postprandial walk in spring, Best American Comics

April 22nd, 2011 | Uncategorized

Ramps (wild leeks), forest cat, trout lilies, brook, melting snow, raccoon print, some kinda furry pussy willow kinda things on a fallen branch.

I’m the guest editor of Best American Comics 2011, which will be coming out this fall. The amazing Jillian Tamaki drew the cover—she just posted the art on her blog, along with some discarded ideas. I really love the final drawing.

It’s interesting to read about her experience doing sketches on the Cintiq. This is a very fancy digital pen system that enables you to draw right on your computer screen, thus obviating the annoying distance problem of graphic tablets in which you draw here, and your line shows up over there.

117 Responses to “postprandial walk in spring, Best American Comics”

  1. Dr. Empirical says:

    Time well spent!

  2. Kate L says:

    Thanks, I needed that walk in the woods after the week that was, for many reasons! πŸ™‚ I only wish that I could have had that special-recipe gin and tonic that Rachel Maddow made on-air tonight, too… where’s replicator technology when you need it???

  3. Andi says:

    “Postprandial.” God, I love a girl with a good vocabulary. Happy Spring Alison!

  4. Alex K says:

    And the book is ALREADY available for pre-order on Amazon. Deadline! Pressure! Good luck!

    Are the candidates for inclusion self-proposed or third-party-proposed? If the latter, who are the third parties whose remit is to know the discipline and to select the work included? Is work of candidates additionally jury-reviewed? If so, of whom is that jury composed? What form does your contribution as editor take?

    Answers on a postcard, please.

  5. Diamond says:

    Dr Winnicott’s camouflage coat is surprisingly effective isn’t it?

  6. Ginjoint says:

    Mmmmm…babbling brook…mmmmmm…

  7. NLC says:


    I don’t know what it’s doing up at AB’s; but here in Southern VT we woke up to an inch of fresh snow this morning…

  8. Eva says:

    Oh! What fun Alison! And what an honor! Lynda Barry was the guest editor a couple years ago, wasn’t she? Love Jillian Tamaki’s work! And gotta love ramp season!!!

    Snowing. Right. Now. In. Central. Vermont. Ahgg. But yesterday was beautifully sunny and walking around downtown Montpelier for the Art Walk yesterday evening was delightful. Occasionally nature cooperates with our plans!

  9. Colin says:

    Congratulations on your guest editorship!

    @ 4. Alex K, Artists & publishers are encouraged to submit work for review. The series editors use the submissions & their own familiarity with the field (+ the work of tireless interns, I believe) to produce a list for the guest editor to choose from.

  10. Alex K says:

    @9 / Colin: Thanks. A mix of self-selection and connoisseurship, then.

    Gotta love those crazy interns, rounding corners on two wheels — make that two wheel RIMS!

  11. Pam I says:

    Funny looking at snow there when its 27 degrees here. Yes really, in April.

  12. Kate L says:

    Pet-related: My fifty-four-pound harrier hound wanted to go out this weekend, when I noticed that one of her floppy ears was flipped over. I said to her, “Show me your ear!”, and my dog tilted the side of her head with the flipped ear to where I could reach it, and put it back down. That’s when I realized, my dog knows her body parts!

  13. Kate L: Knowing your body parts is a danger sign for lesbianism. Better get your hound into reparative therapy fast.

  14. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Maggie (#13)

    Good one! I spit my tea out laughing so hard. You made my day, thanks.

    (… goes back to thinking of the days of learning about someone else’s body parts …)

  15. Kate L says:

    Maggie!!! πŸ™‚ I should add that when I take my dog for a walk, and we meet a lesbian, she invariably sniffs them in a critical region. Honestly, where does she get that behaviour????!!!!

  16. Kate L says:

    This just in… one of the newly-elected anti-LGBT city commissioners in Smallville says that he does not want any public comment at the upcoming city commission meeting when the new majority on the commission votes to eliminate LGBT as a protected class in the Smallville human rights ordinance, and quite possibly votes to do away with the entire ordinance and the Smallville human rights board that goes with it. This new commissioner says that his election should end public comment on the matter of LGBT rights. Oh, brave new Smallville, that has such city commissioners in it!

  17. Andrew B says:

    I like Donald’s noble beast of the forest pose on top of that little hummock.

  18. Lurk-A-Lot says:

    Alison, I can’t wait for this year’s edition of Best American Comics!

    I’ve read every edition since Harvey Pekar guest edited the first one back in 2006.

    My favourite editions so far have been the ones guest edited by Lynda Barry, and by Harvey Pekar.

    I am so grateful to BAC for introducing me to the astonishing Gabrielle Bell.

    Can’t wait to see your selections.


  19. Wish we could have submitted The Comic Torah this year, but our pub date was October. I’ll send it in for next year. Put in a good word for us! Happy ramping.

  20. Therry and St. Jerome says:

    I loved the tour of your forest. It looks so much like spring, with the intense green lichen, and the patches of snow, and the wonder cat stepping through the dried leaves. Do you eat the ramps? Somewhere in my papers, I have a forty page travelogue that someone unknown to me wrote about driving through the wilds of southwest Pennsylvania with members of his or her family, hunting for ramps. They didn’t describe them as wild leeks, though, but wild scallions. There was a lot of beer involved.

  21. Laurie G says:

    Alison, I am SO jealous!!! I’d love to try ramps, but I don’t know where to look in my area. I’ve heard rumors that they exist here in wayyyy upstate NY, but have no contacts with someone who’d know where to find ’em. Did you take any home to nibble? Loved that you freed them from the leaves. I do that for my crocuses and scilla.

    Donald may be the first male calico I’ve ever seen…looks like he has calico attitude, though. Loved how he managed to avoid the snow!

    Thanks for sharing all that beauty with us. And for using the fabulous word “postprandial.” I try to slip that in whenever I can.

    @Maggie (#13): you totally rock!

  22. NLC says:

    Andrew B #17:
    I too was struck by that pose. But the other feature of the shot was the camera angle. Alison (Holly?) must have been lying on the (damp, cold) ground.

    Laurie G #21:
    I’ve not had the pleasure meeting the good Dr, but I believe that Donald is, in fact, a female. For example, in the video above Donald is referred to as “she”.

    (But then who am I to presume…)

  23. Ginjoint says:

    We need to learn Donald’s preferred pronouns. Kate, I am so sorry about that council situation. You and the others have worked so hard. I hope the measure can be re-introduced some day.

    [The last time I spoke with Donald, I was told it’s “Mrkgnao”. –Mentor]

  24. Donald is a girl, but is comfortable with whatever pronouns people feel like giving her.

    Interestingly, any cat that has black AND orange fur is a female, for some complicated genetic reason involving a fur-color gene and the X chromosome which I don’t quite follow.

    @Alex K and Colin, thanks for the Q and A about Best American Comics! Yes, the series editors Jessica Abel and Matt Madden collect all the submissions, sent from whomever, and from those, they sent me a box of around 100 entries. Then I picked roughly 30 from that group. It was pretty intense. I did that work last fall/winter. Then the other part of my job as guest editor was to write an Intro. I finished that in February, so my work is pretty much done except for doing some book signings in the fall. Which I hope you will all come to!

  25. The ramps aren’t quite ready to eat yet.

  26. Kate L says:

    Alison, Donald should be congratulated for breaking through the gender barriers of our patriarchist society! Right on, kitty cat!!! πŸ™‚

    You can eat ramps?

    Ginjoint, Thanks! πŸ™ Looks like our three-week experiment in LGBT equality here in Smallville is about to crash and burn…

  27. Therry and St. Jerome says:

    we get ramps at our local farmstand, along with whatever the word for early little sprouts of ferns is.

  28. Ian says:

    Lovely vid and congrats on the editing gig AB!

    For those of you who know how to access the BBC iPlayer, I really recommend you watch this k.d. lang BBC4 Sessions gig. It’s available until 1:49 am Sunday morning. πŸ˜€

    k.d. lang in concert at the BBC.

  29. Ginjoint says:

    I’ll be sure to pick up a copy of this edition, Alison. BTW, I did buy The L Life several weeks ago, and it’s quite lovely. Everyone’s portraits are beautiful, and I want a copy of that painting hanging on the wall behind Ann Bannon! (It shows a woman sneakily reading a Beebo Brinker book.)

    I had my boob surgery yesterday, and I’m home now. Everything went fine. I’m now bound up in this tight white girdle thing, though, along with this plastic stuff covering each boob which itches like hell. But all’s well; couldn’t ask for better.

  30. Marj says:

    Doncha just love Holly and the good doctor hopping about like a couple of kids? And the wellies?

    Kate, I’m so sorry.

    Ginjoint… wishing you well.

    Maggie, you made Hairball spit her tea – heee!

    And Ian, thanks for the kd link. I watched her on Later… last night – is it me, or has she regained her edge?

  31. Ginjoint, those wraps are maddening to live with. Thank you for updating us, and for taking care of yourself. Some of the two dozen of us in daily convo at Facebook were plotting how to get you over there among us where, well, if you think we go off tangent HERE… Anyhow, I suggested we tell you we share nekkid pitchers of ourselves on FB. But somebody else (Judybusy? Acilius?) said that would more likely send you screaming and running for the hills. Who is right? (If you say me, I’ll send you a, um, candid photo.)

  32. Ian says:

    You’re welcome Marj. I haven’t seen the ‘Later …’ performance, so I’ll check that out in a bit. I think she’s got it back. The songs she performed from her new album were brilliant. You could well be right that she’s got her edge back. Or her mojo on. Or her groove thang goin’.

    @Maggie, I’m not one of those gays that goes “eww” when a woman’s private bits are mentioned. But start swapping pics of you all in the nip and I’m outta here! Dr E might appreciate it though.

  33. Ginjoint says:

    Thanks, Marj and Maggie! However, Maggie, I’m not on Facebook, nor will I be. I like staying incognito on the web. Plus, my life isn’t interesting enough to have things to post. It’s very much an eat-work-sleep-then-repeat kind of existence, which doesn’t lend itself well to Facebook.

  34. Ginjoint says:

    Ian, I’m one of those lesbians who goes “ewww” when a man’s private bits are mentioned, let alone seen!

    I’m sorry.

  35. Ian says:

    @Ginjoint: Hahahahahhaaaaa! I’m sorry, because I forgot to give you good wishes after your surgery and send you healing vibes through the ether.

    It’s a shame we can’t lure you to the dark side, I mean Facebook. I love reading your posts on this blog and you never fail to make me laugh.

  36. ready2agitate says:

    Woo-hoo, me ‘n Ginjoint are drinking gin in the land-‘o-no-fb. I am SO not on fb. I am SO not wanting to be looked up by people from high school. (But I am SO missing the fun, eh?)

    Ginjoint, as shitty as it is, I’m glad the surgery went well.

    I think this is the just about only blog I read.

  37. Feminista says:

    #36 Ready: I resisted the Siren Song of FB until last May (gasp)because I found my niece and daughter didn’t always respond to emails or phone calls,but had begun to use FB as a major means of communication. It’s been fun,mostly,though can be a time-sucker;however,there is a sense of community that’s vital to me at times. I doubt I would be on it if Richard were still around…

  38. Alex K says:

    Sad news, and who would have imagined that I learnt it first from the TELEGRAPH? — Phoebe Snow has died.

    Thirty-one years she tended her brain-damaged daughter. Admirable, amazing.

    And, oh, she could wail with such joy that I shiver now remembering it…

    “Nothing can defeat you now
    You come from solid stock
    Put your hand up
    Stand up
    On the rock!”

  39. hairball_of_hope says:

    @R2A (#36)

    Add me to your non-FB gin-swigging party. I much prefer REAL friends, thank you very much.

    @Ginjoint (#29)

    Glad the boob surgery went well. How long do you have be entombed in that corset?

    (… goes back to celebrating chametz in her diet …)

  40. Kate L says:


    Hope you are feeling better! πŸ™‚

    Speaking of parts, there was a Saturday Night Live video clip on young Dr. Maddow’s television machine program last night that involved… parts. A part. And a rabbit. Young Dr. Maddow apologized on the air to her mother in San Francisco for the clip, but watching Dana Carvey again after all these years made me nostalgic. My mother and I would watch Saturday Night Live out here in Kansas, and she thought that Carvey’s Church Lady was hilarious! Although, I never could get her to believe that the actor who played the Church Lady also played Hans (or Franz?).

  41. Calico says:

    That plant that you are “freeing” from the leaves in prevalent in our backyard in Cap-Rouge – the area used to be unfettered woods until the mid-80’s.

    BTW, I was in Burlington VT last week returning from some sw training in NJ, and I purchased “Fun Home” at Bounder’s πŸ™‚ on Church Street. Also purchased “Medium Raw” by A. Bourdain. We’re looking forward to reading your creation and enjoying the drawings!

  42. Calico says:

    Oh, and Re: Donald’s name, our one year old Tortie cat is named Charlotte, but more often than not I call her “Charlie.”
    When she’s on a tear I call her “Charlie Sheen Junior.” ; P

  43. Ginjoint says:

    O.K., I have to stay enwreathed enveloped TRUSSED in this damn thing for about a week. We’ll see how long I’ll actually last.

    Today is a day for pain killers.

    Facebook certainly does have its merits, but as R2A mentioned, I just don’t want people looking me up. And I don’t want to get sucked into it.

  44. For those of us who cannot go out, FB is where my real friends are now. What has emerged from the community there is actually saving my life and providing my future. And it is NOT “less than.”

    My art has flourished with the addition of FB, not diminished. Self-discipline is necessary no matter what means of communication you have available. Although lately I’m not writing ehough, but that’s because I’m in love. Happens to all of us.

    If you don’t want to be looked up by someone in your past, don’t say yes. It’s easy.

    It is a time sink, but so is any conversation if you want to view it that way. After five years of daily exchanges in one venue or another, the sharing that is going on now is serious and often quite intimate. And if you tighten up those privacy settings all the way, it is far less visible than what occurs here.

    Plus anyone who can create a throw-away email addy, a screen name, and declines to give a phone number can be completely anonymous (or as much as is possible with the NSA left unchecked by Mr. Hopey-Changey). Those of us who have become friends via this venue and that one have chosen when and were to share real names, real life details — as you do in any relationship.

    I have no intention of giving up the Mothership, as we call this. It’s unique, and I like how it is open to EVERYBODY. But for private conversations, it’s not appropriate. And it belongs to Alison. We are visiting her house.

    So, I respect your boundaries but had to defend my own equal intelligence and judgment in employing FB as a tool.

  45. Diamond says:

    Off topic, but very sad that Poly Styrene has died at 53.

  46. Marj says:

    Maggie. And for those of us who can go out, but choose not to. Smooch.

    Ginjoint, the truss sounds vile. Hang in there honey… and use drugs.

    Diamond. Gutted about Poly Styrene.

  47. Calico says:

    Sad week-Phoebe Snow, Poly Styrene. RIP.
    Some folks go too young-Laura Branigan, Teena Marie, Ari Up as well…

  48. Kate L says:

    Calico (#47) A lot of celebrated folk my age have been leaving this mortal coil, lately. And, here I thought we baby boomers would be immortal! πŸ™

    Maggie (#44) I’ve been staying away from FaceBook, and I’ve never owned a cellular telephone device. I’m awaiting a cellular telephone with beam-out capacity!

    Last Fall, I applied for a low-income home rehabilitation grant. The city commission (the new, more conservative city commission, at that) finally got around to approving it at their first meeting a week and one-half ago. Now, city staff is making me resubmit everything! I’m sure that my coming out at a commission meeting where adding LGBT to the city human rights ordinance was just a coincidence. And, to think, I was talking to the (he thought) winning contractor just last Thursday. One step forward, a hundred steps back…

  49. Pam I says:

    On FB: I signed up to be able to contact a long-lost. I had thought it was all about snippets of people’s days, that was it. Well there is some of that, but it’s much more used (by me + my ‘friends’) for posting links – to bits of political news, handy/funny videos, photo info, all sorts, then it’s easy to comment re each post too. You can use any old name.

    My main reservation is its ubiquity + monopoly. Many small organisations no longer bother to set up a proper website or even blog, they just use a FB page – and to see that you have to be a member. So you have to sign up to be able to access info on that new breakfast cereal/whatever. FB owns this vast amount of info, and has us by the short n curlies if we want to find out stuff.

    Reservation number 2, it’s supplanting email for young ones, maybe others. Apparently email is just Old.

    It’s as time-sucking or not, as you like. The main risk for me is following links and then wandering off into random webbing, but that’s not due to FB, that’s my everyday slackness.

  50. ready2agitate says:

    Oh sad day, Phoebe Snow, our Poetry Woman.

    In love, Maggie, for real? Do tell!

  51. Ginjoint says:

    Sorry, Maggie, I hope I didn’t come across as completely dissing Facebook or those who use it. If I did, apologies. It’s just not my thing, for the reasons stated above. And the very last thing I need is a reason to spend yet more time on the web. I do not have this “self-discipline” of which you speak.

  52. Dr. Empirical says:

    I joined FB to get in contact with an old girlfriend, whose city I’d soon be visiting. We’re now in frequent contact. The first thing I did after joining was to search the names of several other ex’s who I didn’t want to hear from, and block them. You can block people. That’s important. They won’t know they’re blocked; they’ll just assume you’re not on FB.

    I get a lot of Friend requests from people I barely know. I just don’t accept. Easy.

    Facebook is fun for me because my musician friends will read, and comment on, my posts about trapeze, my comic book friends will comment on my posts about music, and my trapeze friends will comment on my posts about comic books. DtWoF friends comment on everything.

    But I still don’t own a cell phone.

  53. Kate L says:

    City staff has no requested a current paycheque stub, a copy of my teaching contract, and evidence of how much a small annuity is paying me. They now say that I’ll “hear something (about my low-income housing rehab grant) next week”. Papers, please? Well, this is nothing compared to the torments that our first african-american president has been put through over his birth certificate (and, as of yesterday, now his college transcripts and even his draft records). A young african-american woman has, I think, summed up why people of color in the USA are so resentful of the so-called birthers. It has to do with the treatment of african-americans in this country. Please hear what she has to say.

  54. Kate L says:

    … and please ignore the lead-in commercial featuring one of my fellow geologists trying to justify fracking shale for natural gas!

  55. Dr. Empirical says:

    Best wishes to Ginjoint’s boobies!

  56. Mentor says:

    [For your internet-amusement:


  57. Kate L says:

    Gosh, Mentor, my dad used to subscribe to Guns n’ Ammo (a real magazine, and yes, he did). That web site link makes me all nostalgic!!!

  58. r2a — crazy in love. Like I thought I’d never be. After 2 years of, oops, online connection that just kept getting closer and closer until she [yes, gasp, it is a she] got in past the claymores and scar tissue. Old dykes out there, it can happen.

    However, we are not changing our FB status because we give FB NOTHING for free and we are only telling close friends one another’s name. So far.

    On another topic (I can wrench my attention away), I am livid about the birth certificate release. I want white supremacy NAMED for the vile shit it is every time it appears and for no more air time to be given to it. However, we have a corporate entertainment industry instead of public media, except for the intertoobz, and it serves the purposes of our overlords to keep us distracted with defending against constant hate.

  59. Kate L says:

    Oh, Maggie, good for you! πŸ™‚

    As for the birthers, I’m beginning to think that they’ve been living in their little lily white world so long that they don’t see the oncoming headlamp of the train that is the 2012 general election. How’s that for punditry?

  60. Pam I says:

    @ Mentor – huh?

  61. Pam I, the URL for has been nabbed by a slimeball site selling guns. That’s what Mentor is pointing out.

    Ginjoint, no worries, I was having a touchy day. Blame it on hormones.

  62. r2a says:

    crap – don’t click on mentor’s link – I hate upping the Google rankings of hate sites (or sites of abhorrent politics)!

    Happy news, maggie -especially given the tsurris of the last couple years. She’s one lucky woman!

  63. Renee S. says:

    Hey y’all

    Ginjoint~pos vibes for the booby trap to come off soon.

    Glad to see everybody here that I haven’t seen in a long time…R2a, Ginjoint, HOH, Kate, oh, and Alison, Holly and Doc W. Actually, I am happy to see everyone.

    I miss everyone–yes, have been in FB world. We started a sort of DTWOF kibbutz over there. And we often pine for those who will not cross over into, as Ian says, the “DarkSide.”


  64. Dr. Empirical says:

    Okay, Facebook mavens, explain this to me:

    There’s a woman at Philadelphia School of Circus Arts who I was introduced to once. We exchanged maybe three sentences of conversation, and haven’t spoken since. The public info on her profile describes her politics as “Radical Lesbian Seperatist”.

    Why does she want to Friend me?

  65. Kate L says:

    Dr. Empirical (#64) Because you’re good enough, you’re nice enough, and – gosh darn it – everyone likes you!!!! πŸ™‚

    Renee S. *(#63) Welcome back! I’ve been so engrossed with my low-income home rehab grant battle (the latest episode of The Perils of Kate L, check your local listings) that I hadn’t been keeping track of who all was posting. I think Feminista has had one recent post (Kate L hoists a Revolutionary Sisters Salute). Is there anyone else who has been missing from the group, lately?

  66. Fester Bestertester says:

    Dr. Empirical (#64):

    Perhaps that’s one of the advantages of FaceBook.
    You can be friends with someone you would otherwise want to be separated from?

  67. Ginjoint says:

    Kate, that was awesome – both your response to Dr. E. :),and the words of Goldie Taylor. Thanks for putting up that link.

    For the last three years my friends and I have steamed over the blatant and unadulterated racism on display with Obama. There are white people who just cannot handle the fact that a black man is a thousand times smarter and more successful than they’ll ever be. It is all about race, one hundred percent; I won’t be conned into thinking anything else. Fuckers. And Donald Trump is a pathetic puke.

    Sorry. I need to go chill. You know, I don’t know anyone who thinks like the birthers and the tea baggers, but I do wish I would meet one. That would be…interesting.

  68. Therry and St. Jerome says:

    @Maggie, you didn’t tell us FB chums that you were in LOVE. That settles it. DTWOF AND FB both! I’ve been friending people left and right. If they make consistently funny or wildly leftist rants, I send them a friend request. Community is community. I like it here and I like it there, I like it everywhere!

    Mentor, that is one badass website you pointed us to. Ginjoint, I once had boob surgery and my adored husband went to Walmart and bought me a sports bra to trap my boobies. Hang in there. Kate L, don’t give up. The mills of God grind slow, but they grind exceeding fine.

  69. Ginjoint says:

    And booby trap – har! Missed you, Renee.

    Maggie – happy for you!

  70. Feminista says:

    #70: Kate L: Right arm,sista.

  71. Dr. E, I have no earthly idea. But I have had some very strange friend requests at FB, like one bald white guy looking for single Christian ladies. I ignore, ignore and they go away.

    Therry, you would be shocked at how far it’s gone. I am so effin’ happy. And I “met” her here, so this is still my favourite watering hole.

  72. hairball_of_hope says:


    If you met her here, then there must be maple syrup involved. Perhaps even grade B. Mazel Tov!

    (… goes back to putting maple syrup on challah French toast …)

  73. Maple syrup on challah French toast, damned near perfect. But it needs something maybe crunchy, smoky, salty to balance it out. Hmmm, trying to think of what that could be…

  74. Feminista says:

    #75: Marmite with bacon,no?

  75. Renee, I was not. But it’s an idea.

  76. Renee S. says:

    Hebrew National Breakfast Sausage? (I forgot that oysters were traif, too).

  77. Therry and St. Jerome says:

    Oysters, schmoysters. May does NOT have an R in it!

  78. Kyle says:

    Head on a pike!

  79. Alex K says:

    @79: Exactly. DTWOF 430 — let the low-end champagne flow, the photographs of various corpses be published, the DNA samples be analysed (aha! not one of the hundreds of Bin Laden doppelgaenger, then!). Head on a pike outside 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, inspiring loyalty among our allies and terror among our foes.

    May all the enemies of FREEDOM, of THE AMERICAN WAY, and of LOW PETROL PRICES perish thus!

    The better to extract ourselves from Afghanistan, are we going to kick apart the rats’-nest that is Pakistan?

    The USA may be largely out of second-generation reach. But bombs should start going off in Bradford, Manchester, London very soon.

    May God bless the USA, to quote President Obama; and as far as Matthew 5:38-39 is concerned… well, He didn’t mean us to take that literally.

  80. We’re the cops of the world, boy, we’re the cops of the world.

    And Alex K, you are too right, giving me chills as a decided lover of Brits. I apologise for my country’s arrogance. Blowback taught us nothing at all.

  81. Therry and St. Jerome says:

    ALex K, or as Jesus said (allegedly) from the cross, “FOrgive them, they know not what they do.”

  82. Dr. Empirical says:

    Once again, people are dancing in the streets to celebrate the death of a human being. I find this unseemly.

  83. Alex the Bold says:

    Sorry. Totally off-thread, but I wanted to share.

    I went for a walk in Brooklyn today. Went into a real bookstore called Greenlight. First thing I noticed? It smelled like a bookstore. Just that wonderful smell of paper books. The last time I noticed it was in Brattle Books in Cambridge, Mass., years and years ago.

    Second thing, I saw a copy of Fun House in the staff recommendations.

    A good day.

  84. Kate L says:

    What was lost in the US television commentary about the crowds around America last night was that VE (Victory in Europe) and VJ (Victory in Japan) Day (s) at the end of World War II were celebrations of the end of a horrible war, and not a celebration of death, even of a mass-murdering enemy. For example, Hitler’s suicide near the end of the war made the cover of Time magazine (his portrait with an “X” thru it), but was not the subject of dancing in the streets.

    You young ones may not remember America before 9/11. It was a younger, happier time. Bill Clinton was our president. The federal budget actually ran a surplus; the U.S. was prosperous and respected around the world. And, going further back in the Wayback Machine, I can remember when visiting relatives departing from National Airport (now, Reagan International) in Washington simply walked right on board their flight without being profiled and patted down. And, my brother once got on an elevator in the U.S. capitol building marked, “Senators Only”. There was one other rider. Vice President Hubert Humphrey. My brother says that he and the vice president had a friendly conversation. I have to wonder what Dick Cheney would have done. And, there was no twitter or facebook or youtubing. Messages back then were always sent by candygram. Ok, that last part about the candygrams is my invention. But you get the drift!

  85. Therry and St. Jerome says:

    Nobody has asked AB about the Cintiq. Perhaps a video demonstration, or have you not yet succumbed to Cintiq? O come on Alison, JILLIAN has one! Channel your inner Sydney and succumb! And then show us how it works.

  86. Feminista says:

    #86: Kate L: I agree all of what you said except for “the U.S.was prosperous and respected around the world.”

  87. freyakat says:

    @81 Maggie Jochild: Indeed, sad to say that
    Phil Ochs said it like it was (and still is)…

  88. Feminista says:

    #88: I recommend the new indy film There but for Fortune,about the life and times of Phil Ochs. If it doesn’t come to your town/city,the DVD will be released this summer.

  89. Feminista says:

    Er,the Ochs DVD will be released regardless of the extent of its film distribution.

  90. Kate L says:

    Feminista (#87) I may be judging the times based purely on my own personal experience. Uh, the prosperous part, not the respected around the world part. That, and the fact that Star Trek: Voyager was in production. And, I did get a bellyful of jingoism, “We’re Number 1!”, and “USA! USA!” on, of all places, MSNBC, tonight. Anyway, Feminista, I’d love to send you a candygram! πŸ™‚ Kate L wonders, do they still make candygrams?

  91. Feminista says:

    Why shucks,Kate L. You want to send me a belated 60th (gasp)birthday Candygram? Complete with a handsome SNAG (Sensitive New Age Guy)? I accept!

  92. Here ya go, Kate L:

    As for the SNAG, I am no help.

    I don’t know Feminista’s address but I believe she hangs out in front of Powells all the time, you could just have the delivery person go there.

  93. Ginjoint says:

    Not me. I’m glad the son of a bitch is dead. And I hope it hurt.

    He’s a mass murderer who committed an act of war. And that’s counting only 9/11, and not Tanzania, the U.S.S. Cole, etc. (It’s also not counting the humans not from America that he killed, which is also quite substantial.)

    I’d like to think that the American people wouldn’t be judged by a group of half-sauced coeds looking for excitement on an otherwise boring Sunday night, but I guess not. Running to scream in front of the White House when you’re 20 years old and looking for the beginning of your life’s defining moments must seem like a good idea at the time. BTW, the next time I watch a wedding of the royals in the U.K., and see folks with Union Jacks painted on their faces and waving their flags and otherwise dancing like fools in the streets, I’ll be sure to apply that standard to the entire British population. Why not?

    You know what happened in my city, the third-largest in the country? A whole lotta nothing. Hell, they didn’t even shoot guns into the air in Englewood, the most violent neighborhood in the city. It seems as if this was the reaction across most of the U.S., as well. Today I had lunch at my local bar, and of course people were talking about it. Everyone seemed glad, and kind of relieved, but that was it. Life went on. I know, however, that that doesn’t make for good footage on the MSNBC.

    As for head on a pike – where’s this pike, exactly? The soldiers went in, shot the bastard, brought him back, cleaned him up, and dumped him into the drink to avoid his possible burial sites becoming a diplomatic nightmare. Obama’s speech? To the point. I didn’t sense any gloating. Yes, he invoked God, but that was throwing a bone to the conservatives. According to reports, he received the news of bin Laden’s death seriously and soberly, sans high-fives or shouts of glee. If we didn’t capture or kill bin Laden, what were we to do with him, exactly? Ignore him? Let him get away with mass slaughter? I’m genuinely curious as to possible answers.

    Now I know as an American, I should be properly self-loathing on a leftist web site, and flagellating my back accordingly (“We’re not worthy! We’re not worthy!”), but I’ve never subscribed to that much. I don’t think anyone from anywhere should, either. Folks on the left and the right have more in common than they realize when it comes to snap judgements. The president is always wrong or always right, depending on your political leanings, and never, never bend!

    Of course my country’s done some mighty shitty things. (So has yours.) This was not one of them.

  94. Ginjoint says:

    Sweet – after burning Donald Trump’s ass at the Correspondents’ Dinner Saturday night, Obama’s speech last night cut off the last five minutes of Trump’s dumbass show “Celebrity Apprentice.” Just as Trump was about to fire someone, the news reports cut in. Well played.

  95. Anonymous says:

    There was a gentleman who danced down the street in an Atlanta city (Birmingham, I think, or perhaps Montgomery) after JFK was assassinated.

    The same gentleman is the one who toned down Wallace’s speech at Harvard (they printed one version in the newspapers–Wallace gave the toned down one). He was a lawyer, if memory serves.

    Dancing in the streets is probably not the best response to the death of a person whose politics one does not care for, even when that person was responsible for a lot of deaths.

  96. Alex K says:

    @94 / Ginjoint — the “head on a pike” harks back to Syd and Mo — DYKES TO WATCH OUT FOR cartoon 430. Check it out.

    It’s been a Bank Holiday weekend here steeped in British tradition’s peculiar sillinesses. Friday face-painting, funny hats (Princess Eugenie, purest panto!), and the Gold State Coach; Monday the heads of enemies of the Crown exposed on Temple Bar; rejoicing both days, of course, but the flavours of the joy expressed seem to me to differ.

    In the USA where might that pike be set up? Oh, I don’t know. Ground Zero, maybe. Or in the Rose Garden at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Someplace breastbeatingly triumphalist, appropriate for mediaeval attitudes all around. Mind you now, Britain, or at least her goverment, surely is complicit in those attitudes.

    I’ve just done a bit of GoogleFu and refreshed my recollections of the myth of the hydra. Cauterise the truncated neck and two heads won’t grow back, Hercules realised… The USA and Britain don’t seem to have reasoned that out yet. We’re just chop chop chopping away, and perplexed that we’re not better loved for it as heads upon heads sprout to menace us all.

  97. Ginjoint says:

    Alex, I don’t have to look, I know exactly which strip that refers to. I’m just questioning whether this qualifies.

    I’ll agree that the flavors of the joy expressed do differ. I was alluding more to the patriotic fervor on display, but yeah, it was a tenuous comparison.

    I’m trying to say is that what was seen on television doesn’t seem to be the general reaction across the U.S. Believe it or not, sports events aside, it takes quite a bit for Americans to spontaneously run cheering into the streets – chalk it up to a history Protestant reserve? It’s certainly not a normal occurance. But again, people sitting dumbfounded in their pajamas on a Sunday night, staring intently at a television, does not interesting footage make.

    Did I feel like dancing and cheering? Absolutely not. Did I feel glad that a vicious, murderous monster was dead? Yes. The articles in the papers I’m reading are saying there’s a lot of sadness mixed in with this, particularly for folks who lost someone on 9/11…it’s reopened some old wounds, for sure. I’m sad for my countrypeople who died, and for the way Osama bin Laden chose to live his life. The people cheering in front of the White House were mainly students from the nearby universities, not exactly a cross-section of the population. As in D.C., in New York it was 11:30 at night by the time Obama delivered his speech. So I’d wager again that it was more the young and exuberant who were out shouting, “city that never sleeps” aside.

    We will have to disagree over Obama’s supposed chest-thumping. I saw none of that from him, and I’m curious where you did. Perhaps I’m missing it.

    If you want to argue the U.S.’s military response to 9/11, hey, I’m right behind you. (Particularly with regard to the civilians killed or maimed, which we here have been so carefully shielded from.) But I ask again – if you had your druthers, what were we to do with bin Laden?

  98. Alex K says:

    @98 / Ginjoint — Chest-thumpers… Obama’s behaviour, what little I’ve seen of it, hasn’t been our-boys-won-the-Super-Bowl triumphalist(rush into streets, turn over cars and set them on fire, break windows — dress in colours of Team USA optional). He’s left that to the canaille. Here in Britain most people have responded to news of the raid not with street cheering, but with a quiet mixture of satisfaction and ill-foreboding. I believe that most Americans have felt the same way.

    I’ve now sought out Obama’s address as presented on the DAILY TELEGRAPH site. (I haven’t YouTubed it, as I’m at work and behind a NO FUN AND GAMES firewall, so I can’t assess his affect as he spoke the selected text below. Most of the other text, I think, is entirely unobjectionable — it is soberly and modestly phrased.) Very likely his demeanour was sober and solemn. The words, though, repel me.

    “…Today’s achievement [viz., the raid, with the “bringing to justice”, or killing, of Osama bin Laden, with some, erm, collateral damage — the deaths of a wife, a son, a servant or two] is a testament to the greatness of our country and the determination of the American people… tonight, we are once again reminded that America can do whatever we set our mind to. That is the story of our history, whether it’s the pursuit of prosperity for our people, or the struggle for equality for all our citizens; our commitment to stand up for our values abroad, and our sacrifices to make the world a safer place. Let us remember that we can do these things not just because of wealth or power, but because of who we are: one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

    I find this eye-wateringly, toe-curlingly triumphalist, on the same level as a “GOTT MIT UNS” soldier’s belt-buckle. But that perception may well be mistaken.

    Earlier in the text: “[Osama bin Laden’s] demise should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and human dignity.”

    If, as a Brit, and thus by definition subject to fits of monarchism, face-painting, and enthusiasms for creative millinery, I can claim to believe in human dignity (I don’t think that my British citizenship a priori imperils my right to claim to believe in peace), it’s BECAUSE of that belief in peace and human dignity that I don’t welcome Osama bin Laden’s demise, his death, his violent execution. I don’t welcome ANYONE’S.

    The United States can’t manage its Guantanamo captives; can’t try them in a civilian court; to suggest that the United States might have taken Osama bin Laden prisoner rather than kill him is thus… not very realistic. Any citizen, any asset, of the United States, might have become a counter-hostage to bin Laden’s sympathisers. Convenience almost dictated that bin Laden be killed.

    But I’d rather have seen him arrested, turned over to a supranational body independent of the United States, indicted for crimes, and tried in open court; reduced to someone whose deeds were not superhumanly monstrous, whose punishment was for sordid acts that could be dealt with inside the demystifing framework of the oh-so-common, non-exceptionalist law.

    As it is, our governments with this raid have perpetuated him as an ogre so dreadful that to vanquish him Americans and Britons alike have had to give up their freedoms. I deplore that.

    Our rulers, though, to manage us need a war. A “cold war”. A war on poverty, on cancer, on drugs, on terror. A war in Vietnam, in Grenada, in Somalia, in Iraq, in Afghanistan. There always has to be a military footing, an imposition of new rules and an abrogation of old ones. Always a war…

  99. Kate L says:

    The Smallville City Commission meets tonight a 7 pm Great Plains Standard Time (High Midnight Greater Croydon Time)to begin the process of repealing the recent addition of LGBT to the city human rights ordinance. Then, they shall dance in the streets. After they have tried the members of the human rights group I belong to on charges of witchcraft.

  100. Kate L says:

    Maggie (#92) Thanks! πŸ™‚

    Feminista (#92) New age sensitive guy? Where were you before I had my operation??? Just kidding! πŸ™‚

  101. Kate L says:

    Kate L’s Helpful Household Hints! How to clean leeks!

  102. Calico says:

    Hear hear, Ginjoint. Well written opinions.
    I feel, well, relieved and a little lighter, but still very sad for the pain and damage this ill-turned being imposed on so many innocents.
    Yesterday I did again invoke my own words of pre 9/11 to the then-pre-adolescent daughters of my employer (he hates the term “Boss”) – “What’s worse than a sore loser is a sore winner.”
    The Forces did seem to do the burial with a semblance of dignity and ritual, which I think may be a calming factor…no Mussolinis here, Thank God.

  103. Andrew B says:

    I’ve tried to think of an appropriate reply to this conversation, and can’t. We’re talking about governments openly carrying out assassinations of individuals who they have unilaterally, without any particular process, determined to be Bad People, within the borders of other, ostensibly sovereign, nations. Of course those who approve of this approve of the general principle. There’s no special pleading here. So if say, Russia, determines that there is a Bad Person in say, Georgia, we would expect them to use military force to assassinate that person. Same for say, Venezuela, and a Bad Person in say, the United States. Right?

    In the words of my favorite proto-Riot Grrl, my city was gone.

    Anybody who responds to this comment by pointing out that Osama Bin Laden really was a bad person has missed the point.

    Finally, just to make you feel old, check this out.

  104. Calico says:

    But Andrew, in this case the proof is in the pudding, so to speak. The man was a mass murderer and terrorist. ‘Nuff said from this little cat.
    I’m emotionally very tired from this whole exercise-and I take 9/11 very personally as one of the alums from my High School in NH (The White Mountain School) was on one of the planes that struck the WTC towers. As well, my Mom had an office on 22nd right above Grand Central, and happened to have a business meeeting in CT that day, so she was at home (meeting was cancelled, obviously).
    My partner and I, not cohabitating at that time, went bonkers trying to reach my Mother-and finally connected. Phew.
    My Mother’s statement to me, almost apologetically, still saddens me-“I’m so sorry you had to experience this in your lifetime.”
    Me, I’m ok now although a little less trusting and hopefully a bit wiser-but thousands of others are dead or emotionally broken forever because of the force of pure evil.
    OK, /rant-but funny thing is, before reading your post, Chrissie’s cover of Ray’s “Stop your Sobbing” popped into my head this AM-ESP, and a hopeful note perhaps? : )
    Be well all. XO

  105. Ginjoint says:

    Alex, I do want to respond, but today’s my first day back to work and I guess I shouldn’t be late. (And I’m already running late.) There is much to think about – I do want to re-view Obama’s speech too. Andrew, it seems the apparent stupidity of my opinions has stunned you into a loss for words. (“I’ve tried to think of an appropriate reply to this conversation, and can’t.”) I…don’t know quite how to respond to that. But right now, I need to run.

  106. judybusy says:

    Andrew, I’ve got very mixed emotions about this just for the reason you describe: “We’re talking about governments openly carrying out assassinations of individuals who they have unilaterally, without any particular process, determined to be Bad People, within the borders of other, ostensibly sovereign, nations.” We all know the US has a long history of not only assisinations, but destabilizing other countries to suit our needs. And yeah, OBL was a bad guy. He orchestrated mass murder. When I think of some of the alternatives, such as capture and trial, I just think of the opportunity it would give his ilk to prance on the world stage. One thought I’ve had is that if there’s anybody to do this kind of assasination, it would be OBL. But I hate that it follows a long precedent of horrible meddling, such as the war in Iraq.

    On a happier note, loved the leek-cleaning video. I’m making leek-potato soup on Thursday for a volunteer gig. This will help me make a great soup for the people I’m cooking for: they live in a home for people too ill with AIDS to live on their own. I’ve cooked twice and have had the best time. They are all really into food, so it’s fun coming up with stuff they’ll like. I have had a long association with the agency that supports them.

  107. Thank g*d for the loving conversation I can find here, always find here. Disagreement without attack. People trying to grow and reach each other. Thank you on a very raw day.

  108. Andrew B says:

    Ginjoint, I don’t think you are anywhere near stupid. I am puzzled and dismayed by what you’re saying because you’re not stupid.

    I am very, very angry — too angry to have a good idea what to say. I am trying to keep my comments productive, as Maggie urges. Osama bin Laden was a vile person. But I am dumbfounded to see the casual acceptance of military assassination — not just here but from other people I usually respect, like Paul Krugman and Juan Cole. It’s not that people are trying to justify it. It’s that they seem to think it’s not an issue.

    I am reminded of capital punishment. Capital punishment is often justified by pointing to the worst crimes. I don’t disagree with those executions. I am not a forgiving person. But if you look more deeply into the issue, you find capital punishment being used in far more marginal cases — marginal both in the sense of the viciousness of the crime, and more important, in the sense that the guilt of the accused is questionable. In the worst cases, clearly innocent people have very nearly been executed. It takes a tremendous faith in the benevolence of God to believe that we have never executed an innocent person, and I am an atheist. The assassination of bin Laden is likely to set a similar precedent.

    Calico and anybody else who responded to me, I don’t mean to ignore you, but I wanted to reply to Ginjoint immediately.

  109. Calico says:

    Hi Andrew-I don’t feel ignored! No worries. πŸ™‚

    JudyBusy, your good cooking for a good cause sounds wonderful. Just today I learned of this nifty website/database as well:

    Maggie, I am so happy that you are in love. Go girlz! : D

    Ginjoint, feel better soon-to return to work so soon after surgery must be a bit stressful, to say the least.

  110. Alex K says:

    @106 / Ginjoint, with a shout-out to @108 / Maggie J — You’re at work now, and now I’m on the couch in battling duocat mode ONLY ONE IN THE LAP AT A TIME SHOO! SHOO!, with a half a bottle of New Zealand sauvignon blanc inside me (oh, stop, it was screwcap, how good CAN it have been?), and from this lightly alcoholised and domestic perspective, I want to comment, Ginjoint, do you know —

    I don’t think that we disagree fundamentally.

    Maybe that’s wishful thinking, but dammit, denial has been good to me, and I’m not letting go of it in old age. (Mine, not its. Denial, unlike me **sob**, is ageless.)

    Once we concur that killing Osama bin Laden is not unambiguously a Martha Stewart Good Thing, all the rest is a question of relative emphases.

    With affection and respect — and let me sign myself “Yr. pal”, ‘k?

  111. Pam I says:

    @ Leeks – aargh. After the ice caps have melted, this video will be part of the archive re why it happened. They throw away the green half of the leeks (‘you can use them for stock though’) and then use huge amounts of running water to clean them. Listen and learn, we really cannot afford to do this.

    There is no space to comment on that site, so I can only comment here. And save this to my archive of examples of The Problem.

  112. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Pam I (#112)

    I’m with you on that. Also, I’ve found the running water doesn’t get all the sand out of the leeks (gritty potato leek soup, anyone?).

    I use a different method. Cut the leeks lengthwise (I often quarter them lengthwise), give them a good rinse under the faucet hard spray to dislodge large sand blobs, then soak them in a sink or large bowl filled with lots of cold water. Agitate the leeks a few times during the soak (I usually soak them for about 20 minutes). The sand is heavier than the leeks, and will fall to the bottom of the sink or bowl. Scoop out the leeks, give them another good rinse under the faucet hard spray, and drain. Use in your favorite recipe.

    (… goes back to salivating over alliums …)

  113. judybusy says:

    Calico, great site!

    HOH and Pam, good point. When I clean stuff during the warmer months, I do the dunking method and use the water on my potted plants outdoors.

  114. Diamond says:

    Pam 112 and Hairball 113: My grandmother used to cut leeks in half lengthways and leave them for a while upside down in a tall thin jug of cold water before steaming them over a pan of potatoes.

    I think this was the same tall thin jug that she used to poach kippers – those went in headfirst too and were covered in boiling water for five minutes with a saucer over the top, thus saving fuel and preventing a house full of kipper smells.

    Am surprised and pleased to find myself using my hard won retirement to exchange food preparation hints with famous feminists

  115. Fi says:

    Back to Alison @ #24 for a sec… I understand that boy cats come in sex-linked gene versions too. Marmalades (aka Orange, Ginger or Red tabby cats) are almost always boys. Apparently marmalade girls are very rare and (I think) usually infertile.

    I know this not world-turning, like some of the issues discussed here, but as it happens I did have a fantastically dapper Marmalade to love all through my teens and now, a few decades later, have a 15 year Tortie tabby who’s a cheeky little character of glorious beauty and with a great deal to say for herself.

    *sigh* Happiness!

    Anyway, while I’m here, I may as well take this chance to say how appalled I’ve been about the craven braying of Trump and the rabble of birthers he’s been stirring up lately with their demands for the US President’s birth certificate. I’m disappointed it was ultimately made public, although understand that it became necessary to silence the craziness. In Australia we don’t have a model of governance quite like the USA, but I do “get” that the office of the President is generally respected even if an individual or cohort of malcontents doesn’t like a particular incumbent. Respecting the offices and institutions of democracy is what supporters of democratic principles do, isn’t it? Well, I like to think so anyway.

    The demand for Obama’s documentation was unalloyed racism and an affront to the Office, not just this one man. Why has the provenance of white presidents not been similarly contested? This rabble don’t know what democracy really is, or what it demands of its citizens. No proof of birthright, citizenship, academic achievement or anything else from a non white will satisfy them. This has all been deeply saddening.

    Now I really do need to pat my tortie. Poppy! where are you sweetpea?

  116. Kat says:

    Oh, so *that’s* what ramps are!!!! I’ve been wondering!

    (They’re currently very popular on swanky restaurant menus, but I’ve been too afraid to ask the waiters…)