dictionary, http://www.etymonline.com/. I have spent many enjoyable hours there in the past few days filling my brain with all sorts of useless information. I love it. And thanks to Kate L. for the vicarious pleasure of sitting in on her geology lectures.

  27. hoppyland says:

    ha ha fast times at ridgemont high…

  28. Diana says:

    Liquid paper was sold to Gillette. Nesmith took his mother’s money and started Pacific Arts Records, the Ghibli Corporation and a video company. He also served on the board of the Merican Film Institute for a few years. he ahs a novel out, another in the works, and his 15th solo album came out a couple years ago.
    I kinda like Nesmith.
    Alsion, as one who has a carousel and five boxes of slides of comic pages in my closet, and a room full of unsorted art supplies, I sympathize.

  29. noominal says:

    Stereopticon? Do you literally have one of those? I had to look it up on Wikipedia! The device dates back to mid 19th century! I’m thinking you only go back as far as the Lucigraph projecor. My 80s creative arts dormitory had one of those and it was a very coveted item… gigantic monstrosity with a lens the size of a salad plate. But it helped convert your mini doodlings to projected wall-sized images.

    Anyway, the lucigraph has probably gone bye-bye, too… if you had one. Though I can still surmise it’s usefulness in enlarging drawings for fine art originals… such as on big brown butcher paper. πŸ˜‰

  30. DeLand DeLakes says:

    Ha ha ha, oh boy the Kodak slides bring back memories…
    When my boyfriend and I moved from Kansas City to Minneapolis, he had twenty-odd slide carousels, for some ungodly reason, filled with about 4000 slides. Well, we had never moved an entire house full of stuff before, and in a growing panic we were realizing that we didn’t have enough room in the truck. We tried to give the slides in their carousels to Goodwill, who said “Oh hell no,” and then, out of desperation, we left them all on the back steps of the photo building at the Kansas City Art Institute and ran for it. Then at Thanksgiving his sisters yelled at him constantly for losing the family photos, which had all been taken on slide film, the end.
    And we have a stereopticon. I’m looking at it right now.

  31. hairball_of_hope says:


    Moving tip for those piles of books, slides, CDs, DVDs:

    These are all considered media, and as such, you can mail them (yes, USPS snail mail) at a special discounted rate called Media Mail. It’s slow, but cheap, especially when dealing with heavy books where the moving company charges by weight.

    I have a bookhoarding/musichoarding friend who has moved several times, and each time he boxed up the books, CDs, and albums, and mailed them (except for the expensive antiquarian stuff). Much cheaper than what the moving company wanted to charge for his enormous collections. Just make sure each box is a good strong one, obsessively well-taped and sealed, has the address on paperwork inside each box, and weighs less than 70lbs. You have to ask for the Media Mail rate.

  32. Kate L says:

    Oh, hairball, the vicarious pleasure is all mine! πŸ™‚

  33. Ian says:

    @hoh: it wasn’t a serious drug habit! πŸ˜‰

  34. --MC says:

    Mike was the coolest Monkee. He gained creative control for the group from its pop-schlock masters (allegedly by punching a wall next to Don Kirschner’s head), and he wrote the best songs. His post-Monkee music career was unsung but pretty good, some nice lonesome country rock tunes. He bailed out the Firesign Theatre when they needed it and invented MTV. (Well, that might not be so great).

  35. Juliet says:

    On the theme of obsolete items: today I found a skip (that’s such a British word and I don’t have the American translation) out the back of a library and in it were loads of those little fibreboard cabinets with draws for index catalogue cards. They were so lovely. I was on my bike so I only managed to take one.

    I may go back tomorrow.

    Suggestions for uses?

  36. hairball_of_hope says:

    Mike is definitely an interesting guy. He was also the executive producer of Repo Man. I can never look at supermarket generic food without laughing because of that movie.

  37. banzailibrarian says:

    Ganesha is not just the remover of obstacles but also the god of scholars. That’s why I keep his statue in my studies, both at home and in the library, during my sabbatical…

    Juliet, a full-scale card catalog with lots of little drawers is great in the dinig room for things like silverware, napkins, rolled-up placemats, teacups, and other little cooking and serving odds and ends. Also great in the craft room for thread, trim, tools, rotary cutters, etc. The individual drawers would probably stack nicely for similar arrangements; you might even be able to strap them together somehow to make a cabinet.

    (Skip = dumpster?)

  38. Ready2Agitate says:

    (I was thinking dumpster too.)

    @Feminista – not really up on the El Sal election results (although there are CISPES report-backs in the Boston area). I was in El Sal. in 2003 — many years after my first trip to the region during the CA solidarity movement. It was my first visit to the UCA and to where the Jesuit priests were brutally slain, as well as to Senor Romero’s memorial. I just bawled and bawled. I also met with the one surviving Maryknoll nun. The injustice and the blood on US hands is staggering.

  39. Dale says:

    Wow…I remember steropticons in school. The teacher would hit the lights and switch on a tape player. The droning voices, boring subject, dark room, and peanut butter jelly sandwiches from lunch would put me to sleep.
    *scratches head* They don’t serve PBJs in school anymore, do they? Last I heard kids couldn’t even bring them in their own lunchbags.
    I’ll keep an eye out for that book review. *rubs hands with glee*

  40. Jessica Bessica says:

    I say hang onto your outdated equipment! Research is so much easier now that so much information is being digitized. But I’m always amazed at how many times I have to go back to doing battle with the micro film or micro fiche machines. Such is the life of a historian, I suppose. But, are we still teaching kids to use those? Are library students trained on upkeep? What will happen to all the information that isn’t converted when all we have are computers!?

  41. cybercita says:

    ok, thanks, alison. meanwhile i see by your facebook page that you know another one of my cartoonist heroines, mimi pond. she is as brilliant and underrated as you used to be.

  42. NLC says:

    To follow up my earlier note: Next Sunday’s NTYBookReview (15Mar) just arrived and, alas, no, it doesn’t contain The Review.

    So, I guess we wait another week…

  43. klf67 says:

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned this — the scene from Mad Men where they discuss technology, old & new, where the Kodak Carousel is “pitched”. I’ve never seen the show, but I saw this clip a year ago and it has stuck with me.

  44. Duncan says:

    I heart Mimi Pond too. I still cherish a thing she did for the Village Voice for Valentine’s Day. One panel was titled, “Famous last words”. One woman says indignantly to another, “Idi Amin is your new boyfriend?!” The other says, with a big smile, “It’s all right — I can change him!”

  45. cybercita says:

    duncan, do you know mimi’s book, secrets of the powder room? it’s one of my most treasured possessions!

  46. Kate L says:

    I spoke with our interim department chair today about the possible intruder that I encountered in our building last Saturday night. In the dark. When I thought that I was alone in the building. He suggested that when I thought I heard a door click down a side hallway, it was really the outside door about thirty feet to my left that was closing. The intruder must have snuck right past me while I was looking down the hallway, and run outside. Darn. Did’nt. even get to pull out my phaser, or practice some of those StarFleet Academy judo moves. No, wait, that’s Kathryn Janeway’s life. not mine…

  47. Feminista says:

    Ready2Agitate–I’ve been on El Salvador solidarity in 2005 & 2007,and have seen the places you mentioned,which I agree were very upsetting. We also saw many examples of positive things the people have been doing. Maybe we should *talk* off the blog about this. nbeckpdx@yahoo.com

  48. Aunt Soozie says:

    HOH are you a chemist or a drug and alcohol counselor?
    That Ganesh looks like it’s really teeny tiny sitting in your fingers like that…
    but, I guess, still powerful.
    so much of what we used in school is now obsolete. I have one lone slide carousel that I haven’t discarded…but it has many obsolete cousins.
    As we all noted when Alison was reorganizing her work space… it does feel good to send things on to another home, another life, another role… very cleansing. If anyone needs that type of experience, as soon as the weather gets a tad bit warmer, you’re all welcome to come to New Jersey to help me clean and purge the stuff that resides in my garage! Please, don’t let me stop you, come have that healing experience, my garage is your potential rebirth.

  49. Ellen O. says:

    Did anyone else read this piece on Rachel Maddow? Deeper, more thoughtful than most articles I’ve read lately.

    “Gay for Rachel Maddow”: What a Hot, Smart, Lesbian Pundit Means for an Uneasy America


    “Cable news isn’t the most female-friendly or queer-friendly place. As a whole, it is Middle America; Maddow is more Middlesex.”

  50. DeLand DeLakes says:

    I am extra grateful for your thrifty tips in, as all the fucking advertisements say now, “these trying times.” Thank you! I’ve moved so many times, the next one can’t be far away. πŸ˜›

  51. bette says:

    @ Ellen O. THANK you for posting this link about Rachel Maddow! Over here in Europe, there’s a comparable phenomenon to be observed about the out host Anne Will of the political chat show “Anne Will” on German public television. Anne, per chance and her partner, a media professor happen to prefer the femme guise for their smart brains, though. Europe post-gay at last? I don’t think so. “Why aren’t there any more nice lesbians like yourselves”, prof. Meckel was asked recently on a talk show in Swiss public radio …

  52. Kate L says:

    This 6 foot tall person thinks Rachel Maddow is just fine! I only wish that MSNBC didn’t seem to be jammed by the local cable company out here in the Midwest (Faux News Channel comes in loud and clear, for some reason). I have one contention with the article Ellen O alerted us to: “encumbered by Viet Nam and Watergate”? Viet Nam and Watergate liberated a generation to reach new heights, bodly go where no woman or man had gone before! The seventies WERE groovy, I tell you!!! πŸ˜‰

  53. hairball_of_hope says:

    I’m not sure what to make of the Rachel Maddow phenomenon. I’ve liked her since her Air America days, but something about her ascendancy at MSNBC just feels like the network boys reached far afield to save their butts after their disastrous coverage of the Dem and GOP nominating conventions, which nearly degraded into physical altercation. Sort of like a “Hail Mary” pass in football.

    So yeah, they’re using her, and I suspect somehow trying to position her as the person whom non-gays can drool over as in the linked article, e.g. “I’m hetero but I’m gay for Maddow.”

    Oh please. Is anyone “Gay for Suze Orman?” She’s the only other out lesbian I’m aware of on talking head TV. Granted, a political talk show host might have a broader platform to touch upon issues of importance to the LGBT community, but finances run a very tight second. Orman noted that having the right to marry imparted a wide range of financial advantages not available to non-married couples of any gender/orientation, but you never heard that from her on her finance show.

    The marketing droids at CNBC (both MSNBC and CNBC are owned by parent company General Electric) weren’t so desperate to save their broadcasting fannies, so you’ll never hear Suze Orman even mention anything to do with non-het or non-married cohabitators.

    That said, I’m just so ferklempt that bright, articulate lesbians are highly visible in mass media these days, even though I know all their names and can count them on one hand with fingers left over. Let’s see now… Orman, Maddow, DeGeneres… did I miss anyone?

    Speaking of visibility, did anyone notice the front page article in the Wall Street Journal this week about Susan Arnold? Arnold is one of the two top bananas at Proctor & Gamble who was vying to succeed the CEO when he retired. She just took herself out of the running this week, gave up her presidency at P&G, and will retire in a few months. The WSJ article noted that she will be in hot demand as a CEO for another company, and there are only 15 female CEOs of Fortune 500 companies.

    Why is this notable? Not just that she was the first and/or only and/or highest-ranking female at the huge P&G, but that she is an out lesbian, something which the WSJ brought to the attention of the universe.


    Quoting from the article:

    “If tapped to head a Fortune 500 concern, Ms. Arnold would join an elite group of female leaders. She also would be the only openly gay CEO of a major U.S. public corporation.”

  54. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Aunt Soozie

    Nah, I’m a wannabee science geek who pays the bills as a computer/electronics geek. Maybe when I retire from this gig in a few years I will do something with science in my encore career.

    And as much as I’d like to help you clean out the garage, I face the very real risk of taking home your stuff and adding to my stuff. I’ve been toying with the idea of walking over to Little India and buying a Ganesh/Ganesha to help me overcome the obstacles in my life, but there is a bit of a paradox in adding one more object to a home which needs a serious purge. I’ve even been thinking about bringing piles of books to the Strand. That activity alone could replace my gym membership as a serious cardio-vascular workhout, if I don’t herniate something in the process.

  55. acilius says:

    I object to the idea that the stereopticon is obsolete. Peering into a stereopticon and teasing out the 3-D effects is an excellent meditative exercise.

    @Kate L: Scary! Good luck.

    @h_o_h: I used to be involved with the ONLINE ETYMOLOGICAL DICTIONARY and retain a fondness for it, but I’m afraid that it really is obsolete now that the etymological parts of the AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARY are available online.

    The online AHD does have one disadvantage, in that it can be hard to search. I usually search it through the medium of http://www.onelook.com, a very handy index of many online dictionaries. I just do my search in onelook’s search window, then click on the result from the AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARY.

  56. hairball_of_hope says:

    Now I remember the name of the pedestrian mall in Burlington, it was Church Street. Don’t remember the name of the Italian restaurant, but I do remember having beers at Carbur’s. And I remember the little brass plaque in the sidewalk noting where the original Ben and Jerry’s was located, there’s something else there now.

  57. hairball_of_hope says:


    Thanks! That’s a lot more direct than my usual look-it-up source, Refdesk http://www.refdesk.com/, although Refdesk is much more of a Swiss Army knife for infomaniacs.

  58. Kelli says:

    @acilius: a stereopticon is not a stereoscope…

  59. acilius says:

    @h_o_h: You’re welcome!

    @kelli: Thank you! I’d never had occasion to look the words up, since all the stereo photography enthusiasts I’ve known have used the words interchangeably. I can’t promise I’ll never again say “stereopticon” when I mean “stereoscope,” but I’m confident I won’t misunderstand “stereopticon” as “stereoscope” again.

  60. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate L

    I wonder about the intruder sneaking past you. Without knowing the layout and dimensions of the hallways and areas, I’m wondering how you could have gotten the directionality of the clicking door sound incorrect (I’m assuming the side hall was to the right, and the exterior door was to the left). I do realize sound reflections play tricks on our brains, and maybe you weren’t in the right position to determine the direction of the click.

    I’m also wondering how s/he could have snuck past you without you hearing footsteps or the whoosh of fabric and clothes. It seems more likely to this amateur Sherlock that the intruder hid in an office or the bathroom until you went back upstairs to call the campus police, then s/he left the building.

    And six feet or not, I glad you didn’t come face to face with the intruder. If there was nothing valuable obviously missing from offices such as laptops, I’d be inclined to think the intruder was a student absconding with someone else’s assignment left in a mailbox.

    That actually happened to me, it was a computer class and a classmate took my printout from the professor’s mailbox (not sure if that was done to help her/him complete the assignment, or to torpedo my grade). My assignment was marked as having not been turned in. I protested, and since these were the ancient days of batch processing on mini and mainframes, there was a log of the job I had run with the date and time on the system, and the professor relented and let me turn in a replacement printout.

  61. Calico says:

    Liquid Paper – Peeeeeyooooo!
    I think I still have some.
    For documents (forms etc.) I use a relatively new Bic thingy which has white tape-you roll it onto the paper anbd you can rewrite stuff almost immediately.

    AB, I think that broken ruler should be in the Cartoonist’s Museum, or in a Women’s museum. Seriously. Don’t toss it, please!

  62. --MC says:

    Dale — did you mean film strip? A stereoopticon is a viewer that looks like a diving goggles with lenses — stereo photographs are put into the frame, the viewer’s eyes focus the two pictures together to create a stereo view. They were all the rage in the early part of last century. Stereo views of Jerusalem, newly constructed dams, the skyline of Chicago, “How The New Maid Served The Salad Undressed”, all that sort of thing. My ex used to collect the slides.

  63. hairball_of_hope says:


    …β€œHow The New Maid Served The Salad Undressed”…

    Naked lettuce turns me on.

  64. Kate L says:


    Let’s see if I can do a diagram with keyboard characters:


    It’s an old building, with dense plaster walls and no hallway windows. Sound carries really well. Just before I left the building last night, I opened the side door and let it close while I was standing inside. It made the same click I heard that night. My mental image is of someone tip-toeing to the door as I stood looking down the side hallway. Nothing was taken, so you may be right about motive.

    Wow, I’ve never heard of a classmate trying to wreck another students grade. Glad you got to resubmit the assignment!

  65. Kate L says:

    Well, that diagram almost was posted correctly. Move the side hall to the middle of the main hallway, keep the outside door to the far left end of the main hallway and put the main dept. office at the far right of the main hallway!

  66. hairball_of_hope says:

    Good diagram, I get it now. Where are the stairs relative to the main hallway?

    I’m an old fart computer nerd, so I vividly remember the days of ASCII art on dial-up BBSs (that’s Bulletin Board Systems for you newfangled Internet whippersnappers). Very hard to do on these here shiny modern systems with their proportional typefonts, you really need fixed pitch Courier to do them right.

    ASCII art brings back other memories too. Every workspace I inhabited back in those days had that ASCII art printout of a naked woman on teletype paper hanging alongside the “Achtung Nicht Fur Fingerpoken Und Spitzensparken” poster.

    Ahh… if those were the only signs of what we now call “a hostile work environment” prohibited under EEO rules/regs.

  67. Kate L says:

    There are two stairwells leading off the first floor main hallway, in alcoves at either end of that hallway. Yeah, he could have been hiding in either stairwell. And I do think of the intruder as “he’; heavy footsteps.

    Over lunch, I found the remains of the old 1959 Betty Crocker Cookbook for Kids that my sister and I used to make edible stuff from. I tried a recipe that I never attempted before. I’m pleased to report that I have made my first succesful grilled cheese sandwiches!

  68. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate L

    It took you 50 years to make your first grilled cheese sandwich? Or 50 years to make your first SUCCESSFUL grilled cheese sandwich? (Hint: the cheese goes on the INSIDE)

    I’ll take a grilled cheddar cheese with tomato on whole wheat, please. Grill the tomato before slapping it in the sandwich.

  69. Ted says:

    You all seem to have forgotten about the “View Master Stereoscope”. You bought discs with with a variety of pics to chose from. The viewer had a lever on the side and when pulled down it rotated the next two pictures to view. When I was a kid everybody had one. They came out in the 40’s.

    By the way I thought mimeograph solution had a rather pleasing sniffability to it.

  70. Kate L says:

    … my first SUCCESSFUL grilled cheese sandwich! πŸ™‚ Hey, that tomato idea sounds good!

  71. hairball_of_hope says:


    I remember the GAF Viewmaster, and the Henry Fonda commercials for it too, but I never had one. The girl down the block had one, and I played with it, but it never captured my imagination.

    For my viewing pleasure, nothing beat my microscope, even though it was monocular. I’d grab some rainwater from a puddle, put a few drops in a well slide, put the cover slip on, and spend hours looking at the little critters swim around (protozoa and amoebae). And of course I sniffed my share of xylene as I made all those Canada balsam dry mount slides. πŸ˜‰

  72. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate L

    I my brain I am playing the Goldberg Variations, renamed as the Grilled Cheese Variations. Apologies to JS Bach and Glenn Gould (ah ha, another Canadian! Glenn Moose).

    Once you’ve gotten past the basic bread/cheese combos, try grilled fresh mozzarella on either Italian bread or focaccia with tomatoes. Roma or plum tomatoes work best. If you’ve got fresh basil, stick some in there before slapping it shut.

    I’m sure someone is going to suggest bacon in that grilled cheese sandwich.

  73. hairball_of_hope says:

    That’s supposed to be “In my brain…” Damned keyboard. Damned fingers. Damned finger/brain disconnect.

    I’m hungry. I’m going to go out for lunch and order a grilled cheese sandwich. With tomato. And sweet potato fries.

  74. Ann S in Madison says:

    Best stereopticon reference EVAH!

    I both love and hate this vision of the future of librarianship.

    I nearly used this clip in The Hollywood Librarian. The one from this movie that did end up in the film was the scene where Guy Pearce reaches for a book on an ancient shelf and it crumbles to dust in his hand.

    Shameless plug: The home version of the DVD ($24.95) can be ordered here:http://www.mediaed.org/cgi-bin/commerce.cgi?preadd=action&key=140-I-D

    Hugs and chocolate milk.

  75. jen in California says:

    Here’s a quick note about Ganesha (which I offer since I have a place in my heart for Hindu deities).

    Ganesha has a rat familiar who does most of the grunt work of getting the obstacles removed. Larger statues of Ganesha usually show the rat running around Ganesha’s feet. Next time you see a rat, he may be removing some obstacles on your behalf per Ganesha’s request, give him a friendly wave πŸ™‚

    If you prefer your deities of the female persuasion, check out Brahma’s wife, Saraswati, who is also a deity of learning and scholars (as well as music). Saraswati’s several arms are multi-tasking writing instruments, prayer beads, and a sitar all at once. Her familiar is a swan which she seems to use just for transportation. I have some art showing her riding a tiger, but my reading and Hindu friends say this is non-standard.

    AB, if you really want your Ganesha to work for you, try the approach of Apu from The Simpsons. Put an offering of half a bottle of chocolate Yoohoo in front of your statue. Tell Ganesha he can have the other half when he completes your task.

    Oh, wait, that didn’t turn out well for Apu,… never mind.

  76. hairball_of_hope says:


    Is the correct name Ganesh or Ganesha? I’ve seen it both ways. Does he ride the rat, or is the rat just his running buddy who does all the scut work of removing obstacles?

  77. judybusy says:

    Putting in something like fig compote (bought in a jar) in a grilled cheese is also yummy….served with a simple garlic and tomato soup, it’s delicious!

    Well, I’m headed out for this exciting evening: stop by co-op to get baby greens to round out supper. Pick up a Foyle’s War installment at the library. Make Gruyere cheese and spinach souffle for supper, hunker in with said Foyle’s War with the wife. Don’t really know why I’m sharing all that, except I’m really happy about it all! I hope everyone else is having good days, too.

  78. Sharon R. says:

    Ganesh rides the rat, which can take him places an elephant couldn’t go. He’s the god of new beginnings as well as remover of obstacles, and he usually carries a variety of tools, from fly-swatter to sword to noose, so he can choose the right one for each job. He also has a pot for sweets and can be bribed with them, so it’s a good Idea to leave candy for him.

  79. Kelli says:

    Okay, other people too: A stereopticon is an early type of slide projector. It had two lenses designed for performing dissolves between images, and a slot for a slide for each lens. It was not designed for 3D image viewing. Some more modern slide presentations did the same thing by connecting multiple Kodak Carousel projectors together and syncing their dissolves; this was an all-in-one solution.

    | . +—+
    |SLOT 1>| || |<LENS 2
    | ‘ +—+
    | |
    | |

  80. Kelli says:

    Okay, that diagram is mangled. Just check Wikipedia. πŸ™‚

  81. Alex K says:

    Fickle posters!

    Grilled cheese sandwich, yes; pre-grilled tomato slice, yes; fig compote, yes; but …no bacon?

    With bacon, Kate, you may not get the cheese quite right, your tomato may be a tad overdone — but with bacon, dang it, YOU WON’T CARE.

  82. Maggie Jochild says:

    Gruyere and proscuitto on rosemary whole wheat, with tomato grilled after being sprinkled with garlic olive oil. Serve with spicy green beans or, yes, sweet potato fries.

    Count me in for Foyle’s War, too.

    Thanks to a free offer from Netflix (about to expire), I’ve been gorging on Meerkat Manor and Weeds.

    Also reading the latest Laurie R. King. My dreams are indescribable…

    Does anyone remember a toy from the mid 70’s (my daughter had it) that was a kind of animated movie you wound with a knob on the toy itself, looking into the viewer like a Viewmaster, which went from a microbe through all the various sizes until you were a distant spot in space looking back at the blue earth? You could reverse it and go back to the microbe. I played with it more than she did. What was it called? Who made it?

  83. Maggie Jochild says:

    Also, since we’re dancing around the edges of recipes, I just got a lovely gift of canned pumpkin and want to make custards or something other than pumpkin pie with it. I’m hitting my cooking sites, but thought someone here might have a recommend.

  84. dicentra formosa says:

    I’m personally fond of pumpkin bread pudding.

  85. hairball_of_hope says:

    I vote for curry pumpkin soup. It’s still soup weather. (This assumes the pumpkin is plain ordinary pumpkin without all the spices used for pies/breads/etc.)

  86. Ydnic says:

    Why do I always get hungry reading the comments here?

  87. cybercita says:

    maggie, i have a terrific recipe for a pumpkin spice cake that i make all winter. email me if you like and i’ll send it.

  88. Ian says:

    @Alex K: How about a cheese and bacon toastie? Wonderful stuff. Available in most university cafe’s. I’ve just been to a Waitrose which is a new experience for me being a Northener. (For Americans, it’s a supermarket which generally caters to the middle and upper classes and is generally sited in the affluent south of England with occasional outposts in the generally poorer north). I saw cheeses I never knew existed. A sheep’s milk cheese called Ossua Itary? I must try some of them out.

    Speaking of grilling, I ended up buying some half-fat Halloumi which is a worthy (if ultimately doomed) veggie substitute for bacon thanks to its saltiness and general yumminess when grilled. Well, it’s what I’d console myself with if I ever (whisper it) gave up bacon.

  89. Riotllama says:

    h_o_h – oh my! I love etymonline. how exciting that you were part of it!

    And i’m pretty sure Mike nesbitt wrote the lyrics to “beat of a different drum” best done by linda ronstadt, which is one of my favourite songs to sing on my bike.

    When I was in France this past fall, I couch surfed with a fellow who’s father collected old plates for stereopticons, the old wooden kind. they were mostly of dutch people but the seaside. I wanted to run off with them because he was not interested in them, but i had no room in my pack.

    Also, I just turned 30, when do I get my grey hairs?

  90. Hannah says:

    Samll tiny hijack here…acilius, I responded to the MDA message re. Jerry Lewis telethon we had going. Please double back and check – it’s there waiting for you. I figured if I posted it there, and sent you to it, it would be a less obnoxious hijacking than if I dumped the whole message totally unrelated into this space. I will check for a reply later this weekend, should you so choose. Blessings. Thanks for everybodys patience – returning the posts to the current fascinating convesation. And yeah, I have a stereopticon too and plates for it. My father had it from his dad. And yeah, I knew about the Mike Nesbit and the liquid paper fortune history. Strange how we all have so many similarities. Or maybe it’s not suprising at all.

  91. hairball_of_hope says:


    That’s actually acilius who is involved in etymonline, I’m just a lexicophile voyeur. (Gee that sounds kinky!)

    You are correct, Nesmith did write “Different Drum,” the song which put Linda Ronstadt and the Stone Poneys on the music map in 1967. And yeah, I remember when it came out.

    If you really want some grey hair, I can donate some.

    Last time I renewed my driver’s license, I noted that it was now good for eight years instead of the previous three or four years (I forget which). Staring at my photo on the license, I realized this would be the last one where my hair would photograph dark. Sobering thought.

    But I’ve worked hard to earn those grey hairs, and I don’t think my hairdresser is going to see me every couple of weeks to touch up roots or whatever it is they do once they’ve got you hooked on the narcotic of hair coloring.

    Disclaimer: I say that now, but if I have to start jobhunting, I just might have to invite Miss Clairol over to party with my hair color.

  92. Ellen Orleans says:


    I don’t remember a toy that did that but I do remember a slideshow at a museum that swept from the outer reaches of the universe into the nucleus of an oak leaf. There’s a version of it at this link.


    Is it what you had in mind?

  93. Ann S in Madison says:

    Best stereopticon reference EVAH is here:

    I both love and hate this vision of the future of librarianship.

    I nearly used this clip in The Hollywood Librarian. The one from this movie that did end up in the film was the scene where Guy Pearce reaches for a book on an ancient shelf and it crumbles to dust in his hand.

    Shameless plug: The home version of the DVD ($24.95) can be ordered here:

    Hugs and chocolate milk.

  94. Maggie Jochild says:

    Ellen, I know about the Power of 10 creation, and it’s not exactly the same — although I have to wonder now if the toy was loosely based on it. The toy animation was much less comprehensive. This was great to see again, however, thanks for coming up with it.

    Cybercita, the recipe you sent sounds incredible. Ya’ll, you ever have a chance to eat food or recipes that come from Cybercita, jump at it, she’s the tops.

  95. judybusy says:

    Maggie, another use for the pumpkin stuff is a cheesecake with ginger snap crust. My partner makes it for Thanksgiving instead of pie sometimes. Yum! A quick google reveals this recipe, which seems close to what she uses: http://www.joyofbaking.com/PumpkinCheesecake.html She divides the filling and adds the pumpkin mix to half, then does a swirling thing, which is very pretty.

    And I am definitely making the Gruyere-prosciutto grilled sandwich when it’s a bit warmer.

  96. jaydee says:

    HOH, this is a rather late reply. But w.r.t. out CEOs, isn’t Meg Whitman, the CEO of eBay, an out lesbian? Or is that urban legend.

  97. hairball_of_hope says:


    To really verify this, I’ll have to ask my upstairs neighbor when I see her; she was a Yale classmate of Whitman’s, and I know they occasionally keep in touch.

    These days Meg Whitman is the former CEO of eBay, and a prominent Republican (McCain mentioned her as his possible choice for Treasury Secretary during one of the debates). You’d think that if she’s out the Log Cabin Republicans would be all over it. And the right-wing loonies would have jumped on McCain for mentioning her as a possible Cabinet appointee.

  98. hairball_of_hope says:


    Now that I’ve read the Wiki on Whitman, it says she’s married and has two kids. And that she graduated from Princeton, not Yale. I’m pretty sure my upstairs neighbor said she knew her from Yale, but maybe it’s from another connection and I assumed it was Yale. Or maybe all these smart women who attend Ivy League schools have a secret sign they use… and I’m sure it’s not plaid flannel.

    Also in the Wiki is news that Whitman is running for CA governor. How did I miss that announcement?

  99. Kate L says:

    Ah, young ones, I can remember when I looked in the mirror and saw my first grey hair. Actually, it was snowy white, which was even more disturbing. My district geologist in exploration at Chevron in New Orleans had taken everyone out for a nice lunch at company expense in a swanky restaurant. Hey, this was New Orleans, where else would we go?! πŸ™‚ Anyway, after I had finished my mock turtle soup I went to the wc and when I looked in the mirror – BAM! – to quote a famous New Orleanean chef. My first white hair! I went back to the table and was self-absorbed enough to announce this fact to everyone. Our assistant district geologist assured me that there would be more…

  100. Virginia Burton says:

    @Maggie: as a fellow Southerner and lover of language, I feel impelled to correct your spelling. It’s y’all, not ya’ll.

  101. little gator says:

    al; custard is is naked pie without a crust, isn’t it?

    pie with condensed mild, fo rus condensed milk junkies:


    pumpkin dump cake:


    I’m looking for a better pumkin/squash bread recipe than the one i now use.

  102. jen in California says:

    @ hairball-of-hope

    Sharon R. is totally right that, despite all appearances, Ganesh (or Ganesha, both proper) the elephant rides on his rat. Statues show Ganesh and the rat as the same size when he is riding, but we never know if Ganesh shrinks or the rat gets elephant-sized. But since Ganesh is benefitting from his rat’s ability to go anywhere, no matter how difficult, it’s probably the latter.

    For the most part, rats have a traditionally positive rep in India (they are seen as smart, resourceful, planners). So it’s not too strange to have a beneficent deity like Ganesh with a rat helper. In fact in many Ganesh tales the rat advises Ganesh, as well as running his errands or taking him places. The rat has an affectionate nickname “Mooshika”, which I have been told is like saying “Mousie” or “Little Hoarder”.

  103. Maggie Jochild says:

    Virginia, I was appalled to realize you are quite right about the spelling of y’all (it’s a contraction, the apostrophe must go where the deleted letters are). This is the second time I’ve had to do a “find and replace” in my massive novel because of a correction on this website. The first was when Alison herself pointed out that chaise longue is persistently mispelled as chaise lounge. Since in >em>Ginny Bates, their chaise longue plays a repeated role, including for one hilarious sex scene, I had to edit the manuscript then.

    Now, since two of the main characters are Southerners and used y’all constantly, I’ve had to do the same with this term. 46 times, to be precise. May Ganesha and the rodential obstacle remover continue to rain their blessings on this side.

    Now, to my kitchen, to make either curry soup, cheesecake, or bread with my punkin. (grin)

  104. healing_with_Art says:

    @klf67….thanks for the Mad Men Link….as a passionate photographer and art therapy counselor I can most certainly appreciate that clip….on target thanks

  105. Calico says:

    klf67 – When I read about that particular scene a while back, I just had to see it. Went to You Tube, watched, and cried.

    Mmmm…grilled cheese – I was wondering what to do for lunch! /Crying. : D

  106. --MC says:

    I’ve been eating a lot of grilled cheese sandwiches lately. Medium sharp cheddar cheese. I get some spreadable butter and some dense bread, like five grain .. butter BOTH sides of each slice of bread .. grill one side of each, put the cheese between the slices with the ungrilled sides out, grill the ungrilled sides, then put it in the oven for ten minutes. The cheese melts, it’s wonderful. Yesterday I made a double layer grilled cheese sand., three slices of bread, two layers of cheese. K made me take a fish oil tablet to defeat the fat.

  107. Mad Scientist says:

    …hummm, fig compote, pumpkin’ somethin’, librarians, rulers, white out, Rachel M., Mad Men, Ganesha….how ’bout Kittens!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtX8nswnUKU

  108. Mad Scientist says:

    Please please please let me always remain this young at heart

  109. Ellen O. says:

    Speaking of out lesbians, what about Terry Gross?

    She says and websites say she isn’t but does anyone know differently? Marriage of convenience or really an ally who just looks the part.

  110. shadocat says:

    According to Terry’s Wiki page, “Because of her short haircut and the number of guests from arts and entertainment (some of whom are gay), Gross said in the introduction to All I Did Was Ask: Conversations With Writers, Actors, Musicians, and Artists that she is sometimes asked whether she is a lesbian, including one memorable instance where a guest at a social occasion speculated on Gross’ sexual orientation…to Gross’ mother-in-law.”

    Maybe we just WISH she was a lesbian; seems like she’d be such a good one…

  111. hairball_of_hope says:


    Ok, I’ll bite… what’s in the spicy green beans? Sometimes Costco has these enormous bags of haricots verts, I could use some variations to eat my way through a few pounds of them.

    Also, the windup toy you mentioned… were you actually looking at a flip book encased in a plastic housing? The pages of the flip book seemingly zoomed in and out of the earth/microbe view as the toy wound down? I seem to recall a toy like that at Tah-Poozie.

  112. Maggie Jochild says:

    Ah, the green beans. There was a Chinese restaurant in the Mission District in SF that made the best ever, and we recreated the recipe as best we could one night with much experimentation.

    Snap off just the ends of the haricot verts — and the thinner they are, the better. Blanche them for a minute in boiling water. In a skillet, melt both butter and peanut oil with a dash only of sesame oil and then add that Chinese or Thai hot sauce to your desired intensity. Saute finely chopped onions in this oil until sweated. Add the green beans for 2-3 minutes. For the last minute, add (in a well in the middle) chopped or minced garlic and, my variation, raw cashews. You want the beans to still be bright green and a little crisp when done, the cashew flavor to have infused the oil, and the garlic to not have gone bitter. Plus the whole thing so hot it makes your eyes tear up.

    Nope, that’s not the wind-up toy. It was by a mainstream toymaker, I remember that much, like Hasbo or Mattel. And it was animation, not a flip book. She had another one featuring Sleeping Beauty that showed a fire animation I found fascinating.

  113. Suz (Bklyn) says:

    Are you thinking of the Eames film, Maggie?

  114. hairball_of_hope says:


    Thanks. This seems like a variant of the typical “dry fried string beans” on most Chinese menus.

    Sounds yummy, I might not wait until I get to Costco for the humongous bag of haricots verts, I just might buy some overpriced green beans at Whole Paycheck.

    I have sriracha hot sauce, sambal oelek, and garlic chili paste in the fridge; I’m thinking about using sambal oelek because there will be fresh garlic in the wok. Raw cashews in my home will likely get all eaten before I ever make the green beans. πŸ˜‰

    BTW, my unconventional use for sambal oelek and garlic chili paste… I substitute either of them for horseradish on gefilte fish.

  115. hairball_of_hope says:

    I’m still thinking of getting a little Ganesh, and parking him on the wine crate that elevates my computer monitor, next to all the other tzochkes that have collected under the monitor bezel.

    In staring at my collection of random tzochkes, I stumbled on a rose rock that I picked up in Oklahoma. Here’s where I need help from Kate… why do rose rocks form that particular pattern that looks like a rose, or in the case of the one I’m staring at, a vulva?

  116. little gator says:

    I found my first grey hair at 37. My father was totally grey by 20 and white by 30, and my maternal grandmother died at 67 with few or no grey hairs. You can’t go by age.

    I have a parotid gland infection. MY spit duct is blocked by swelling. Would Ganesh help with that?


  117. hairball_of_hope says:

    @little gator

    Ouch. I suppose Ganesh would be just as helpful as anything else you could do. I just did a quick read of parotid gland infection on the NIH Medline; if it’s not bacterial (where antibiotics would be effective), there isn’t much you can do, beyond drinking lots of water and maybe some warm salt water rinses.

  118. little gator says:

    oops. I was 33, not 37.

    I;ve been to a dentist, and endodontist, an nurse practitioner and an MD and am on my second type of antib’s. Next step will be a scan.

  119. little gator says:

    I have a migraine too. Maybe beheading would help. Amputate the source of the pain.

  120. hairball_of_hope says:

    @little gator

    Unless you are predisposed to migraines, that headache might be related to the antibiotic you are taking. I’ve taken one of the fluoroquinolones (Levaquin), and gotten massive debilitating headaches.

  121. Kate L says:


    Where to begin… I think what you are refering to are a collection of mineral crystals with a platy (flat) crystal habit. Selenite (a clear form of calcium sulfate) are a good guess for the identity of platy minerals in the American Midwest. These structures are sometimes called desert flowers or gypsum flowers (gypsum is another variety of calcium sulfate). As for the image that this type of crystal evokes in us… well, we sometimes see what we most desire to see. πŸ™‚

  122. Kate L says:

    Sorry. I didn’t mean to say “are a good guess”. I meant to say “am a good guess”! πŸ˜‰

  123. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate L

    Thanks. The Oklahoma rose rocks are barite, not selenite, according to what I read at the Rose Rock Museum site (not that I know the difference between them, except for the obvious barium sulfate vs. calcium sulfate):


    Lots of iron in them too, as evidenced by the red color. Crystallography is not my strong suit, hated the Bragg equation.

  124. sparks says:

    Gaaaaa…I could’ve sworn I heard Terri Gross come out once. But I don’t remember when or whether it was my own wishing/assuming.

    Perhaps bi like me? Maybe she had made reference to a woman partner? I mean, she’s married to a man now, but that doesn’t say anything about what’s come before.


  125. little gator says:

    I am an experienced migraineur, but thanks for noticing in case I wasn’t.

  126. SQPNTK says:

    I like the Ganesh statue. But then again, I love chotchsky stuff that has to do with spirituality.

    Anyway, I added you to my blogroll at http://stuffqueerpeopleneedtoknow.wordpress.com/

  127. Feminista says:

    New topic: Che,new epic film produced by Steven Soderburgh.
    I saw part one on Sat.afternoon (total running time is 247 min.) Great acting,cinematography,meticulous attention to historical accuracy and detail. Soderburgh also doesn’t take sides: Che is shown as human,who could be very kind yet sometimes berated his comrades,and sometimes acted ruthlessly.

    The scenes which were most moving: Che the doctor,healing the campesinos and the guerilleros,insisting on respect for the every day people. Che the teacher,tutoring a campesino who joined the ranks and organizing literacy classes. Comandante Che,who never felt he was better than his companer@s.

    For those who’ve seen Motorcycle Diaries,it picks up the story in the mid-50s when Che meets Fidel Castro and others in Mexico.

    Vilma Espin,Celia Sanchez,Aleida March,the only women to have positions of responsibility,are treated respectfully,though I think they should have been highlighted more. Tamara “Tania” Bunke was the only woman in the Bolivian campaign in part II,which I didn’t see,so I can’t comment on her characterization.

    Warning: may be too much violence for the sensitive,like me. Overall,however,worth seeing.

  128. hairball_of_hope says:

    The Washington Post is reporting that Funes has won the election in El Salvador, Ávila has conceded defeat:


  129. ksbel6 says:

    Off topic: I get to see Joan Baez tonight in Columbia, MO for the 3rd time in 5 years!!

  130. Kate L says:


    You are correct, rose rock is barite! And I think you’re plenty expert in crystallography! I clicked on the link you provided, and saw that the rock shop with the barite rose was near my old stompin’ grounds in the Sooner State (uh, that’s Oklahoma to you world-wide readers. Yeah, like in the old musical). I was once on the staff of the Oklahoma Geological Survey at the University of Oklhoma (my first real job in geology). Too bad I’m still not there… we could meet up and look for interesting rocks and minerals. Oh, and here’s a link to Wikipedia’s page about rose rock (I find Wikipedia suitable for reminding me of things I should remember, like this, and at the very end of the article they even mention “selenite, a mineral which also forms rose-shaped stones”.

    On another topic, the director of our campus Women’s Center just took my photograph for a university web page of SafeZone allies. She had me pose in front of a sheer green curtain, parting it with my hand and looking all girlie. Most unusual for me!

  131. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate L

    I’ll meet you at La Baguette for coffee and croissants, then we can head over to Thunderbird Lake. πŸ˜‰

    OGS is at Westheimer Field with the NWS (National Weather Service), yes? NWS moved into a new building in the past year or so, haven’t been back to see it yet.

    If you haven’t been back to Norman OK in a while, it’s changed quite a bit in the past quarter century. Gone are the days when it seemed like tumbleweed was blowing down Lindsay Ave in the summer when school was out.

    For starters, OK is no longer a dry state (non-USAnians, that means they can now legally serve alcohol in restaurants and bars). There’s a Starbucks across the street from Norman HS. And the Sooner Fashion Mall (now renamed the Sooner Mall) has competition from a huge mall across Main Street that features both Bunns and Noodles and Bounders.

  132. Timmytee says:

    @ksbel6: I just found JB’s “Diamonds and Rust” at my local public library. I owned it in the ’70s, and occaisionally I hear the title track on the Muzak in the restaurant where I work, but incredibly I’d forgotten most of the rest. It’s beyond wonderfull to hear it again! Also, I just saw her in Scorsese’s Bob Dylan documentary (the title escapes me right now), giving a recent interview, and in 45-year-old performance footage. I’m going to be looking for more DVD concerts of her, for sure! Best wishes to all fron northwest Pennsylvania! Spring is Coming!

  133. Kate L says:

    The Sooner Fashion Mall renamed! Will wonders never cease. Wow! I can remember when the OGS was in Gould Hall, then moved over to the Energy Research Center building! Btw, it WAS a quarter century ago when I worked there. I was a young thing, then, the kind you would want to pose looking pensively out gauzy green curtains. Hey, maybe there’s a little of that person left! I lived in the apartment complex across the street from the open field next to the football stadium. Across from the duck pond. Gosh, set the way back machine for 1980, hairball, and let’s meet up! πŸ™‚

  134. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate L

    Yipes! I’ve got a closet full of Western boots from my time in Oklahoma.

    I never did understand the “Fashion” part of the Sooner Mall name, when the anchor stores were (I think) Sears and JC Penny.

    Is the Energy Center the building with the nuclear reactor right near Campus Corner? Jenkins? Boyd? Somewhere around there. I remember when it was being built, and tried to stay FAR away from it.

    Bad news living near the football stadium, game day is horrible in Norman and every other Division I college town.

    (Regional food chauvinism alert….) Norman is a lot better than it used to be, it’s actually possible to get a decent meal that doesn’t include okra and/or chicken-fried steak.

    Last time I was there I had some decent (by Oklahoma standards) Thai food on E. Main St. I remember the first time I went to a Chinese restaurant in the 1980s and asked for chopsticks… they were so befuddled at this unusual request that I ended up eating with a beautiful pair of lacquered chopsticks that must have been the owner’s personal set.

    Then, as now, La Baguette has wonderful croissants, breads, pastries, and coffee, and they also serve salads, quiche, sandwiches, etc. Recommended.

  135. Kate L says:

    Nope, the Energy Center is the tall, red brick building (THAT really narrows it down! Inside OU joke πŸ™‚ ) across East Boyd from the main part of campus. I’m confident that there is no nuclear reactor inside it.

  136. Feminista says:

    Re: O-K-L-A-H-O-M-A,Oklahoma,OK!

    My first and only time in OK was at a National Women’s Studies Assoc.conference at OU ca.1994. I was pleased to see a significant number of Native students and staff. We were housed in the dorms,which were spartan but air-conditioned. Yep,the college cafeteria served traditional regional fare,but I was glad to see the addition of some decent Tex-Mex & a salad bar. But I didn’t go there for the food!

    Universities often offer space in the summer to other groups,so we were surrounded by a girls’ cheerleading clinic & a boys’ football intensive. Fortunately,nobody bothered us,though for all I know,they may have thought we talked about home economics. I enjoyed swimming in the outdoor pool and visiting the anthro museum in between conference sessions.

    I gave a presentation on Women and Cuba,as I’d recently been on a Global Exchange tour focusing on Cuban art,education and politics. My Italian dorm mate,assigned randomly, had been on a Nicaraguan work brigade in the 80s,and was an expert on Greek goddesses.

  137. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate L

    Thanks. Then I’m confusing the Energy Center with another building, I’m thinking around Jenkins or so. (Ducks out for quick Google…) Maybe I was wrong all those years ago, definitely it was the Sarkeys Energy Center being built at the corner of Boyd and Jenkins. I guess the research reactor is somewhere else on campus. Or perhaps post-1994 OKC Murrah Bldg bombing, and 1993 and 2001 WTC attacks, they no longer advertise that they’ve got a nuclear reactor on campus.

    The OU inside joke… Everything is red in Oklahoma. The soil. The water in Lake Thunderbird. The OU school colors. Lots of buildings on campus.

    Oh yeah, and they are a reliable red state. Republicans.

    I’d only set the time machine back to 1980 if I could have my accumulated wisdom (??) of the past 29 years paired with my younger body and the prospect of doing things with that acquired knowledge/wisdom.

    No way I want to live through the Reagan Administration again though. BLEAH. I was so depressed during the Reagan dark ages, I made Clarice look positively ebullient during the Bush years by comparison. The one-two whammo in 1980 of Reagan being elected and John Lennon being shot put me into a multi-year funk.

  138. hairball_of_hope says:

    I forgot to ask… what are SafeZone allies?

  139. hairball_of_hope says:


    Yup, Oklahoma really is Indian Territory, the end of the Trail of Tears. Lots of folks there have Native ancestry, and you can’t tell just from the visual cues, so my guess is there were more Native staff and students than you realized. Some of my colleagues carried cards denoting membership in one of the Nations; membership is based on percentages of ancestry of the various tribes.

    De-clique-ification note for non-USAnians: Native peoples in the US were persecuted, killed, and driven from their ancestral lands by the US government and Army. (This is an unfortunately common scenario in many countries with indigenous peoples.)

    In the US, the campaign to drive Native peoples from the southern US is known as The Trail of Tears. Native peoples in the lower 48 states are colloquially known as Indians, and the land that later became the state of Oklahoma was called Indian Territory. It became a state in 1907.

    As typical for US government dealings with Native peoples, they had a landgrab (homesteading) in the Indian Territory reserved for non-Natives in 1889, and plenty of folks grabbed acres of land sooner than they were allowed to. Thus the nickname, “Sooners”. You’d think that would be a perjorative, but not here. While the Sooners were grabbing land illegally, and occasionally the US Army did force them off the land, pretty much the US government gave up and opened up the land for everyone to grab.

    There are still large swaths of Oklahoma that are Indian Nation reservations. In the past decade or so they’ve legalized gambling on Indian lands in Oklahoma, bringing in money to the Nations.

  140. Maggie Jochild says:

    My father’s ancestors were some of those land-grabbers in what was then Chickasaw Nation, Indian Territory (now Love County, OK). They were mixed white and Choctaw. Some of that line fought for the Union during the Civil War, some for the Confederacy. On my mother’s side, one Confederate ancestor was killed in the biggest battle in Indian Territory, the Battle of Honey Creek, where there were Choctaw, Cherokee, and Creek contingents in both armies. It’s all more complicated than most history would have us know.

    Aside from dreading visiting the bible-thumping Okie relatives, my strongest memories of Oklahoma involve being a teenager who lived 10 miles from the Red River and crossing the border with someone just over 18 to buy 3.2 beer (legal for 18-year-olds to buy in OK during the early 1970s), and attending a wimmin’s music festival outside of Stillwater, Oklahoma in July 1977. Oklahoma had a thriving women’s land community near Stillwater, believe it or not, and the music festival drew women from all the states around. We drove several hours from Texas to attend. This was after the first Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival but before the second one, still on the “old land”. The Stillwater event got rained out and we moved into town to a brick warehouse in the middle of the downtown district. I heard some incredible music and was hooked. Later that summer I went to Michigan for the first time, and in September I moved to wimmin’s land in Colorado. Thanks, Okie sisters!

  141. Aunt Soozie says:

    I don’t know Terry’s personal life for sure, for sure… but, as a former Philadelphian I can say that in the community she was never known to be anything other than what she appears to be, well, I don’t mean her haircut, I mean, she was never rumored to be a closeted lesbian…. despite the short hair. Some straight women do have those haircuts. It is permissible. (in some states)

  142. Aunt Soozie says:

    also, I’m embarrassed to say this… but everytime I look at this post I keep hearing that song from High School Musical Two in my head… please tell me I’m not alone…. please?!?!

  143. Feminista says:

    And remember,Woody Guthrie,Will Rogers,and Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz were born in OK. Further,Germaine Greer established a well-respected center for women’s literature in Tulsa.

    Just goes to show,there are pockets of progressive politics in particular places.

  144. Feminista says:

    oops,that should read peculiar instead of particular.

  145. hairball_of_hope says:


    Hope I didn’t offend you by calling your ancestors land-grabbers. That 3.2% alcohol stuff was called “near-beer”. Yuck.


    Don’t forget Anita Hill, she was born in OK, and was a law prof at OU when Thomas was nominated to the Supreme Court. Don’t know if she’s actually progressive, but she sure got tarred, feathered, and run out of town as if she were one. She’s teaching at Brandeis now.

  146. shadocat says:

    Soozie; I’m a little behind the times. What’s the song?

  147. Duncan says:

    hairball of hope, “SafeZone Allies” (or similar names) are a program found on numerous college campuses around the US. (Possibly elsewhere and/or in high schools as well.) We had such a program here at IU since the 90s, but it appears to be fading out slowly. The idea is that, possibly after training, faculty and counseling staff get stickers to put on their doors, which declare them to be Safe Space Allies, usually for GLBTQ+pi people, free of “bigotry, harassment, and ignorance.” I’ve always been wary of such programs, and wrote about my objections here:


    including some images of Safe Zone stickers from different schools. If only it were possible to rid people of bigotry, harassment, and ignorance with a short training program!

  148. Maggie Jochild says:

    Not offended at all. They WERE land-grabbers, the most racist and woman-hating line of all my lines. It’s all of a parcel.

    America was founded by people who could not figure out how to find liberation in Europe. Mostly I think of them, my ancestors, as having profound issues with maintaining healthy community. “Manifest Destiny” is a short-cut term for “We aren’t going to deal with our cultural and emotional baggage until we run out of continent and people to enslave”. Dubya had one last hurrah at avoidance, and the hour is now upon us as a nation, I do believe.

    Feminista, I tend to think that the most repressive regions are often where you find the most ardent radicals, because they know what it means to transgress, but also how to spot allies in a sea of hostility. Certainly I moved back to Tejas from San Fran counting on that philosophy.

  149. Feminista says:


    Didn’t know Hill was OK-born.

    RE: her politics. Although she worked at right-wing bastion Oral Roberts Univ.,her courage about raising the issue of sexual harassment to the general public through the Clarence Thomas hearings is very commendable. And I agree she was treated horribly,which continued for many years,including in a right-wing smear book. Its author eventually recanted,claiming he was “blinded by the right.”
    Clarence Thomas’ autobio didn’t help either.

    Her move to Brandeis in 97 indicates to me a leftward shift. I haven’t read her books or heard her speak,but I think she’s made many important positive contributions in race and gender issues.

    So while she’s no Alice Walker,neither is she Condi Rice.

    And with that I must get off the blog,as interesting as it is.

  150. hairball_of_hope says:


    Wow. Thoughtful post on that blog of yours. I’m wondering what you think might be a reasonable and effective way to implement a safezone program? I think there’s value in it, and that it should not be limited to only LGBT issues. I think any type of harrassment, racism, sexism, or just plain old bullying should be the target behaviors that the program aims to address.

    You bring up valid points about the professionals being out in left field at times (just look at the history of the DSM for a glaring example), and that no one is truly free of prejudice. That said, SOMEONE has to step up to the plate and try to create safe space.

    Certainly, the self-selection of volunteers to be safezone allies does not/should not mean that all volunteers are accepted, but the reality is that whoever was doing the screening/training was unlikely to reject the president of the LGBT association. It was also unlikely that the prez would have exhibited the inappropriate behaviors during any kind of volunteer screening.

    Shame on the other LGBT association officers who were at that screening who didn’t speak up to discuss the discomfort that the gay men had at viewing lesbians kissing. I’m sure in retrospect you are kicking yourself a bit for not speaking up either.

    Not knowing your role in the event, I don’t know if you were merely an attendee or one of the staff who had an obligation (legal/moral/ethical, depending on the rules of your university) to speak up in real-time to get folks thinking about their reactions.

    It was definitely a teaching moment that got away. In my opinion, there should have been a diversity professional or well-trained staff member present, who presumably would have hit the pause button and gotten folks talking/thinking about their reactions if the LGBT officers didn’t have enough sense to do it themselves.

    As you said, you didn’t really recognize the behaviors as homophobic instead of being merely childish until much later. There’s still an opportunity to address it post-fact, either with an e-mail or one-on-one conversation with the LGBT association folks, or simply point them in the direction of your excellent blog post.

    Thanks for sharing.

  151. hairball_of_hope says:


    How was the concert?

  152. acilius says:

    @Duncan: h_o_h is right- that really is a “thoughtful post on that blog of yours.”

    When you say that teachers who put SafeZone stickers on their office doors are declaring themselves “person[s] for whom enforcement isn’t needed,” you really got me thinking. I’ve always declined the stickers our local LGBTQI organization offers to put on my door. The reason I’ve always given is that any student of mine who doesn’t think my office would be a safe space for her or him has probably picked up on some shortcoming of mine that I’ve fooled myself into believing doesn’t exist, and a sticker telling them that they are wrong is likelier to hurt them than it is to enlighten me. But maybe another reason is that I would rather not be on the side of enforcers. I’m frankly more comfortable resisting enforcement, even enforcement of mores I believe in, than I am joining any group of enforcers. So perhaps I should try to overcome my rejectionism and develop a more cooperative attitude towards authority.

  153. ksbel6 says:

    To all who are interested: The Joan concert was amazing! I can’t believe how well she can project her voice after all these years of singing. She’s also very entertaining with jokes and stories between songs.

    @Timmytee: the documentary you are referring to is No Direction Home. I thought it was great.

  154. Motorcycle GPS Mount says:

    Great, thanks!