Pixel Scroll 7/21/2017 It’s 1500 Miles To Helsinki, We’ve Got A Full Tank Of Pixels, Half A Pack Of Scrolls, It’s Dark, And We’re Wearing Peril-Sensitive Sunglasses. Hit It!

(1) EATING THE FANTASTIC. Scott Edelman invites everyone to “Down drunken noodles with George R. R. Martin in Episode 43 of Eating the Fantastic”.

Some of might know him from the superhero short stories such as “Manta Ray Meets the Executioner” he was publishing in the ’60s in one of the greatest fanzines of all time, Star Studded Comics (which is where, as a young teen, I first encountered him), or as the creator and editor of the long-running Wild Cards series of mosaic, multi-author novels, some may know him better from such award-winning short fiction as “Sandkings” and “The Pear-Shaped Man,” or novels like Fevre Dream and The Armageddon Rag, while still others might know him best from his TV work … like … you know … The Twilight Zone and Beauty and the Beast—and don’t forget Max Headroom!

We discussed why he was annoyed Marvel Comics printed his letters but DC never did, the reason Gardner Dozois was responsible for his first science fiction short story sale, how the rock ‘n’ roll novel Armageddon Rag got him a job on the rebooted Twilight Zone, what he learned from the arc of Stephen R. Donaldson’s career, how losing the John W. Campbell Memorial Award got him his first editing gig, why he almost became a realtor, the time Harlan Ellison convinced him to apply to be the editor of Analog, and more. PLUS: Hear a snippet from an interview I did back in 1993 in which he makes an amusing admission about “a fantasy novel I’ve been working on off and on for awhile.”

(2) GOODBYE AND HELLO. Bence Pintér has sadly announced the closure of the Hungarian sf site Mandiner.sci-fi after two years of operation.

He is making up for it by writing a blog that will be partly in English, Spekulatív Zóna. Here’s the first post in English.

The rise of speculative fiction is a global phenomenon, but all of the important stuff are happening in English. Dealing with this topic, as a news editor, I followed the news in English and provided the news in Hungarian to the readers of mSF. But this was a one way road. In this blog I am mostly planning to write about the new releases in US and UK in English, while I also feel the need to talk to you about good Hungarian speculative books in English, because nobody else seems to be doing that. I want to channel what is happening in this tiny part of Central European fandom.

I have been reading in English for exactly a decade now. The first English book I read was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in 2007, because I could not wait until the Hungarian translation’s publication in a few months (I bought the translated version as well, of course.) Ever since my fianceé at the time, now my wife, bought me a Kindle from the US in 2012, I have been reading methodically in English, eyeing for the new releases as well as genre classics which were not published in Hungary. (There are a lot of them.) Now, that mSF is gone and I can choose to read what I want, I plan to read even more in English. And to write about them. New releases, and also authors, sub-genres and the topics I have always wanted to examine more profoundly.

(3) SUMMER TV. Glenn Garvin, in “Vampires and Spies Dominate Frothy Fun Television Choices” at Reason.com, reviews Midnight, Texas.

It’s the time of the television year, safely past the May upfronts where all of next season’s advertising is sold and just before the big promotional push for the fall shows begins, when all the TV bosses flee for a few weeks to Malibu or the Hamptons or wherever it is that wealthy, imperious swine go to exchange tips on the most satisfying ways to whip the household help. And while the cat’s away, the junior programmers will play, unleashing hordes of vampires, spies and what-have-you who would never see the airwaves if the grownups were around.

The result is usually shows that are kind of fun if not necessarily any good. Which is a pretty fair summary of the week’s premieres: NBC’s pleasingly trashy spook opera Midnight, Texas; and the CNN spy documentary Declassified: Untold Stories of American Spies, which is either a carefully coded revelation about American espionage or mammothly incompetent documentary filmmaking, take your pick.

Midnight, Texas, is based on a series of books by Charlaine Harris, who authored the vampire novels that became HBO’s epic True Blood. But if you’re expecting a True Blood clone, you’re going to be wildly disappointed; the two series of books are completely different.

(4) MUSK. More Elon Musk blue-skying: “Elon Musk Says He Has ‘Verbal’ OK To Build N.Y.-D.C. Hyperloop”.

A plan to build an ultrafast Hyperloop tube train has been given “verbal [government] approval” to connect large cities on the East Coast, tech entrepreneur Elon Musk says. He adds that the system would whisk passengers from New York to Washington, D.C., in 29 minutes.

After his tweet about the plan set off intense interest, Musk added a clarification, stating, “Still a lot of work needed to receive formal approval, but am optimistic that will occur rapidly.”

Chip Hitchcock observes, “I remember this idea in Scientific American over 50 years ago, and in L. Neil Smith 40 years ago — but we still don’t have cheap tunneling as in Oath of Fealty (30 years ago).”

(5) CONFLICTING DIAGNOSES. Peter Davison puts his foot in his mouth over the new Doctor: “Two former Doctors clash over Jodie Whittaker casting”.

Peter Davison, who played the Doctor from 1981 to 1984, said he “liked the idea” of a male Doctor and that he felt “a bit sad” the character might no longer be “a role model for boys”.

His comments were promptly dubbed “rubbish” by his successor Colin Baker.

“You don’t have to be of a gender to be a role model,” said the actor, who portrayed the Doctor from 1984 to 1986.

“Can’t you be a role model as people?”

(6) COMIC-CON IN THE NEWS. BBC wrap-up of the first day of SDCC: “What happened on the first day of Comic-Con?”

  • The cast of Kingsman: The Golden Circle tweeted a picture of themselves on stage after they discussed the new film and showed footage of the action spy comedy.
  • Halle Berry stole the show though after she appeared to down half a pint of whiskey on stage.
  • But there was disappointment from fans that 20th Century Fox’s presentation didn’t include anything about the eagerly anticipated Deadpool 2 – especially as the first film was launched at Comic-Con in 2015….

(7) THEY ARE THERE. Galactic Journey covers a 1962 sci-fi movie release in real time: “[July 21, 1962] The Human Soul In A Robot’s Hand (Movie Review: The Creation of the Humanoids)”

The complex range of anger, fear, acceptance and love that characterize the relationship humans have with robotic life is hardly new ground for science fiction. You have stories that explore societies controlled by artificial intelligence like in Jack Williamson’s With Folded Hands, stories in which robotic life works in service to their human superiors in accordance with Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics, and stories that span every possible combination.

The newest addition to the science fiction sub-genre dealing with the evolution of humanity and its integration with robots came out this month in the form of the movie The Creation of the Humanoids. Following its premier in Los Angeles on July 3rd, this intriguing film made its way into theaters across America, including the theater in my city. It suffers from several weaknesses, but more than makes up for them with solid dialogue, interesting characters and a plot that makes the audience think.


Junk Food Day

How to Celebrate Junk Food Day

Celebrate this wonderful day by eating any sweet or salty treats you want! Bake cupcakes, make cookies, heat up some popcorn, buy some of your favorite candies. Invite friends over and have them bring in their favorites and make a junk food buffet and spend the rest of the day watching movies. You can always go get some fast food for fun. Take a cheat day from your diet and have dessert for dinner.


  • July 21, 2007 – The seventh and final Harry Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, is released.
  • July 21, 2011 — NASA’s space shuttle program completes its final, and 135th, mission, when the shuttle Atlantis lands at Kennedy.


  • Born July 21 – Geri Sullivan


  • Born July 21, 1951 — Perennial funnyman Robin Williams. In 1999’s Bicentennial Man he starred as a robot trying to grow more and more human as he pursued and acquired emotions.

(12) AIRPLANE FOOD. Fans have had all kinds of experiences eating airplane meals. But only culinary historian (and sf writer) Richard Foss can take you back to the dawn of dining in the skies: “What Airplane Food Looked Like Through the Decades”.

Travel + Leisure spoke to culinary historian and author of “Food in the Air and Space: The Surprising History of Food and Drink in the Skies,” Richard Foss, to delve into the fascinating history of in-flight food and how much it’s changed over the decades.

The 1920s:

During the 1920s, there was a great deal of focus on the weight you could have onboard, with passengers often getting weighed before boarding, Foss said.

Engines were also feeble at this time, and since there was not as much freedom to divert energy from the engine to other sources, like heat, cold food was the norm.

Selections typically included cold fried chicken, fruit salads, and elegantly composed sandwiches, served in wicker baskets on the lightest chinawear servers could find, according to Foss.

(13) IRON FISTS AT COMIC-CON. During yesterday’s Next Big Thing Panel at Comic-Con International San Diego, Marvel Entertainment unveiled that it is joining forces with comiXology, Amazon’s premier digital comic shopping & reading service, for a line of exclusive digital comics. Available free to comiXology Unlimited subscribers and only available through comiXology and Kindle these comics will be part of the comiXology Originals line of exclusive digital content.

Marvel and comiXology’s team-up kicks off with Immortal Iron Fists, a 6-issue bi-weekly series written by Kaare Andrews with art by Afu Chan. Immortal Iron Fists is on sale today for $2.99 on comiXology and Kindle or free to comiXology Unlimited subscribers as part of their subscription. New users to comiXology’s popular subscription service can also access Immortal Iron Fists for free as part of their 30-day free trial. Additional exclusive series will be announced soon.

A unique entry-point that’s perfect for new fans and longtime readers alike, Immortal Iron Fists tells the tale of Pei, a young female monk from K’un-Lun and the youngest person to ever bear the mark of the Iron Fist. While Pei tackles the trials of high school, Danny Rand, the Immortal Iron Fist, faces his greatest challenge yet: training the inexperienced Pei. All the while, a growing threat appears that will take more than one pair of Iron Fists to defeat!

(14) COMFORT FOOD. C,J, Cherryh told her Facebook readers about a favorite food.

A confession: I am very fond of roast beef sandwiches with pickle and Miracle Whip. This from childhood. No, it is not a sophisticated taste. I also like bacon sandwiches with Miracle Whip. Mayo for other things. But these are my two favorite sandwiches.

(15) SHAZAM! Marcus Errico of Yahoo! Movies reports “Dwayne Johnson Won’t Be In DC’s SHAZAM! Movie”, which will be directed by David F. Sandberg and released in 2019.  (“Shazam!” is the guy formerly known as Captain Marvel.)

News broke at Comic-Con this week that the next hero up in DC’s movie universe is Shazam!, a story about an orphan who gains near-godlike powers. However, in his initial outing, Shazam won’t be facing his greatest foe.

Geoff Johns, the chief creative officer of DC and, with Jon Berg, architect of the DC Extended Universe, told Yahoo Movies on Thursday that Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam will be MIA from Shazam!

“We haven’t announced any casting yet,” Johns said. “But Dwayne isn’t going to be in this movie. He’s still doing Black Adam, but he won’t be in Shazam!

Johnson and DC will be developing Black Adam concurrent with Shazam!, with the idea that the two will eventually face off onscreen.

(16) BURNING MEMORY. Tor.com has the picture – “The Firemen Start the Fires in the First Look at HBO’s Fahrenheit 451”.

HBO Films has shared the first official photo from Fahrenheit 451, its forthcoming adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s classic dystopian novel set in a future where reading is outlawed and books are burned. It’s, appropriately, an action shot of firefighter Guy Montag (Michael B. Jordan) letting the flames fly on some contraband reading, while his superior Beatty (Michael Shannon) looks on approvingly.

(17) MORE TO PUT ON YOUR THIGHS. Adweek says more food pr0n is on the way — “McDonald’s Apparel Is Here, So Make Room in Your Closet Next to Your KFC and Pizza Hut Swag”. “Wear the fries you’re jogging for.”

Joining brands like Pizza Hut and KFC, McDonald’s is unveiling its own line of apparel and goods: The McDelivery Collection, in celebration of Global Delivery Day on July 26.

The collection is available via the UberEATS app in select countries. And while it’s a limited-edition set, don’t expect to find anything as vainglorious as a burger-shaped meteorite (à la KFC). Items include a World Famous Fries jogging suit, a Big Mac onesie—wonderful for ironic winks back to youth, though unclear whether it has a handy butt flap—and slippers that read “World Famous.”

On July 26 only, fans can score a single McDelivery Collection item on-demand, delivered with their UberEATS orders. Participating cities around the world will be unveiled on July 25 on McDeliveryatMcDonalds.com. And if you’re lucky enough to live in China or Japan, you might even be able to get them in-store!

(18) THE DEFENDERS. Stan Lee & Punisher trailer Seson 1.

(19) THE LOST VERSES. The Big Bang Theory cast sang previously unknown verses of “Soft Kitty” during their appearance at Comic-Con today.

[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, John King Tarpinian, Carl Slaughter, JJ, Cat Eldridge, Chip Hitchcock, and Bence Pintér for some of these stories. Title credit belongs to File 770 contributing editor of the day John Seavey.]

130 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 7/21/2017 It’s 1500 Miles To Helsinki, We’ve Got A Full Tank Of Pixels, Half A Pack Of Scrolls, It’s Dark, And We’re Wearing Peril-Sensitive Sunglasses. Hit It!

  1. @Lee & robinareid: And Arthur Smith (the sheriff) was a recurring character in the Aurora Teagarden mysteries.

  2. Paul Weimer: I grew up on Miracle Whip, enough that when I first encountered mayonnaise, I thought there was something wrong with it because it WASN’T tangy like Miracle Whip was.

    Same here, I grew up on it — and when I finally had mayonnaise on something, I was like, “ewww, what’s wrong with this stuff?” I still prefer Miracle Whip, on sandwiches and in potato salad, and will only use mayonnaise as a last resort when I don’t have the MW option.

  3. I don’t mind Miracle Whip, as it was the “mayonnaise” I grew up with. However, the first time I encountered real, made from scratch mayonnaise it was love at first bite–I wanted to take a spoon and eat it like spoup. It was amazing.

  4. I still prefer Miracle Whip, on sandwiches and in potato salad, and will only use mayonnaise as a last resort when I don’t have the MW option.

    I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

  5. Aaron: I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

    This month’s editorial topic:
    The Best Potato Salad: With or Without Mustard?

    with a side feature on:
    The Sad Dearth of Garlic Dill Pickles in Commonwealth Countries

  6. Humph. Hellmann’s Mayonnaise for me. (A friend told me a story about arguing with someone as to whether Hellmann’s or Best Foods was the best mayo, only to find out they are regional names for the same brand.)

  7. @Soon Lee: yes, mullet-the-haircut. I’m just fine with the fish.

    @Miracle Whip fans: to each their own, but it’s mainly the sugar that bugs me. Plus that weird chemical-y aftertaste. If I happened to be in the mood to mix a bit of sweetness into my savory sandwich (which does happen, albeit rarely), I’d probably go with sweet pickle instead of my usual dill.

    (I do use a bit in my inherited potato salad recipe, but that’s just about the only place.)

    Changing the subject only slightly: I’m currently reading Patricia McKillip’s Kingfisher (2016), which I somehow overlooked when it first came out. And boy does the book make me hungry! At least two of the main settings are restaurants, and several of the characters spend a whole lot of time creating wonderful gastronomic inventions and tidbits. It’s a fun, slightly surreal book (like most of McKillip’s) but be prepared to get hungry if you read it. Especially if you like fish.

    Oh, there’s also princes (driving pick-up trucks) and sorceresses and shapechangers and some sort of quest, somewhere in the background behind all the food.

    (Note: this review might have been slightly different if I’d been slightly less hungry when I started the book.) 😀

  8. Mayonnaise is fine as the binder in chicken salad, but I don’t want a layer of it on my sandwich or hamburger. Miracle Whip… AFAICT, it’s mayonnaise with a hefty dose of vinegar added, and “tangy” is not the word I would use for it. “Overwhelmingly sour”, perhaps. This is just me, though — I have a huge problem with vinegar in general, enough so that finding German food I can eat is difficult.

    Potato salad needs enough mustard to be distinctly yellow, but not so much that the mustard is all you can taste. (Made that mistake once.)

    Pickles… sweet pickle relish is okay in small amounts. And while I don’t dislike dill pickles enough to be upset by the leftover taste after I’ve pulled them off my sandwich, I really don’t want to bite into one. (Rather like the jalapeno slices in nachos.)

  9. Oh, the other interesting thing about McKillip’s Kingfisher: I think it may be the first High Contemporary Fantasy I’ve read. The setting bears about as much resemblance to our world as your typical Standard Fantasy Setting™ bears to actual medieval Europe. So, it’s a magical kingdom, with knights and wizards and magical creatures and it just happens to have cars and cell phones and computers as well. (Not “magitech”–just regular cars and etc. At least as far as I can tell.)

    I have to say that it’s a really entertaining twist. Perhaps not entirely logical, but then how logical is that old Standard Fantasy Setting™ in the first place? 🙂

  10. @JJ–

    with a side feature on:
    The Sad Dearth of Garlic Dill Pickles in Commonwealth Countries

    Many years ago, I worked for a British-owned company in the US, and we had some British personnel rotated over here for a few years. I distinctly recall one guy, when he was newly arrived, picking up a hamburger at McDonald’s and bringing it back to the lunchroom. He bit into it, tasted something odd, lifted the bun off, and held up a round, green item.
    “What’s this?”
    I look at it and reply, “A pickle.”
    He still looks blank, and I realize what the problem is. “It’s a slice of pickled cucumber.”
    “Who on Earth would pickle a perfectly good cucumber?!”
    I explained that while I understood his feelings on the subject, he should expect to see a lot of it in America, due to the influence of German immigrants in the 19th century, and German Jews who arrived after WWII.

    I have no idea if this still represents the culinary awareness of the average British person today.

  11. Since McDonald’s have had them in their burgers in England for my entire lifetime* I think you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who wasn’t vaguely aware that they exist. But generally we call them gherkins, and I don’t know how many people would know what you meant by pickle unless they have a particular interest in American cuisine, although the proliferation of American-style burger places in London means you might have decent odds there. The only thing likely to be referred to as ‘pickle’ is a sort of chutney, and everything else is usually either referred to by their name if they’re rarely served not-pickled (gherkin) or as ‘pickled [item]’, like pickled onions or pickled eggs.

    *Not quite 28 years. I’ve been refusing to eat them for the same length of time. Vile things. Even now I can grudgingly accept that they don’t taste completely horrible I still can’t stand the smell.

  12. Meredith: generally we call them gherkins

    Ah, but gherkins are merely a pale, flavorless simulacrum of the glorious garlic dill pickle. 😀

  13. @JJ

    I’ll take your word for it. From a distance. Where I can’t smell it. 🙂

  14. Miracle Whip has been available for a long time here in Germany, though I don’t think I’ve ever had it. The most common store-brought mayonnaise brand here is Thomy, though my Mom usually made it from scratch. I’m not a big mayonnaise fan anyway, so I rarely have it.

    On the other hand, I’m fond of pickles/gherkins and always have a jar in the pantry.

  15. @Lenore Jones:

    Humph. Hellmann’s Mayonnaise for me. (A friend told me a story about arguing with someone as to whether Hellmann’s or Best Foods was the best mayo, only to find out they are regional names for the same brand.)

    …I did not know that! But your post immediately made me flash back to the old commercials with the tag line “Bring out the Hellmann’s, bring out the best!” (I grew up in the New Orleans area.)

    I guess that was Best with a capital B all this time and I never knew.


    So, it’s a magical kingdom, with knights and wizards and magical creatures and it just happens to have cars and cell phones and computers as well.

    That is something that charmed me right off the very first paragraph of Kingfisher. “His mother is a witch… who runs a touristy restaurant somewhere on an analog Oregon coast. More, please!”

  16. Hellmann’s has a stranglehold on the mayo industry here in the UK. I couldn’t find Miracle Whip on any of the supermarket websites but it might be available at some of the specialist American import places. ETA: Yup, specialist import places.

    (I don’t really like mayonnaise, unless I’ve diluted it with other things until it doesn’t taste like mayonnaise anymore, but Hellmann’s is hard to miss.)

  17. @JJ

    I honestly haven’t a clue what ranch dressing should taste like whatever brand or location it might be. I can’t remember ever trying it. Newman’s Own seems to be the easily-available one but whether it would be authentic…

  18. Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little: …I did not know that! But your post immediately made me flash back to the old commercials with the tag line “Bring out the Hellmann’s, bring out the best!” (I grew up in the New Orleans area.)

    I didn’t know they were the same product either — and in our part of the country they used a similar jingle, “Bring out the Best Foods and bring out the best.”

  19. Yep. It says so right on their websites: Known as Best Foods [Hellmann’s] west [east] of the Rockies.

  20. @Meredith–You . Made. Me. Do. The. Math.

    Thirty. Years.

    Thirty years!

    You weren’t born when that conversation happened, and I was thirty. 😀

    I’m not used to thinking of events that happened when I was already a working professional as happening so long ago that other responsible adults weren’t born yet. A vicious thing to do! 😉

  21. @Lis Carey

    Well, responsible adult might be pushing it. 🙂 But my apologies!

    (I can’t for the life of me nail down whether an average Brit ought to have known on taste what a gherkin was thirty years ago. Wimpy opened in the 50s – McD’s and Burger King were both 70s expansions – and served them but I’m not sure how spread out they were and I’m having a hard time figuring out what native British establishments might have had them. They never really caught on compared to pickled onions and pickled eggs as a snack food and I don’t recall coming across them outside of burger places when I was a kidlet. Perhaps they were in pubs? Maybe if I looked for cornichons… Hm…)

  22. (Don’t get me wrong, they’ve been kicking around the UK for centuries at varying levels of popularity – Mrs Beeton liked them with pork, for example – but I’m not sure whether they were widely known thirty years ago.)

  23. @Lis Carey’s co-worker: “Who on Earth would pickle a perfectly good cucumber?!”

    To which I reply, “The same people who would cook perfectly good potatoes.”

  24. @John A. Arkansawyer–

    To which I reply, “The same people who would cook perfectly good potatoes.”

    You eat raw potatoes?

    I seriously thought potatoes were not digestible in their raw state.

  25. …on the other hand, it’s really hard to find pickled walnuts in the US. (They’re a British thing.)

  26. It’s pretty hard to find pickled eggs in the US too. My mother used to regularly make her own, so I was used to them, but I know that a lot of people reacted to her with “you pickled a what!?” 🙂

    In the US, “gherkin” refers to a variety of tiny cucumber; the term does not imply any pickling, even though they are usually sold pickled. “Regular” pickles, in the US, are usually smaller than the raw cucumbers one typically finds at the grocers, but not as small as gherkins.

    I have to admit that I find it odd to discover that the UK uses the term “gherkin” to refer to pickled cucumbers which aren’t gherkins! And to discover that it magically implies pickling. Not that I’m defending the US’s unadorned “pickle” to refer to pickled cucumbers–that’s equally silly. Just saying, there doesn’t seem to be any high moral ground here. 🙂

  27. My position on the mayo/Miracle Whip debate can be summed up by the fact that neither of them ever enter my house except on those periodic occasions when I’m hosting the family Christmas gathering and someone who is doing a shopping run insists on picking some up. One consequence of this is that, at whatever point I’m doing the next family-hosting event and survey the contents of my fridge doors, there’s a jar of mayo (or Miracle Whip, or both) sitting there taunting me with its “best used by” date that gets chucked into the trash.

    I don’t tend to make the types of sandwiches that call for mayo-like-substances, and for pretty much every other occasion in which my mother would have used mayo (e.g., potato salads, chip dips, etc.) I used unflavored yoghurt instead. I suspect this has occasionally caused the consumers of my potato salads and chip dips to do a gustatory double-take.

  28. @Lenore Jones: “Hellmann’s Mayonnaise for me.” – Same here! Regular or olive oil; even light. I had Miracle Whip occasionally as a kid and young adult. It was good, just different. I haven’t had it in years, though; maybe I wouldn’t like it now.

    @Meredith: I’m vaguely disturbed to think of specialist American import places in other countries. I guess one has to buy ::checking:: um, Crisco and Manwich somewhere, though! 😛 And there’s something silly about seeing “Swedish Fish” and “Swiss Miss” on a site called “American Food Store.” (Yes, yes, I know those are from American companies, but Swedish Fish were invented by the Swedes, apparently – for the U.S., though?! Huh.)

    Anyway, good to know we’re exporting Trident, Chex Mix, and candy corn. Surely American cuisine at its finest, bleah. 😉

    @Xtifr: “you pickled a what!?” – That’s always been my feeling, but I should probably try one, one of these days. I’m not super-into pickled things, though. Anyway, why do that to a perfectly good egg that never did anybody any harm? The giant jars of them in greasy spoons look scary.

    Gah, I’m starving now, thanks, all!

  29. @PhilRM: My wife and I love People of Earth!

    YAY! This is the first time I’ve found someone else who watched it when I started burbling about it! Should have come over to File 770 earlier!

    @Lurkertype: @robinareid: Doesn’t TBS rerun its shows ad infinitum?

    Erm, I don’t know? I don’t actually watch a lot of television: the three main shows at the moment are Major Crimes, Agents of Shield, People of Earth. They may–although primary billing will go to PoE. (We enjoy rewatching some things in reruns, Psych, Law and Orders)

    And “Midnight, Texas” will probably turn up on the NBC website.

    Possibly–though all the streaming (?) services out there are useless to us because of the really lousy internet service we have (rural areas not served well–I have students who are still on dialup, and for a while we got what was in effect radio tower delivery!). We now have wireless, but it took about four minutes to download the Ragnarok trailer this morning, so we don’t even try to do anything else.

    @Bonnie McDaniel: Sharing the love for Refrigerator Monologues: first Valente I could get through, and I thought it was fantastic. Amazing voices for the multiple narrators, and great worldbuilding around them.

    @Lee: I know! I *LURVE* Manfred! He’s amazing–and there’s another Sookie character who shows up later I also love. And the town itself–I adore it!

    I’m sorry there won’t be anymore because there is so much potential there–and such a strong ensemble (unlike her others, there’s really NO single/major/protagonist). I am also a huge fan of Harper Connelly.

    Since we’re all on Harris–I LOVED the last novel and Sookie’s choice for a lifepartner (as I read it)–apparently large swathes of the fandom went up in flames, and she got some nasty pushback from fans (why we cannot have nice things). She picked the character I’d been rooting for for EONS!

    @JJ: I have the same response–love heaering Valentee speak, but could not stand her fiction until TRM!

    @Lyle: Now, that I had not remembered (*casts mind back*: he was sort of an asshole to Aurora, if I recall correctly–and not very memorable besides being asshole?). I sense a reread of the books coming on (the latest Aurora mysteries have been fantastic, too!).

    @All: I now feel moar educated about mayonnaise than I ever have before! My personal position: must use in potatoe salad (yes, mustard, but other than that only potatoes, hard boiled eggs, onion, salt, pepper and a dash of Worcestershire!), and various mixes for sandwiches (tuna, chicken, salmon salad), but that’s it. Cannot stand it on any other sandwiches or burgers (some places put mayo on burgers!).

    Re: Hellman’s. Years ago, a senior colleague who was, erm, getting up there, thought it a good idea to read a scene from his 500 plus page novel about the VietNam war (he served during that time, but wasn’t in any actual fights–office job) at a graduate student conference. The ostensible purpose of his presentation was to read his sex scene (oh, didn’t I mention that!) which put me right off Hellman’s for years and then the daisy chain (??) (may be misremembering the terminology) sex scene from Pynchon (he loved talking about the dirty bits of Pynchon to junior women faculty — at least you can say he was original in his sexual harrassment tactics) and compare them as examples of the best of contemporary literature which could talk about SEX. Written by men. Sex. Yeah. It’s great. Even the best perhaps.

  30. There are enough of you saying so that I’m convinced it’s worth trying Refrigerator Monologues. It’ll probably have to be soon, though, before I have a chance to remember how I’ve felt about her prose in the past.

    I didn’t encounter Miracle Whip until I was an adult, so it just tastes weird. Mayonnaise in tuna and chicken salads and on burgers, but not in potato salad, which in my house is served warm with a vinegar base. Too many years of my mother’s inedible combination of overcooked eggs and undercooked potatoes, maybe. Also, I’m now really hungry.

  31. I grew up with mayo, not Miracle Whip (which, from what I’ve seen, is mayo with vinaigrette added). I’ve made my own mayo, more than once, and storebought (Best/Hellman’s) is close enough. (Home made: egg yolk, a little vinegar or lemon juice. some seasonings, and oil. They don’t generally recommend the better-quality olive oil for this.)

  32. @robinareid: Mayo on burgers always sounded a little nasty to me (mayo . . . warmed up?! ew), but it takes all kinds.* My other half and I put almost none of the same toppings on burgers or hot dogs, IIRC.

    * Sorry, all you people who like mayo on burgers. 😛

    @Cheryl S.: Warm potato salad?! I’m not sure I’ve heard of this, but some random internet picture looked vaguely familiar to me. Not sure I’ve ever had it, though.

    @Various: I’m not sure what’s supposed to be in potato salad. There are like 6 kinds at Harris Teeter and I can never remember which one(s) I like. Red Hot & Blue has some of the best potato salad, but it used to be even better, some years back! (No idea what they changed; less egg? less creamy? something.)

    P.S. Still hungry, reading this, thanks. Even though I had cereal a while ago!

  33. @Kendall

    I’m vaguely disturbed to think of specialist American import places in other countries. I guess one has to buy ::checking:: um, Crisco and Manwich somewhere, though! ? And there’s something silly about seeing “Swedish Fish” and “Swiss Miss” on a site called “American Food Store.” (Yes, yes, I know those are from American companies, but Swedish Fish were invented by the Swedes, apparently – for the U.S., though?! Huh.)

    Bigger supermarkets here often have an American shelf in the “foreign food section”. You can definitely get Swiss Miss plus peanut butter, Campbell soups, maple syrup, French’s mustard, various hot sauces and barbecue sauces, etc… That section is where I get my tabasco sauce, barbecue sauce and peanut butter from.


    Since we’re all on Harris–I LOVED the last novel and Sookie’s choice for a lifepartner (as I read it)–apparently large swathes of the fandom went up in flames, and she got some nasty pushback from fans (why we cannot have nice things). She picked the character I’d been rooting for for EONS!

    My local bookstore was one of those which accidentally put the final Sookie book on the shelves early (which is how the ending leaked, though I didn’t do it). When I learned whom Sookie chose, I was overjoyed, too, because I’d also been rooting for that character.

  34. A little late to the party, but…

    The condiments that weird me out are Heinz Mustard and French’s Ketchup. It’s just backwards!

    I was never much on mustard or mayo, but both have their place. For me, mustard and onions are mandatory on Krystals, and I like a little mayo on a fried-chicken sandwich – mainly to add some moisture to the equation. Similarly, I never have liked pickles, but I understand that pickle juice is a defining characteristic of Chik-Fil-A chicken, which I must admit is pretty tasty.

    But then, I like to put barbecue sauce on corned beef hash, so what do I know?

  35. I don’t like mayo on hot things (tuna melts being one somewhat grudging exception), but I love it on a cold tomato sandwich (ObSF: oor wombat’s story The Tomato Thief). For deli meat sandwiches I’m fine with either mayo, butter, or mild mustard, depending on my mood. I also like mayo with potato salad, cole slaw, tuna salad (Brit. tuna mayo, I think), chicken salad (chicken mayo), and carrot salad, and also prefer most of those with no crunchy bits, and especially no celery (yuck). Waldorf salad (chicken, apple, raisins, walnuts, mayo) can be crunchy. But no celery!

  36. Ah, mustard.

    Personally, yellow mustard is something I dislike, because it has no bite. Just as I grew up on Heinz ketchup (the one true ketchup: the first time I was offered Hunts, I thought something had gone terribly wrong with the world), I also grew up on Guldens mustard. I cautiously tried Dijon mustard when Grey Poupon became a thing, and chinese mustard has its uses, but in the end, to me, mustard is the spicy brown stuff.

    And to anticipate the next question, yes, for me, the one true hot dog is Nathan’s. I missed those for years and years after leaving NY, until they started appearing in stores (and also an outlet in the Mall of America).

    OTOH, I freely admit that as a New Yorker, my opinions on barbecue are underinformed. I can only say that I am used to Kansas City style (since that’s what is up here in Minnesota).

  37. @Lis:

    due to the influence of German immigrants in the 19th century, and German Jews who arrived after WWII.

    ? The stories I read about Jewish delis (some succeeding, some failing) in the U.S. point to their roots being well before WWII. (I would have guessed that relatively few German Jewish emigrants came to the U.S. rather than Israel after WWII, but I don’t know numbers.)

    @Meredith: in the US, gherkins tend to be sweetish. (“Cornichons” goes with “charcuterie”; unlike Xtifr, I think of “gherkin” as being pickled, not just small. Regional variation?) Does the term cover other wake-up-the-tongue condiments in the UK, or do you not have any of the glorious range (dill, salt, sour, half-sour, bread-and-butter, …) known in the US? (I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised; I grew up with bread-and-butter, but my mother’s recipe was from her Pennsylvania Dutch background.) For that matter, are we even talking about the same vegetable? “English cucumbers” show up in larger grocery stores; they’re much longer and thinner than the US standard, and tend to more flavor and flesh (less of the cross-section taken up by seeds). Now I’m going to have to go open another jar of the garlic-and-mustard pickles my partner started making after a pole bean tried to take over our yard; they need to age at least half a year, but after that they’re wonderful.

    @Lis (re age whinge): you should join the SCA, which locally is getting a little grey but not nearly as much as our line of fandom; a couple of years ago I was asked to wave a marriage certificate over a couple of people who weren’t yet 3 when my kid sister got married (after many post-college happenings). And you’d be surprised at what they know; last year at Readercon a ~20-year-old recognized the characters on my Byzantine Stooges T-shirt but wanted to know what “Manichean” was.

    @Kendall: warm potato salad (dressed with bacon grease rather than oil, IIRC) is another element of my PD heritage. (PD cooking used not to spread; the only place I found my mother’s cole slaw (fine-grated cabbage, light cream, poppy seeds, and that’s it) was a DC restaurant that claimed to serve PD barbecue.)

    I am agnostic on mayonnaise analogs, probably because neither featured in my childhood; our “potato salad” (more PD) was lettuce and several other raw veg, potatoes as an element, and dressing bound with cookedegg yolks and dry mustard.

  38. My favourite potato salad is boiled new potatoes (still hot), avocado (not cooked), and cress, with a very simple lemon juice and olive oil dressing. I don’t like the cold mayo-y one.

    American yellow mustard like French’s doesn’t really taste like mustard to me. Far too mild, and there’s kind of a weird aftertaste and smell to it. English mustard, dijon, and wholegrain are lovely. Never tried spicy brown mustard. Mustard is about the only sandwich spread that never makes me feel sick so I’m very fond of it. (I’m convinced that sandwiches are a near-perfect meal form, and I’m determined to overcome a lifelong hatred of eating them. Eventually.)


    As far as I know we call them gherkins because we also call the raw form gherkins (cucumber is reserved for the things you put in a salad). 🙂 We just call them gherkins because, well, they don’t really get eaten raw so drawing a distinction between ‘gherkin’ and ‘pickled gherkin’ isn’t hugely important and only adds syllables, and humans are awfully lazy.


    Well, America has quite a lot of America-specific foods. Quite understandable that people would want to get them after trying them on holiday or if they’re ex-pats. Although some of them can’t be imported now because of bans on certain ingredients (fizzy drinks got hit pretty hard, iirc).

    Pickled eggs are advanced-level pickle-eating if you ask me. They tend to be quite, um, aggressive, and the texture is usually a bit different from an ordinary hard-boiled egg which I imagine could be quite off-putting.

  39. @Chip Hitchcock

    Iii would have to see an American cucumber to know whether it resembles a British one (but they seem to be nobbly and bitter? which is definitely not a description I would recognise). For that matter, I’d have to see/taste an “English cucumber” to know whether I’d recognise it – although when I googled it they do seem to be what I would call a cucumber. 🙂 I’m pretty sure that what we call gherkins are always called gherkins (by us) even un-pickled, and may very well be American cucumbers. It wouldn’t be the first time there was a difference in food terminology (aubergine/eggplant, etc).

    There’s not much variation in gherkin pickle-flavours. They’re really not that popular here compared to other pickled things. I think dill is about as exciting as it gets.

    Cornichons are usually small pickled gherkins. They’re quite cute.

  40. For some reason, cornichons have a much higher profile in America than gherkins. They show up in recipes and restaurant menus with some frequency, at least in my part of the East Coast.

  41. Sounds like Miracle Whip is more like the UK’s Salad Cream, though that is more yellow in colour.

    Gerkin or cornichons are normally a part of any home made Tarter Sauce recipe, to go with your fish and chips.

    Largely stopped buying store mayo as I use it fairly infrequently and its one of those things I can quickly make from scratch if I do need it.

  42. Gherkins certainly existed and were recognised thirty years ago; they have been a regular Christmas thing in my family since childhood, which is fifty years ago now.

  43. I’ve always thought of gherkins as smaller pickled cucumbers. This may very well be a regional thing centered on the region of my brain.

    From what I’ve seen of British cucumbers (which we frequently can get here in the Bay Area), they are a little knobbier-looking than US cucumbers, and less watery.

    Tangential fact – I spent a couple summers in my college years working at a pickle factory in Northern Indiana. According to the boss, it was the largest pickle factory outside of India, and any pickles you ate at a McDonald’s East of the Mississippi came from there. No idea if this was true. It took almost 20 years for me to start eating pickles again after working there (eng-gnvyrq znttbgf are epically unappetizing). Discovering Southern Indian food and Jewish-style delis finally cured me of that problem.

    Mayonnaise-wise (the food of my people!), I hated it my entire childhood, without ever having tasted it. Hellman’s, Miracle Whip – eww! My entire family loved that stuff, but it grossed me out. I was tricked into eating it on a sandwich (once again, after I moved out to the SF Bay Area), because they’d called it “garlic aioli,” and that’s when I discovered that I do actually like mayonnaise.

    Mustard-wise – I love almost all mustard (not the sweet stuff, generally, though). French’s is my go-to, despite being so mild. A friend who travels frequently to Germany for work has brought back jars of the really good stuff for us on occasion.

  44. I risk horrifying a lot of people when I say that I don’t like American ketchup. Like Miracle Whip, it strikes me as much too sweet for its intended purposes. Since my Canadian aunt introduced me to the Canadian custom of using mayo with fries (that’s chips, to you Brits), I have hardly touched ketchup of any brand. Before that, I would routinely mix it with Tabasco sauce to take the edge off the sweetness–a habit which had my midwestern relatives cowering in fear.

  45. I used to make mayo sandwiches, sometimes with mustard as well. Occasionally the bread got buttered first. (It’s also interesting putting mayo on a hot bagel or muffin. It emphasizes the vinegar in the mayo.)
    But I’m a known weirdo.

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