Friday, December 30, 2016

December 30 Link Log

I'm still behind the e-mail. The cafe stayed open through Christmas, hosted many holiday parties and supplied many holiday treats, and will be closing for a well-earned vacation during the first ten days of January. Book reviews should appear each day, but I may not be online to post anything else. Today's Links are in the Categories: Animals, Books, Christian, Crafts, Fashion, Food, Free Nazanin, Fun, Maryland, Obituary, Phenology Snippet, Politics, Psychology, Science, Writing. Also a Phenology Snippet, without a link; sorry.


What a beautiful big fluffy cat...

Reminds me that all the cat links I've shared lately have been to short-haired cats. There's a reason for that. I live in a part of the world that gets a lot more heating days than cooling days, and long-haired cats I've known have generally looked to me as if they were burning up in those heavy coats. I don't like the idea of breeding more of this trait into our local population. However, further north, heavier coats may be less of a problem. Since this web site has readers even further north than the places I can search on Petfinder, here are long-haired cat links, this time from the northern rather than the eastern tier of the United States.

Maddie from Chicago:

Roxy from New Jersey...may need a weight control diet, even under that fur:
Day (or Mesha) from Colorado:

Dog pictures. (This web site has no objection to pictures, as long as they behave well. It's the pictures that pop up, pull out, squiggle around the page, or crash the browser, I hate.)


Barkley's Human's novel deserves its chance to live, Gentle Readers.


Note that although it's loaded with photo, video, audio, and Facebook clips, still makes this web site's cut because one click has (so far) consistently sufficed to bring the page under control and allow us to read it. 

(Note, further, this example of elitism at work, pursuant to 

Earlier today, I offered to do something for someone I know before asking for a small favor. The person whined, stalled, blathered, and then yielded, growling, "But you have to do..." the very thing I'd offered to do, first. The person is old enough that this could be a symptom of Alzheimer's Disease, and if it is I may one day repent of yelling "You deserve for me not to do that!" minutes before doing it. Competent people who know me know that, if I offer, I'll do it--come flood, come fire--or be found in a ditch beside the way. I at least get the other person's permission before I let "things come up." As will the people I count as friends. But in the non-Christian world this person might not even be senile. There are real non-Christian people in this world who will volunteer to do a thing and then not do it. Especially when unacknowledged elitism is involved; one of the signs of unacknowledged elitism is that elitists will actually call someone who has less, offer to do something, then backwater and decide they um uh don't feeeel like it.)

On a different track: should Catholics talk about religious freedom? Why not? They can live and learn like anyone else can't they? Even if living and learning is likely to lead them to Protestantism...Thomas More is also credited with "Sharp medicine, but a cure for all diseases" as the last words he actually said, but then again it used to be traditional for people to get their official last words written down well before they died.


For those who enjoy wearing headbands (I do, in winter when I've let my hair grow; don't think they're a flattering look, don't really care): Why would you want to go as far back into retro-fashion as gluing frankly faux berries, birds, feathers, and leaves all over a headband? Because, if you have unruly hair, every snag you can attach to a headband makes it harder for your hair to slither or shove out from under the band. Thanks to Elizabeth Barrette for sharing:

This web site joins +Marsha Cooper in celebrating the completion of 38 handmade backpacks. 38! Wow! 

(Something about not having electricity prompted me, during the past year, to explore random stitch--the genre of knitting you get by working plain and purl stitches in random numbers, as they turn up while you're reading, or watching television, or looking at signs while riding in a car/train/bus. I still have a shopping bag jammed full of random stitch hats, plus a sweater in random stitch, and I've sold some towels and baby blankets in random stitch. The push seemed to come from the fact that it's hard to follow a fancy pattern while knitting by candlelight. Right. So why random stitch, and not plain garter, stock, or moss stitch? I have no idea.)


Some readers might want to check out this designer of touchable shirts. (Yes, the big splashy pictures behave well in the browser.)


This dog blog post meanders off into a recipe that probably can't be made gluten-free, but it looks like fun for the wheat eaters out there. (Nice dog pictures, and food pictures...Repeat: this web site likes nice, small pictures that align with the text, don't distract the reader, and don't crash browsers. Pictures, including ads, can work for's just that too many blogs, and Niume's format has leaped forward as an example, have started using graphics in ways that work against them.)


Update from her husband, obviously biased and unlikely to tell what...apparently, just isn't being told to the English-speaking world. You can sign a petition only once, but there's no limit on sharing it.

Fun Facts, Especially for Men 

The kicker in Dan Lewis's post is the "Related" postscript-type paragraph at the bottom of this post:


Who doesn't love the Eastern Shore? For those interested in espionage, here's why a gorgeous upscale getaway might be your chance to participate. Shared with a twinkle in the eye and a shout to our FBI friends on the Eastern Shore. For other readers, pretty pictures qualify as eye candy:


The Making Light blog emerges from semi-retirement to remember Carrie Fisher and her mother, and others the world lost this year...

I don't think obituaries should be political; I'm not pleased that CF's has become a censorship issue.

Phenology Snippet 

We got just a salting of snow this morning. Not enough, however, to create a snow panic, even in Virginia.


Fewer guns, more crime? (Though the numbers are arranged differently, reflecting individual work, this article basically restates the point made in a National Review article linked on Wednesday. Okay to skip one if you read the other.)

This is so not a problem. (1) I don't plan to go to Honolulu. (2) I did not, in fact, vote for Trump, although the popular vote seems to have been close enough that the case may be made that not voting for Clinton amounted to voting for Trump. I couldn't bear to vote for either of those two tacky extroverts after having had a respectable introvert on the ticket. And still: (3) I wouldn't want to patronize a business that discriminates based on politics. Yes, businesses have the right to do that, and to discriminate based on lifestyle choices, clothing choices, the fact that your beautiful sister once dumped the owner's son, whatever else...and we have the right, and the obligation, to help those businesses die.


Does part of your brain write fiction in your dreams? Mine does...sometimes suspenseful or horror fiction, sometimes comedy, sometimes cozy fiction, and sometimes I wake up remembering that the dream seemed to be about fiction (or poetry!) but I don't remember the content...sometimes I "see" a printed page, sometimes seem to be watching a movie.


Plussed for the quote...yes, that quote is a dependent clause in a sentence, so please click the link to see the whole sentence before reacting.

I say BOTH sides of the debate look 100% convincing to a non-scientist such as myself


Here's a blog that's primarily about visual art, yet it's printer-friendly and gives you lots of links to the pictures you really want to see, instead of crashing your browser with a ton of pictures. Exemplary!

Here's a general checklist for bloggers:

Here's a gig for which I'm not really qualified, but some readers Out There probably are!

Here's a publisher, or e-publisher, that deserves a horrible business-death:

Do People Who Have Less Even Want Friends?

(Pruned out of today's Link Log because my comment is, just in case I'm not online during the next two weeks, is a rant that should last you. I'm trying to post it as pre-scheduled for the day I expect to come back to this particular Wifi node, so the rant will stay on top as the book reviews pop up below it.)

Abi Sutherland explains the concept of "spoon banditry," a.k.a. Why People Who Have Less Don't Even Want Friends Any More:

...It refers back to this classic blog post, now available as a visual poster and in four languages:

These posts happened to tap into my mood--such as it is.

I want to emphasize that as a hyperestrogenemic woman who's finally made it into the Promised Land of Middle Age, I don't even have moods in the sense I had when all those hormones were raging around inside me. What I'm actually feeling is bemusement. All my vital signs are nice and even. This computer has a white screen rather than a blue-grey or black one, so I can't see my face, but I suspect anyone looking across the crowd in the cafe thinks I'm typing this with a faint hint of a smile on my face. That would be the look of bemusement, which isn't mad, sad, or glad, but appreciative of the irony of life in a detached and temperate way.

But, once again, people didn't buy enough stuff in real life, and youall didn't pay for this blog.

I'm curious about this. You pay for magazines. Why are you not paying for this blog? Because other bloggers post more than just "Hi everybody im eating lunch & checking email again" just for fun, vanity, whatever, so you've formed a habit of not paying for things you read online? Despite the "i-frames" problem with the buttons Google provides to encourage readers to feed Blogspot bloggers, my Paypal works just fine, thank you; all you need to do is notify our Message Squirrel that you want to support the blog (as distinct from buying a book, knitted item, painting, carton of Veggie Burgers, etc.) and then paste the correct e-mail address for that into the appropriate space on your Paypal screen.

So, can it actually be true that of the hundreds of people who the computer says visit this web site daily, all of you either (1) haaate what you're reading here (yes, I know some followers are following this blog because they hate it, in a political sense; the computer shows who you are), or (2) are children, or (3) are in prison, or (4) have had an income of less than US$3000 for this year?

That's right, Gentle Readers. I did not intend to type "$30,000." I meant "$3,000." Calculating my actual income for 2016 is going to be difficult because I didn't have the use of the home computer on which I record sales for most of the year--the computer was fine, but it wasn't connected to electricity--but it's been well below $3000.)

If your income for 2016 was below US$12,000, there's no need to comment about that here. If it was above US$12,000, you should have been supporting this web site. No excuses please. If you earned over $12,000 this year, either you are +LB Johnson or +Andria Perry or a lurker in the Midwest, or you don't want this web site or its only currently active member to be alive in the next year, or you badly need some lessons in frugality (start with: no car, no television set, no restaurant food), which this web site exists in order to give you but is obviously failing to deliver.

Anyway, once again, this week, I ran out of cash in between real-world sales. Wednesday: no solid food unless we count medicinal garlic. One day without food is not a problem, and someone from a town even smaller than Gate City was supposed to have paid for something and also taken me to a big store in the city on Thursday. Thursday morning: person called early to say that "something came up" and reschedule the shopping trip for Saturday--and also the payment of course. I honestly didn't want to browbeat this person into driving into Kingsport, or even Gate City, for my benefit; I shouldn't have needed to do that in order to have enough food to walk and blog on. The thought that came to mind was, "I've promised myself no more long fasts and readjustments-to-eating. All my favorite people are dead. I'm too old to be living on the edge of survival like this. Why don't I just resign myself, stop trudging into town and being disappointed by not being paid for anything I do, stop eating, unplug the heater, and just focus on remembering my husband and find out whether I wake up with him?"

Now, turn off that whole line of thought about "What to Say to a Friend who has Depression." I do not have depression. I enjoy being alive. I particularly enjoy reading the obituaries of social workers and those who try to apply that line of idiot patter they're programmed to spew to any situation in real life. Nobody needs to tell me how to enjoy the nice things in among the nasty things in life.

Nobody needs to tell me about these wo-o-onderful tax-funded handouts to able-bodied people that are destroying the United States, either. "How is it harming a rich country to have programs that hand out specific things to people below specific levels of income?" I'll limit myself to repeating three of the most blatant ways:

1. Countries can go bankrupt, and the United States is on the brink. We need to slash all federal programs, brutally...and one of the most important cuts would begin with "If any kind of handout is still offered to anyone who can get out of bed and talk to a social worker, the condition needs to be that that person spends ten hours a day, six days a week, at a designated 'Day Labor For Cash' site unless and until s/he is employed." (Though I should mention that, when I'm doing Link Logs, this web site is my virtual "Day Labor For Cash" site; I am working the occasional-paid-gig sites for all they're worth.) This in no way implies that other cuts can be postponed, but...there's a reason why we as a nation just chose a President-Elect whose best known quote is "You're fired."

2. When people receive handouts that meet their physical "needs" as long as they stay below a certain level of income, they're motivated to stay below that level of income. Have you ever tried to help someone who's been receiving food stamps, fuel assistance, and so blah blah on, by offering the person an honest day's work that they could actually do well? "I'd only have to report it and they'd cut my handouts, so I'd rather just slop around watching television all day." Even if your business is big enough that you can offer them a steady part-time job with benefits, you'll get "I've enjoyed the job, but it's going to affect this or that handout..."

3. When people believe that their neighbors can always get handouts to meet their needs, people don't feel motivated to appreciate and boost their neighbors' work, and the community falls apart. If you know someone needs extra money, so (although you might be able to do it yourself) you pay that person to weed your garden or wash your windows or whatever, you're boosting that person and boosting your entire neighborhood. If you choose to wallow in arrogance and whine, "Other people can always get food stamps, and I want to drive everywhere and watch television all day and eat precooked food every day," you are an enemy to that person, and to your community. just happens to be time to cash out my Paypal account before anybody hacks into it. (Never accumulate more than a hundred dollars in a Paypal account.) So, after giving myself a day to wallow in discouragement (and actually have fun getting a lot of household things done) on Thursday, I forced myself to come into town today.

This morning's internal dialogue went something like this: Superego to id: "Self, pull yourself together, put on clean clothes, and hurry into town."

Id: "Do you even know for sure that the cafe's going to be open today?"

Superego: "It's extremely unlikely that anybody's going to be online today, but if you cash out the Paypal account via the one person that you know in Gate City who has a Paypal account, that person will probably advance at least enough of the cash that you can eat lunch."

Id: "Eww, ick, do I haaaave to talk to per?" (Inside my head I use, and in this post I will use, "person" and "per" as non-gender pronouns, like the characters in Marge Piercy's classic novel about the way welfare destroys those who "benefit" from it.) "Person is so not purr. Person is very very meow, or maybe even growl!"

Superego: "Person is undeniably Getting Older and Starting to Forget Conversations, but person means well."

Ego: "Person is a divorcee and a convicted welfare cheat--a moral bad apple with a natural tendency to rot the whole barrel. In any conversation about our personal lives and business, person constantly urges me to do the kind of stupid things person has done to mess up per life. 'Gossip always settles down' and 'All they do is cut off further benefits, so you're not worse off after being convicted of welfare cheating than you were before,' indeed!"

Superego: "Yes, person does have a guilt complex a mile wide, but you know person is not a role model. If Jesus claimed Zacchaeus and Mary Magdalene as friends, it shouldn't hurt you to claim person. Just don't talk about your personal business. Tell person how much cash you want from the amount you're sending, wish per a Happy New Year, and get to work."

Id: "Person's company is sickening."

Ego: "The company of any person who doesn't appreciate something you do for per is always sickening. It doesn't always have to be a monetary transaction, may be fun to watch wild creatures grab a crumb and fly away, but the animals we buy food for, and feed regularly, are the ones that rub against our hands afterward."

Superego: "Right, right, absolutely right, now just power through the nausea. It will pass I tell you."

So of course this friend-of-extremely-questionable-value found a way to spew out the moral fungus that's rotting the person's own mind. "If you're not earning enough money online to have a full-sized business bank account you should go on food stamps and fuel assistance and a disability pension, because you could be hoarding cash that way..." Uuurrrggghhhh. Get thee behind me Satan.

Person even went so far as to mention the names of a few mutual acquaintances, who I happened to know weren't in town this week but that's none of person's business. "Don't you have other friends? Don't you even want other friends?"

And it hit me: I do in fact enjoy having a small select circle of friends. The people I've liked best in my life are dead, but in this world we all have to learn about friendship from observing trees: you lose a part of your social "core," you grow closer to someone else, your life goes on until it stops. Once long ago when I was paid for what I did, I enjoyed being a loyal and generous friend. Before I'd seen the side of this person that person shows to those who have less than person has, I would have counted person among my living friends. But...welfare pushers? With "friends" like that, who needs enemies?

People who babble along the lines of "You could get some sort of handout" are not friends. They're dang lucky if anybody counts them as acquaintances, as connections (if not in the fullest Mafia sense, at least with that emotional connotation, yes).

People who are not, in fact, asking me to help with something they do, and thanking me for my help, are at best "spoon bandits." I may not expect much more from them. They may have genuine disabilities, although this particular spoon bandit qualified as a potential friend by being in the minority of our generation who can still keep up with me on a stroll in the park. I may feel sorry for them; I may profoundly hate and regret any need to ask them for anything, even a moment of their time, which I assume is likely to cost them as much energy as it does me, which I sincerely regret.

I'm even aware that, due to elitism, people who are at or below my level of the "class" hierarchy but who currently have more money may have reasons not to want to be seen with me or recognized as my friends, and I certainly wouldn't want to burden them...and that adds to the drain any contact with those people, or with people who might be in that category, puts on my energy. As an introvert I have no natural instinct to issue invitations. I might enjoy someone else's company or appreciate their help with something that I enjoy doing, but if I don't know for sure that the person would be grateful for an invitation, I'm not going to ask; I naturally prefer to be asked. (Even if I'm older and/or senior in a given situation, and could reasonably be expected to do the asking...during my formative years I was not older or senior to anybody, y'see, so I didn't cultivate the skill of issuing invitations much.)

So what is my social life like? Once in a while I remember someone whom I might, long ago, have invited to share a meal, go to a book party...I have never enjoyed passive "entertainment." In my twenties I went to movies for the usual reason young women go to movies--the opportunity for safe, semi-private, limited snogging. I used to enjoy games, book parties, fundraising events, things where my participation actually helps someone else accomplish something I want to see that person accomplish. Once, long ago, Bright Young Things used to hang out at the Starbucks on Dupont Circle; let's just say that, whether we grew up "bright" or not, we're no longer young, or single, or likely to hang out there any more. Now I remember this one or that one and think, "Yes, person and I used to have fun," and I wonder whom the person married or whether the person is still living, and I think, "I wish per well, wherever person may be." I don't Go Out, socially, at all any more. That's one of the most obvious budget cuts you make when you adjust to a lower income.

What you don't want to do, ever, is spend an unnecessary second in the presence of people who may deny that they're elitists, but they are. You know...they don't ask you for favors or want to share meals you've cooked, so if you do ask them for the sort of favor you'd do for them in a heartbeat, they act as if it's suddenly become a big deal and "you should be grateful." And they don't think poor people are supposed to have opinions, so the kind of thing on which your reputation for being bright, witty, and charming was built has suddenly become "mouthing off." And they don't realize that you're exactly the same person you were when you had an income, so acting as if your time or your preferences mattered has suddenly become "arrogant." And so on.

These people will scream and howl if you tell them that they're not only showing elitism, but showing it in a trashy way that will severely compromise your ability to respect anything about them ever again...but they are. Surviving on a low income means you have to judge those people, write them off as "stupid" or "crazy" or "senile" (whether or not they are those things in other ways, they are at least one of them where elitism is concerned), like them less, trust them less, not take anything they're currently saying seriously and be very very cautious about taking them seriously if you ever get back to a level of income at which friendship with these people might be possible. They are an inferior, unworthy grade of friends. (That's not because this person's family aren't local landowners, although that happens to be the case; it's because person is choosing stupidity.) If you don't need any material benefits they may offer, you certainly don't need them; if you find similar benefits somewhere else, you'll never look back with fond memories of the time you shared with them.

The world would be a much more pleasant place if all the elitists were dead, and likewise all the successful welfare cheats. I know one blatantly bogus "retarded" person who was in fact "retarded" in the original, non-judgmental sense that a physical injury prevented him from showing or using his considerable talents as a child; because people were cruel about his "moron"-level I.Q. scores when he was younger I can pardon him for continuing to collect his pension, while quietly becoming able to do half a dozen different jobs, even white-collar jobs, well enough to have earned a living at them. Most people who do that sort of thing, I say, are an ungodly combination of beggars, thieves, prostitutes, and traitors: worse than any of those four things by itself. I could not live in the same house with someone like that. The temptation to murder would be overwhelming. If I had become that kind of person, it wouldn't even be murder, any more than masturbation would be rape; it'd be consensual euthanasia. If I had to choose, I'd rather skip the step of evildoing and go directly to euthanasia.

If any welfare cheats are reading this...pull yourself together, if you can. Wean yourself off the plastic. You don't have to have a car. You don't have to have television, or own a computer; I'd recommend keeping a phone, but buy prepaid minutes and use them for emergency communication only, no chat, no Internet, no staying in touch with friends. You don't have to eat fast food. If it comes down to that, you can probably find an alternative to paying rent as long as you bear in mind that anything--not including violence, but including the genteel form of prostitution usually known as cultivating a rich friend--is preferable to welfare-cheating. God forgave St. Paul for participating in the murder of St. Stephen, so God can forgive you, and so can I, but in order for that to happen you need to repent.

For myself? If I hadn't had things to do at home I could have forced myself to go into town and cash out the Paypal money yesterday, so yesterday didn't count. Henceforward, though: whenever I've not eaten in 48 hours, I promise myself to take that as an indication that it's time to start the Ultimate Hunger Strike. I won't go online to give you readers any last-minute warnings; I wasn't particularly impressed by Oral Roberts' fundraising stunts and don't want to sound like them. If you get some sort of benefit--pleasure, information, publicity for your work, whatever--out of this web site, you are supposed to fund it. Do not wait to read about "needs." Make sure I don't get down to the level of thinking about physical "needs." Widows survive by building up and moving forward. Steadily.

This web site used to have a button (which never really worked) that recommended $5 payments, the cost of a monthly magazine, but since other people are freeloading and participating in the exploitation, you need to think in terms of $100 payments, the cost of an annual subscription to many monthly magazines these days. (Yes, printed "magazine" versions of this web site are and have always been available to those who pay for them. No, they won't look as slick as Time or People or National Review, but neither will they be weighed down with full-page fact you can customize the amount of paper, size of type, number of pictures, and type of material for which you pay.)

If you don't get enough benefit out of this web site to fund it, then don't worry and don't whine if it disappears; you have, for the moment, won. I believe you're on the side of a great moral-spiritual conflict that's predestined to lose, the ultimate and total defeat, but I don't have any emotional attachment to staying here and watching that happen.

For the past ten-plus years I've been living in the bizarre situation of being exactly where I've always wanted to be, doing exactly what I've always wanted to do...and not making enough money at it to provide any assurance of being able to pay for anything that doesn't grow naturally in the orchard, even a week ahead of time. I've never taken any vows of poverty or turned down any legitimate odd jobs that might pay better than the ones I've been barely surviving on; it's just that paid jobs have been scarce and a lot of people have taken advantage of Virginia's lack of a small claims court.

From time to time, someone has said, "Why don't you go back to the big city and make some more big money." Answer: Washington is a young people's town, and nobody's guaranteeing that I would make money there. The odds are very high that I would not. Around age forty, people in Washington are either senior executives or consultants or officials, or making plans to leave; I left. I don't need a lot of money to enjoy living in my own home; I would need a lot of money to be able to afford an equally pleasant, or even a tolerable, quality of home in Washington. Back in the Associated Content days I used to get lots of offers to write five-dollar articles about the city, but not enough of them to fund a $150 bus ride back there. Even during the past week, the e-mail contained an invitation to join some e-friends at an Inaugural Festivity...and if it had contained bus tickets and Metro farecards and a hotel reservation and/or invitation to stay at someone's home, I might have enjoyed going back to Washington for one more week, but...I'd rather cherish memories the city where I used to be a Bright Young Thing than form new memories of a bigger, uglier city where I would now be "old" and homeless. Giving up the good things I currently enjoy, in exchange for no guarantee of any potential future enjoyment whatsoever, would be genuinely stupid. Selling my home and going back to the city would be suicidal.

No. Much as you might like to believe that people only ever have emotional problems, I have no emotional problems. I have a reality problem. I have been considering every angle of this reality problem for a long time now, in my own mind, in consultation with my (now distant and second-best) friends, and in prayer. In prayer I even received a flash of illumination in the form of a mental image--I don't often think in pictures; I saw the image of a sick patient trying futilely to move crippled hands to summon help, and understood it to mean that God can't use the Living Body of Christ, which is/are Christians, until Christians snap out of their "people can always get food stamps" mentality and start supporting other Christians' work. In rational thought and conversation, it's inescapable: The only possible way my life situation is going to get better is going to consist of

*wages for work done*

*wages for work done*


*WAGES FOR WORK DONE*  !!!!!!!!!!!

What that means to you, Gentle Readers, is: if you want more of whatever you've been getting from this web site, send money now. Use the e-mail link at the bottom of the screen to receive the Paypal address to which you can send money to keep this web site going.

(To those whose minds leaped to "yes but I neeeeed money myself for whatever reason" mode...your own web site is the place to post all about that, and yes, you may link to this post in your post about your situation. I'm all in favor of people funding your project or helping meet your needs too, the more money people have to fling around the merrier, but let's keep this one simple. Only if you can prove that you've been living in the United States on less than US$2000 for the year 2016 are you welcome to post about your level of income here. This post is about funding this web site.)

Book Review: Squirrel Hotel

Title: Squirrel Hotel

Author: William Pène du Bois

Date: 1952

Publisher: Viking

ISBN: none

Length: 48 pages

Illustrations: drawings by the author

Quote: “Do you really like squirrels?”

The narrator of this story, a young writer, met an eccentric old man who told him that the old man had built a full-sized Squirrel Hotel and that squirrels had actually stayed in it long enough to play with the gadgets he built in. If the young man liked squirrels enough, the old man promised, one day he’d show the young man where the Squirrel Hotel was and leave it to him. But then several days went by when the old man didn’t come to the place where they had been meeting...and readers are left to wonder whether the whole purpose of the story was to share an idea for a toy William Pène du Bois thought it might be fun to build, or at least to draw.

As with many of Pène du Bois’s early, whimsical books, the main attraction is the drawings. Here the old man is drawn in a lifelike style, and the miniature hotel for the squirrels is a very lifelike model house children might want to make. Whether squirrels would care to stay in it, or whether it would make a good setting for (depending on its proportions) a collection of dolls or stuffed animals, the author leaves child readers to find out.

If you buy this book for a child, be prepared for “Why don’t you make one for me?” or, depending on the age of the child, “Can I make one?”

This is another book I stupidly sold, in real life, before checking its current price on Amazon. It's gone into the collector price range. To buy it here will cost $20 per book + $5 per package + $1 per online payment, and although that would mean $2.50 for the author or a charity of his choice, if he were still alive, it no longer means anything to the author. If you're adding it to a package, because it's a thin book and we charge only one shipping fee per package, sending payment to this web site will save some money over sending payment to Amazon. If you're buying only this individual book, you pay less and in theory I get a small commission if you use the photo link to buy it directly from Amazon. Your call, Gentle Readers. Scroll down, though, to find Fair Trade Books whose authors actually profit if you buy them here.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Book Review: Sometimes I Wake Up Grumpy

A Fair Trade Book

Title: Sometimes I Wake Up Grumpy and Sometimes I Let Him Sleep

Author: Karen Scalf Linamen

Author’s Twitter page:

Date: 2001

Publisher: Fleming H. Revell

ISBN: 0-8007-5745-9

Length: 153 pages plus 4-page preview of forthcoming volume

Illustrations: digitally manipulated cartoon image by Steve Björkman

Quote: “When you find yourself in emotional are fourteen ways to feel better.”

Karen Scalf Linamen writes a comedy column, but she wants us to know she’s a depressed clown. She writes about the fun and funny things that have helped her survive her mood swings. She has something extremely important to say to women who struggle with depression.

And to the people who care about them. I bought this book because the drawing on the front cover reminded me of a former flatmate whose actual name happened to be Mona...which fitted her so well that giving it to her as a nickname would have seemed cheap and cruel. In an academic way I understood exactly what Mona had to moan about. She was being slowly crippled by an incurable disease. In practice, although her natural personality was quiet, warm, perky, and fun to have around, she was turning into the sort of hag who comes in from work and whines, “It’s stifling in here! Why didn’t you at least open a window! You never think about me!” So you open the window that faces down into the big pine tree, while she’s freshening up in the bathroom, and just as the fresh piney breeze blows across your desk she comes out and whines, “It’s freezing in here! If that draft doesn’t bother you, you might think about me!” One of the great spiritual victories of my life was that I never threw Mona out that window...but I loved her, and missed her after she was forced to retire at 35.

Those of us who find ourselves living with someone like Mona, or like Karen Scalf Linamen, may understandably feel that anything that makes them less of a pain to be around would be a good thing. So there is this tendency in our culture to think that serotonin-boosting antidepressants, which counteract the depressive mood swing with a mild “high,” have to be a good thing. Several people who’ve used antidepressants—often briefly, for shock, as Tipper Gore did—have become positive “cheerleaders” for these drugs. The only trouble is that so many people who use these antidepressants for more than a week or two develop some sort of neurological side effects....from asexuality to muscle spasms to violent insanity.

Actually, if Mrs. Gore had stopped to think about it, the Clinton Administration provided a real paradigm of what happens when people use Prozac and its “chemical relatives.” I don’t know whether Janet Reno had used a serotonin booster, but the premature parkinsonism that made her face look so grim in certain TV clips is one of the most common side effects these drugs have, and it hurts. George Stephanopoulos described the other very common side effect that he had, in All Too Human—back pain so severe that America’s most eligible bachelor temporarily lost all interest in sex. And while the facts of his last day on earth seem suspicious, we know for sure that Vince Foster used antidepressants a few weeks before he began making vague ungrounded accusations and then, apparently, shot himself; because about one out of ten users of antidepressants develop violent insanity of a paranoid-schizophrenic type, it’s entirely possible that, if one or two other men did go into the park with Foster and did shoot him, even that might have been his idea.

Linamen adds yet another Prozac-prospect image to our mental gallery. What if you take the drug, you’re able to quit while you still have some money and sanity left, the physical agony of withdrawal passes...and leaves you still depressed? (Dr. Kathleen Desmaisons has built her career (see ) on that situation.)

Take one consideration with another, and whether you’re the depressed person or the friend or relative of one, you’ll realize that natural mood elevators like the ones discussed in Linamen’s books are a lot safer than antidepressant medications. People who are genuinely out of their minds with depression may need to be medicated and hospitalized until they stop trying to kill anybody, but people who just radiate unjustifiable gloom need to focus on finding natural relief for what they feel. Linamen can help.

A theory that works for many psychiatrists is that some of us simply inherit a tendency toward “serotonin deficiency” that needs continuous treatment with serotonin-boosting medications, but, as Peter Breggin reminded us, nobody has ever actually proved that “serotonin deficiency” exists as a whole separate disease. Serotonin deficiency is an effect, not a cause, of stress, grief, guilt, and general dissatisfaction with life. 

Chronic serotonin deficiency may also be produced by other hormone imbalances like thyroid deficiency, adrenal exhaustion, alcohol intolerance and the “sugar sensitivity” that indicates the presence of the alcohol intolerance gene in abstainers, endorphin deficiency produced by a sedentary lifestyle, or any number of ovarian conditions that aren’t fully understood but may be triggered or aggravated by pregnancy. Or by allergies...people don’t even have to have conspicuous “allergy symptoms” in reaction to innocuous “triggers” like food or pollen in order to have subtle, chronic allergic-type reactions to chemicals, molds, and foods of which they’re genuinely intolerant. Or virus infections: the way most of us feel a few hours before “coming down with” a cold or flu seems similar to the way some people feel for months or years before being diagnosed with AIDS or cancer. In some cases, while natural mood-boosters are at least harmless Band-Aids for a broken arm, serotonin boosters may even aggravate the real problem.

So, if you are or know someone who seems depressive in any way, it’s hard to recommend books like Sometimes I Wake Up Grumpy warmly enough. Obviously a collection of humor columns is no substitute for consulting a doctor, but the role model Linamen offers, trying to work through her mood swings without going back on drugs, is wonderful.

Where can you and/or your friend find a doctor who’s qualified to address the real problem, rather than just handing out pills? Obviously this will depend on what medical tests reveal. If the problem is something like chronic mold exposure or lactose intolerance, moral support is all you’ll need. If it’s myasthenia gravis or a highly fatal kind of cancer, mood swings are the least of your worries. And if medical tests lead to a diagnosis of “no major medical problems, just ordinary depression,” then it’s appropriate to let books like Sometimes I Wake Up Grumpy guide the depressive person to find out what the feelings are trying to tell him or her.

Sometimes I Wake Up Grumpy is especially good for those who’ve been burned by other “Christian” books about emotional self-help, many of which are actually written from the non-Christian, non-biblical perspective of the Christian Science sect. Too many books on the market assume that happiness is the normal state of being, even in a mortal world, and normal mental health means being able to convince oneself that one is happy all the time. For most people this isn’t true, and those of us who do manage to make our normal (neutral) emotional mood look “happy” to other people are more actively obnoxious than the depressive types. The “Christian” hype in “Positive Thinking” books and sermons is especially annoying to those who’ve read the Bible, not just selected texts wrenched out of their context but the whole Book, and realized what a “negative” (in the incorrect sense of “pessimistic”) book it is—how many of the great saints Jesus did not “want for a sunbeam.”

Sometimes I Wake Up Grumpy is one Christian book that will not tell you it’s somehow a sin to feel what you feel, or even pretend that it’s “unspiritual” to want to make changes in the real world around you rather than trying to pretend you’ve “accepted” every bad thing in life. Sometimes Jesus wants us for a thunder clap or a gale-force wind, to confront and overcome evil...whether it’s the evil effect you have on yourself by unconsciously eating things your body isn’t able to digest, or the evil effect the mold in your basement may be having on everyone in your family and not just the obvious “allergy sufferer,” or the evil effect your children’s teasing may have on your family relationship, or who knows what else. And Linamen, blessed may she be, actually admits this. Sometimes what our feelings have to tell us is that something outside ourselves is not right and needs to be changed.

Linamen also keeps it light. Women could even share this book with their children. Like Jean Kerr’s books, Sometimes I Wake Up Grumpy is definitely addressed to mothers, and contains some jokes their children won’t get, but it also contains funny stories children can enjoy and nothing likely to do children any harm, so there’s no need to hide it from the kids. You could read them the stories about how Linamen’s children, being a little more childish and ignorant than your audience, did these things that probably weren’t meant to hurt their Mommy’s feelings but they a tactful suggestion that your audience might want to try to be more protective of their Mommy’s feelings. The language is that simple. Kids don’t have to know what PMS is to appreciate a story about what kinds of childish games make adults happy and what kinds make them grumpier.

(With this in mind, and some matching yarn in my stash, I actually dressed a doll to match the cover drawing and sold the copy of this book I reviewed as a family book, years before posting this review!)

Linamen is still alive and Tweeting, so Sometimes I Wake Up Grumpy is a Fair Trade Book. Buy it here for $5 per book, $5 per package, and $1 per online payment, and we send $1 to Linamen or a charity of her choice. She's written several other books of similar size; some of them are or should be still available as new books. (Click here to see the latest list.) Six or eight would fit into a package; if you want six of her older books you'd send this web site $35, or $36 as the case might be, and Linamen or her charity would get $6. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

December 28 Link Log

New Year's Resolution for Link Logs: I will stop even reading web sites that foul up my browser or look likely to foul up anyone else's. If you want to be linked, and yes this means you +Andria Perry and other Niumers, your post must stabilize after a maximum of ONE CLICK to banish pop-ups, move past graphic blockades, and display the text already. Otherwise, no matter how good the content is, and yes this means youall at The Blaze, your post will be classified as an Annoying Web Page. I may complain to the person who sent me the link but I promise not to share links to Annoying Web Pages. K.I.S.S. if you want promotion here. Not all links in this log adhere to the K.I.S.S. Rule (Keep It Simple, Stupid!), but the ones posted after Niume crashed my browser will. Twitter hashtag for this topic: #ReadersRevolt . Categories: Animals, Armed Citizen Fights Crime, Art, Book, Food, Health, Michigan, Movie, Phenology, Pictures, Politics, Psychology, Travel, Venezuela, Weird, Writing.


It's a cat day. This cat opens Christmas box (mostly a photo essay):

Her heart was in the right place, but unfortunately Glenda Delawder left her estate to those who want to render domestic animals extinct (shelters), not to the animals themselves (sanctuaries)...

I think the Cat Sanctuary has received another cat, possibly another dumpee, possibly a girlfriend for near-adult Tickle. Last night I heard the sounds my cats use to summon help in case of an attack. I went outside to scare off the possible predator, heard raccoon chittering, immediately put my cats in protective custody (a.k.a. Cat Jail) indoors and set the'coon trap. But, as I closed the door and walked back across the porch, I felt...another cat?...leaving the older part of the house along with me. It was smaller than a raccoon, friendlier, completely unafraid of my cats and me and familiar with a fast route from the porch to the warm crawl space below, and it didn't have the rank odor of a skunk or possum. I think it may be another young, tame cat, and it may be in the trap, sentencing my cats to another day in Cat Jail, when I get home. Sigh. I seriously considered staying home to entertain Heather through this period of unavoidable delay in her life, today, and have thought about her all here are today's Petfinder links to polydactyl cats, in honor of Heather and Tickle:

Melanie from Charlotte (N.C.) is in foster care, unfortunately through an HSUS-tentacle program:
Mario from Herndon...unfortunately in the custody of one of those nasty control-freak shelters. Research the shelter carefully if adopting this precious kitten:
Smokey from New Jersey:

(Heather has big, splayed paws with fully developed extra toes, like two of the cats shown. Tickle has normal-sized paws with only vestigial extra toes, like the other one. Although it affects the way the cats hold their paws, the trait doesn't seem to affect their ability to run or hunt.)

Armed Citizen Fights Crime 



Alena Matuch has some good advice for artists (and some cool drawings of women who probably have major PCOS but are living with it):


What better way to salute Michelle Malkin's tribute to (not dead, just retiring, 86-year-old) Thomas Sowell, than with an Amazon link to the book she highlights?

Food (Yuck) 

Prodded to help new readers catch up, since the computer says our readership is growing...Jeffrey Smith summarizes the history of his opposition to genetically modified food products. I add: one specific gene-tweak, and the pesticide pollution the gene was tweaked to facilitate, just happen to make me sick in a way that other people could actually see, but I'd never ask them to look. The part that normally shows is that, after having privately been sick, I might look "older" or more tired than otherwise. Please just accept that this indicates a lot of things going on that this web site has a contract not to discuss in further detail. They are disgusting. Anyway I think JS sometimes gets out into left field, but he's done a lot to help people understand how and why GMO "food" may be poisonous to them, too, or if it's not they should at least have a little compassion on those of us to whom it is. It's been a long uphill slog. If you need more last-minute tax donation ideas, Food Revolution is one left-wing site I commend to your consideration. (You could, of course, also support this site, which is classically liberal, not left-wing; it wouldn't be tax-deductible, but you could get all kinds of lovely books and/or guest posts and/or advertorials.)

Food Democracy Now summarized in an e-mail, from which the quote is linked to their fundraising page, just to be fair:

Last month, in our new groundbreaking report, Glyphosate: Unsafe on Any Plate, we found alarming levels of glyphosate in common foods such as Cheerios, Doritos, Stacy's Pita Chips, Oreos and more -- the same glyphosate that’s the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup -- the most heavily used weedkiller in food and agricultural production in human history.
The report shows that glyphosate can lead to potentially devastating health effects such as an increased risk for cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Parkinson’s, leaky gut, irritable bowel syndrome, ADD, serious reproductive and neurological problems and kidney and liver diseases. Alarmingly, previous independent research has found that people who are already chronically ill showed significantly higher glyphosate residue in their urine than healthy people.

These alarming glyphosate residues in popular American foods have given us grounds to demand a federal investigation from the FDA into the likely harmful effects of glyphosate as well as demanding that they investigate the relationships between the regulators and the regulated corporations like Monsanto, DuPont and Dow Chemical, which too often minimize or cover up the harm to the public that are being exposed to an increasing number of toxic chemicals in our food.

Food (Yum) 

Shared by Bruce at Grassfire, and endorsed by this web site because, if you can trust your source of rice-based pasta, it'll be gluten-free.

If you don't spray poisons on your yard or drive motor vehicles past it, here's a quick guide to totally free food. (This site barely squeaked past the new #ReadersRevolt filter, with one pop-up, and lots of graphics that kept the text squiggling away as I scrolled down...shape up, Rodale!)


Chest pain isn't always a heart attack...and other things sometimes are; Sue Palmer's heart attack felt like Norwalk Flu.

Michigan Update 

Is it possible that Providence is giving rich Michiganians a chance to recover their honor by Taking Care Of Their Own?


Kaitlyn Schallhorn makes a case for a forthcoming movie:


Right. I don't resolve to do a full-length phenology post every time I go online, but at least a comment in the Link Log...Below is a link documenting an afternoon high of 75 degrees Fahrenheit in Alabama on Christmas Day. Today, Holy Innocents Day, where did that thaw go? Someone shared a link to an Annoying Web Site claiming the temperature in Siberia was -80 degrees Fahrenheit, and that's what's heading our way. Well, that's Siberia for you, but in Virginia a thin layer of ice had formed on the cats' water dishes this morning.


One of those places that market themselves mainly to honeymoon travellers:

Someone who was online this morning, which is (in and of itself) an excuse for a certain bleakness of outlook, branded 2016 a bad year because a lot of beloved elders died. My comment was that if that's our criterion for a bad year, we're in for a lot of them as the Greatest Generation passes...and then as we become the older generation...This cartoon strip seems to address the same idea:


Ridiculous quotes. When I think of the context--he sent so many non-supporters into exile that people who have continued to be Cubans undoubtedly did feel proud of Dear Leader Castro, and those who admire Al Capone or Kinnie Wagner undoubtedly admire Fidel Castro's survival--I can believe the memorial tribute about pride in Fidel Castro. But...President Obama resembles Abe Lincoln...and Julia the same time? Well, yes; not only do those three famous people have oxygen-breathing in common, they even have dark hair...

The Daily Caller has shaped up, with a printer-friendly version only one click through the nasty graphics mess:

Jonah Goldberg: right on:

Virginia Tea Partiers only...I'm not sure I even endorse this idea. I don't want my phone to blab to the world what my real address is. Arguably the police need to be able to track emergency calls and/or criminal use of phones to a physical location; the pests of the world do not need to be able to annoy me at home. However, for those who want two-click communication with your legislatures during the General Assembly, the app is here:


Marketing psychology: What's a "talent stack"? This post is obviously an excuse for Scott Adams to brag about a friend of his, which is nice, but it's more than that.

Well, it's also an excuse for him to advertise the current Dilbert Calendar. (I enjoy day-by-day, tearaway cartoon calendars, so if anybody out there wants to buy me one, it'll be welcome.)


Patricia Heaton from "Everybody Loves Raymond" goes to Zambia. It's kind of real-world friend who survived a visit to that country (few North Americans do) was Jewish, and aggressively evangelical Protestant World Vision was not on her top ten list of charities. Whatever works!

Venezuela Update 

The crisis escalates...


Or should the heading be "More Courage than Common Sense"? Couple of stranded tourists get separated in a blizzard (after trusting GPS for directions). Woman wanders in wilderness for thirty hours, pushing herself to keep moving to rescue her husband and child. Man wanders for shorter distance, stumbles into cell phone reception area, summons help and rescues his literally clueless wife. Er. Um. Both of them did show heroic fortitude, but...don't go exploring unknown wilderness roads in midwinter, Gentle Readers. (The story would be a classic Ohio joke if the couple weren't from Pennsylvania.)

What I want to see here is the offender's picture. If he's a natural blue-eyed blond, it's a joke.

And speaking of


The way this web site looks is the way I prefer that yours look. Or the way Ozarque's looked:

I seriously want to avoid messy, flashy web sites in 2017. If you want to load up with all the latest graphics and forty different kinds of pop-ups and pull-downs and roll-overs and self-loading videos, go ahead...but if you want me to read your content, please cross-post it to a Minimalist Text-Only Version site. I keep promising to transfer what's worth preserving, even at this web site, to a graphics-free site at

Science fiction comes to life...the creepy would-be councilman from my short story, "Kylene Has Two Children," presupposes that all adults who stroll, eat lunch, jog, or relax in parks are as creepy as he is:

Morgan Griffith on the Twelve Days of Christmas

(Hurrah for me...Monday's e-mails are in sight already, and it's only Wednesday!) From U.S. Representative Morgan Griffith, R-VA-9:

Celebrating All Twelve Days of Christmas
“The Twelve Days of Christmas” is one of the most popular carols for this time of the year. Its alliteration like “swans a swimming,” outlandish gifts like “twelve lords a leaping,” and repetition make it an enjoyable song to sing and hear. Artists from Perry Como to John Denver and the Muppets have recorded their own versions that are played during the Christmas season.
The exact origins of the lyrics have been lost to time. Some theories suggest the song originated in France, while others point to the north of England.
But we should not let the unusual nature of the song’s gifts or uncertainty about the origins of the carol to take away from the point that there are twelve days of Christmas. When decorations appear in stores and promotions for holiday shopping start in October, it may seem that everything is building towards Christmas Day on December 25th alone. But the days after Christmas have their own meanings, too.
Take Boxing Day. On December 26th, Britain and many countries with strong cultural ties to it celebrate Boxing Day, although it is not a tradition that made it to the British colonies that became the United States.
Professor Mark Connelly of the University of Kent notes, “While Christmas Day was about being at home with your family, Boxing Day was a time to get outside, to get away from the home.”1 Fox hunting and horse racing are pastimes often associated with the day. It is also a popular day for soccer, just as many Americans look forward to watching football on our Thanksgiving.
Perhaps the name of the holiday came from the boxed gifts given by aristocrats to their servants for the Christmas season. Or perhaps the name came from the church boxes which contained donations for the poor and were opened the day after Christmas. This suggestion seems appropriate, for December 26th is also St. Stephen’s Day. The day’s link to charity is immortalized in the first lines of the traditional Christmas carol, “Good King Wenceslas:”
Good King Wenceslas looked out
On the Feast of Stephen
When the snow lay 'round about
Deep and crisp and even
As the song goes, when the king looked out on St. Stephen’s Day, he saw a poor man gathering fuel. Wenceslas called for his page to gather food and drink to take to the poor man’s house. As the pair went forth to their task on the freezing day, the page found warmth by following in the footsteps of the good king.
Another tradition involving good kings comes at the end of the Twelve Days, on January 6th, which is Epiphany. The kings celebrated on this day are known variously as the Three Kings, the Three Wise Men, or the Magi. We are familiar with them through the Book of Matthew and carols such as “We Three Kings.”
Epiphany celebrates the visit of the Three Kings to Jesus in Bethlehem bringing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. In Spain and Latin America, the day is also known as “Three Kings’ Day.” Just as children here write letters to Santa, in cultures that celebrate this day, they write to the Three Kings asking for gifts.
On January 5th, the kings arrive in a parade atop live camels and accompanied by floats and pages tossing candy into the crowd. That night, children put out bread and water for the camels and awake the next morning to find their shoes filled with presents from the kings.2
Like the lyrics of “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” many of these holiday celebrations originated in past ages, when the world looked much different, and for reasons we might not even know with certainty. I believe it is a testament to the magic of the Christmas season that these celebrations remain vital and beloved in many places around the modern world.
Whether they are spent outdoors, as Boxing Day is often done, or performing acts of charity, as the carol of “Good King Wenceslas” celebrates, I hope you can treasure all the days of Christmas.
By the end of the Twelve Days of Christmas, we will have begun the 115th Congress and will hopefully do great things for America during this session. On the eighteenth day of this Congress, Donald Trump will be inaugurated, and then we will have real change and hope.
If you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office. You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at Also on my website is the latest material from my office, including information on votes recently taken on the floor of the House of Representatives.


Book Review: Women Food and God

A Fair Trade Book

Title: Women Food and God

Spin-off coloring book!

Author: Geneen Roth

Author’s web page:

Date: 2010

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publisher’s web page for books:

Publisher’s web page for author appearances:

ISBN: 978-1-4165-4307-7

Length: 201 pages of text plus 10-page appendix

Quote: “Food is good and comfort is good. Except that when you are not hungry and you want comfort, food is only a temporary palliative; why not address the discomfort directly?”

In this book Geneen Roth offers readers a glimpse of the experience of going on a spiritual retreat specifically  to explore the emotional and spiritual dimensions of eating disorders.

If you don’t have an eating disorder, this may strike you as a roundabout way some People Different From Us need to travel to reach the same point where People Like Us already are, but my interest in this book was (and remains) different from that. I read with a lot of questions about how people with food intolerances relate to Roth’s insights; the questions aren’t answered.

Why don’t Roth’s students voice my concerns about food allergy/addiction syndromes, or the food cravings associated with malnutrition in celiac disease, or the emotions that are directly caused by sugar sensitivity, alcohol intolerance, depression, learning disabilities, insulin resistance, hypoglycemia, obesity, diabetes, and stroke syndrome? Probably because, by 2010, most of the people who had primarily medical rather than emotional issues about food had achieved normal weight, health, and happiness. (Celiacs may be finding our hereditary problems harder to solve these days, though, due to glyphosate contamination and glyphosate-resistant GMO food flooding the markets.) By now even the lactose-intolerant minority of Caucasians are likely to get a valid diagnosis within a year or two of recognizing that they’re ill. Most of the people who still go to Roth’s retreats are probably people who can be helped by a spiritual/emotional approach.

The funny thing is that, although I’ve not consciously lost and regained as much as fifty pounds in my lifetime, the approach to food that’s worked for me over the past fifteen years has much in common with Roth’s approach: So don’t count calories, weigh portions, obsess about food. Say no to what actually makes you ill. Say yes to what gives you pleasure, but in a mindful, epicurean sort of way, observing that there’s more pleasure in eating one cookie than there is in eating two dozen cookies. Be aware of what else you’re feeling, thinking, possibly blocking out of conscious awareness.

When people who’ve explored a topic along completely different paths reach the same conclusion, there is probably much to be said for that conclusion. I think Women Food and God has the potential to help many people who suffer from obesity or other eating disorders. And it’s a good piece of literary craft—Roth cites both Anne Lamott and Jack Kornfeld as teachers, and Natalie Goldberg as a literary influence, so her book ought to be fun to read, and it is.

Such faults as this book has are probably explained by the observation that people who go to retreats are likely to be different from people who stay home and read books. Retreatants (a) have more spending money, and also (b) are, even if predominantly introverted by temperament, more comfortable spending time around recent acquaintances, than many book readers.

I’d consider even modifying the guidelines that serve Roth’s retreatants well, for book readers. Roth encourages people to minimize distractions while they eat, avoid reading or driving while they eat, but then encourages them to eat with other people. For retreatants, making small talk with acquaintances may be less distracting than reading a newspaper or writing a practice piece. For me, the reverse is true, and I suspect that some people who’ve known food bullies may feel more intensely about this than I do. If you live with a major food intolerance you know that visiting each other's relatives in the hospital is likely to be less of a Relationship Torture Test than eating dinner in a posh restaurant together...

Otherwise, who should read this book? Any woman who’s ever gone on a reducing diet. Any woman who’s concerned about her daughter’s, student’s, or patient’s weight and figure. Any man who lives or works with a woman who goes on reducing diets, or who is interested in helping his wife preserve a youthful healthy look as she matures. Anyone who enjoys personal, conversational, yet lucid and succinct writing as a pleasure in et per se. I’m not sure that that necessarily adds up to “Every person who can read English,” but neither am I sure which people who can read English should not read Women Food and God. So it's not hard to figure out why this book became a bestseller...which means the problem for booksellers, now, is identifying the customers who've not already read it.

If you buy it here, you get a used copy of the original book, which is widely available secondhand, as a Fair Trade Book: $5 per copy, $5 per package (at least four copies of this book would fit into one package), $1 per online payment. (If you send a real-world money order to our real-world P.O. Box, the post office will collect its own surcharge, so we don't have to add one.) From this we send $1 to Roth or a charity of her choice. The coloring book is new, and will be available only as a new book (whoever heard of buying used coloring books?!), but we can tuck it into the package if you pay for it.