road trips

February 26th, 2009 | Uncategorized

Thank you all so much for the magnificent digressions on the last post. Sorry I kinda disappeared. I’ve been working on a review for the New York Times Book Review–a graphic review of a regular book! I’m not sure when it’s coming out, but I’ll keep you posted. And I just took a short road trip to Colby College in Maine, about which I was compelled to create this little slide show for you.

Plus Here Are Some Other Items:

•I just opened the latest New Yorker to find a piece by Ariel Levy on the Van Dykes, a roving band of separatists in the seventies. Why are august and hidebound publications suddenly having this spasm of nostalgia for lesbian separatism? I haven’t had a chance to read the story yet, but at first glance it looks good.

•Another LGBT bookstore bites the dust. Not just Oscar Wilde, but now A Different Light in West Hollywood is closing.

•Hot Librarian Action: Ann Seidl’s wonderful documentary The Hollywood Librarian is now out on DVD. If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s your chance.

•Also, Ann’s sister Amy, who lives just across the river from me, has a book out, Early Spring.

In Early Spring, ecologist and mother Amy Seidl examines climate change at a personal level through her own family’s walks in the woods, work in their garden, and observations of local wildlife in the quintessential America of small-town New England, deep in the Green Mountains of Vermont.

•Attention Octavia Butler fans: Beacon Press wants to publish a graphic adaptation of Butler’s novel “Kindred.” They’re currently “inviting proposals from cartoonists who appreciate Octavia Butler’s legacy, and reflect her commitment to social justice in their own work. Those interested in
discussing a proposal should email the editor of the Graphic Books list, Allison Trzop, at” The deadline is March 16!

136 Responses to “road trips”

  1. acilius says:

    You’re thanking us for the digressions? You’re welcome!

  2. Andrew B says:

    People who live near Burlington, VT, or Dayton, OH, should check out the Appearances page.

  3. Montrealais says:

    By the way, there’s now a page for DTWOF on, the ultimate time-waster of the Internet:

  4. Liza says:

    I haven’t picked up a copy of The New Yorker, and the story isn’t avail. online. A friend – who was as involved with seps as I was in the seventies, called me last night to tell me the piece was idiotic. I guess I’ll have to buy a copy and see for myself, but I have little faith.

  5. Tané says:

    That all looked so beautiful to this snow-free Californian!

  6. hairball_of_hope says:

    I wonder whatever happened to that issue of the Trentonian I saved… the front page proclaimed the invasion of the Lesbian Avengers in Trenton NJ.

  7. The Cat Pimp says:

    AB, if you ever decide to get out of doing graphic stories, you’d be a fine documentarian. I loved the bouncy car graphic. That New England architecture is so pretty. Big, square windows, pitched roofs, wood siding….

  8. Jessica Bessica says:

    but A Different Light in the Castro’s ok, right!?

  9. Kate L says:

    I hear what you said about the inadequacy of film to record the beauty we see in nature. I think to myself, “I want to photograph that scene for this or that geology lecture”, and I end up not conveying what I actually saw. When you look around at a mountain or anything really big, you turn around to see everything and assemble the image in your mind. On film, you have just one perspective.

  10. Natasha Yar-Routh says:

    Tane not all of California is snow free though most of our recent snow has melted of.

    Losing A Different Light Bookstore is really sad. It’s bloody depressing to see so many independent bookstores go under. It lessens the culture to lose them.

    I’m probably depressed because I worked in a small bookstore through most of my twenties.

  11. Ian says:

    Ok, you can’t be that busy if you’ve time to read all 278 entries (as of this moment) on the last post!!! 😉

    Loved the slideshow, especially the pic of the icicles hanging at an angle. Maine must be windy!

    Hearing about bokk shops closing is always depressing. It was always a dream to run my own second-hand bookshop and cafe (though I’d never get the capital necessary) but it looks increasingly less viable in the present climate. 🙁

  12. Ian says:

    (How embarrassing – book, not bokk!)

  13. Ted says:

    Kate, totally agree with you on the photography angle. The first time I saw the Grand Canyon I was totally awestruck. No photo I had ever seen had conveyed what it was really like.

    OT, but it’s everyone’s favorite newscaster mixing a drink just for you. Everyone here has probably seen it but it’s certainly worth a second watch.

  14. noominal says:

    Here in the midwest where the vista is flat as a pancake, I often see blankets or towers of clouds in the distance and mistake them for far-off mountains. I grew up in upstate NY and a drive in most any direction lead to a familiar and comforting mountain range to focus on out the car window, making any drive a series of new views of the peaks.

    Thanks for bringing that back. It’s what I miss most about the east coast. 😉

  15. Therry says:

    You were driving along the Androscoggin! Great river! My brother and his girlfriend were canoeing on the Androscoggin and she fell in and he rescued her from drowning. Now they’re married and have two kids. That’s an awfully het remark to make in a comment section that discusses The great NYer piece about separatists, but We’re not narrow in this blog, nossir. I loved the part about the sadomasochistic bent of the various Van Dykes. It explained quite a bit of DTWOF for me.

  16. pandawithcookie says:

    I installed art at Colby College a few years ago. It was quite lovely there.

  17. healing_with_Art says:

    oh how I swooned at the words from AB …”I was compelled to create this little slide show for you.” Now that’s true and total dedication to the expressive self for the enjoyment of others. Bravissimo!!

  18. Ellen O. says:

    I drove along Route 2 five years ago on my way from Burlington to Acadia National Park. It was late July and a moose crossed the road. My first wild moose! The birches were gorgeous as well. (I think they are related to aspens, which a big here in Colorado.)

    Some times, and I don’t know why, I get spooked driving through old New England towns. Something about Puritans and stern countenances. Too many ghosts, perhaps.

    In any case, thanks for the ride, Alison!

  19. Maggie Jochild says:

    Here’s the URL to <em<The New Yorker story (got sent it by a diligent blog reader in my e-mail who said “Is there something in the water lately or what?”):

  20. Jessica Bessica says:

    @ Ian, I read your type-o like the noise a chicken makes, and it was amusing.

  21. bean says:

    wow, that was some abstract. i’ll have to go to the library tomorrow.

    i’m glad it all turned out the way it was supposed to, and that the meanest, nastiest, father-rapingest of them all, the meanest nastiest one…

    will now even talk to men. what a relief!

    but seriously, folks, maybe it’s that they finally got bored with beating up on us, so now they’re going to turn us into historical fetish objects.

  22. Ready2Agitate says:

    aw crap, now that our foremoms of the 1970s are finally (and some well past) croning, they finally get the respect denied them at the time. ain’t it the truth…

  23. toast says:

    Here is one reason that a photograph of a mountain, or other scenic splendor never matches up to actually being there: The human eye can discern something like 48 different values (value here being the shades of gray that help us perceive dimension). A photograph reduces that range of values to around 6. Photos seem like less, because there is less information for the eye to use in assembling the image, it does not match up to the memory of the reality and we are left with that feeling of disappointment.

    Not having seen the real thing, the photos did not disappoint – they were a pleasure!

  24. Julie says:

    The New Yorker article starts out pretty stupidly: check out the dismissive and childish language and syntax, stuff like “There was a time, briefly, when women ruled the world. Well, their world, anyway” or “Van Dyke works with men now, and even speaks to them.” The adverbs tell us we’re supposed to see the Van Dykes as immature, silly, quirky, not-serious.

    But the last paragraph rocks: read that if nothing else.

  25. Robin B. says:

    Thanks for the news about The Hollywood Librarian being out on DVD, Alison! I asked my university’s library to buy it. And CONGRATS on the NYT Book Review. How stunning. I can’t wait to read your review.

  26. ksbel6 says:

    Fun fact: I live in Kirksville, MO, which is about 40 miles south of the stretch of Hwy 2 that runs through IA 🙂 It is also fun to drive on, although here we see lots of deer.

  27. Kathryn W says:

    Just a random news note – today in The Guardian there is an article on sexism in film which uses Mo’s film rule to asses the sexism of a top ten list of films:

  28. judybusy says:

    Ted, thanks for posting the Rachel Maddow link! I don’t get cable, and for some reason don’t search her stuff out on the interwebs, so this was a treat. That woman could be making oatmeal and I’d be transfixed. I love her voice! Apparently, her fabulousness is causing some problems, though….

    I am also glad Hollywood Librarian is out! My partner had to work the night I went to see it, so now she can—I love getting news on this blog. Off to my library website to order the DVD.

  29. Susan says:

    No one has mentioned Octavia Butler. AB, please consider responding to Beacon about the graphic adaptation. I was so saddened by Butler’s death (in a completely selfish way — I didn’t know her, just loved her work).

  30. Kate L says:


    Thanks for your comments on foremoms getting respect at last. 🙂 Am I speaking for myself? Well, I should mention that I was recently called a “sellout” cooperating with hegemony.

  31. ksbel6 says:

    Does anyone else think the person who wrote The Guardian article did not really understand the rule? When in either of the Godfather movies did a female talk to another female? I’m pretty sure the scene in part II where they are trying to get Diane Keaton out of the kitchen before Michael comes home is the only time the females interact with one another. I’m just saying…

  32. chicainmotion says:

    AB- thanks for the new england slide show. makes me miss my new england stomping grounds, but definitely NOT new england winters!

    as for different light — yes, still in the Castro and online!

  33. acilius says:

    ksbel6: That’s exactly what I thought. Also, SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN- it’s one of my favorite movies, but the closest things to conversations between female characters I can recall are Lena’s interactions with the voice teacher and her thanking her friend for being a “real pal.” How can she say that “squeaks through”? I can understand how the voice lesson would provide the “squeaks,” just not the “through.”

  34. acilius says:

    I’m sure I’m not the only one who thought of Monty Python as the car moved on the map at the opening of the slide show.

    Interesting to look at all those New Hampshire doorways, too.

  35. Ellen says:

    Thank you for the photo tour of some of my favorite places in New England. The Androscoggin IS a wonderful canoeing river, particularly the rapids in Errol. And, I agree, mountains can’t really be caught on film (or pixels), but I appreciated the reminder of how truly aweinspiring the white mountains are in winter. I miss nordic skiing in them this time of year as the snow turns to spring snow. Besides, there are really good hills that make one’s lungs hurt going up and cause “oh shit!” moments screaming down little narrow twisty turny trails. Ohio just doesn’t have hills like that.

  36. Susan Stinson says:

    I love the slide show. It reminds me of a landscape historian named JB Jackson, and the ways he would interpret and meditate on the things he saw along roads. And, yeah, mountains pretty much are the sublime, especially covered with gorgeous, dangerous snow.

  37. jo ( says:

    Thank you for that. I live in MA, we (the family) now have my grandmothers summer ‘camp’ in Belgrade ME. Our house is on stilts and the well is above ground so we all have to leave in October and come back in May when the water turns back on. Many of my Gran’s relatives live in the Windsor area and come to visit us in the summer talking about the long ride. It was really lovely to see it in your montage…it made me smile.

  38. Andrew B says:

    Susan S, thanks for mentioning Jackson, who I had not previously known about and who sounds interesting. New Englanders, or anybody else interested in the New England landscape, might enjoy Tom Wessels, _Reading the Forested Landscape_. It’s pretty much what the title says, how to recognize signs of past human activities, weather, and other events in New England forests.

    There’s an awful lot that could be said about photographing mountains. One observation is that it’s hard to make anything look imposing when it’s reduced to 4″x6″.

  39. Feminista says:

    Ellen O.and anyone else: Why did the moose cross the road?

  40. Ellen O. says:

    The moose was stapled to the chicken.

  41. Feminista says:

    Good try,Ellen,but no. Stay tuned!

  42. GH says:

    Hi, all. Nice post & responses! In June I drove from Boise ID to Champaign IL–and had to play “dodge the flooding river!” So I forsook the Interstate and followed 36, a two-laner through much of the state. Air Con wasn’t working (yes, racked up bad eco-karma for wanting it in 1st place) so we had windows down.
    And it was delightful (if moist and hot)! We could hear birdsong from the fields. We felt the sun on our faces as we wore east and the day wound down, and we went through towns while, not so New Englandy, were tremendously cool to go through. Oh how I wish I’d taken photos.

  43. Ready2Agitate says:

    To see if she could be an igneous formation to watch out for.

  44. Ready2Agitate says:

    (the moose, I mean.)

  45. Ian says:

    I think it’s a shame we never saw the strip collection “igneous formations to watch out for” … 😉

  46. Kate L says:

    Igneous formation – related. Hmmm… 🙂 in my intro. geology class we’ve moved on to the solar system. My slides for that subject are entitled, “Celebrating Diversity in the Solar System” with the rainbow flag as a background!

  47. --MC says:

    Got the NYer yesterday, read the NYer yesterday, the article was not bad but a little focused on the relationships between the VanDykes. K read the thing after I did and said “Wow, I wish I could meet Lamar VanDyke. She seems like someone to meet.” That was what I had thought. Well, she’s in the area.

  48. Steph says:

    I didn’t mind the Van Dykes piece in the New Yorker. Levy can be too sardonic, but overall I think it was actually a fairly earnest profile. I agree with an earlier poster that the last paragraph was devastating. You should check out an article ( Ariel Levy wrote a few years back for New York magazine on prepping for her own queer wedding. It adds a little further insight, maybe, into that last paragraph.

  49. BrooklynPhil says:

    Thanks for the video, Alison! Such simple beauty of the sky-blue sky (to quote Laurie Anderson) and snow-white snow. The yellow house in the landscape toward the end is total Hopper.
    We’ve had hardly any snow here in NYC, so it was a nice reminder of winter in the Northeast.

  50. Steph says:

    To give further context, here is the final paragraph of that article in the New Yorker. The speaker is Lamar Van Dyke, the protagonist of the article who was a lesbian separatist ‘Van Dyke’ – a small group of roving dykes, who for a few years, drove to and from LOO (lesbian own/operated) land:

    “‘Your generation wants to fit in,’ she told me, for the second time. ‘Gays in the military and gay marriage? This is what you guys have come up with?’ There was no contempt in her voice; it was something else – an almost incredulous maternal disappointment. ‘We didn’t sit around looking at our phone or looking at our computer or looking at the television – we didn’t sit around looking at screens,’ she said. ‘We didn’t wait for a screen to give us a signal to do something. We were off doing whatever we wanted.'”

  51. Ian says:

    I haven’t read the article but what Lamar Van Dyke says in that last para is so true and so sad.

    Btw, speaking of magazine articles and staring at screens, did any of you catch this New Scientist article about online p0rn subscriptions?


    [quote]Those states that do consume the most porn tend to be more conservative and religious than states with lower levels of consumption, the study finds.

    “Some of the people who are most outraged turn out to be consumers of the very things they claimed to be outraged by,” Edelman says.

    Church-goers bought less online porn on Sundays – a 1% increase in a postal code’s religious attendance was associated with a 0.1% drop in subscriptions that day. However, expenditures on other days of the week brought them in line with the rest of the country, Edelman finds.

    Residents of 27 states that passed laws banning gay marriages boasted 11% more porn subscribers than states that don’t explicitly restrict gay marriage.[/quote]

    That bastion of repression Utah is apparently the state that makes the most subscriptions to online p0rn.

    Not that we didn’t already know there was a fair bit of hypocrisy going on …

  52. Jessica Bessica says:

    @R2A: haha!

    But, I bet the moose already knew that she was an igneous formation to watch out for. I bet “the moose” crossed the road in order to cohabitate with another igneous formation to watch out for.

  53. Timmytee says:

    @ Ian: The folks in conservative states keep their smut where it’s supposed to be–indoors and on line. We in more liberal places don’t need to subscribe because we can find all we want just by looking out our windows at the neighbors.

  54. Alex K says:

    Here she is again: THE TIMES (London), an interview with Nick Hornby. All right, perhaps you have to be British (“one has to be British” optional) to know who he is, but he is worth a broadsheet page of column inches in an advertising-poor environment. And among his Top 40 “reads” — FUN HOME. “There have been several wonderful graphic novels in the past few years, but this is perhaps the richest and the most moving: As dense and complex as a ‘proper’ book.”

    Well, WE knew THAT.

    The NEW YORKER article: Levy is nervous, it seems, at the beginning. Yes, I’m gay myself, she writes — but the women I’m visiting, I’m describing are…

    They’re not safe. They’re, whoa Nellie!, way, WAY out there. Scary. Butch, cigar-smoking, non-deferential. Not like me.

    Goddammit, Levy! Stop looking over your shoulder nervously to make sure you haven’t lost your ex-fratboy NEW YORKER reading audience! Stop throwing them suck-ass, favour-currying turns of phrase to reassure them that they won’t be seriously confronted!

    The women you’re writing about are BEAUTIFUL. I’ve read many — met some — even dated one.

    Their courage is a torch that lit a road for us all. I hope that some of us can still walk it.

  55. acilius says:

    @Steph: Thanks for the quote! Now I’m going to the newsstand. Or the library, if it isn’t there any more.

  56. hairball_of_hope says:

    re: Igneous Formations To Watch Out For

    Apparently Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal doesn’t think they’re worth watching out for… can you believe that dodo belittled the $140 million spent on volcano monitoring, in the GOP rebuttal to Obama’s address to Congress? Can you imagine if Washington state Gov. Chris Gregoire delivered a Democratic rebuttal that belittled the National Weather Service budget for monitoring tropical storms?

    Perhaps membership in the Flat Earth Society is required for street cred in the Republican Party.

    On another state governor note, Bloomberg is reporting that KS Gov. Kathleen Sebelius will be announced as HHS Secretary nominee on Monday:

  57. Feminista says:

    Good responses from this erudite group re: the moose. But here’s the answer,a Feminista original:

    The moose crossed the road…so she could get to the nearest L.L.Bean outlet store! (sound of moose trumpeting)

    Re: hairball’s mention of Kathleen Sibelius. Should we start humming Finlandia,in honor of the Finnish composer with the same surname? The song always brings tears to my eyes,it’s so beautiful. All hail progressive/social democratic Scandinavians who support national health care,generous family leave,and many other benefits the U.S. still lacks!

  58. Feminista says:

    P.S. And Hilda Solis,U.S. Rep from So.CA,finally got Senate confirmation to be Sec’y of Labor,the second woman and first Latina to hold that position. Coming from a Mexican immigrant family whose parents were union members,Solis appears to be the most pro-labor Secretary since,well,Frances Perkins in the 1930s!

    We can sing Solidaridad para Siempre/Solidarity Forever in her honor. (Yes,I’m in a musical mood,as I’m about to leave hear two wonderful folk/blues artists,Anne Weiss and Alice Stuart.)

  59. ksbel6 says:

    Ah Finlandia, I have very good seats to the Joan Baez concert in Columbia, Mo on Mar 16. This will be my 3rd concert of hers in 5 years 🙂

  60. Kate L says:

    Hairball, Feminista

    NBC News and the Associated Press are also running the story about Governor Sebelius being nominated for the cabinet. As Governor, Sebelius issued an executive order including sexual orientation and gender idenitity as being protected from discrimination for state employees. Sebelius had been talked about as a candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2010 (she had the chance to become the FIRST democrat elected to the senate from Kansas since it became a state in 1861!) Now, that may not happen. Her lieutenant governor, Mark Parkinson, is notable for having been the chairman of the state Republican Party when Sebelius first ran for governor in 2002. The fact that he switched parties and was her running mate four years later shows the deep divisions that ultra-right wing republicans have created with more moderate types like Parkinson.

  61. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Kate L

    I wondered who would succeed Sebelius. A Repub-turned-Dem, eh? Is he progressive at all, or simply a misfit in the Luddite GOP? It’s not hard to be excommunicated from today’s GOP, all one has to do is profess a belief in the Copernican solar system model.

  62. Kate L says:

    My understanding is that he was a republican of the Nancy Kassebaum wing of the state Republican Party. She was a United States senator from Kansas with the same kind of reputation that Sen. Olympia Snow (R – Maine) has today.

  63. Ready2Agitate says:

    @”Stop throwing them suck-ass, favour-currying turns of phrase to reassure them that they won’t be seriously confronted!”

    Ooze: Man oh woman I love this blog!

    Awe: I’m still awed by H_o_H’s pithy summation of the laws of kashrut.

    Confession: we know Nick Hornby in the US b/c of High Fidelity.

  64. hairball_of_hope says:

    Why did the moose cross the road?

    So I could sing faux lyrics to Joan Baez’ “Diamonds and Rust”:

    “Well I’ll be damned, here comes that moose again…”

  65. hairball_of_hope says:


    Actually, Solis is the seventh female DOL Secretary. Check out the offical DOL list:

    I remembered Frances Perkins, Liddy Dole, Lynn Martin, and Elaine Chao, but I’d forgotten about Alexis Herman and Ann McLaughlin.

    I’d also forgotten about George Schultz… that makes him one of two DOL secretaries to also hold another Cabinet-level post; his other post was State Dept. The other DOL secretary to hold another Cabinet-level post was Dole, she presided over Transportation at a time when airplanes seemingly kept falling out of the sky.

  66. Feminista says:

    Hairball,thanks for setting me straight. But Solis is still the first Latina and daughter of Mexican immigrants.

    Does the moose write lousy poetry,too? She may have crossed the road to get some maple syrup as well.

  67. gentle reader says:

    Off topic, but here is a lovely blog post about the impact of reading Fun Home:

  68. Bates grad says:

    Vermont to Maine? Crossing New England on the East-West axis, with no major highways? Didn’t think you could get they-ah from they-ah. 🙂

  69. Aunt Soozie says:

    bean, I’m not sure what that entails, being someone’s historical fetish object, but I’m open to discussion… anything between consenting adults… right? why don’t you email me sometime. 😉
    rta, ooze… funny.
    off topic, if I may….
    I’m worrying about Roxana Saberi. I wonder what we can do to help her?

  70. jPekka says:

    Fun Home’s fresh Finnish translation is the main feature in the cultural dept. of today’s Helsingin Sanomat newspaper (a pretty big paper here in Finland – though not as big as they themselves seem to think 8-). You can read the feature and the review from here:

    (in Finnish only, of course)

  71. Feminista says:

    Maggie Jochild–Nice to see you back on the blog.

    ATT: other cat-lovers,LOL or real. I recommend Marge Piercy’s memoir,Sleeping with Cats. She intersperses her fascinating life story with sections on the many cats in her life. *Mild bragging to follow: I was one of two winners of a Piercy poetry book for correctly naming at least 7 of her cars.*

  72. hairball_of_hope says:


    Now that you’ve reminded Mother Nature about the lack of snow in NYC, we’ve gotten a good dump of the white stuff overnight. Pretty powerful connections you’ve got there.

  73. BrooklynPhil says:

    LOL! You flatter me! Actually, as someone who grew up in MI and enjoys winter sports, I don’t mind some nice, white snow that lingers for just about a month or so. When it gets polluted and icy, as it quickly does in the city, then it becomes a real drag.

  74. Liza says:

    OK, I read the New Yorker piece. I was only interested because of my history as a prominent sep. I’d never heard of these women, which could have been OK if I found I was actually interested in them or in the writing. I was not. The history of Lesbian Separatism could have been fascinating but Levy skimmed the context. Sure, she threw in some Brownmiller (not a Lesbian, not a separatist) and mentioned some names like Olivia – who were never separatists and wouldn’t even have women-only concerts. But The New Yorker, which is famous for in depth think pieces, threw this opportunity away and instead chose to publish what was basically a fluff piece on a few women who came off like freaks.

    If MSM were full of stories about the history of 1970’s Lesbian cultures it wouldn’t matter. But it isn’t, and I think articles like this make it even worse. It’s one thing when nobody’s heard of you. Another when a serious cultural/political movement is treated as a freakish object of curiosity. I’m not feeling the love.

  75. acilius says:

    @Feminista: I love “Finlandia,” too! THe Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain does an unforgettable version of it.

    @h_o_h: And of course George Schulz was also Secretary of the Treasury. Overall he was no better than you’d expect a U of Chicago economist and future head of the Bechtel Group to be in that position, but at least he did give the order to audit Richard Nixon’s income tax return.

    @Liza: Is The New Yorker trying to regain its former reputation as a home for in-depth think pieces? When I stopped subscribing to it at the end of the Tina Brown era, it had stopped running anything that seemed to me to meet that description and started including at least one picture with full-frontal female nudity in every issue. That was a number of years ago, and I haven’t read the magazine since, so my question is in earnest.

  76. hairball_of_hope says:


    Oooh, that’s right, I’d forgotten about Schultz at Treasury okaying the IRS audit of Tricky Dick’s 1040. I do remember the “misplaced” decimal point on his miscellaneous income which arose out of that audit.

    In 1968, he had a memorable 10-second cameo on the TV comedy show “Laugh-In”, where he deadpanned the punchline “Sock it to me?” He was paid whatever the going rate was for AFTRA union scale, but it was entered on his tax return off by a factor of 10 (the “misplaced” decimal point). When Nixon’s return was made public, the union noticed the “error”. Amazing how those wandering decimal points only seem to peregrinate in the direction most favorable to the tax filer.

  77. --MC says:

    The Bechdel review wasn’t in this last week’s Times. There was a piece about the Flannery O’Connor biography. Did they already review the Donald Barthelme bio? ..

  78. Jessica Bessica says:


    I’m looking around online for a recording of the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain doing Finlandia. You can’t point us to one, can you?

  79. Maggie Jochild says:

    Yeah, Liza, I never heard of the Van Dykes either. I was not a prominent sep but lived largely in separatist circles, especially land dykes for a while. The thing is, there were about a dozen varieties of separatism, with which we were fluidly conversant and which existed according to strong, political principles. Now it’s all balled (using the word deliberately) into a single label used mainly as a joke or epithet, much like DFH or black power.

    So yes, by self-definition and by standard community designation, the Olivia women were not separatists. But some of the founders were seps (defining seps, if you mean the Furies) and they did get serious shit from non-lesbian-feminists for having women-only concerts some of the time. They’ve been trashed for made-up reasons ever since.

    The fact is, the overwhelming majority of lesbian-feminism (politics, living collectives, bookstores, publications, music, art, you name it) as opposed to mainstream feminism was separatist. In the generic sense. It’s why it thrived and generated so much cultural creativity for the time that it did. I’d like to see an explanation of the pros and cons that doesn’t fall into the trap of looking at it from the male gaze, but I suppose I’ll have to write that piece myself because everything else I’ve read is either an outsider looking in or an academic looking for male-identified approval.

    I believe in going to primary sources. Those offered in most “gender studies” courses are cherry-picked, usually to support the instructor’s theories. This would not be a problem if resources for such study were not tightly allocated and forced into competition with other “non-white-male” academic departments — if it was all part of “human studies”, for example. Not yet the case.

    Last autumn I spent weeks compiling a list of Women’s Periodicals from 1968 to the Present. There are 718 titles on this list, of which a third were for lesbians primary or entirely. 82% of these periodicals were published from 1968 to 1985, when the anti-feminist backlash (from the outside as well as within our communities) began in earnest. This will give you an idea of what voices have been lost and silenced. (We’re not dead yet.) I’ve since heard from other compilers and archivists with additions, including a Radical Faerie in Florida who has a massive list of his own that he intends to share with me.

    You won’t find any of this elsewhere, especially in Wikipedia which is reliably male-dominated and reactive against lesbian-feminism.

    And — mad props here to Liza Cowan for being one of those Founding Seps. Your questions and theories and even your mistakes made my life rich and at times possible, in more ways than I can count.

  80. hairball_of_hope says:

    @Jessica Bessica

    Check out the UK Ukulele Orchestra website:

  81. Steph says:

    Wow, Liza and Maggie, fascinating takes on both the Levy article and the historical situating of les sep. Born in 1971, this is before my time, but even I was a little puzzled by Levy’s reliance on Brownmiller throughout her piece.

    I tend to fall into that trap of being excited at seeing any mainstream discourse that draws attention to this movement and this period in time that I’m not as critical to the nuances as I should be. Still, Van Dykes were certainly a group I had not heard of and I did not think they came off as freakish objects of curiosity. Perhaps that is not the case for a typical New Yorker reader.

  82. acilius says:

    @Jessica Bessica: h_o_h is pointing you in the right direction. It’s the opening track on their 2007 album, PRECIOUS LITTLE. Their website not only offers their albums for sale, it even includes a free audio sample of “Finlandia”:

  83. Maggie Jochild says:

    I LOVE ukeleles. Thanks for the link above. Here’s one of my faves, the fabulous Doug Skinner at Midnight Ukelele Disco singing “Little Roaches”.

  84. j.b.t. says:

    I love the New Yorker’s writing, but am always disappointed that about 90% of what they publish is written by men. So it’s hardly surprising that they’d blow the opportunity to write the really good article we’d all love to read…

    I just read Malcolm Gladwell’s (frequent New Yorker contributor)new book- Outliers – which is interesting, etc., in the way that his books are, but I noticed that NONE of his stories of exceptional people are about women! Wtf?

    I’m glad to have this site. Thank you, all.


  85. dc says:

    Even before I’d read his book, the buzz about him just set my teeth on edge. Knew he was the kind of person who would exclude women in his writing. Hence I haven’t been in the least interested in picking up his book.

    One of those so-called wonderkinds who only knows how to write about how wonderful they are.

  86. Jessica Bessica says:

    @ a and h_o_h: thanks!

    I grew up in CA where there are really progressive, political, hippy churches. Since moving to the midwest, the closest thing I can find is the Unitarian Church (which is not really “church”). Last week they sang Finlandia out of the “hymn” book. After I got over the shock of hearing my favorite song in “church,” I cried for how beautiful it all was.

  87. Kate L says:

    Jessica Bessica,

    Yep, us midwestern UU’s (Unitarian Universalists) do like to sing Finlandia at fellowship. Wouldn’t it be funny if we attend the same “church”? All us DTWOF types need to work out a gang sign!

  88. acilius says:

    Maggie Jochild & Jessica Bessica: You’re welcome!

    “Finlandia” has a reverential quality to it that has made it a setting for many hymns over the years. Some of these are rather famous. There’s a rather old-fashioned one called “Be Still My Soul,” and one that was apparently a hit on the Christian music circuit a few years ago called “I Then Shall Live.”

    My own favorite is called “This is My Song.” Most Sundays you’ll find me and my girlfriend at a Quaker meeting; whenever there is to be singing, she asks for that one. The first two verses of “This is My Song” were written by a man called Lloyd Stone and express a general commitment to peace. The first of Stone’s verses starts “This is my song, O God of all the nations, a song of peace for lands afar and mine”; the second starts “My country’s skies are bluer than the ocean, and sunlight beams on cloverleaf and pine.” Other verses were later added to Stone’s two that include a good deal of Christ-y Christian imagery. Quakers are less likely to object to Christ-iness than are UniUnis, but some of the additions introduce a triumphalism that does go against the Quaker grain; for example, one of the added verses calls on God to “let Christ be lifted up til all shall serve him.” I don’t suppose the UniUnis sing that one, either.

  89. Feminista says:

    Kate L and Jessica B,

    Here’s my story. Lapsed Congregationalist mother married slightly lapsed Jewish dad in 1943. Parents attended no services until my mother started looking for intellectual stimulation and liberal religious community in the time of General Mills,General Motors,and General (Pres.)Eisenhower. She joined the Lansing/E.Lansing, MI UU Church in the late 50s & remained a member until her death in 2007.My sister and I attended UU religious ed.,where we learned about the great religions of the world,and then LRY (Liberal Religious Youth)in high school.

    My sister Karen and her family became active in the Palo Alto UU Church in the 90s;I’m an official “visitor” but have joined no congregations as an adult.

    Got the card,the slogans; no secret handshake or signs yet.

  90. Ready2Agitate says:

    a gang sign, huh?

    well, i thought of the various pagan feminist signs, like taking your two hands, palms outward so the backs of your hands face you, and then touching opposed index fingers and thumbs together (to form, yes, a kind of ‘vulva’ shape in the space in the middle). Then I thought of what Mo’s reaction would be: Blechhhh.

    OK – second thought – the letter “D” in american sign language, which looks like index finger pointing up with the rest of fingers closed into a circle like the a miniscule letter “d”. Could be followed by the ASL letter “Y” (which looks like the “hang loose” symbol I’ve seen used by tourists in Hawaii??)

    I really should get a life.

  91. judybusy says:

    Maybe we could just start batting our eyelashes at promising prospects. If you’re in the know, you’d bat back.

    My (other lesbian) coworker and I did this spontaneously one morning last week to each other and by the end I had tears in my eyes, we were laughing so hard. It was one of those goofy, silly things that just happen, and set a great tone for the rest of the day.

  92. Zeugma says:

    Okay, I’m a little late with this, but all the moose jokes compel me to share with y’all the Canadian Literature Game, invented by Margaret Atwood: Simply take the title of any work of Canadian literature, and substitute the word “moose” for any word in the title.

    For instance: As for Me and My Moose; The English Moose; Moose Rising; Lady Moose; and of course, that perennial favourite, Moose.

    (Note: This is funnier if you’re Canadian, and you’re in the pub and have already had several beers.)

  93. Maggie Jochild says:

    Zeugma, I found it hilarious without the beers or being Canadian. Rubyfruit Moose, In Search of Our Mother’s Moose, This Bridge Called My Moose…

  94. acilius says:

    Maggie, a belated thank you for the link to “Little Roaches.” I just listened to it again, every time he goes into Spanish I crack up.

  95. hairball_of_hope says:

    Margaret Atwood… YES!

    The Moose’s Tail
    The Edible Moose
    Life Before Moose
    Moose’s Eye
    The Blind Moose
    The Year of the Moose

  96. Calico says:

    Does this apply to comic strips?
    For Better or for Moose
    My Moose
    Mary Moose
    Moose Morgan, M.D.
    Apt. 3 Moose
    Funky Winkermoose
    et. al.

  97. Calico says:

    Donna Tartt – The Secret Moose

    And yes, TY HOH for the Calamari info.

    As well, I sadly cannot remember who posted the date/bacon recipe…I told my partner that we should try these for our next family gathering, and she said why not, the combo sounds really good.

  98. Ian says:

    Until this blog I’d never seen dates wrapped in bacon but I had seen prunes wrapped in bacon, of course known as ‘devil’s on horseback’ for some unknown reason.

  99. Ian says:

    PS I can’t believe no one’s thought of The Moose Whisperer as yet …

  100. ksbel6 says:

    For Dr. E…The Adventures of the Moose Scientists’ Club 🙂

  101. Timmytee says:

    Are we back to bacon again? Very well, then: This morning I fried up my last few strips in olive oil, onions, and MAPLE SYRUP. Pretty wonderful, but when I took the bacon out of the skillet and laid it on some paper towels, the cooling syrup immediately bonded with the paper. No way was I throwing it away, so today I got a bit more “fiber” than I usually expect from pork products! Best wishes to all from northwest Pennsylvania:)
    P.S. “For Better or for Worse” is already Canadian, so adding “moose” is kind of redundant, right?

  102. hairball_of_hope says:

    Gang sign for DTWOFers?

    Maybe gang colors. Plaid flannel used to work really well as an identifier in the 1970s. Definitely a retro look, “Plaid Flannel Dykes To Watch Out For.”

    Of course, dykes wearing plaid flannel was confusing for the field botanists and geologists, who all dressed in plaid flannel shirts and workboots.

  103. acilius says:

    Those who have pointed out the shortcomings of THE NEW YORKER might be interested in the opening paragraph of this piece:

  104. Maggie Jochild says:

    Yeah, Acilius, it’s the Spanish where I lose it, too. Wishing “sweet dreams” to those “insectos pequenos” is so, so clever.

  105. Kate L says:


    Dress code – related:
    Yeah, women geologists did wear plaid shirts and jeans all the time when I was a young ‘un! And hiking boots – Doc Martens were the best, if you could afford them. In fact, on my very first visit to San Francisco I remember having lunch at an outdoor cafe, looking around at the people passing by and thinking, “There are a LOT of women geologists here in San Francisco!”. I smiled and waived. They seemed perplexed, but smiled and waved back. I guess they could tell that I was from out of town.

  106. ksbel6 says:

    I’m actually in an oversized corduroy shirt today. It’s the Batman, converse hitops that really make the outfit though…I’d vote for those if we all want matching shoes!

  107. Feminista says:

    Anyone familiar with the Moosewood (sic) Restaurant,a collective in Ithaca,NY? Apparently it’s named after the moosewood tree,which grows in upstate NY and other places.

    Never been there,but have 4 of the cookbooks. They’re really big on maple syrup,though not bacon,and they have a recipe for chocolate *moose*,using tofu instead of whipping cream. Recipes are vegetarian and pescatarian. Works well for me,a confirmed flexitarian.

  108. acilius says:

    All that talk about plaid and corduroy reminded me of something. I just remembered what it was:

  109. Ian says:

    Let’s see if this works …

  110. Ian says:

    Chocolate moose anyone?

    (Couldn’t get the damn thing to embed so apologies for the multiple posts) 🙁

  111. hairball_of_hope says:

    Moosewood Restaurant and cookbooks… yup. Been there once, it’s on The Commons in Ithaca. Excellent soup, as I recall, and the rest of the meal was yummy too. My Mollie Katzen cookbooks disappeared in a girlfriend shuffle… sigh… but I still have Julia Child’s “Mastering The Art of French Cooking” on the shelf. You wanna talk about bacon? That cookbook is serious heart attack on a plate. My cholesterol ratchets up 50 points just reading it. There are preposterous amounts of cream and butter in EVERYTHING. The aspic dishes gave me the shivers… why would anyone willingly eat food covered in what looks like quivering snot?

  112. Maggie Jochild says:

    I miss the “Cooking With Two Fat Ladies” show. As a friend of mine commented, every one of their recipes seemed to begin with “Cook up half a pound of streaky bacon” — even the desserts.

    I’ve had the Moosewood chocolate moose with tofu, and carob instead of chocolate, back when being a lesbian-feminist involved our own political version of kashrut. It was utterly vile. Loved the enchanted broccoli forest, though.

  113. Zeugma says:

    Great moose contributions, everyone — especially This Bridge Called My Moose — that caused me to almost spit out my coffee, thanks, Maggie! In the pure form of the game, only Canadian literature qualifies, but one of the funniest evenings I ever spent was in the university pub with a bunch of other grad students in literature, and once we’d exhausted Canadian literature (this was in the 80s, so there was a lot less of it) we moved on to world literature. Two of my personal favourites were Moose in the Time of Cholera, and Moose in Venice.

  114. Jessica Bessica says:

    @ R2A: sign “d” followed by a “y” that’s shaken like a hang loose sign. after all, we’re all a little confused anyways

    @ Ian: …or maybe “The Horse Moosperer”

    and I LOVE that we’ve made it back to Moosewood and Bacon. It really didn’t take all that long!…

  115. Feminista says:

    Wow,didn’t know I’d inspire so many moose-related postings.

    My favorites by the Moosewood Collective: Sundays at Moosewood and New Recipes from Moosewood. They cover a wide range of cuisines,from eastern European to west African to Asian to New England. They have removed much of the cholesterol that clogged Katzen’s two earliest books,while still retaining the flavor. Moroccan stew anyone? Sephardic spinach casseroles?

  116. Eva says:

    Feminista – I know this was back on Feb. 28th – but you mentioned Anne Weiss, folk singer. Is she shortish (under 5’2″) with long curly hair & big blue eyes and radiant smile? If that’s her we are fellow alums of Goddard College, I won’t say when in case Anne is shy about advertizing her age =). She comes out East now & then…but is mostly West Coast, is that right?

  117. Eva says:

    j.b.t.- Malcolm Gladwell wrote about his grandmother, a notably exceptional woman, in the last chapter of the book “Outliers”. This gets so little credit I really wish he had put it at the front of the book. It makes me wonder how many reviewers actually read books through to the end…anyway, just had to put in my two cents on that.

  118. hairball_of_hope says:


    How did I forget Marshall McLuhan was Canadian?

    The Moose is the Message

  119. Maggie Jochild says:

    h_o_h — The Moose is the Message! I think we have a winner. On this blog, at least!

  120. acilius says:

    @Maggie: I also vote for THE MOOSE IS THE MESSAGE.

    And yes, “insectos pequenos” is extremely clever. The Portuguese called it the pequeno- the Hawai’ians call it the jumping flea (“uku le’le”)- from a jumping flea to a sleepy cockroach. My head is spinning!

  121. acilius says:

    No I take that back! My altered McLuhan title is MOOSE MEDIA.

  122. hairball_of_hope says:


    Alternate McLuhan title: Understanding Moose

  123. Feminista says:

    Eva–Yes,that’s Anne. She’s a sister Portlander now,and appears on both coasts & western Canada. A wonderful woman!

  124. Feminista says:

    How about Moose of the Heart (Jane Rule)?

  125. Andrew B says:

    How about Canadian songwriters? I Was a Free Moose in Paris? Four Strong Moose? Rockin’ in the Moose World?

  126. bean says:

    feminista and eva,

    wow, anne really gets around. i knew her a million years ago, too, when she lived in/near? burlington, vt. had a HUMUNGOUS crush on her. don’t know if she remembers me, alas…funny how people from your past can show up on a list like this…

  127. Zeugma says:

    I vote for The Moose Is the Message, too! But since Andrew brought up Canadian songwriters, I can’t resist adding You Turn Me On, I’m a Moose.

  128. Andrew B says:

    L’orignal de hockey? If the rule is Canadian, it has to apply bilingually, right?

    Talk about digressions. I will leave it up to Alison whether they are magnificent or not.

  129. Feminista says:

    bean–Sorry,Anne’s taken; she lives with her sweetie,Eric,who’s an electrician and occasional sound tech. I know her through music and ESL-adult ed.circles.

    Check out her website:

  130. Donna says:

    I’m going to come back to read all the posts later, but loved KateL and Toast’s explanation for something we all know instinctively but never knew the logical/scientific explanation for.

    I also am very curious to know what a “graphic review of a regular book” is all about. And for the NYTBR no less.

  131. susan says:

    Holy crap! Different light is closing????? Where will you go, in LA, to talk about your next book? For some odd reason this is really getting to me. When Pearl’s and, damn cant remember the name of it, closed in Long Beach, I wasnt this bummed. Actually I think I was. Time eases the pain…

  132. M/F says:

    The NY idea is cool – I came across someone who’s already done it from the UK though.

  133. Montrealais says:

    Oh my God, Alison, check this out: is apparently *removing customer ratings from gay-themed books* so they don’t appear on their best-seller lists. When asked, they referred to these books as “adult-themed.”

    Could they get any more evil?