Pixel Scroll 1/17/20 The Longer A Scroll Title, The More Likely It Is Antidisestablishmentarian

(1) DOWN THE TUBES. City A.M. shows off new signage created to advertise the forthcoming series: “PICARDilly Circus: TfL renames Tube station to celebrate Star Trek launch”. More photos at the link.

The move will see Star Trek branding and signage plastered on roundels in the ticket hall and platforms throughout the Grade II listed station

Commuters will also hear special public service announcements advising them to “take care when using stairs, escalators or transporters” while travelling through the station.

The two-day marketing campaign, created with TfL’s advertising partner Global, forms part of the transport body’s efforts to generate more revenue by offering brands station takeovers.

(2) AND DOWN THE HATCH. Joe Otterson, in the Variety story “‘Picard’ Stars Reveal Which ‘Star Trek’ Character They Would Get Drunk With”, finds executive producer Rod Roddenberry voting for his father Gene and Sir Patrick Stewart saying that there were so many interesting new characters in the show that having “a glass or two of something pleasant” with them “would be a treat.”

(3) COLLECTIVE THOUGHTS. Camestros Felapton identifies and analyzes many of what I (not necessarily Camestros) term the ethical issues surrounding the publication and response to Isabel Fall’s story: “Well I guess I’m writing about Clarkesworld again”.

…Again, that’s not Isabel Fall’s fault and it shouldn’t have been her problem because the source of the trust should have not rested with her but with Clarkesworld. The answer to the question “is this story intended to be in good-faith” should have been “yes, because Clarkesworld wouldn’t have published it otherwise”. Unfortunately, that wasn’t a sufficient answer for many people and I don’t think we can fault people for not seeing it as a sufficient answer. The key question Clarkesworld need to answer before publication is whether people in wider fandom (i.e. not just their regular readers) is whether they had sufficient trust both in fandom in general and among transgender fans in particular for Clarkesworld (not Isabel Fall) to attempt to away some of the power of a very hurtful meme. The answer would have been “no”. Clearly, the magazine doesn’t have that level of trust, as demonstrated but also, I think it was obvious before hand.

Am I being wise after the event in saying so? No, really I don’t think so. Multiple people, from varying backgrounds were asking me privately before I wrote a review whether I thought the story was some sort of hoax or other shenanigans. In the context it had then (which isn’t the context it had now) sensible, rational people genuinely couldn’t tell. My main reason for thinking that it wasn’t a hoax was that I don’t think any of the usual suspects are that smart or intellectually adept (or, lets be frank, capable of writing that well). That’s an editorial failure not a failure on the part of the author….

(4) BIG MANDALORIAN IRON. An instant Country/Western classic. Riding a Blurrg ain’t that bleepin’ easy!

From a planet they call Mandalore came a stranger one fine day…

(5) HI GRANDPA. Jon Favreau tweeted a photo of George Lucas holding Baby Yoda.

(6) EPIC FAIL. NPR’s Scott Tobias reports that “‘Dolittle’ Does A Lot, All Of It Terribly”

Dolittle is not a film. Dolittle is a crime scene in need of forensic analysis. Something happened here. Something terrible. Something inexplicable. Watching the film doesn’t tell the whole story, because it doesn’t behave like the usual errant vision, which might be chalked up to a poor conceit or some hiccups in execution. This one has been stabbed multiple times, and only a thorough behind-the-scenes examination could sort out whose fingerprints are on what hilt.

Some details have already emerged: The credited director of Dolittle is Stephen Gaghan, who won an Oscar for scripting Traffic and wrote and directed the oil thriller Syriana — an odd résumé for a children’s film to say the least. After poor test screenings, the film’s release date was pushed from spring of 2019 to January of 2020, and it underwent extensive reshoots under director Jonathan Liebesman (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) and writer Chris McKay (The Lego Batman Movie), who reportedly punched up the script. During that same period, the name of the film changed from The Voyage of Doctor Dolittle, referencing the second book in Hugh Lofting’s series about an eccentric animal doctor, to simply Dolittle, stripped even of the honorarium.

Normally, such trips to the sausage factory are not necessary to understand why a film works or it doesn’t, but Dolittle is so incoherent that it can’t be unpacked on its own. Certain baseline elements of a professional Hollywood production — this one budgeted upwards of $175 million — are simply not present here: The filmmakers have been stymied by the technical challenge of having human actors interact with CGI animals, so eye-lines don’t meet and the editing within scenes lacks continuity. Robert Downey Jr. is off mumbling incoherently in one part of the frame, an all-star voice cast is making wisecracks as a polar bear or an ostrich or a squirrel in another, and only occasionally do they look like they’re on speaking terms…

(7) STARKWEATHER OBIT. Hey, I still own one of these. “Gary Starkweather, Inventor of the Laser Printer, Dies at 81” – the New York Times paid tribute:

…Mr. Starkweather was working as a junior engineer in the offices of the Xerox Corporation in Rochester, N.Y., in 1964 — several years after the company had introduced the photocopier to American office buildings — when he began working on a version that could transmit information between two distant copiers, so that a person could scan a document in one place and send a copy to someone else in another.

He decided that this could best be done with the precision of a laser, another recent invention, which can use amplified light to transfer images onto paper. But then he had a better idea: Rather than sending grainy images of paper documents from place to place, what if he used the precision of a laser to print more refined images straight from a computer?

“What you have to do is not just look at the marble,” he said in a talk at the University of South Florida in 2017. “You have to see the angel in the marble.”

Because his idea ventured away from the company’s core business, copiers, his boss hated it. At one point Mr. Starkweather was told that if he did not stop working on the project, his entire team would be laid off.

“If you have a good idea, you can bet someone else doesn’t think it’s good,” Mr. Starkweather would say in 1997 in a lecture for the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif.

(8) TODAY IN HISTORY.

  • January 17, 1982 The Electric Grandmother  premiered on NBC.  The film starred Maureen Stapleton, Paul Benedict and Edward Herrmann. It was penned by Ray Bradbury as “I Sing the Body Electric” in his 1969 collection of the same name. (It’s the title of a Walt Whitman poem.) School Library Journal said that fans of Bradbury would be fascinated by this film. This is the second dramatisation of his story as the first was presented on The Twilight Zone. It does doesn’t appeared to be out on DVD.
  • January 17, 1992 Freejack premiered. It starred Emilio Estevez, Mick Jagger, Rene Russo and Anthony Hopkins. The screenplay was written by Steven Pressfield, Ronald Shusett (who was also the producer) and Dan Gilroy. We consider it to be very loosely adapted from Robert Sheckley’s Immortality, Inc. (Great work. The serialised version as “Time Killer” in Galaxy was nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Novel.) It was not at the time well-liked by either critics or reviewers. Currently it’s carrying a 25% rating among reviewers at Rotten Tomatoes and there’s a lot who have expressed an opinion — over fourteen thousand so far. 

(9) TODAY’S BIRTHDAYS.

[Compiled by Cat Eldridge.]

  • Born January 17, 1899 Nevil Shute. Author of On the Beach. It originally appeared as a four-part series, The Last Days on Earth, in the London weekly Sunday Graphic in April 1957. It was twice a film. He has other SF novels including An Old Captivity which involves time travel and No Highway which gets a review by Pohl in Super Science Stories, April 1949. There’s In the Wet and Vinland the Good as well. (Died 1960.)
  • Born January 17, 1910 Carol Hughes. Genre fans will no doubt best recognize her as Dale Arden in Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe from sixty years ago. Other than The Red Dragon, a Charlie Chan film done in the Forties if I remember correctly, I’m not seeing anything that’s even genre adjacent for her though I’m assuming that the Fifties Ghost Buster short she was in should be a genre production. (Died 1995.)
  • Born January 17, 1922 Betty White, 98. She voiced Gretchen Claus in The Story of Santa Claus which is enough for Birthday Honors, and she was Mrs. Delores Bickerman in Lake Placid as well according to keen eyes of John King Tarpinian. She had a cameo as herself in (I’m not kidding) Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt. and I’ll finish off by that she’s still active at nearly a hundred, bless her!, by voicing Bitey White in Toy Story 4.
  • Born January 17, 1925 Patricia Owens. She was Hélène Delambre in The Fly. No offense to Cronenberg’s The Fly but this one is far more horrific. Her one of her last appearances was as Charlie in The Destructors which is sort of SFF. Ghost Ship where she was an uncredited party girl is definitely SFF, and her appearance on Alfred Hitchcock Presents falls under my rule that everything he did counts. (Died 2000.)
  • Born January 17, 1927 Eartha Kitt. Though you’ll have lots of folks remembering her as Catwoman from the original Batman, she appeared in but four episodes there. Genre wise, she was in such series as I-SpyMission: ImpossibleMatrix, the animated Space Ghost Coast to Coast and the animated My Life as a Teenage Robot. Film wise, she played Freya in Erik the Viking, voiced Bagheera in The Jungle Book: Mowgli’s Story and was Madame Zeroni In Holes. (Died 2008.)
  • Born January 17, 1931 James Earl Jones, 89. His first SF appearance was in Dr. Strangelove as Lt. Lothar Zogg.  And I think I need not list all his appearances as Darth Vader here. Some genre appearances include Exorcist II: The HereticThe Flight of DragonsConan the Barbarian as Thulsa Doom and I actually remember him in that role, Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold, did you know the 1995 Judge Dredd had a Narrator? Well he’s listed as doing it, and Fantasia 2000 as well.
  • Born January 17, 1935 Paul O. Williams. A poet won the Austonding Award for Best New Writer in 1983 for The Breaking of Northwall and The Ends of the Circle which are the first two novels of  his Pelbar Cycle. I’ve not read these, so be interested in your opinions, of course. (Died 2009.)
  • Born January 17, 1962 Jim Carrey, 58. His first genre film is Once Bitten whose content is obvious from its name. The ‘dorable Earth Girls Are Easy was next followed up by Batman Forever in which he played a manic Riddler that I really liked, then there’s The Truman Show which was way cool. So may we not talk about How the Grinch Stole Christmas?  (SHUDDER!) We settled last year that we think that Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is genre.  And I think I’ll stop there this time. 
  • Born January 17, 1970 Genndy Tartakovsky, 50. Like Romulnan Ale, animation style is a matter of taste. So while I like his work on Samurai Jack and Star Wars: Clone Wars, I can understand why many SW fans don’t as it’s definitely an acquired taste.  He also is responsible for directing the animated Hotel Transylvania franchise. 
  • Born January 17, 1989 Kelly Marie Tran, 31. Best known as Rose Tico in Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. She voices the same character in the Star Wars Forces of Destiny animated series.

(10) CLOCKING IN. Flickering Myth shares “First images from the BBC’s Discworld series The Watch”.

The BBC has released five first look images from The Watch, the upcoming fantasy series inspired by Terry Pratchett’s bestselling Discworld novels featuring  Richard Dormer (Captain Sam Vimes),  Lara Rossi (Lady Sybil Ramkin), Adam Hugill (Constable Carrot), Jo Eaton-Kent (Constable Cheery), Sam Adewunmi (Carcer Dun), and Marama Corlett (Corporal Angua); check them out here…

(11) FOR THE RECORD. Classic fm reports “Mark Hamill reunited with missing Star Wars soundtrack signed by John Williams, 20 years later”.

…The incredible discovery came about after staff at an Arizona bookshop came into possession of the record and were keen to return the record to its rightful owner.

It was certainly a noble gesture; despite the Bookmans’ team knowing the album was worth large sums of money, its personalised autograph suggested it should only belong to the Return of the Jedi star.

Williams had gifted the record to Hamill ahead of the 1977 release of the first Star Wars movie, and had signed the sleeve with the inscription: ‘Dear Mark Hamill, May the Force always be with us.’

Amazingly, the 68-year-old actor wasn’t even aware the record was missing and believed it to still be in the basement of his California home, along with his other vinyl….

(12) TOURIST SPOT. Nice of them to fit it in between nearish Worldcons: “Glenfinnan’s Harry Potter viaduct focus of £1.7m upgrade”.

Improvements are being made to areas around a railway viaduct famed for its picturesque setting and appearances in the Harry Potter films.

Network Rail is investing £1.7m to remove loose vegetation, including “dangerous” trees, from slopes above the railway at the Glenfinnan Viaduct.

Parts of a fence put up to protect visitors on a tourist path at the site are also being renewed.

Thousands of Potter fans and railway enthusiasts visit the viaduct.

(13) LIVING FOSSILS SURVIVE. NPR has some good news — “Aussie Firefighters Save World’s Only Groves Of Prehistoric Wollemi Pines”.

It was a lifesaving mission as dramatic as any in the months-long battle against the wildfires that have torn through the Australian bush.

But instead of a race to save humans or animals, a specialized team of Australian firefighters was bent on saving invaluable plant life: hidden groves of the Wollemi pine, a prehistoric tree species that has outlived the dinosaurs.

Wollemia nobilis peaked in abundance 34 million to 65 million years ago, before a steady decline. Today, only 200 of the trees exist in their natural environment — all within the canyons of Wollemi National Park, just 100 miles west of Sydney.

The trees are so rare that they were thought to be extinct until 1994.

…when Australia’s wildfires started burning toward Wollemi National Park in recent weeks, firefighters from the parks and wildlife service and the New South Wales Rural Fire Service put a carefully planned operation into motion.

“This is a key asset, not only for the national parks, but for our entire country,” Matt Kean, New South Wales’ environment minister, said in an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

(14) IN CASE YOU WONDERED. As for the fossils that didn’t survive: “Dinosaur extinction: ‘Asteroid strike was real culprit'”. The latest “final verdict.”

Was it the asteroid or colossal volcanism that initiated the demise of the dinosaurs 66 million years ago?

This has been a bit of a “to and fro” argument of late, but now a group of scientists has weighed in with what they claim is the definitive answer.

“It was the asteroid ‘wot dun it’!” Prof Paul Wilson told the BBC.

His team’s analysis of ocean sediments shows that huge volcanoes that erupted in India did not change the climate enough to drive the extinction.

Volcanoes can spew enormous volumes of gases into the atmosphere that can both cool and warm the planet.

And the Deccan Traps, as the volcanic terrain in India is known, certainly had massive scale – hundreds of thousands of cubic km of molten rock were erupted onto the land surface over thousands of years.

But the new research from Southampton University’s Prof Wilson, and colleagues from elsewhere in Europe and the US, indicates there is a mismatch in both the effect and timing of the volcanism’s influence.

(15) REDUCTION IN FORCE. This probably wasn’t the cat’s personal New Year’s resolution, I realize… “35-pound cat named Bazooka begins epic weight loss journey”.

A 35-pound orange tabby cat – appropriately named Bazooka – has arrived with pomp and circumstance at a North Carolina shelter this week in preparation to begin his epic weight loss journey.

Bazooka, who was transferred from another shelter about two hours away in Davidson County, arrived at the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Wake County earlier this week, requiring two people to carry him in his crate….

(16) PROHIBITION. Food historian Rick Foss, a longtime LASFS member, has an article on the website for BBC History Magazine: “Wet vs Dry: how prohibition fractured America”.

 …When Europeans first settled in America in the 17th century and into the 18th, alcohol was regarded as not merely a beverage, but a medicine. Many of the country’s founding fathers were enthusiastic consumers of beer and rum: George Washington owned a distillery; Thomas Jefferson was a wine enthusiast; and in their era, anyone who didn’t drink alcohol would have been regarded as peculiar. Late into the 19th century beer and cider were the everyday drink of most Americans, and wine production was gaining in quality and quantity. How, then, did the prohibition movement, which was politically insignificant as late as the 1860s, grow to be so powerful?

(17) X-MEN RATED. [Item by Mike Kennedy.] Have you ever wondered what kind of underwear Wolverine wears? Apparently JP “Pat” Huddlestuff has… and he has the answer for you if you’re willing to venture into the bathroom with him. Creative Bloq: “Illustration series depicts superheroes’ bathroom habits – and it’s genius”.

Superhero fan art is no new thing. From Spiderman and Wolverine to the Hulk and DeadPool, these popular characters have been reimagined by artists in all manner of ways over the years. But just when we think we’ve seen it all, a project like Bathroom Heroes comes along. 

The brainchild of artist JP “Pat” Huddleston, this series of illustrations depicts how superheroes might look while using the bathroom; and, more importantly, how they might manage their superpowers. 

[Thanks to Daniel Dern, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Chip Hitchcock, Moshe Feder, Mike Kennedy, Martin Morse Wooster Cat Eldridge, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Anna Nimmhaus.]

45 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 1/17/20 The Longer A Scroll Title, The More Likely It Is Antidisestablishmentarian

  1. (8) I saw Electric Grandmother in 1982 (and had read the story of course) but though I enjoyed it, I can’t help giving the side eye to its apparent moral – that ita better to love a robot than a human, because the robot won’t leave you by dying.

  2. “If you Pixel any of that, I’m out of a Scroll”

    I do have a soft spot for Freejack.

  3. @9 (Carrey): I thought The Mask was good even if it gave him a lot of scope for scenery chewing, and Liar Liar was a decent popcorn movie helped by Cary Elwes playing a straight man.

  4. Was it ever in the slightest doubt that Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is genre? It have been very near the top of my personal list of greatest SF movies ever since I saw it, that’s for sure.

  5. Freejack: was IIRC an enjoyable bad SF movie.

    (10) CLOCKING IN.
    I get a Steampunk vibe from these photos, which is not a bad thing. I am looking forward to seeing it. (Though I don’t think any Pratchett adaptation will ever attain the high water mark that is “Good Omens”.)

  6. 9) More recently, Genndy Tartakovsky also directed the animated Primal, a wordless series about a caveman and a dinosaur that is absolutely top-notch.

  7. 16) We had a “prohibition” too in Sweden, sans the violent crime. Ours was milder though. Men in good standing had the right to three litres of booze a month (four for the upper class). And if your doctor thought it was good for you, you could get a recipe for beer at the pharmacy.

    It was also legal to drink at restaurants, as long as it was with food. So restaurants usually made a “prohibition plate”, a cold plate of food they carried out with your schnapps, put in front of you while you had your schnapps and then carried back to the kitchen waiting for the next order.

    Instead of organized criminal trade, we got trade on an individual level regarding the 12 litres of booze everyone got and also a lot of moonshine made on individual basis, especially in the north where the rationing was even harsher. Yes, there was smuggling too, but not on US level.

    It lasted from 1919 to 1955 and ended because it was quite inefficient and people got their alcohol anyhow.

  8. So restaurants usually made a “prohibition plate”

    The same idea existed in the US earlier on, to deal with licensing laws rather than full Prohibition. It gets a vivid description in the stage directions of Eugene O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh.

  9. @Rich: Definitely genre: perhaps even an unofficial adaptation of Kessel’s “Hearts in Eyes Do Not Shine”

  10. … that its better to love a robot than a human, because the robot won’t leave you by dying.

    This comment makes me wonder if those kids are still taking care of their forever robot grandma 40 years later. Is she lost in somebody’s garage like an old ColecoVision? Did they get rid of her for an upgraded model?

  11. There have always been Starkweathers at Scroll Comfort Pixel.

    I remember something I once read about the Prohibition movement: a campaign against saloons was a safer way of approaching some people’s real problem, because “you couldn’t campaign against husbands.”

    “Drink turns men vicious and makes them waste all their money” is a safer idea than “my [or your] husband is a selfish brute, and the drink is a convenient excuse.”

  12. @rcade: Per the story, they will save the grandmother to care for them when they are old and in their second childhood.

  13. Paul Weimer: The 2020 Down Under Fan Fund Race is now live, folks!

    The first candidate says: I’ve attended SFF conventions for 40 years, including 2 World Cons. Each year, I read 250+ books, including many genre novels, highlighting my favorites each year in my blog.

    And yet, there’s not a single book review or con report on their blog for the last two years (I didn’t bother looking any further than that.)

  14. The pixels of those I love engirth me and I engirth them,
    They will not let me off till I scroll with them, respond to them

    (8) You can see The Electric Grandmother on YouTube. Guido Fantoccini is played by Paul Benedict who may be best known as Mr. Bentley on The Jeffersons and the father is played by Edward Hermann who was Richard Gilmore on The Gilmore Girls.

    (10) No Nobby Nobbs? (None listed so far.) I dunno about this.

    (16) Malt Extract wasn’t illegal in the US during prohibition so you could buy that for making beer at home. They marketed it as for making bread or some such, but everyone knew why you were buying it. Not sure how you justify buying hops.

  15. Jack Lint asks Malt Extract wasn’t illegal in the US during prohibition so you could buy that for making beer at home. They marketed it as for making bread or some such, but everyone knew why you were buying it. Not sure how you justify buying hops.

    German, Swiss and Dutch cultures that settled in the States used them in cooking as there’s a there’s myriad varieties of hops used in cooking. I suspect, though I’m not sure, that you could use them in baking as well.

  16. The people who performed Big Mandalorian Iron should have given themselves credit. I enjoyed this song almost as much as the Baby Yoda carol.

  17. Paul Weimer-while they are listed in your Worldpress piece, is there any particular reason the names of the DUFF candidate’s nominators were left off of the actual ballot?

  18. Did I miss something in a scroll from the last few days about the Clarkesworld kerfuffle? I started seeing it yesterday on Twitter but I think I missed the first two or three episodes.

  19. I remember hearing how, during prohibition, you could buy canned grape juice in quantity, with detailed instructions for not turning it into wine. (At least some vineyards in CA survived by making sacramental wine, though they always said that they never knew how much actually was used that way.)

  20. Update: Nevermind, I finally found the File 770 entry from the 15th in my blog scroll. Sometimes things load backwards.

  21. Paul O. Williams wrote me that he was treated very shabbily by Del Rey, which published all the books in his Pelbar Cycle. I enjoyed them, but apparently sales weren’t the greatest.

  22. Andrew I. Porter says Paul O. Williams wrote me that he was treated very shabbily by Del Rey, which published all the books in his Pelbar Cycle. I enjoyed them, but apparently sales weren’t the greatest.

    Given what I know about sales for titles that I would thought sold well but didn’t and the person who did the title told me that they didn’t sell more than a thousand in hardcover, just how well did the Pelbar Cycle novels sell? I mean very few genre titles, no matter what the genre, sell very well, which is why the average author has to keep writing new releases in order to make a reasonably comfortable living.

  23. becca: Update: Nevermind, I finally found the File 770 entry from the 15th in my blog scroll. Sometimes things load backwards.

    That’s a thing about scrolls, it’s not always easy to tell which end is the beginning.

  24. OGH says That’s a thing about scrolls, it’s not always easy to tell which end is the beginning.

    i thought all scrolls were the descendent of Ouroboros?

  25. The File goes around the Scroll,
    The Scroll goes around the Pixel:
    It all goes around.

  26. Paul Weimer says I do have a soft spot for Freejack.

    I’m not sure, given my post trauma brain, where I saw it, but I sort of thinking that I saw on some late night cable station. It wasn’t bad, it wasn’t outstanding either. It was sort of like of the maple sausage, egg and cheese burrito that I decided to try this morning at El Rayo, the Mexican place a few minutes from my fav coffeehouse. Meh would best accurately describe both of them. I won’t eat that nosh for my only meal of the day, nor did I ever watch Freejack again unlike say Time Bandits which I love.

  27. Follow-up on the previous post. My post resurrection brain has decided over the past I’d say four months that I can’t eat past noon in any meaningful sense so I try to eat a hearty breakfast, say a burrito. I can later sometimes eat say a blueberry muffin with cream cheese., but nothing more than than that. Anything more substantial has, well, let’s just say the results aren’t pretty.

    Weirder still is that my brain absolutely craves chocolate and sagar. Which is particularly weird because those are just the only flavours I can taste. Yeah I lost my sense of taste too. And pretty much all my sense sense of smell. Not completely, just enough that food, which is taste and smell, is neusea inducing.

    (Jenner, my NP who’s my PCP who I see weekly for obvious reasons, is just happy that I’m any calories.)

    So I’ve lost forty pounds now. I was a bit stocky. Not now. I lose, depending on the week, between two and four pounds. We’re a matter of prolly a month away from a liquid diet.

    My brain injury is unusual it turns out. Because I has minor such injury some forty years ago that when untreated, this one was much worse than should have been. And it’s still deteriorating. I lost the ability to count above five a short while ago. I found that out while trying to manage a bunch of frozen turkeys…

  28. Bonnie McDaniel rightfully asks “maple sausage”? What the heck is that?

    Maple syrup flavoured sausage to be more precise. The syrup part of the description gets dropped by we Northern New Englanders. And that syrup gets in lots of meats — But pork in particular.

    It didn’t make for a great breakfast burrito and the kitchen didn’t handle it well so it dried out too. Their bacon and guacamole burrito packs a lot of needed calories into a burrito so I usually get that one. Two Fat Cats Bakery makes a cheese, bacon and onion oversized biscuit that’s almost as calorie intensive.

  29. @Cat —

    Maple syrup flavoured sausage to be more precise.

    Apropos of nothing, I love sausages with syrup (I’m not picky about the type of syrup). Though I don’t eat red meat (or poultry), so my “maple sausages” are always veggie.

  30. Contrarius says Apropos of nothing, I love sausages with syrup (I’m not picky about the type of syrup). Though I don’t eat red meat (or poultry), so my “maple sausages” are always veggie.

    Some of the maple syrup flavoured veggie sausages I’ve had a long time ago weren’t bad. (Yes you can buy them that way. And I lived in a sort of hippie veggie only collective household at one time.) I eat pork when I eat as it packs the most calories.

  31. @Hampus Eckerman: that is interesting to know, but I’d call it something more like constraint than prohibition; when that much alcohol is legal (instead of all alcohol being banned), there’s not much profit for criminals to sop up. (And the tradition of illegal stills in the backwoods is much older than Prohibition; I’ve read it cited as the source of stock car racing, but that’s relatively recent in the long history of evading liquor taxes.) I suspect smuggling was also a lot easier for amateurs given that no part of Sweden is more than ~100 miles from a border (land or water) — or was Norway also participating?
    I’m curious how they measured the legal volume; was it that much of net alcohol content (trouble to track, but if they’re tracking allowed volume anyway…), or whatever alcohol level the customer asked for, or just of weak drinks (e.g., the equivalent of 3.2%w/w beer that was the first crack in Prohibition and IIUC is still the limit in some areas)? Note also that prohibition isn’t nearly dead in the US; getting a license even for a full-service restaurant can be complicated and./or expensive (e.g., buying and closing some other restaurant), and some towns and counties still prohibit the sale of some or all alcohol, leading to (e.g.) the fact that you can’t buy Jack Daniel’s bourbon in the area where it’s made.

    I saw @16 when I was scanning the BBC, but didn’t notice the byline; it was in the sidebar (a selection of ~8 stories that are advertised, with a photograph for each, next to every news story) for most of Friday, so Rick will probably have gotten a lot of eyetracks.

  32. @Cat —

    Some of the maple syrup flavoured veggie sausages I’ve had a long time ago weren’t bad.

    Yeah, one of the biggest veggie sausage companies — Morningstar Farms — makes one variety of patties that way. I prefer their regular ones, though — I add my own syrup. 🙂

  33. @ Chip Hitchcock:

    If rumour and hearsay is to be believed, the bulk of the smuggling was on the Baltic coast, including such capers as “tow a few barrels of vodka, weighed down with salt in almost-waterproof bags, after a boat”. That mainly so if the customs inspectors were to make a floating visit (like a flying visit, just not quite as rapid), you could simply cut the rope you were towing your goods with, then return to the spot a few days later and load the barrels onto the same (or another) boat.

    Again, if rumour and hear-say is to believed, you could in one sitting order 150 ml of spirits, often ordered as “two white, one brown” (that is, two shots of “white” liquor (vodka, some rum, some aquavit) and one of “brown” (whisky, cognac, some rum, some aquavit…)). In public establishments, I believe beer was actually unlimited, if purchased with food.

  34. @Chip Hitchcock

    (And the tradition of illegal stills in the backwoods is much older than Prohibition; I’ve read it cited as the source of stock car racing,)

    A little more complicated than that. Yes, the stills were in the woods (and pretty much everywhere else they could be hidden). Bootleggers would take them from where it was produced to areas where it was either not legal, or to places where it would be sold without required taxes. Post WW2, automobile technology was such that it became profitable to soup up the car’s engine to be powerful enough to outrun police (“revenoors”) while hauling untaxed/illegal whiskey. From that culture (centered in the mountains of North Carolina) arose stock car racing. Junior Johnson was one of the last living NASCAR pioneers who had a background in running whiskey, and he recently passed away.

    Other early NASCAR drivers involved in running whiskey include Curtis Turner, Fonty Flock, Frank Christian, Jimmie Lewallen, Bill Blair, Red Byron, Raymond Parks, Lloyd Seay, Roy Hall.

    the fact that you can’t buy Jack Daniel’s bourbon in the area where it’s made.

    Not so And Jack Daniel’s is not a bourbon, it is a Tennessee Whiskey.

  35. @bill: if you trust that completely unofficial site, feel free to correct Wikipedia — but I suggest you include a footnote. And “Tennessee Whiskey” is marketing bafflegab; it fits the definition of lowercase-b bourbon, which is an internationally-understood term.

  36. @ Chip Hitchcock:

    But, Highlands, Islay, Lowlands, and Speyside are all “scotch whisky” and thus presumably marketing bafflegab. But at least Islay is specific enough that it’s usually easy to pin-point them in a blind tasting.

    based on (at least) one large-ish UK whisky retailer, they have a specific section for Tennessee Whiskey. I couldn’t tell you what the typical flavour difference between Tennessee whiskey and other bourbon is, though.

  37. @Ingvar: I wouldn’t bet on anyone else being able to tell the difference either — and AFAICT “scotch” applies to any smoked-barley water-of-life (e.g., Suntory).

  38. Chip — by your logic, Champagne is just a kind of sparkling wine, I suppose, and any attempt to distinguish it from, say, Lambrusco, is also bafflegab. Likewise, good Prosciuotto de Parma is ham, Kobe beef is steak, and caviar is roe.

    If you are happy with bourbon, and can’t tell the difference between it and Tennessee Whiskey, then good for you. I can tell the difference, and prefer the good stuff.

    (OTOH, good wine is wasted on me. But I don’t begrudge those who appreciate the difference.)

  39. You seem to assume that all other bourbons are inferior to Tennessee Whiskey. Have you actually tried good bourbons? There are a lot out there.

  40. No, I’m not assuming that. I’ve tasted good bourbons. I’m saying that good Tennessee Whiskey is different than straight bourbon, and I prefer it (for small values of “prefer”; I probably don’t consume 2 fifths a year of distilled spirits.)

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