Pixel Scroll 11/25 Have Space Suit, Can’t Get Through Babylon 5 TSA

In response to a suggestion I am adding subtitles to go with the item numbers. Some feel that will make cross-references to Scroll topics less confusing when they are talking about, say, item 8 from two days earlier.

(1) Royal Treatment. File 770 doesn’t get a lot of press releases, just the quality. Today I received the announcement of a second round of tickets for sale to those wanting to attend the celebration of Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday in May 2016.

(2) Radio SFWA. Henry Lien’s instructional video, demonstrating the choreography for his anthem “Radio SFWA”, is rockin’ and ready for you to witness in this public Facebook post.

(3) Read The Comments. The New York Times published a feature about some of its most valued regular commenters. One of them is 95-year-old sf writer Larry Eisenberg.

Larry Eisenberg. Photo by Chad Batka.

Larry Eisenberg. Photo by Chad Batka.

Mr. Eisenberg has made a name for himself by commenting in poetry.

“Today the kind of poetry you see is primarily a prose form of poetry, you rarely see anything of a rhyming nature that’s published,” Mr. Eisenberg said, citing hip-hop music as an exception. “My own feeling is that people like rhymes. There’s something attractive about them.”

He said his poems were inspired by the fight against racism and inequality. “That’s something that really disturbs me,” he said. “The killings that are taking place, that are primarily racially directed.”

“I do get people who say they love what I wrote,” Mr. Eisenberg, who served as a radar operator in World War II, added. “They found it very enjoyable, or they got a laugh out of it. That’s of course very pleasant for me to read.”

Intelligence failure my eye!
A Cheney-Bush-Condi baked Pie!
Media abetted,
The lies weren’t vetted,
And boy, did this mess go awry!

Larry Eisenberg

Larry Eisenberg was an active sf writer in the 1960s-1970s who had a story picked by Harlan Ellison for Dangerous Visions (“What Happened to Auguste Clarot?”), 20 published stories in his “Emmett Duckworth” series, and had his story “The Time of His Life” (1968) included in The Arbor House Treasury of Modern Science Fiction edited by Silverberg and Greenberg.

(4) Loscon 42 is this weekend in LA. The full program is now online.

(5) Once More With Joshi. S.T. Joshi restates his arguments at greater length in “November 24, 2015 – Once More with Feeling”.

It appears that my recent blogs have been somewhat misunderstood: I suppose in this humourless age, where everyone feels at liberty to be offended at anything and everything, satire and reductio ad absurdum are dangerous tools to employ. (How I wish more of us could adopt Lovecraft’s sensible attitude: “I am as offence-proof as the average cynic.”)

Here are three of his 11 points – I suspect many sympathize with #7, if none of the rest:

7) It would help if the World Fantasy Convention committee had presented some—or any—explanation as to why the award was changed. The secrecy with which this matter was handled has done a disservice to the field.

8) No fair-minded reader could say that my discussion of Ellen Datlow in any way constituted “vitriol.” I was raising a legitimate query as to why she has turned against Lovecraft after profiting from anthologies that could only have been assembled because of Lovecraft’s ascending reputation. Similarly, my comment directed at Jeff VanderMeer was in no way insulting to him. It is simply the plain truth that his offhand comment does not begin to address the multifarious complexities of this issue.

9) I do not question the sincerity of those individuals (whether they be persons of colour who have been the victims of race prejudice—as I have been on a few occasions—or others who are concerned about the continuing prevalence of prejudice in our society today, as I certainly am) who genuinely believe that changing the WFA bust might have some positive results in terms of inclusiveness in our genre. I happen to think they are mistaken on that particular issue, but that is a disagreement that I trust we can have without rancour or accusations of bad faith. (I am, however, not convinced that Mr. Older is one of these people.)

(6) Carrie Fisher. CinemaBlend knows “The Blunt Reason Carrie Fisher Returned To Star Wars”.

Leia, who we now know has traded out the Princess tag for General, is one of those roles that is difficult for an actor to escape—much like Luke Skywalker, it casts a long shadow—and this played a part in Fishers decision. But her choice also had a lot to do with a bigger issue in Hollywood, the lack of quality roles for aging actresses. When Time caught up with the 59-year-old actress and asked if her decision making process was difficult, she said:

No, I’m a female and in Hollywood it’s difficult to get work after 30—maybe it’s getting to be 40 now. I long ago accepted that I am Princess Leia. I have that as a large part of the association with my identity. There wasn’t a lot of hesitation.

(7) Attack of the Clones. Michael J. Martinez continues his Star Wars rewatch reviews in Star Wars wayback machine: Attack of the Clones”.

…No, my issue is Padme, as in…what the hell are you thinking?

Anakin is utterly unstable. It’s apparently widely known that Jedi aren’t supposed to get romantic or emotional. So there’s your first tip-off. The stalkerish leering and horrid attempts at flirtation aren’t helping, either. But then, right in front of Padme, he confesses to slaughtering an entire tribe of sentient beings — women and children, too! Sure, the Sand People killed Anakin’s mom, but do you really just sit there and say, “Hey, Anakin, you’re human. We make mistakes. It’s OK. Hugs?”

Hell, no, Padme. You call the Jedi Council on Coruscant and let them know they got themselves a massive problem….

(8) We Missed A Less Menacing Phantom. Meanwhile, we learn “Ron Howard could have saved us from The Phantom Menace, but chose not to” at A.V. Club.

Way back in the mid-’90s, George Lucas apparently exerted some mental energy trying to decide whether he’d rather create a trilogy of bloodless films in order to experiment with his new computer-imaging software, or hire some real filmmakers and make some decent Star Wars movies. He ultimately went with the former option, but—at least according to Ron Howard—it could have easily gone the other way.

“[Lucas] didn’t necessarily want to direct them,” Howard explains in a recent interview on the Happy Sad Confused podcast. “He told me he had talked to Robert Zemeckis, Steven Spielberg, and me. I was the third one he spoke to. They all said the same thing: ‘George, you should do it!’ I don’t think anybody wanted to follow up that act at the time. It was an honor, but it would’ve been too daunting.”

If this story is true, that is some criminally negligent counseling from some of Lucas’ supposed friends.

(9) Theme v. Message. Sarah A. Hoyt works on a practical distinction between theme and blunt message in storytelling, in “Threading The Needle” at According To Hoyt.

Theme, plot and meaning in your work.

Yes, I know, I know.  You’re out there going “but aren’t we all about the story and not the message.”

Yeah, of course we are.  If by message you mean the clumsy, stupid, predictable message you find in message fiction….


1- Figure out the theme and thread it through WHERE APPROPRIATE.

2- Figure out the sense of your novel and thread it through WHERE APPROPRIATE and not in people’s faces.

3 – If your sense of the novel fits in a bumpersticker, you iz doing it wrong.

4- most of 1 and 2 come down to building believable characters that fit the story you want to tell, and then not violating their individuality.

5- if you end in a line saying “the moral of this story is” it’s likely you’re over the top and turning off readers.  Also it’s possible Sarah A. Hoyt will come to your house and hold your cats/dogs/dragons hostage till you stop being a wise*ss.

(10) Today In History.

  • November 25, 1915 — Albert Einstein formulated his general theory of relativity

(11) Supergirl, Spoiler Warning.  Polygon reports “Superman to finally be introduced on Supergirl”

Audiences have gotten quick glimpses of the superhero, but there’s never been an official first look at the man of steel.

Now, however, Superman is set to make his official first appearance on the show, according to a new report from TV Line. Casting has already begun for the character, although some may be surprised to find out that CBS isn’t looking for a handsome, leading man to fill the role, but a 13-year-old boy.

(12) Game of Thrones Spoiler Warning. The Street asks, “Did HBO Just Tease That Jon Snow Is Alive in This Awesome ‘Game of Thrones’ Promotion?”

GoT left off in the Season 5 finale that Snow had been killed by his brothers of the Night’s Watch who rebelled against him as the commander of the group. Avid fans across the world cried and took to social media in outrage.

But since the season finale last June, fans have tossed around lots of theories on whether Jon Snow is actually dead. A prominent theory — at least in the TV series – is that Snow’s eyes change color just before the camera cuts off in the episode’s last scene. Could it mean that while Jon Snow may be dead, he will emerge as a new person, ahem, Jon Targaryen? Or was the eye color change just a trick of the camera?

As well, Game of Thrones blogs and various media articles have noted that Kit Harington, the actor who plays Snow, was seen on the show’s set while filming earlier this year for Season 6.

Still HBO hasn’t confirmed that the character will be returning. And following the season finale in June, HBO insists that Jon Snow is indeed — dead.

(13) Rex Reason Passes Away. Actor Rex Reason died November 19.

Rex Reason, the tall, handsome actor with a lush voice who portrayed the heroic scientist Dr. Cal Meacham in the 1955 science-fiction cult classic This Island Earth, has died. He was 86.

Reason died November 19th of bladder cancer at his home in Walnut, California, his wife of 47 years, Shirley, told The Hollywood Reporter….

In This Island Earth, distributed by Universal-International and directed by Joseph M. Newman, Reason’s Dr. Meacham is one of the scientists recruited by a denizen of the planet Metaluna to help in a war against another alien race. Russell Johnson, the future Professor on Gilligan’s Island, also played a scientist in the Technicolor movie, which at the time was hailed for its effects….

After a few years at MGM and Columbia, Reason landed at Universal and worked alongside Rita Hayworth in William Dieterle’s Salome (1953). He later starred as another scientist in The Creature Walks Among Us (1956), appeared with Clark Gable and Sidney Poitier in Band of Angels (1957) and toplined Badlands of Montana (1957) and Thundering Jets (1958).

(14) Blue Origin. Yesterday’s Scroll ran a quote about the Blue Origin rocket test, but omitted the link to the referenced Washington Post story.

(15) Hines Review. Jim C. Hines reviews “Jupiter Ascending”.

I’d seen a bit of buzz about Jupiter Ascending, both positive and negative. I didn’t get around to watching it until this week.

The science is absurd, the plot is completely over the top, and about 3/4 of the way through, I figured out why it was working for me.

Spoilers Beyond This Point

(16) Cubesats. “United Launch Alliance Reveals Transformational CubeSat Launch Program” reports Space Daily.

As the most experienced launch company in the nation, United Launch Alliance (ULA) announced it is taking CubeSat rideshares to the next level by launching a new, innovative program offering universities the chance to compete for free CubeSat rides on future launches.

“ULA will offer universities the chance to compete for at least six CubeSat launch slots on two Atlas V missions, with a goal to eventually add university CubeSat slots to nearly every Atlas and Vulcan launch,” said Tory Bruno, ULA president and CEO.

“There is a growing need for universities to have access and availability to launch their CubeSats and this program will transform the way these universities get to space by making space more affordable and accessible.”

(17) Nazi Subway Ads. The New York Post article “Amazon Pulls Nazi-Inspired Ads from Subways” has more photos of the subway cars, inside and out.

Andrew Porter’s somewhat Joshi-esque comment is: “The concept of a USA under German and Japanese occupation is apparently beyond the comprehension of most subway riders, and politicians. Note that no actual swastikas appeared anywhere! Next: toy stores will be forced to remove World War II German model airplanes….”

(18) Testing for Feminism: The dramatic title of Steven Harper Piziks’ post “The Impending Death of Feminism” at Book View Café obscures his finely-grained account of a classroom discussion. The comments are also good.

Every year my seniors read Moliere’s Tartuffe. In that play is a scene in which Orgon orders his daughter to break off her engagement with the man she loves and marry the evil Tartuffe.  She begs him not to force this and asks his permission to marry the man she wants.

“Haw haw haw!” I chuckle at this point.  “Tartuffe was written in the 1600s.  Nothing like this happens today!”

Or . . . ?

I bring up a web site on my SmartBoard that asks questions and lets the students text their responses so we can see how the class as a whole answered.  The answers are always a little shocking

(19) Mockingjay 2. Tom Knighton reviews Mockingjay Part 2:

…Now, let’s talk about performances.  Jennifer Lawrence is phenomenal, like she always is.  Personally, I like her better as Katniss than Mystique, but mostly because I prefer rooting for her characters and I just can’t with Mystique.

This is the last film we’ll ever see Phillip Seymour Hoffman in, and that is truly a tragedy.  So much talent, but he had a demon he couldn’t tame and it cost him his life.  To get political for a moment, this is something we should be discussing how to prevent.  Frankly, the threat of prison didn’t stop him, so maybe we should figure something else out for a bleeding change.  </politics>

Liam Hemsworth is great as well.  He’s a young actor I can’t wait to see do more.  My hope is that someday we’ll get a great action movie with Liam and his big brother Chris.  Gail and Thor on the big screen…yeah, I can see it….

(20) Bottled In Bond. James H. Burns recommends, “As folks are celebrating Thanksgiving, they could have a drink, like that other JB….!“ He means, of course, James Bond. For ideas, consult Burn’s article “007’s Potent Potables”.

The virtual explosion of surprise over James Bond drinking a beer in Skyfall was a bit absurd, and played almost like some practical joke from one of the spy’s arch enemies seeking to display just how gullible the media can be. (“Is that a SPECTRE I see over your shoulder?”) Call it a vast victory for product placement: The kind that not only gets the brand a major slot in a movie, but gets folks–including “The NBC Nightly News”–buzzing to the tune of MILLIONS OF DOLLARS of free publicity, for both the film, and the endorsement. But Ian Fleming’s secret agent 007 has been having the occasional brew almost since his very beginnings in the author’s bestselling series of espionage novels, which commenced in the early 1950s!

(21) Trivia. J.M. Barrie, the creator of Peter Pan, was one of the seven people that Antarctic explorer Robert Falcon Scott wrote to in the final hours of his life during his ill-fated return journey from the South Pole. Scott asked Barrie to take care of his wife and son. Barrie was so touched by the request that he carried the letter with him the rest of his life.

(22) Gratitude. “The SF/F We’re Thankful for in 2015” at B&N Sci-FI & Fantasy Blog.

Andrew: Space opera seems to be coming back in a big way. Books such as Nemesis Games by James S.A. Corey, Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie, The End of All Things by John Scalzi, and The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers have been earning acclaim from all corners of the internet. I’ve always been a big fan of stories about expansive galactic empires, ragtag starship crews, and adventure far out into the cosmos, and the genre’s recent resurgence is both exciting and terrifying: there’s not nearly enough time to read all of them!

(23) Scalzi’s Thanksgiving Prayer. John Scalzi has recorded an audio of his science fictional thanksgiving prayertext first published on AMC in 2010.

… Additionally, let us extend our gratitude that this was not the year that you allowed the alien armadas to attack, to rapaciously steal our natural resources, and to feed on us, obliging us to make a last-ditch effort to infect their computers with a virus, rely on microbes to give them a nasty cold, or moisten them vigorously in the hope that they are water-soluble. I think I speak for all of us when I say that moistening aliens was not on the agenda for any of us at this table. Thank you, Lord, for sparing us that duty….

[Thanks to James H. Burns, Jim Meadows, rcade, Andrew Porter, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Credit for this holiday travel-themed title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day Daniel Dern.]

199 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 11/25 Have Space Suit, Can’t Get Through Babylon 5 TSA

  1. *pokes Meredith* 5200 words away from the big 50, tell me I’ll never make it and children will laugh when they find the house of colonel runaway.

  2. On my own blog, I used an excerpt from an old Scottish poem by William Seath for a Thanksgiving post. It’s actually a song-within-a-poem about Hansel Monday, an older Scottish version of Boxing Day, but the sentiments seemed suitable for Thanksgiving. (Cultural-Appropriation-R-Us, or something.)

    I skipped the usual green bean casserole this year to try a Brussels Sprouts Gratin recipe. Quite good, very rich, with the Brussels Sprouts, bacon, heavy cream, bread crumbs, and Parmesan.

    Also did two pies, apple and pumpkin, using Poudre Forte’ (“Strong Powder”, sometimes also called Duke’s Mixture or King’s Mixture) for the seasoning. It’s a medieval mix that, like curry, can vary in its ingredients and strength but usually includes cinnamon, ginger, clove and black pepper. A version gifted to us many years ago included grains of paradise and cubebs, but that jar ran out a long time ago. The version I used for today’s pies came from Worldspice.com, and included grains of paradise along with the standard ingredients. It worked very well for both pies; I used about a teaspoon for the apple pie, and a half-tablespoon for the pumpkin.

  3. I’m convinced green bean casseroles are a practical joke USA peeps are playing on the rest of the world.


    (Okay, this one is super hard, because I’m just so proud of you – and all the other Filers who’ve kept plugging away at their NaNos and miniNaNos, word count met or not.)

    Pshaw! 5200 words away from finished isn’t finished. Do you want to be the person who failed with 5200 words to go? Children two hundred years from now will be using you as a cautionary tale and tittering behind their hands when your name is mentioned in English class. *ostentatiously inspects fingernails* I mean, you could get the last few words done in time, I guess, but I’m sure you won’t make it.

  4. Thanks coach. Boy are you going to be surprised when I make it out of the prelims in the long jump, um I mean hit that 50k.*

    *Based on a true story that goeth thusly.

    “Hey [Iphinome], how’d you do.”
    “Made the finals.”
    “Thanks for the vote of confidence razzle frazzle mutter mutter bad words bad words, um I mean I’m going to go join that hackey sack circle till they call us back over.”**

    **Gives some idea of my age.

  5. Yay, post-prologue No Return is much better than the prologue!

    But even better . . . did everyone know this but me? Baen sells Night Shade Books ebooks. For reasonable prices. This means I can get the 2nd & 3rd Raksura books by Martha Wells as ebooks, and I believe (fingers crossed) DRM-free to boot. 😀 I’ll buy one to see.

    @Meredith: Green beans are a cruel joke in general. Bleah. But nice job tripping Iphinome near the finish line! 😉

  6. P.S. YES! Now my frustrating with over-priced DRM’d Night Shade Books ebooks is over; the Baen versions of NSB’s books are like half the price and don’t have DRM. 😀 (updating my list o’ places to get DRM-free books)

    Of course, every page on Baen’s site appears to be named “Baen Ebooks” (sigh), so I have to track down the page for the 3rd Raksura book again. Seriously, Baen – what the freaking hell.

  7. My family does Thanksgiving on Friday, so it’s still a bit in the future for us.

    No green bean casserole ever (shudder).

    Four pies from special family recipes: Pumpkin, apple, chocolate mousse, and berry.

    Otherwise fairly traditional: Turkey with gravy, homebaked bread stuffing with shallots, mashed potatoes, buttered peas, glazed carrots, cranberry-tangerine sauce, roasted chestnuts, corn muffins and braided challah.

    I learned a new thing this day, that many families have a tradition of Thanksgiving macaroni and cheese, and banana pudding.

  8. Re: `Read The Comments’: I’m also leaning toward liking a bit of form in my poetry, but the Eisenberg poem quoted also shows one of the problems of formal poetry: That it’s relatively easy to produce something that fits the form, but remains superficial. In my opinion, this is even more prevalent in (non Japanese language) haiku, where the form is quite easy to fit and thus attracts unambitious poets.

  9. My Thanksgiving was with a friend; it’s becoming traditional for us. We don’t have to do anything. We eat, we talk, we read, we watch TV no one else around us would easily tolerate. She welcomes my own dogs and whatever fosters I have at the time. One year, we both napped. I think what my mother would say about such “rudeness” and I giggle.

    This year we walked the dogs twice.

  10. Cranberry tangerine sauce?!

    [Considers asking for recipe, remembers lack of cranberries in ENTIRE country (must be the fault of all the Marxists), despairs quietly, bakes cinnamon ornaments as distraction] See what you did, Peace[*]? You brought on early Christmas.

    Can I have the recipe anyway? I might find a way to grow cranberries on a balcony…

    [*]I hope you don’t mind me calling you by your first, or middle, name, and I’m not actually blaming you, but I may be actually thanking you, because the house smells delicious.

  11. It’s fairly straightforward (if you can get cranberries … although I hear lingonberries are very similar):

    Rinse 350 grams of fresh cranberries (frozen perfectly acceptable)

    Make a cup of sugar syrup: In a large saucepan on medium low flame heat 0.25 liters of water and 225 grams of white or golden sugar (pretty much equal volumes sugar and water), stirring until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture boils.

    Add the cranberries (they float!) and return the mix to the simmer, stirring gently.

    (The cranberries will explode with soft “paffs” as they heat up. It’s kind of fun.)

    Simmer for ten minutes, stirring now and then. The mix will turn into jam automatically.

    Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

    Take four or five small tangerines, seedless if you can get them. If they are organic you can grate some of the zest into the cranberries. Peel them, separate the segments and remove the seeds, if any.

    Stir the segments into the cooled sauce and refrigerate until serving. You can also add a pinch of orange zest or a dash of orange juice. Everything will be a uniform deep red color by then.

  12. if you can get cranberries … although I hear lingonberries are very similar

    Are they? (Googles; YES!) That’s encouraging, I think there are frozen lingonberries at Ikea. Which is an odd place to shop for food, but I’m game.

    Thanks for the recipe, it sounds delicious. I haven’t seen an actual tangerine yet this year, just clementines, tangelos and various new varieties, but I’m hopeful there will be some, despite the weird weather.

    I’m thinking candied yams and this sauce will be a good addition to Christmas lunch. If I find out they’re an acquired taste and the Portuguese relatives hate them, well, there’s always too much food anyway, and more for me 😉

  13. It might even be that we mean different things by “clementine” and “tangerine” (I have googled, and it’s confusing in small citrus-land). The “tangerines” I haven’t seen yet are a lighter orange, tend to have space between the peel and the segments, and are both less acidic and more bitter than the other varieties. They taste the least like oranges of all the small golden citruses (except kumquats, but that’s a whole other thing). They have a short season, and don’t travel/keep as well, so they’re harder to find. I pine for them all year long.

  14. I didn’t make it to Thanksgiving dinner yesterday but my MIL sent home enough leftovers for me to have a mini-Thanksgiving for Shabbat dinner tonight. She makes an extra thing of stuffing just for me to take home whether I make it or not because I love it so much.

    I spent the day sleeping, reading, and a little time online. Today I’ve slept even more. Poor hubby is doing all the work.

  15. For Thanksgiving at my house, there was minestrone approximating my grandmother’s old recipe (don’t look at me like that, it’s almost entirely New World ingredients), and pumpkin pie, and buttermilk muffins, and apple-cranberry Martinelli’s, and the most essential tradition, MST3K Turkey Day!

    (Incidentally, the MST3K Kickstarter is just $200K shy of the 6-episode goal now! Woohoo!)

  16. 20 years ago I moved to Cambridge to work for Acorn. A year or two later I used staff discount to buy one of our desktop ARM based Risc PCs. Making an allowance for the fact I got a monitor, keyboard, mouse and PSU with it, it cost me about 700 quid. The Pi Zero is 30 times quicker, has 8 times the memory and will drive around 4x as many pixels on the screen for 4 quid. My brain has been off doing the “But, but, but…” bogglement intermittently since reading the first news story this morning.

    And it runs RiscOS as well as linux!

  17. It might even be that we mean different things by “clementine” and “tangerine” (I have googled, and it’s confusing in small citrus-land). The “tangerines” I haven’t seen yet are a lighter orange, tend to have space between the peel and the segments, and are both less acidic and more bitter than the other varieties. They taste the least like oranges of all the small golden citruses (except kumquats, but that’s a whole other thing). They have a short season, and don’t travel/keep as well, so they’re harder to find. I pine for them all year long.

    Clementines and tangerines are both varietals of the mandarin orange, As with apples, (think delicious vs macs) this means they are be and ARE considerably different.

  18. Meredith

    Indeed so, for the very obvious reason that there were no state schools for girls in 1850, when your mother’s school was founded, nor in 1875, nor in 1894; without the radical feminists, and their strange conviction that women are as intelligent as men are, middle and upper class girls would still be learning to play suitable pieces on the piano, and possibly the harp, as well as learning how to draw suitable subjects, thus ensuring that their brains would be untroubled by anything unsuitable.

    I have no doubt that the terms upon which the North London Collegiate was founded preclude the school from taking male pupils; I cannot envisage the redoubtable Miss Buss tolerating that.

    But once State schools got underway they too had separate schools for boys and girls; it was not until the abolition of (or most of ) the grammar schools and the introduction of comprehensive schools that single sex State schools got the chop.

    It is worth bearing in mind that the 11 plus, which determined whether a child went to a grammar school or a secondary modern, was rigged. The people who created the exams were horrified to discover that girls did much better than boys, and, since they were utterly certain that men are more intelligent than women, they adjusted the boys marks to bring them up to the levels they deemed proper. And boys grammars had links with the girls grammars in much the same way as we did with the local boys public schools.

    Once coeducational comprehensives came along the education of girls went backwards; there are a lot of research papers noting that boys get far more attention from teachers than girls, notwithstanding the fact that the teachers are utterly convinced that it’s the other way round, and get quite upset if a video recording of the class shows that, as a question of fact, they do give far more attention to the boys.

    In the large majority of cases they are not being deliberately discriminatory; they are doing it because they have internalised profoundly sexist attitudes along the lines of little girls should be seen but not heard which is how they can end up with classes full of people who have yet to grasp the fact that people are not property.

    The other feature shared by the schools which make up the Girls Day Schools Trust is that the fees are very high; the reason that they are so high is that around a third of the girls are on full or partial scholarships. Soaking the rich to provide scholarships for the poor is part of our proud tradition, and, since the competition for places is so intense, any filthy rich parents unhappy with that tradition will be politely shown to the exit.

    Equally, no matter how rich the parent(s) are, if the girl doesn’t have the brains and the heart to mesh with the shared values then she too will be politely shown to the exit; this may be a major surprise to people who have hitherto been able to buy whatever they wanted, but it’s what they call a learning moment.

    The City of London School for Girls has pupils from just about anywhere on the planet, of all faiths and none, which is why there’s no place there for someone who doesn’t respect her fellow pupils, for whatever reason, or expects the school to be arranged the way she wants it.

    Such a girl is perfectly free to believe that she is superior to others; she will, however, have to settle for a school prepared to take her as a pupil, and such a school won’t be one founded by radical feminists…

  19. Clementines and tangerines are both varietals of the mandarin orange, As with apples, (think delicious vs macs) this means they are be and ARE considerably different.

    While they are different as someone who finds herself regularly not able to find a specific fruit needed when cooking (or thinking the one called for is disgusting) substituting one for the other will probably work unless you are serving the dish to someone who is used to it being made “properly”. It won’t be authentic per the recipe you were given but life isn’t perfect.

    I have a number of recipes which I alter the fruit depending on the time of year (oranges and apples get switched in several poultry recipes). Sometimes I use dried instead of fresh. Some are changed because that’s how my mom or someone else taught me to make it (blueberries instead of prunes).

    A few years ago we were going through my maternal grandmother’s cookbooks and found out why our recipes didn’t taste like hers. She put notes for all the changes and possible alternatives to recipes in the cookbooks. I hope to scan them in, add both my mom and my changes/alternatives, and pass those onto the family. We all use the same Betty Crocker Cookbook we’ve even made sure it’s from the right copyright year yet a number of recipes just aren’t the same depending on who cooks it.

    When I give a cookbook to someone sometimes I buy a new one and copy notes over before passing it along. Other times I’ll scan the recipes with notes and email those after sending the book via Amazon. Before scanning I used to have notes for the recipes and send them via email.

  20. I went to a coed private school which did a pretty good job of treating boys and girls as equals. They encouraged us to challenge our teachers when we disagreed with what was being taught, how it was being taught, how students were treated, discipline of students (students were on the school board as well as the disciplinary board). It wasn’t unusual to have the students challenging homework or arguing with the headmaster over new rules or the direction of the school. I didn’t appreciate it enough when I was there.

    In many ways this ill prepared us for college and the real world where challenging authority is much less accepted. We had been taught to back up our arguments with facts, cite sources, think critically. But what we weren’t prepared for was petty authority plays and games (formally – this behavior was frowned on). I wonder if this is similar to the problem girls in same sex schools have in adjusting to college. They are used to being treated as human beings in the classroom and are told they are being prepared for college and the real world. But when they get to college and out in the real world they are treated as 2nd class citizens.

    This was one reason I dropped out of an all women’s college at 19. Lack of respect of students as people. Took years for me to go back to school. When I did it was a life experience program where we had the same problem and I spent a fair amount of time on the phone as class representative explaining why night college teachers could not treat adult students (20-50) as 18-year olds still living at home with no life/work experience.

  21. @Stevie

    Oh, there are still state schools that are single sex – one girls school and one boys school fed into my coed sixth form, and they were both state. They were also religious though (Catholic) which may make a difference – although all the other Catholic and CoE schools that fed in were coed (about half the students came from what used to be a Christian school coalition in the area, which was almost all Catholic with one CoE, due to getting prioritised entry – the sixth form itself was Catholic, although you wouldn’t have known it from the stunning Christian values displayed in kicking out someone for being sick). Single sex state schools aren’t all that common, but they’re still around.

    Christ’s Hospital was coed from the start, I think, although it was founded an exceedingly long time ago indeed (1552), and always had a focus on sponsoring students who couldn’t afford it – although looking at the dates I think my grandmother would have been there during a brief (in terms of the length of the schools history) separation between the boys and girls parts of the school during the 20th century.

    The 11+ was a terrible thing for all sorts of reasons.

  22. @Susana
    A variant on the tangerine cranberry sauce.
    Amounts can vary a bit.
    Cook cranberries, a bagful here is maybe 10-12 ounces, in enough orange marmalade to be thick, maybe about 1/2 cup, more if needed.
    Cook until the berries pop – you can mash them a little if it entertains you, but you want to leave them mostly whole.
    Remove from heat and add about 1/2 cup toasted almond slivers.
    Sir in two or three tangerines, seeded and pulverized into a rough paste – a hand blender works best.
    Basically, you want about 1 part tangerine to 3 parts cranberry mix.
    Yummy, yummy stuff.

  23. @Tasha Turner

    I think you might have something there. I know I hated my sixth form* because, having been used to a home education environment where our opinions and desires were treated seriously**, going into a more traditional authority-is-king environment (with a disorienting amount of emphasis on “you’re expected to be adults now” which, when to me it felt more like being treated like a little kid and certainly treated as having very little agency, didn’t help at all) was deeply uncomfortable and stressful. I wouldn’t be surprised if some girls used to being treated as people would react very badly to being treated as girls.

    *One of the reasons I didn’t bother to fight being kicked out was because by the end of the year I didn’t want to go back anyway. The environment was patronising, the learning I could by and large do better by myself (and, y’know, did, since I wasn’t in class much and still got the best damn score in the college for one of the exams), and then being treated as a drug addict and an attention seeking liar while struggling with an alarming health condition that didn’t have a diagnosis yet put the nail in the coffin.

    **We weren’t treated as or expected to be adults, which I’m not sure is good for children, but we were treated as people, which is more important.

  24. Re tangerine/clementine cranberry sauce
    Our clementines were a little bitter, so we added a splash or two of Cointreau for a deeper flavor. We also held back some of the fresh cranberries and citrus to pulse up in the mini food processor, which adds some texture for people who don’t like or can’t eat nuts.

  25. Tasha, Meredith

    This is fascinating; I’m still in touch with a number of the women I went to school with, and nobody experienced the sort of problems you relate. I can think of a number of reasons for this, starting from the fact that Catholic girls went to the convent school, and were expected to admire saints and sacrifice themselves for their children; we didn’t give a toss about saints but did care about the Suffragettes, since without them we would have no political power, and without political power all we could do would be to try and persuade men to do what we wanted.

    Given the turnover in male gardeners at the convent school I’m fairly confident that a number of the girls had no difficulty in completely ignoring the nuns’ views on proper female behaviour; that was quite amusing, but failing to care about the health of their pupils is a completely different kettle of fish. The investigations in Eire uncovered the most dreadful behaviour by nuns towards people in their care; it seems probable that the inquiry by Justice Lowell Goddard, comprising 12 separate investigations in England and Wales, is unlikely to conclude that nuns in this country were completely different to those in Eire.

    I fear that their behaviour to Meredith may have been reasonably commonplace; they thought they could do what they wanted, secure in the knowledge that the bishop would back them up without a qualm. Now that the same bishops are being investigated for committing and/or covering up child abuse, the nuns may feel rather less confident; who knows, they may even start to practice the gospel which they preach, which would make a pleasant change.

    I do have very considerable doubts about the whole sixth years colleges idea; it’s the sort of thing which looks good on paper, Civil Servants can sell it to Ministers really easily since Ministers would get all excited about it because it would be new and progressive and get their names in the media, when no-one had ever sat down and thought about it in the first place, because if someone had sat down and thought about it it would have been consigned to the waste paper bin and never seen the light of day.

    You can probably tell from this that I was a Civil Servant; I was almost as junior as it is possible to be and still be a mandarin, but I was a mandarin, which has nothing to do with citrus fruit but reflects the way the Chinese Empire ordered itself. The fact that it was a lousy idea is in no way an excuse for the way in which young people in general, and Meredith in particular, were treated.

    At University I had a great deal of freedom to do what I wished; reading Combined Honours was useful in that respect because the tutors in the Arts buildings assumed I was in the Social Science buildings, and vice versa. That, in itself, doesn’t explain why I had no problem in dealing with the power structure, but I’d spent seven years in an environment which made the Jesuits’ attempts at shaping their students look positively frivolous; if you know from the beginning that you need to change the power structure then it’s a lot easier not to be intimidated by it. It is they who are the problem, not you.

    That, in turn, has a knock on effect on the powers that be; if they are doing what they usually do and it doesn’t have the usual results they become a little less certain, particularly if the person they are talking to is perfectly polite in the way that they point out that it’s nonsense.

    It’s very late, and I have written lots of stuff and left unanswered a lot of other stuff, so I will come back to it tomorrow, provided you haven’t died of boredom already…

  26. Susana :

    It might even be that we mean different things by “clementine” and “tangerine” (I have googled, and it’s confusing in small citrus-land). The “tangerines” I haven’t seen yet are a lighter orange, tend to have space between the peel and the segments, and are both less acidic and more bitter than the other varieties. They taste the least like oranges of all the small golden citruses (except kumquats, but that’s a whole other thing). They have a short season, and don’t travel/keep as well, so they’re harder to find. I pine for them all year long.

    This sounds very like the description of the satsuma, another mandarin orange variety, which is extremely easy to peel because of the aforementioned space between peel and segments, tends to be seedless, is extremely sweet, and only shows up in grocery stores between mid-November and New Year’s.

  27. @ Stevie – I don’t know exactly what scientific papers my friend read or what he’s doing about it. He made an offhand comment to me, and you’ve read it second hand, so I wouldn’t jump to the conclusion that he’s not trying hard enough.

  28. All of the women I’ve known who went to all-girls’ schools (religious or not) did very badly in mixed colleges. The ones who went on to all-women’s colleges did very badly when they got out into the job world. Well, the Kinsey 5-6 lesbians did okay.

    Your cranberry-small orangey things sauces are better with Grand Marnier. Lemons and apples are a swell addition too.

    Am pleased to report that my pumpkin pie leftovers made a fabulous breakfast. Looks like I’ve been volunteered to do it again next year.

  29. lurkertype: All of the women I’ve known who went to all-girls’ schools (religious or not) did very badly in mixed colleges. The ones who went on to all-women’s colleges did very badly when they got out into the job world.

    This is purely anecdata, but the two guys I know whom I’m aware went to male-only schools (more of the guys I know may fall into this category and I just don’t know about it) are utterly clueless in their interactions with women. One of them, who also went to an all-male college (university, for you Brit-type people), is still, in his late 40s, utterly socially inept, especially with women.

    This may be a factor of the individuals involved, rather than their schooling method. But I find it rather interesting.

  30. @JJ: “This is purely anecdata, but the two guys I know whom I’m aware went to male-only schools (more of the guys I know may fall into this category and I just don’t know about it) are utterly clueless in their interactions with women.”

    I’ll put myself on that list. I went to an all-male private Christian school – not a church school, though – for grades 7-12, and going away to attend a coed college was like getting thrown into the deep end without swimming lessons. I simply had no experience dealing with the opposite sex, and suddenly I was surrounded by them. I like to think I’ve overcome some of that social handicap, but I know damned well I haven’t gotten past all of it.

  31. Lurkertype

    I’m beginning to think that this is the product of your culture as a whole; I find it very strange that every single one of all of the women you know who went to single sex schools did badly. Of course, ignoring the problems with statistics, this may be because the single sex schools were not founded by radical feminists but instead by those who wished to keep the sexes separate to impose traditional gender roles on them.

    Rev Bob

    I’m sure that this happens; speaking with my 1875 radical feminist hat on I don’t give a toss about some boys problems in socialising. It is not the job of girls or women to turn boys and men into people able to socialise with other people, and expecting them to do so reflects the profoundly sexist basis of any culture in which this expectation exists.

    Our Prime Minister, David Cameron, together with a hefty chunk of his Cabinet, attended Eton, which is a boys only boarding school, and yet they have emerged perfectly able to socialise with anyone they need to en route to power. Of course, Eton is not ‘a Christian school’; it’s not there to impose religious roles on anyone, and boys get plenty of opportunities for socialising in the holidays with girls, as well as during term time via things like the debating society, which invites challenges from girls’ debating societies.

    It may help if you bear in mind the fact that our Prime Minister is an agnostic; as far as I can tell he could never have been elected in the US because he is not a bosom buddy of Jesus. We do not have anything remotely resembling your religious culture.

    Eton accepts that it is the job of boys and men to teach boys and men how to socialise with other people, which is why people like David Cameron do it well. Obviously that duty was ignored by your school.

    The GDST schools accept that it is the job of girls and women to teach girls and women how to socialise with other people; they strive to do better than Eton in qualifications attained both in school and university, and some of them achieve it, including my daughter’s school. It is non-denominational, as is mine, and the secret for success seems to be ‘not Christian’. There are girls who are Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, agnostic, atheist, etc etc etc, but the school does not privilege Christianity above other religions, or no religion. Anyone who wants a school which privileges Christianity is politely directed to the exit; the competition for places is so intense that the school is spoilt for choice.

    Everything I write on this brings home to me just how different our cultures are; I am beginning to have some insight into why so many of the Puppies casually assume that Christianity is privileged, notwithstanding what it says in your Constitution. There’s a certain irony in greater religious freedom in a country with an Established Church…

  32. @lurkertype: All of the women I’ve known who went to all-girls’ schools (religious or not) did very badly in mixed colleges. The ones who went on to all-women’s colleges did very badly when they got out into the job world

    This anecdata contradicts the bulk of the research that’s been done on women’s colleges and alumnae outcomes.

    From A Closer Look at Women’s Colleges:

    Research comparing the educational outcomes of women’s colleges to coeducational colleges found that the women’s college cohort reported higher self-esteem and held more positive perspectives on the issue of equity in sex roles;[15] had more positive relationships with faculty members and more positive interaction with peers, which encouraged academic work;[16] and came from higher socioeconomic backgrounds.[17] When the students’ perspectives of their institutions were examined,[18] it was reported that women’s college respondents were more likely to perceive that their college was student-oriented, was committed to multicultural issues and encouraged civic involvement. Thus, differences between women’s college graduates and graduates of coeducational institutions have been well documented[19] but the persistence of those differences after the college years has been questioned.[20]

    New Evidence Bolsters Women’s Colleges:

    But supporters of women’s colleges see the new data as significant because it provides separate comparisons of women’s colleges to other liberal arts colleges. Because most women’s colleges are liberal arts colleges, some have previously questioned whether the benefits attributed to women’s colleges may in part be a reflection of the more personal attention students receive at liberal arts colleges.

    In the data released by the Women’s College Coalition, liberal arts colleges generally fared better than public flagships on many qualities, but in key areas the women’s colleges fared better than the other liberal arts institutions, too. The study was based on a survey of alumnae (women from all kinds of colleges) from 1970 through 1997, with notations where additional polling of more recent alumnae indicated significant differences from the earlier patterns.

    Why You Should Consider a Women’s College:

    Studies also show that students at women’s colleges are much more likely to earn PhDs than are their counterparts at coed colleges. And they are dozens of times more likely to stick with math and hard science studies than women who attend coed colleges. Not twice as likely to stick with it but dozens of times more likely. Nobody knows why, but the vast majority of women who enter coed colleges thinking they will major in math or chemistry or some other hard science drop out of those fields (as compared to the “soft sciences” such as sociology and psychology). In contrast, women stick with those studies in women’s colleges, and go on to careers in those fields. Something is going on in the classrooms at coed colleges to discourage women from math and sciences; or something supportive is happening in women’s college classrooms that coed schools may need to take a look at.

    And the research isn’t US-only; here’s one book looking at Women’s Colleges and Universities in a Global Context.

  33. @Stevie: “I’m sure that this happens; speaking with my 1875 radical feminist hat on I don’t give a toss about some boys problems in socialising. It is not the job of girls or women to turn boys and men into people able to socialise with other people, and expecting them to do so reflects the profoundly sexist basis of any culture in which this expectation exists.”

    I believe you misunderstand me. I didn’t say anything about it being the “job” of women/girls to groom men/boys for society. I simply observed that not being around girls my own age during puberty put me at a social disadvantage when I finally did encounter them en masse in college. It’s hard to learn social signals in a vacuum, and spending six years surrounded by other boys is just such a circumstance.

    boys get plenty of opportunities for socialising in the holidays with girls, as well as during term time via things like the debating society, which invites challenges from girls’ debating societies.

    Yeah, the school I attended lacked those chances.

  34. @lexica:

    This anecdata contradicts the bulk of the research that’s been done on women’s colleges and alumnae outcomes.

    But but – if lurkertype’s experience isn’t universal even in the states, then it probably can’t be used for yet another lengthy peroration on how BRITAIN ROOLZ USA DROOLZ! I’m so confused now!

  35. Oh, Jim, you’re so picky!

    But yeah, the bulk of the data shows that women’s/girls’ single sex schools are a net advantage for women and girls, up through baccalaureate degree. It’s not at all clear that single sex schools for men and boys convey a similar advantage, which in practical terms is more of a problem than Stevie wishes to allow it to be.

  36. Pumpkin pie is the best post-Thanksgiving breakfast.
    Other leftovers have their place, but next-day pie is special.

  37. Keep in mind when people use words like every and never/no one they rarely mean that literally. It’s why in marriage counseling they suggest never using every/never. We tend to default to those words in conversation as it’s easier than trying to figure the exact percent or writing a page long comment to cover each exception.

    One thing I try to keep in mind is my anecdotal experience may not match everyone else’s/anyone’s experiences. 😉 But my experience can help others put their thoughts into words, agree, disagree, something in the middle.

    I also keep in mind studies aren’t perfect. They don’t capture everyone’s experience. Survey questions are almost always biased no matter how hard the survey makers work to create objective surveys. Our unconscious bias works against us.

    Of the women at single sex colleges graduating with stem degrees how many are working in stem jobs 5, 10, 15, 25 years post-graduation? When I graduated HS in 1985 women in computers wasn’t as unusual as it is today.

    When I was working 1987-2001 there were more women in a number of stem fields than there are now as I understand it. I worked in environmental, software, and hardware before I got sick and “retired” unexpectedly early. We were small in numbers and women in administrative positions outnumbered women in tech positions but every job I had there were a number of women on every technical team, technical management levels, and many tech support groups. I started as administrative staff and moved over to semi-technical (depending on what you consider technical writers LOL). Unofficially tech support at most jobs by early 1990s (didn’t want if official) as part of whatever my real job was.

  38. Lexica

    Thank you; that is very helpful.

    Rev Bob

    Being a radical feminist in 1875 certainly required a combative approach but I did go on to note that your school had a duty to teach you how to socialise with others, and that they failed in that duty to you; if Eton can manage it then so can they. Admittedly, my grandfather went to Harrow, another boys’ boarding school, founded in the 16th century, so I’m probably biased against Eton, but it seems obvious to me that this is part and parcel of education.

    Looking back at it, do you have any particular thoughts about why the school made no effort to provide that part of your education? I’m wondering whether it was simple omission i.e. they couldn’t be bothered, or a deliberate policy on their part.


    In practical terms the argument is advanced fairly regularly that girls’ parents are being selfish in sending them to single sex schools because boys in general do much better in coed schools. They prefer, whenever possible, to skate over the fact that girls do much worse in coed schools, since they recognise that deliberately reducing girls’ access to excellent universities is not a policy welcomed by anyone other than people who want more boys in excellent universities, irrespective of their merits.

    Nowadays the top universities, medical schools etc. a.k.a. the Russell Group, require high marks in a limited number of subjects at A-level, excluding what they believe to be easy makeweight courses, alongside proven involvement in other activities both in school and the wider community, before they will even look at the application form, much less call someone up for an interview.

    There is no easy solution for this; as a practical matter it has to be dealt with in schools because we know why boys do better in coeds. It’s because they get much more of the teacher’s time and attention than the girls in the class do; they are, in effect, having remedial teaching but it isn’t acknowledged because both teachers and boys’ parents get upset if this is pointed out to them.

    I cannot see any viable solution without grasping that nettle; there is no point in doing yet more research because the results are always the same. The only way to improve the boys exam results in the ‘hard’ subjects is by having more teachers for them, and even then there are likely to be problems on the stuff where they demonstrate their rounded personalities and service to the community, usually because they tend not to appreciate that it actually applies to them. This is a double whammy because people who’ve attended the Russell Group universities have a major advantage in the job market.

    So, I got embroiled in this stuff when my daughter was still at school; down the years quite a few anguished parents would corner me at a party and vent on the subject. I didn’t then, and don’t now, have a solution, but I do recognise that it’s a serious problem…

  39. @Stevie: “Looking back at it, do you have any particular thoughts about why the school made no effort to provide that part of your education? I’m wondering whether it was simple omission i.e. they couldn’t be bothered, or a deliberate policy on their part.”

    I think there are a few factors at work.

    1. They started as a military school, which leaves certain traditions in place.
    2. I never got into sports, which eliminated the chances of mixing at games.
    3. In this region, there is a strong correlation between Christian fundamentalism and gender segregation of children. (I don’t know if you saw my post from a few days ago relating to brainwashing techniques as related to Christian summer camp, but the week-long camp I described there alternated weeks by gender. One week would be for boys with male counselors, and the female counselors would do the support-staff work. The next week, that would flip.) I don’t blame the school for that wider attitude, but it does contribute to the mindset.

  40. Rev Bob

    Oh good grief, that is pretty horrendous; I am profoundly sorry for anyone on the receiving end of that very toxic environment, irrespective of gender, which is where we came in at the beginning of this discussion.

    I’m very glad that you have managed to move on, notwithstanding the brainwashing, though I suspect that someone who tried to brainwash you would not get the result he was expecting..

  41. @Stevie:

    There are bright spots in the South, and I try to gravitate more toward those lights, but occasionally one does run into a reminder of where the heads of some of the other locals are. Last weekend, for example, I passed a car with a bumper sticker that’s really stuck in my head. On the left was a flag image. To the right was a sentence that said “If you don’t respect it, you are free to leave.” (Or was it “can’t” respect it? Close, anyway.)

    Sounds like run-of-the-mill insular, surly patriotism, right? Well, I left out one small detail: the flag depicted was the “stars and bars” of the Confederacy. I really could not even. 150 years later, and there’s still a substantial level of support for the losing side…

  42. Just to clarify, the schools and college relevant to me are Catholic schools but they are not convent schools. As far as I know the Catholic Church had no authority over them whatsoever, because they’re state schools and are controlled by the local authority – although sixth form colleges, unlike further education ones*, have a certain amount of autonomy. Think of them as being closer to the average CoE state school here than to a Church school, so some religious stuff but a lot of the staff weren’t.

    *One or both of which will be necessary for as long as there are secondary schools without sixth forms.**

    **For the not-Brits: Sixth form colleges are exclusively for 16-18 year-olds studying A-levels, some catch-up GCSEs (in conjunction with A-levels), and other qualifications on the same level. They’re usually purely academic in nature. Further education colleges also do GCSEs and A-levels (but often have lower entry requirements – C-F students instead of A*/A/B students), but also do a wide variety of other courses including much lower level ones (catch up to get to GCSE level – GCSE is basically the absolute minimum you need to get by in most jobs) and practical ones (like NVQs – National Vocational Qualification – in things like cooking, plumbing, beauty, etc). They also allow students from a much wider age-range, so they’re 16+ rather than 16-18. Some secondary schools (11-16) also have sixth form years (16-18) and students will often stay on at those instead of moving to a separate sixth form/further education college, although most secondary schools will not have the practical curses that further education colleges do. Some secondary schools end at 16. 16 was until recently the limit of compulsory education***, but it either just recently changed or is in the process of changing to 18 (I lost track of the schedule).

    ***Compulsory education doesn’t mean compulsory school education. ~obligatory home-education is a thing reminder~


    I’m not sure I’d use Cameron or Eton as examples of well-adjusted social successes. Especially in light of recent news items about secret societies and indoctrination.

  43. @Meredith: I suspect Cameron of being very well adjusted, just to the society of privileged asshats like himself. Which is the failure mode of the exclusive schools and clubs which offer access to the levers of power. The Skull and Bones, here, I suspect had similarly degrading rituals, just nobody outed the Shrub. Alas for that.

  44. Pingback: Amazing Stories | AMAZING NEWS FROM FANDOM: 11/29/15 - Amazing Stories

  45. I’m behind, as usual, but wanted to mention that my crowd does have a traditional Thanksgiving song. We always sing “We Boggies Are a Hairy Folk” (to the tune of Camptown Races) before filling our plates. It may be helpful to mention that this ritual started a few (cough cough) years ago when many of us were members of the Michigan State University Tolkien Fellowship. The song, of course, is from the Harvard Lampoon parody, “Bored of the Rings”.

    It’s a potluck. I made my usual pies and sushi. Also green bean casserole, because I like it. (Glares defiantly.)

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