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TopCommentsRedux

Top Comments recognizes the previous day's Top Mojo and strives to promote each day's outstanding comments through nominations made by Kossacks like you. Please send comments (before 9:30pm ET) by email to topcomments@gmail.com or by our KosMail message board. Just click on the Spinning Top™ to make a submission. Look for the Spinning Top™ to pop up in diaries posts around Daily Kos.

Make sure that you include the direct link to the comment (the URL), which is available by clicking on that comment's date/time. Please let us know your Daily Kos user name if you use email so we can credit you properly. If you send a writeup with the link, we can include that as well. The diarist poster reserves the right to edit all content.

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LGBT Literature is a Readers and Book Lovers series dedicated to discussing books that have made an impact on the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. From fiction to contemporary nonfiction to history and everything in between, any book that touches on LGBT themes is welcome in this series. LGBT Literature posts on the last Sunday of every month at 7:30 PM EST. If you are interested in writing for the series, please send a Kosmail to Chrislove.
Unfortunately, I must begin this diary with an apology. You see, I had grand plans for a diary on a book that I love very much. But due to technological issues beyond my control, my plans went out the window, leaving very little time to write another diary. And this, kids, is why you don't wait until the last minute--although with dissertation writing this month, I had little other choice.

Which brings me to my diarist beg: I am deep in the throes of writing my dissertation, and I have less time than ever. Technological issues aside, I can write LGBT Literature diaries, but the end of the month is a crunch as I finish up chapter drafts, so of course I always appreciate the help. Over the course of this series, we have had an incredibly diverse array of writers cover a variety of different pieces of LGBT literature. I'd love for your voice to be heard here, as well. You don't have to be an academic, a writer, a prolific reader, or even LGBT. You just have to be a person with an interest in a piece of literature covering LGBT themes. As I said when I took over this series, we have a broad conception of LGBT literature here. If you have something in mind, please get in touch with me, even if you're a lurker who has never written a diary. I am more than happy to put you on the schedule and, if necessary, guide you through the steps of writing a diary. We look forward to hearing your voice here at LGBT Literature!

When I rebooted this series, I did promise a substantive diary every month, and an at least somewhat substantive diary you shall get. After I had my diary disaster, I looked around frantically for something I could cover fairly quickly--in other words, not a complex book that was going to take a while to unpack. As is often the case, the answer was literally under my nose and was actually sitting on my coffee table.

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Sat Apr 25, 2015 at 07:00 PM PDT

Top Comments: Carbonara Edition

by Chrislove

TopCommentsRedux

In tonight's installment of Chrislove is fucking exhausted from dissertation writing and has no idea what to write about Dinner with Chrislove, I'm making...drumroll...spaghetti alla carbonara! The BF and I were talking earlier in the week about carbonara, and it gave me a craving that can only be satisfied one way.

Carbonara, of course, is a Roman dish that is said to have gotten its name from the copious amounts of black pepper that resemble flakes of coal (it is said to have originated as a dish consumed by coal workers). There are competing theories as to the origin of the dish, however. Wherever it came from, it's one of my favorites--easy enough and rich enough to be a perfect end to a very long week.

Now, last year for Kitchen Table Kibitzing, I wrote about a vegetarian riff on a standard carbonara using zucchini and fresh herbs. That's a great weeknight dish because of its relative lightness compared to the "real" thing, but sometimes I want the classic. Not that this is necessarily a super traditional version, as you'll see, but it's close enough for my tastes. Follow me below the fold...

But First, A Word From Our Sponsor:

Top Comments recognizes the previous day's Top Mojo and strives to promote each day's outstanding comments through nominations made by Kossacks like you. Please send comments (before 9:30pm ET) by email to topcomments@gmail.com or by our KosMail message board. Just click on the Spinning Top™ to make a submission. Look for the Spinning Top™ to pop up in diaries posts around Daily Kos.

Make sure that you include the direct link to the comment (the URL), which is available by clicking on that comment's date/time. Please let us know your Daily Kos user name if you use email so we can credit you properly. If you send a writeup with the link, we can include that as well. The diarist poster reserves the right to edit all content.

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After a long week, I am fresh out of diary inspiration. As always, cat videos come to the rescue.

Have you ever wondered what your cat does at night while you sleep? When I first brought Zoe home, I worried about this, so I kept her in my room while I slept. Over time, I came to trust that she wasn't going to do anything too devious or malicious, so she is now allowed to roam free. This video makes me question that trust, however. It's 3 AM...do you know what your cat is up to?

Just imagine the carnage when they finally grow thumbs.

Check out more incredible cat videos at the Super Epic Cats YouTube channel. These videos are way underrated and under-appreciated considering the work that has clearly been put into them.

What do you want to kibitz about tonight?

Kitchen Table Kibitzing is a community series for those who wish to share part of the evening around a virtual kitchen table with kossacks who are caring and supportive of one another. So bring your stories, jokes, photos, funny pics, music, and interesting videos, as well as links—that you think this community would appreciate. Readers may notice that most who post diaries and comments in this series already know one another to some degree, but newcomers should not feel excluded. We welcome guests at our kitchen table, and hope to make some new friends as well.
Recommend current diaries and share on social media for impactful viewership and activism. Your support of Kitchen Table Kibitzing friends is appreciated.

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I'm sure most of us are familiar with Humans of New York (HONY), the stunning collection of photographs, quotes, and short stories featuring the diverse inhabitants of New York City. In case you aren't, a little about HONY:
My name is Brandon and I began Humans of New York in the summer of 2010. I thought it would be really cool to create an exhaustive catalogue of New York City’s inhabitants, so I set out to photograph 10,000 New Yorkers and plot their photos on a map. I worked for several months with this goal in mind, but somewhere along the way, HONY began to take on a much different character. I started collecting quotes and short stories from the people I met, and began including these snippets alongside the photographs. Taken together, these portraits and captions became the subject of a vibrant blog. With over eight million followers on social media, HONY now provides a worldwide audience with daily glimpses into the lives of strangers in New York City. It has also become a #1 NYT bestselling book.. It’s been quite a ride so far. Feel free to follow along.
I often see HONY posts shared on my Facebook feed. It's interesting and sometimes inspiring, reading what everyday New Yorkers have to say about their lives and a variety of topics.
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TopCommentsRedux

So I had about a pound of boneless, skinless chicken thighs sitting in my fridge, the clock ticking on their freshness, and no idea what to do with them. Then it hit me. I said, "Hey...I can take what should be fairly healthy meat, turn it into a thick-ass gravy, and ladle it over a heavily buttered baked potato!" Positive, healthy choices. I'm full of them. And, as it just so happens, I'm out of diary topics, so you get creamed chicken tonight. Well, you don't actually get it...there's only enough for me. Sorry. Not sorry.

This is a Love family classic. Creamed chicken, poured over biscuits, was one of my favorite Sunday dinners growing up. To this day, it remains my mom's favorite dish, and I always made it for her birthday. Now, this version isn't exactly like my mom's. Hers always starts with a boiled whole chicken, which is then de-skinned and shredded for the gravy. I'm no fan of boiling chicken, even though for something like creamed chicken, it certainly works. In fact, most creamed chicken recipes I've seen call for pre-cooked chicken. I don't know, I just like to cook the chicken in the same pan in which I make the gravy. Browning the chicken in the pan just adds more flavor, I think. I also load mine with thyme, because thyme. Other than that, it is pretty similar in flavor and consistency to my mom's, and it still takes me back to that warm, happy place that was Sunday dinner (which was understandably always followed by napping). Follow me below the ingredients for the recipe, which seriously couldn't be much easier... (Sometimes it really is the simple things...)

But First, A Word From Our Sponsor:
Top Comments recognizes the previous day's Top Mojo and strives to promote each day's outstanding comments through nominations made by Kossacks like you. Please send comments (before 9:30pm ET) by email to topcomments@gmail.com or by our KosMail message board. Just click on the Spinning Top™ to make a submission. Look for the Spinning Top™ to pop up in diaries posts around Daily Kos.

Make sure that you include the direct link to the comment (the URL), which is available by clicking on that comment's date/time. Please let us know your Daily Kos user name if you use email so we can credit you properly. If you send a writeup with the link, we can include that as well. The diarist poster reserves the right to edit all content.

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High expectation...disappointing and/or catastrophic reality. You know the feeling. For example, you go out to eat, see something incredible looking on the menu, and...
Last week, I wrote a Top Comments diary showcasing shitty food porn. Because nothing makes you feel better about yourself quite like laughing at somebody's culinary misfortune. In the comments, raina mentioned that she likes looking at failed recipes on Pinterest that don't quite turn out like they're pictured. That reminded me of a whole different brand of disappointment porn I love: expectations vs. reality. And yes, as is the case with just about anything, Reddit has a subreddit devoted entirely to it, which is where I'm getting the material for this diary. Some of it is gold...in a bronze kind of way.
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TopCommentsRedux

As you may know, Daily Kos will be going down for about 15 hours starting at 9:00 PM EST, or one hour before Top Comments usually posts. Since we'd hate to go even one night without bringing you the day's toppest top comments, we're posting two hours early! Unfortunately, because we're going up early, I was not able to finish the diary I had planned for tonight. So consider this an open thread (not that every night isn't an open thread).

We have an hour to go before doomsday the outage. I've spent so many Friday evenings here, hosting Top Comments, that I don't know what I'll do. Netflix, I guess? Go to bed early? I just don't know. The first world problems are knee-deep tonight. How will you be handling this catastrophic situation? Maybe consider following one of the ideas in this video (I know Daily Kos isn't the Internet, but close enough):

Stay safe, folks. See you in...16 hours.

Now, on to the tops...

But First, A Word From Our Sponsor:

Top Comments recognizes the previous day's Top Mojo and strives to promote each day's outstanding comments through nominations made by Kossacks like you. Please send comments (before 9:30pm ET) by email to topcomments@gmail.com or by our KosMail message board. Just click on the Spinning Top™ to make a submission. Look for the Spinning Top™ to pop up in diaries posts around Daily Kos.

Make sure that you include the direct link to the comment (the URL), which is available by clicking on that comment's date/time. Please let us know your Daily Kos user name if you use email so we can credit you properly. If you send a writeup with the link, we can include that as well. The diarist poster reserves the right to edit all content.

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TopCommentsRedux

Well, I'm going to warn you now, tonight is one of those nights where the Top Comments muse is not speaking to me. Total silence. In fact, I'm worried about her. Somebody should go check on her, actually.

Food is often something I often turn to when the muse isn't...musing? Tonight is no exception. I'm turning tonight to the subject of food porn. Who doesn't love a little food porn?

There's food porn, like above, that makes one salivate and admire the cook, as is the point. Then there's shitty food porn. This captures the food that undoubtedly started out well intentioned, perhaps even with grand food porn aspirations, only to miss the mark completely. You can almost smell the tears and disappointment through your computer screen.
Really, shitty food porn is an art form in and of itself. There's almost something weirdly inspiring about it. Okay, not really. But it's good for a laugh at least. And I think we can all identify with some of these failed attempts at culinary masterpieces.

I subscribe to Reddit's r/shittyfoodporn, which is where I'm getting the material for this diary. Follow me below the spilled sauce for a depressing journey through some of the most delightfully shitty food porn I could find...

But First, A Word From Our Sponsor:

Top Comments recognizes the previous day's Top Mojo and strives to promote each day's outstanding comments through nominations made by Kossacks like you. Please send comments (before 9:30pm ET) by email to topcomments@gmail.com or by our KosMail message board. Just click on the Spinning Top™ to make a submission. Look for the Spinning Top™ to pop up in diaries posts around Daily Kos.

Make sure that you include the direct link to the comment (the URL), which is available by clicking on that comment's date/time. Please let us know your Daily Kos user name if you use email so we can credit you properly. If you send a writeup with the link, we can include that as well. The diarist poster reserves the right to edit all content.

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Houston Area Kossacks banner
The Houston Area Kossacks would like to announce a meet-up scheduled for Saturday, April 11. We normally meet on the last Saturday of the month, but we thought this deserved a special meet-up.

You probably know Kossack Smoh. She will be visiting Houston that weekend and would love to meet some local Kossacks. Since she will be in southwest Houston, we thought the best location would be Fadi's Mediterranean Grill in Meyerland. We've held a few meet-ups at this location, and they are always very accommodating and friendly to area Democrats. Not to mention, the food is amazing.

Would you like to meet Smoh? We'd love to have you--let's give her a big Houston Area Kossacks welcome! Here is the meet-up info:

Date: Saturday, April 11
Time: 5:00 PM
Location: Fadi's Mediterranean Grill (Meyerland Plaza), 4738 Beechnut Street
We hope you can come enjoy some delicious Mediterranean food with Smoh and the rest of us.

Here is our current RSVP list:

Smoh
Chrislove
cosette

Maybees:
nomandates
Deja
Mr. cosette

Guests are welcome, but please let me know in your RSVP how many are coming. Please RSVP by no later than Thursday, April 9. You can RSVP either by commenting in this diary or by sending me a Kosmail.

Also, if you're from the Houston area and haven't joined the Houston Area Kossacks group, feel free to send me a Kosmail to request to join. We do all of our communication via e-mail, however, so please also include an e-mail address so we can keep you in the loop!

We hope to see you at Fadi's!

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LGBT Literature is a Readers and Book Lovers series dedicated to discussing books that have made an impact on the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. From fiction to contemporary nonfiction to history and everything in between, any book that touches on LGBT themes is welcome in this series. LGBT Literature posts on the last Sunday of every month at 7:30 PM EST. If you are interested in writing for the series, please send a Kosmail to Chrislove.
It comes as no surprise that LGBT people in rural areas--particularly the rural American South--face a peculiar set of challenges. When one thinks of LGBT communities, an urban environment might immediately come to mind: San Francisco's The Castro, Los Angeles County's West Hollywood, Houston's Montrose, Philadelphia's Gayborhood. Historically, the rural land surrounding these urban enclaves has often been seen as a kind of hinterlands, or a very large closet from which LGBT people escape into the city. This is not necessarily completely wrong. Even today, the rural South is especially seen, and not without justification, as an environment of extreme hostility for those who step outside sexual and gender norms. The 2006 documentary Small Town Gay Bar captures this very well as it documents the struggle of gays and lesbians in the rural Deep South to maintain community in the face of such deep, widespread homophobia.

Up until not too terribly long ago, the relatively young field of LGBT history all but neglected two separate, but overlapping, groups of LGBT people: rural dwellers and southerners. I wrote a diary for this series almost a year ago about the book of essays Carryin' On in the Lesbian and Gay South (1997), which really got the ball rolling on uncovering southern (including rural southern) queer history. Not coincidentally, the editor of the book (historian John Howard) is also the author of the book I'm discussing this evening. An excerpt from what I wrote on Carryin' On:

Prior to Carryin' On, historians largely ignored queer southerners. There was certainly no dearth of books on southern history, which some might consider a "queer history" even without the presence of LGBT people, but as Howard notes in the introduction:
Some Southerners and Southern historians may take pride in eccentricity and difference here in "the perverse section," as C. Vann Woodward called the South. But we queers are just a tad too perverse.
Not to mention, as will be made clear in the first article from the volume I highlight below, some southern archivists have very actively sought to scrub queerness from the historical record.

The field of LGBT history, which by 1997 had been in existence for about 20 years, did an equally poor job at including LGBT southerners in the narrative, although perhaps we can chalk that up to historians in a young field necessarily focusing on the obvious urban queer meccas. What had resulted by the 1990s was an LGBT history that had what Howard calls a "bicoastal bias," with historians focusing on gay communities in New York or San Francisco. To some extent, that bias persists today, but we have come a long way. The urban, coastal focus of LGBT history had left entire swaths of rural-dwelling queer people out of the historical record. Howard makes an even more poignant point about the limits of LGBT historiography in 1997:

The history of (homo)sexuality, as currently framed, is less about sex or desire than it is about identity, community, and politics. Southerners, rural people especially, don't fit. Industrialization and urbanization don't figure prominently enough in their lives. Many never move to the city and "come out" in the traditional sense. But to say that individuals don't become a part of an urban culture, don't self-identify as lesbian or gay, doesn't preclude the experience of same-sex desire. Nor does it preclude acting on that desire.
In the introduction to Carryin' On, Howard ties together extraordinarily diverse southern queer experiences by outlining what he calls "the three r's": race, religion, and rurality.
The South holds no monopoly on racism. However, legally sanctioned racism (including the Indian Removal Acts of the 1830s), statutory segregation, and their legacy distinguish the South from other parts of the nation over much of its history.

[...]

Racial categories inform and structure homosexual interactions in profound ways.

[...]

In teasing out the legal, medical, and religious discourses shaping the lives of lesbians and gays, Christianity--particularly Protestant evangelicalism--proves vital in the South.

[...]

Any person, all alone, can experience same-sex desire. Acting on that desire requires the meeting of two of more people, the traversing of distances, great or small.

This analysis excellently foreshadows Howard's next book, Men Like That: A Southern Queer History (1999). Men Like That is one of my favorite books on LGBT history. It unfolds in a very unorthodox way as it moves between long excerpts from oral histories and analysis, and it is not necessarily an easy read because of the theory interwoven throughout the text. This led one scholarly reviewer to call the book "irritating." But at the same time (in this reviewer's opinion), Howard does a masterful job at unearthing queer southern voices that would have otherwise been lost to history. As a historian whose work focuses to a large extent on southern (and often rural southern) LGBT people, I am in debt to Men Like That. I think you'll like it, too. Follow me below the fold for more on the book.
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