Jun 27 2013


I leave for the airport in under three hours. I keep vaguely thinking I should be doing preparing things, but they’re mostly done really. I’m neurotic about travel.

It’s raining here. I keep thinking I should take a hoody because rain, but I don’t want to. I’m neurotic about packing.

It will get quiet here while I’m on the road, because I won’t have time (or Wifi) to post much. You guys should make this a nice coffee house thread to discuss all the things, so that you don’t get lonely for each other.

You could discuss

  • travel
  • places you’ve never been to that you want to be to
  • how to endure ten hours on a plane in an inside seat in the inside aisle
  • what food to pack in what quantity
  • crime and punishment
  • feminism and its allies and its wannabe allies who are actually more interested in their own standing as allies than they are in feminism or the status of women
  • how to frame questions as passive-aggressive shots
  • the Bechdel test
  • the role of the Catholic church in US healthcare
  • the role of the Catholic church in Ireland
  • goats

That’s not an exhaustive list, just a place to start.


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  1. 1

    No one should just sit for 10 hours on an airplane, no matter where their seat is located.

    DVT — deep vein thrombosis, is a real risk.

    Get up once in a while. Climb over people if you have to. Make them get up, too.

    Personally, my ass can’t take a coach airplane seat for more than 45 minutes at a time before it starts howling at me.

  2. 2
    deepak shetty

    how to endure ten hours on a plane in an inside seat in the inside aisle,
    Walk in the park as compared to -how to endure ten hours on a plane in an inside seat in the inside aisle,with a 15 month old

  3. 3

    I’d love some ideas on what travel snacks to bring with me on my trip to the UK next month. With the puddle-jumper flight, then the layover in the Seattle airport, it’ll be about 16 hours of traveling and I can’t stand buying overpriced airport food.

    Was thinking about homemade granola bars and maybe some cheese wedges to spread on baguettes (the cheese would go in my ziploc baggie). It looks like we’d have to make sure to eat the cheese before we get to the UK, but the granola bars should be okay to bring in.

  4. 4

    If you’re not clearing customs until the end of the flight, fruit or fresh veggies are a good choice. (Ages ago I was taking Amtrak from Montreal to New York, made a point of eating my tangerines in the hour or so before we got to the U.S. border, and had to talk the agriculture agent into letting me keep my ham and cheese sandwich.)

    I suspect I am going to be buying overpriced airport food next month: short hop Seattle-Vancouver, clear customs, then fly to Montreal. So I really need to eat something at Vancouver airport and/or on the plane. (I looked at the Vancouver airport web page, and it didn’t seem terribly promising in terms of food–in Sea-tac I’ll be overcharged but can get a few things worth eating.)

  5. 5

    We have lots of goats on this island (La Palma, in the Canaries). Mostly the milk is used to produce seriously yummy cheese. Lots of varieties of cheese too. There’s the soft, fresh cheese, which you can use instead of mascapone, or the soft, smoked cheese, or the cured cheese, (a little bit like Lancashire), or the cured and smoked (best with beer or wine, IMHO). The goats aren’t factory farmed either. They get to stroll around the mountain side. Which means that I can occasionally buy goat meat – pretty much organic and cruelty free, and better for the planet. It’s tough, but very tasty after a long, slow cook.

    Stupid animals, though.

  6. 6
    Ophelia Benson

    Cheese and bars both good, in my view. Cheese lasts well. One wheeze I managed to think of only the trip before last, is to freeze something so that you can eat it several hours in. That way you can take actual food and it won’t go rancid and gross before you’re ready to eat it. Also I take a couple of emergency pop-top cans of tuna or chicken in case of stranding etc. Treat them like toiletries, in a plastic bag & put in the bin for inspection. That too took me forever to figure out – duh, I don’t have to leave them in the backpack so that the inspectors will have to examine them, I can take them out.

  7. 7
    Ophelia Benson

    Goat cheese. Goat cheese is one of my very favorite things. Any goat cheese, hard or soft.

  8. 8

    Goat tastes vastly, vastly better than mutton. If you’re ever offered a choice between the two, choose goat.

  9. 9
    Eamon Knight

    Are the GOATS ON FIRE?

    Food: nuts, granola bars, maybe peanut M&Ms.

  10. 10

    Even charred goat is better than mutton. Any mutton.

  11. 11
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    Goats can climb trees.

  12. 12

    Posts about goats.

  13. 13
    Ophelia Benson

    Even mutton dressed as lamb?

  14. 14
    Eamon Knight

    Oh: And don’t get sucked into the engines.

  15. 15

    Oh man, GOAT CHEESE. I am seriously in love with goat cheese and no lactose! Will definitely bring that.

  16. 16

    I went climbing this mountain (hill?) in New Zealand once and I saw mountain goats. They are very small and very easly frightened. Then I almost died by falling off the mountain, only to land 3 feet below in a thorn bush. It was very painfull but I was alive. True story.

  17. 17
    Ophelia Benson

    Hahahaha, good tip, Eamon. And good memory.

    I know, about DVT – that’s the main reason I’m so livid about the inside seat. I flail lower extremities around as much as I can while sitting and get up as often as I can stand to bother neighbors, which is usually a maximum of once – but that rule is out the window in these circs. Ima be ruthless.

    Last time, next to the missionaries, I at least did have the aisle on the inside row, and while everyone was asleep I could stand up and do marchings all night. Sigh.

  18. 18
    Ophelia Benson

    16 – urk – people really do die by falling off mountains. Good that you didn’t.

  19. 19

    For some reason, I don’t seem to have done a blog post about the local goats, but for serious caprine fans, there’s some nanny goats at the bottom of this page It’s a shame I’m too busy to write one now.

  20. 20

    Yesterday for lunch I had a quiche with locally made goat cheese, morel mushrooms, fresh sweet peas and spinach. It was delightful.

  21. 21

    And Ophelia, in the unlikely case that you ever get here, I would be delighted to show you around. I might even be able to introduce you to some goats. Or we could visit the local churches. (Very pretty C16th churches, actually.) Or the astronomical observatory. Or both.

  22. 22

    Here’s an Irish song about about a goat: An Poc Ar Buile

  23. 23

    Bring a good book and stay hydrated. The air on a plane is extremely dry, you need to replenish. That will also help jet-lag. No alcohol, and as little caffeine as you can stand.

  24. 24
    Ophelia Benson

    Groan, I know, I know, the dry air is one of the things I hate most. I hate dry climates, let alone airplane air. It’s lovely and damp in Seattle right now.

  25. 25

    I should have mentioned that the bodhrán that Kevin Conneff is playing is very likely made from the remains of a goat.

  26. 26

    Maybe suggest to your entire row that you all get up and stretch at the same time, so nobody has to walk over anyone else?

  27. 27
    Marie-Thérèse O'Loughlin

    Cheers @ evilDoug. I enjoyed ‘An Poc Ar Buile ‘(The Mad Puck Goat ) immensely. Puck Fair = Oldest Fair in Ireland. http://www.puckfair.ie/‎

  28. 28
    PZ Myers

    I’m waiting in O’Hare to catch my flight — I made sure to get an aisle seat for the occasional rise up & stretch.

    About bringing food on the plane…please, please, please avoid the pungent stuff. I once got stuck next to a guy snacking on sardines. Not cool. Not cool at all.

    Anyway, it sounds like Ophelia & I will probably arrive at about the same time. See you in Dublin!

  29. 29

    When you guys get there, you need to rent a giant car, and drive around on the wrong side of the road honking and yelling like Kevin Kline in “A Fish Called Wanda.”

  30. 30
    PZ Myers

    Which of us is Kevin Kline? Wait, don’t answer that, I am NOT stupid.

  31. 31
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    Wait..10 hours in those conditions with *no alcohol*??

  32. 32

    Only for hydration purposes. Your sanity may vary, but your body will thank me. The air is really, really dry. You will exhale a great deal of moisture, so you need to counter that effect. Plus, I’d hate to see O.B. or P.Z. taped to their seat by the other passengers for becoming unruly.

  33. 33
    Ophelia Benson

    I would have made sure to get an aisle seat if I could have, but…I couldn’t.

    Waaaaaaaaaaaaambulance call.

  34. 34
    Ophelia Benson

    Agreed about sardines. I do have some leftover lasagna, but I think it’s not too bad. Maybe a little bad…

  35. 35
    Omar Puhleez

    Then again, if you go aboard with a swag of gorgonzola cheese and sardines, you will probably have the row of seats to yourself in short order. If not the whole plane.

    Worth a try.

  36. 36
    Omar Puhleez

    As this thread seems to be into open forum:

    “The British government has banned two prominent U.S. anti-Islam bloggers who had planned to enter the United Kingdom to speak at a far-right rally, the Home Office said Wednesday.

    “Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, co-founders of Stop Islamization of America, were planning to appear at a march by the far-right English Defence League in Woolwich, the site in southeast London of the hacking death of a British solider in May.”

    Whatever one thinks of the EDL, no government has any business deciding who can hear what in the way of political messages. This deserves full publicity and discussion. In my humble opinion.

  37. 37
  38. 38

    Marie-Thérèse, I’m glad you enjoyed it. Every once in a while I get an opportunity to put in a little plug for some of the singers, song writers and musicians I enjoy. You can find a good-quality recording of that session on the Chieftains album Water from the Well. Another from that album that I really like is Casadh An tSúgáin

    “Gorgonzola”, you say? I can tie that to Ireland, too:

    The slab of cheese was prepared. Separated since morning from the piece, it was only waiting for Belacqua to call and take it. Gorgonzola cheese. He knew a man who came from Gorgonzola, his name was Angelo. He had been born in Nice but all his youth had been spent in Gorgonzola. He knew where to look for it. Every day it was there, in the same corner, waiting to be called for. They were very decent obliging people.

    He looked sceptically at the cut of cheese. He turned it over on its back to see was the other side any better. The other side was worse. They had laid it better side up, they had practised that little deception. Who shall blame them? He rubbed it. It was sweating. That was something. He stooped and smelt it. A faint fragrance of corruption. What good was that? He didn’t want fragrance, he wasn’t a bloody gourmet, he wanted a good stench. What he wanted was a good green stenching rotten lump of Gorgonzola cheese, alive, and by God he would have it.

    He looked fiercely at the grocer.

    “What’s that?” he demanded.

    The grocer writhed.

    “Well?” demanded Belacqua, he was without fear when roused, “is that the best you can do?”

    “In the length and breadth of Dublin” said the grocer “you won’t find a rottener bit this minute.”

    Belacqua was furious. The impudent dogsbody, for two pins he would assault him.

    From Dante and the Lobster by Samuel Beckett

  39. 39

    “the Bechdel test”

    Is that the one where you ask if two female characters ever have an on-screen conversation about anything other than sex/men? Because I was watching the first episode of The Sopranos the other day in memory of James Gandolfini, and it struck me how well it passed that test, even in such a male-heavy fictional world and in its pilot episode where lots of business has to get done. Thinking a bit more, and HBO registers a lot of Bechdels across the board.

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