The gay Oreo


The Nabisco company recently put the above picture on their website, with the innocuous / sweet caption: “Proudly support love!”



And, naturally, the company was immediately attacked by bigots and conservatives.



On account of what? A double-double-double stuffed cookie? I would have thought that a cookie like this would sell like hotcakes in the Bible Belt. Especially with all those bright colors.



But – despite this redneck protest – more and more companies are showing their true (rainbow) colors, and good for them: Target, J. C. Penney, Starbucks. Even Cheerios!



But the bigots and the religious right are thrashing around in anger, and threatening boycott.



Let them thrash, brothers and sisters.



See, I figure, for every religious / conservative kook who decides to boycott one of the above companies (and there are many more gay-tolerant and gay-friendly companies than this, as you’ll see if you follow this link), there’s at least one gay person or gay-tolerant person who’s charmed and delighted by those companies’ bravery.



(And do you know what one of the main complaints on the (mostly tolerant) Internet is? It’s that these gigantically-stuffed cookies aren’t actually available for sale.)




I haven’t been to Starbucks in a while. I should pay them a visit.



Do you suppose they sell Oreos?



The Supreme Court’s health care decision


Yesterday morning I was at the office, crawling under a desk to connect a telephone wire, when Partner called me. “The Supreme Court upheld health care!” he crowed. “Roberts voted with the liberals!”



I was so excited that I got up too quickly and bumped my head.



Seriously: I’m delighted. Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act was a landmark piece of legislation, which finally put health care into the same category as education: everyone should have access to it, in the same way. No more marching poor people off to emergency rooms, where they can wait patiently like the paupers they are. No more hospitals amortizing the money they lose on emergency-room care by charging more for standard services. No more insurance companies charging inflated premiums because hospitals charge inflated rates.



Well, maybe not all at once. But a huge step in the right direction: the biggest step since Medicare.



The Right’s attempt to overturn the health care act was, for me, sick-making. They couched it as a moral and political issue: how dare the government tell us what to do?



Honey, they do it all the time: law enforcement, income tax. Get used to it. And this is for something good and well-intentioned.


I have seen, just last evening online, images of Obama burning the Constution. I also read online that a number of angry conservatives are Tweeting about moving to Canada, to escape the communist tyrant Obama. (Canada, get it? That place with free health care?) When it was pointed out to them that this made no sense, they claimed it was a joke. Really?  “I’m moving to Canada” means, to me, “I like the idea of free health care.” One said: “At least in Canada they’re openly socialist, unlike Obama who pretends to be a democratic leader.”



Yikes yikes yikes.



And here’s the best part: even if the Mayans are right and Romney becomes President, he will have a hell of a time overturning Obama’s legislation; he will never have a supermajority in either house, and Democrats will filibuster him to death on the issue.



And the American people, in the meantime, will discover that it’s nice to have health care, and the polls will turn in favor of health care.



And you know how Mitt Romney feels about polls, and about agreeing with the majority.



I got up yesterday morning thinking it was going to be a sucky day. And it turned out to be a great day for America.



Who knew?


How to thicken your blueberry pie


Boy, I bet that title got your attention, didn’t it?






You know I’ve been baking blueberry pies lately. Partner and all his family members love them, and I enjoy making them.  I have mostly perfected the process.



Except that I have always struggled with the juiciness issue.



Berries are naturally very juicy.  In extreme cases (as when I use frozen berries), this results in a crust filled with sweet blue soup. More often, it’s just an issue of messiness. Also, it’s hard to sop up all that good blueberry flavor when it’s running around liquefied in your pie plate.



So we use a thickening agent. And, mama, I have tried them all. Cornstarch is moderately effective. Flour has seemingly no effect at all (though my friend Cathleen swears by it). Tapioca creates a nightmarish blue/white solid mass inside your pie that looks like Styrofoam; it tastes okay, but it looks horrible.



(Yes, I know this is not the most pressing problem in the world, and not in the league of – say – world hunger, or a cure for cancer. But I set myself small problems to solve, and I generally achieve my goals.)



I was browsing the King Arthur catalog a few weeks ago when I noticed a product called “Instant Clearjel,” which promised to make runny / juicy pies a thing of the past.



For $4.95 plus shipping, it was worth the gamble.



Ladies and gentlemen, hats off to this product. It is the greatest invention of our time.



The package said to add anywhere from two to five tablespoons, with berry pies getting more. I decided to be cautious in my first attempt, and added two.



The result was spectacular. The pie, when I cut into it, was glorious: a few berries crumbled away, but the filling held its shape. The individual berries glistened like dewdrops in the morning sunlight.  It made me feel like Martha Stewart and Rachael Ray all in one. Partner pronounced it one of my best pies ever.



I have no idea what’s in this stuff; the package says only “modified food starch.” Modified how? Shot out of a cannon? Exposed to gamma rays? Combined with something that came out of a meteor?



I don’t care.



All you pie bakers out there: save your nickels and dimes and buy some of this stuff.



It’s wonderful.


Rest in peace, Nora Ephron


So sorry to see another witty smart person go: Nora Ephron, who died just yesterday.



I love her novel “Heartburn.” Here are a couple of (inexact) excerpts:



“I was hired by the National Caper Council to develop a bunch of recipes including capers. For a month I put capers in everything including milkshakes, and I realized that everything that tasted good with capers tasted better without.”



Also (I paraphrase broadly on this one): the narrator is in the hospital, watching over her critically ill mother. The nurse comes in and covers her mother’s face with the blanket. “Our mother’s dead,” the nurse says warmly.



Narrator flares up. “She’s not our mother! She’s my mother! And – “



And all at once Mother sits up in bed, spreads her arms in triumph, and says:”Ta da!”



(And then dies shortly afterward.)



(Rest in peace, Nora. We will miss you, and your wit, and your warmth.)


Internet identities


I had a acquaintance some years ago who was active on every single social-networking site: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn. He was anxious to make a name for himself. More than a name: an image.



(This is not me, by the way, so get that idea out of your head. It’s not one of those “I have a friend who . . .” things. This is a real story about someone else. You know I always tell the truth about myself. Well, most of the time.)



My friend’s LinkedIn image was professional: he’d had more jobs than you could shake a stick at. He was all over the place in his profession, rising from level to level. You could trace his career growth on a graph, if you wanted to: manager, director, executive director –



Except that it wasn’t true. I knew that he’d actually lost his previous job and wasn’t working at all at the moment. So: he was either making it all up, or misdating the information he was posting. I didn’t want to call him out – who wants to destroy a career? – but I had a strange feeling about all of this, as I watched him go from untruth to untruth on LinkedIn.



Then there was his Facebook persona.



On Facebook, he was Mister Philanthropist. He was all over the place: giving speeches here, making heartfelt appeals there. He was amazing. Some of his Facebook friends were buying it: he was getting “Congratulations!” comments right and left on his various philanthropic / altruistic posts.



(I, on the other hand, knew that he might or might not be making this stuff up. And, even if he wasn’t, he was certainly making the LinkedIn stuff up. And, for those of us who were following him on both LinkedIn and Facebook: we had to ask ourselves how he could possibly have the time to do all these things – be a stellar businessman and a stellar philanthropist – at the same time?)



So what’s a girl to do?



I could have messaged him, or confronted him. So could lots of other people, I imagine.



But I didn’t.  Oh, well, I thought.  It’ll blow up eventually. And, when it does, it will be spectacular.



And we (who knew the truth) will be able to say: “Oh, I had no idea! I thought it all sounded a little out of kilter. But I really didn’t know he was doing all of that . . . “



A warning to all of you fibbers out there: the truth will come out.



The Internet is built that way.


My ophthalmologist is a jerk


My eyesight turned bad when I was about nine years old. I’ve worn glasses ever since, and go for regular checkups.



Luckily, the Rhode Island Eye Institute is a block and a half away from our apartment.  The day before my last appointment, I received a telephone reminder from a robotic assistant, who told me blurrily that I had an appointment on Wednesday with a Doctor – Newberg? Newsome? Nugent?



I couldn’t remember.  I’ve had at least three different doctors since going there; the first one retired, the second one moved away.  When I checked in, I tried “Nugent,” as that seemed the trendiest, what with Ted Nugent in the news and all.  The receptionist looked up at me wearily.  “Newman?” she said.



“Sure,” I said.  “Why not?”



First came the assistant.  Eye drops.  “Is this better – or this?  Number one – or number two?”  I’ve been doing this since I was nine years old.  I know the drill.  I hate the drops, but I can deal with the glaucoma test and the blazing lights they shine into my eyeballs.  I’m tougher than I look.



Then, after an interminable wait (to allow the drops to take effect), in walks Doctor Newton: younger than me, blondish, goofy-looking, very sure of himself.  He looks into my eyeballs.  Optic nerve blah blah blah. Cornea blah blah blah. There’s some pitting of the retina that might (if I live long enough) be serious, but not to worry: surgery can fix it. 






I decide to ask a question.  “I’ve been wearing bifocals for a while,” I said.  “Do I really need them?”



He starts to giggle. “You probably don’t realize that you’re using both lenses,” he said.  “That’s a good thing.”



At first I’m relieved.  Then I notice that he’s still laughing at my silly question, and glancing back at his assistant to make sure she notices what a silly thing I’ve said.



And I suddenly realize that my ophthalmologist is a jerk



I have pretty much decided I will never visit Doctor Nerdburger again.  There are lots of ophthalmologists in the world.



I wonder if Ted Nugent is available?



For Sunday: T. Rex performs “Bang A Gong”



Now, ladies and gentlemen: one of the stupidest songs ever written.



Also one of the most effective.



Presenting: T. Rex performing “Bang A Gong.”



Get it on!






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