11/11/2011 archive

What’s Cooking: Stuffing the Turkey Or Not

Don’t stuff the turkey, stuff a pumpkin. Most chefs, and one of my personal favorites for cooking turkeys, Alton Brown, do not recommend stuffing the turkey for numerous reasons, the main one is salmonella:

   When it comes to turkey, Stuffing Is Evil. That’s because stuffing goes into the middle of the bird and is extremely porous. That means that as the turkey around it cooks, juices that may contain salmonella bacteria soak into the stuffing, which then must be cooked to a minimum of 165°F in order to be safe. Getting the stuffing to this temperature usually means overcooking the turkey.

   The way I see it, cooking stuffing inside a turkey turns the turkey into a rather costly seal-a-meal bag. If you’re a stuffing fan, I suggest cooking it separately (in which case it’s “dressing,” not stuffing) and inserting it into the bird while it rests. Odds are no one will notice the difference.

And really, you can’t tell the difference in the flavor of either the turkey or the stuffing. Stuffing can be put in a pan or decorative baking dish to bake but I came across a decorative idea from the New York Times Dining & Wine section: Roasted Stuffed Pumpkin. The dish is vegetarian friendly and gluten free. It can also be baked in smaller pumpkins or squash to make individual servings, just adjust the baking time.


   1 6 1/2- to 7-pound sugar pumpkin, or other pumpkin suitable for eating

   1 tablespoon vegetable oil

   1 onion, finely chopped

   3 cloves garlic, 2 minced, 1 halved

   1 cup dried cranberries

   1 teaspoon ground ginger

   1 teaspoon allspice

   1/4 teaspoon saffron threads

   Finely grated zest of half an orange

   2 cups basmati rice

   4 cups vegetable stock



1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Fill a kettle with water, and bring to a boil. About an inch below the top of the pumpkin’s ”shoulders,” about where it would be cut to carve a jack-o’-lantern, slice a lid from top of pumpkin, and set it aside. Remove seeds and fibrous flesh from inside.

2. In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, heat the oil, and sauté the onion until it is softened. Add 2 minced garlic cloves, and sauté for 30 seconds. Stir in the cranberries, ginger, allspice, saffron and orange zest. Add the rice, and stir until it is glossy. Pour in stock, and bring to a boil. Cover, and reduce heat as low as possible. Cook for 15 minutes. Meanwhile rub the inside of pumpkin with cut garlic clove, and rub with some salt to taste.

3. When rice has cooked for 15 minutes, it will be damp and not very fluffy. Adjust seasoning to taste, and spoon into pumpkin cavity. Press lid firmly on top. It may sit above stuffing a bit like a jaunty cork. Wrap bottom two to three inches of pumpkin in a double layer of foil to protect it from contact with water during baking. Place in a roasting pan, and add about 1 inch of boiling water to pan.

4. Bake the pumpkin until it is tender when pierced with a knife, about 1 1/2 hours. (If there is resistance when pumpkin is pierced, allow more baking time.) To serve, remove pumpkin from pan, and allow it to rest for about 10 minutes. Discard foil, and place pumpkin on a serving platter. Slice into segments like a cake. Place a wedge of pumpkin on each serving plate, and mound with rice stuffing.

YIELD: 8 to 10 servings

Lay Off Santa!

We did it?

There are a couple of reasons why I’m not just posting Dora The Explorer singing ‘We Did It’ and only one of them is that there are no good YouTubes.

Politico: Obama to delay Koch Bros-Keystone pipeline until after 2012 election

By Gaius Publius, Americablog

11/10/2011 01:55:00 PM

A cynic could read that phrase “avoid ecologically sensitive areas” as “avoid politically resistant areas” – but that’s not us. We live in Hope (and politely ask for Change).

Two notes: (1) Obama thinks this delay is an argument for voting for him in 2012. (2) That assumes he won’t hand you your hat the minute he never has to face another voter – for the whole of the rest of his life.

So a question for you: Is Obama’s decision to delay a Tar-Sands decision a reason to support him in 2012, or just the opposite?

Obama Punts Keystone Pipeline Decision Until After 2012 Election

By: Jon Walker, Firedog Lake

Thursday November 10, 2011 12:47 pm

The fact that the Obama administration is at least delaying the decision is a partial victory for environmentalists and grassroots activism. The delay proves massive protests and civil disobedience can have an impact on those in power. Getting a President to even delay plans to approve a huge project proposed by big oil is a monumental feat.

Given the concerns about potential health and safety risks to the Agallala aquifer over which the current route would pass, there are compelling, legitimate reasons to consider alternative routes.  Unfortunately, this move may only punt a decision to approve the pipeline until after the election.  It strongly feels like an act of pure political cynicism from President Obama, instead of a sincere response to the concerns of regular Americans.

Once Obama gets young environmentalists to vote for him in 2012, and he no longer needs to worry about facing the voters again, I suspect he plans to quickly approve the pipeline with a slightly different route, ignoring all other environmental concerns.

U.S. Delays Decision on Pipeline Until After Election

By JOHN M. BRODER and DAN FROSCH, The New York Times

Published: November 10, 2011

While environmental groups welcomed their temporary victory on the pipeline project, some expressed skepticism about the president’s motives. Glenn Hurowitz, an environmental activist and senior fellow at the Center for International Policy, said the delay could leave the final decision in the hands of Mr. Obama’s Republican successor.

“This decision just puts off a green light for the tar sands by a year,” Mr. Hurowitz said in an e-mailed statement. “That’s why I’m a little dismayed at suggestions that this kick-the-can decision means environmentalists will enthusiastically back President Obama in 2012. Is the price of an environmentalist’s vote a year’s delay on environmental catastrophe? Excuse me, no.”

I personally put more faith in the fundamental economic unfeasibility of the project.

Keystone XL: Pipe Dreams

By Paul Tullis, BusinessWeek

November 10, 2011, 5:15 PM EST

TransCanada has already blown through more than a billion dollars on the XL without laying an inch of pipe inside the U.S., buying up rights-of-way and stockpiling steel along the U.S. portion of the route in anticipation of receiving a permit.

Even if TransCanada gets its go-ahead, however, building the pipeline is a significant risk, not only for TransCanada, but also for Suncor Energy (SU), Total (TOT), Shell, and the rest of the companies involved in the mining and drilling and upgrading of Alberta’s oil. The price to produce a barrel of oil from the sands could soar if producers are forced to assume some currently external costs, such as the huge carbon emissions produced by extracting bitumen, the thick, sour form of crude found in Alberta tar sands. It’s a cost already being addressed in multiple markets, such as California and Europe. There is mounting evidence of negative health effects on local populations exposed to mercury, arsenic, and other toxins used in oil-sands extraction-a huge potential liability. Producers will also need to address new cleanup measures. One plausible scenario: The pipeline gets built, but oil sands production remains prohibitively expensive.

(O)il sands production is expensive, which is why few outside Canada had heard of it until oil went (and stayed) above $60 or so a barrel in the middle of the last decade, and profitable production began to look possible. There isn’t nearly enough demand within Canada, however, to use up the 3.2 million barrels a day the industry hopes to be producing in Alberta by 2019. Hence the need for a pipeline. “The oil sands market will not grow if it can’t access new markets,” says Jackie Forrest of Colorado-based energy research firm IHS-CERA (IHS).

Alberta’s oil is relatively expensive to produce because tar sands are hard to get out of the ground, and once unearthed, the bitumen is hard to separate from the rest of the muck. Two metric tons of tar sands yield just one barrel of oil that’s of a grade most refineries can handle. Unlike other forms of oil, bitumen also requires “upgrading” before it can be transported. “It’s too thick to meet pipeline specs,” says Forrest. This pre-refining process costs money and energy. It dilutes the bitumen with natural gas condensate, which usually contains the carcinogen benzene. Despite the upgrading, bitumen remains a challenge to refine; it’s better suited for road asphalt than transport fuel.

It’s no secret that bitumen requires a robust price-per-barrel to be profitable, but what’s more recently become apparent is that oil-not just tar sands oil-also has a price ceiling. “Oil reaches a point where the global economy can’t sustain its price,” says Cogan. In other words, people will pay only so much for a gallon of gas: The number of miles driven in the U.S. fell for the first time in 2008, when oil peaked at $147 a barrel. According to Daniel Yergin, the Pulitzer prize-winning author of The Prize and The Quest, and chairman of IHS-CERA, that ceiling is somewhere between $120 and $150. At that point consumers behave more efficiently, regulators and legislators change policy, innovators innovate, and alternatives to petroleum, such as biofuels and electric cars, become competitive on price-all of which destroy demand for oil, including bitumen. To some extent, investors in oil sands development seem to have noticed this ceiling. After three straight years during which inflows averaged $16.6 billion, investment fell to $13.5 billion in 2009, a drop of nearly 35 percent from 2008, when oil prices peaked near the top of Yergin’s ceiling.

Much of tar sands oil is extracted by mining: basically, digging it up with enormous machinery. The problem is that a great deal of what can be extracted by mining already has been: Only 20 percent of Alberta’s oil sands is close enough to the surface to be mined. According to a 2009 report by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, mining production will be flattening relative to other more expensive methods beginning as soon as next year.

These other methods are known collectively as in situ extraction, and largely involve heating deposits deep underground and sucking them up. (In situ is Latin for “in place.”) According to analysts at Deutsche Bank (DB) and Goldman Sachs (GS), in situ extraction raises the price of tar sands production by anywhere from $5 a barrel to as much as $35 a barrel, depending on the method used. In situ extraction has a much greater footprint on the boreal forest than mining. Already a Florida-size portion of the breeding habitat of 30 percent of the songbirds in the U.S. has been lost to oil sands development.

In situ extraction requires natural gas to heat water into steam; every gallon of oil produced needs up to four gallons of water, most of it coming from a river that has usage restrictions for much of the year. The steam is then injected underground, warming the oil sand until it liquefies sufficiently to flow into the well. Some of the water is used again, drawn from a toxic mixture that must be isolated.

All of this puts tremendous pressure on the economic viability of oil sands, especially if producers must bear all costs related to water scarcity, potential health problems, cleanup, and carbon emissions-almost none of which have been borne by producers up to this point. Treating spent water could add another 5 percent to extractors’ costs, according to a 2010 report co-authored by Cogan arguing that oil sands production might not be economic. When producers finish with the water, it ends up in “tailings ponds” along with the sand that’s been separated from the oil-reservoirs of petroleum-based sludge. “After 40 years of production, there’s 170 square kilometers of tailings ponds in northern Alberta-an area the size of Washington, D.C.,” says Nathan Lemphers, senior policy analyst at the Calgary-based Pembina Institute, a Canadian ecological think tank. Producers are supposed to clean them up, but according to a 2009 Pembina report, not a single one has so far been certified as “reclaimed” to government standards. Lemphers says that Suncor has made significant progress at one site known as Pond 1, but “it’s not an end point.”

“Tailings management has not been successful for economic, rather than technical reasons,” says Cogan. In other words, it can be done but no one’s been willing to put up the money. “In an industry that’s on the margins of profitability,” Lemphers adds, “it’s pretty risky to go out on a limb and implement new technology or a new operating strategy if not required to do so by regulation.” Pressure is growing on the industry. A tailings-management rule known as Directive 74 requires costly management of tailings ponds (though enforcement has been lax and only Suncor is currently in compliance, according to the Simon Dyer, policy directory at Pembina), and a new regional planning initiative may ask producers to undertake more-and more costly-tailings management. Cogan’s group at MSCI estimates that cleanup of toxic waste will soon add $1 to $4 per barrel to production costs. He has also looked at a number of the big oil sands players and concluded that heavier cleanup costs could substantially reduce profits.

As Phoenix Woman puts it-

Late Night FDL: Keystone XL – Because Everything Is Connected

By: Phoenix Woman, Firedog Lake

Thursday November 10, 2011 8:00 pm

TransCanada wants the Keystone XL pipeline so it can a) more readily reach ports capable of hosting supertankers and b) drive up (that’s right, drive up) the price of fuel in the Midwest. Here’s how it works:

The real reasons a pipeline is “needed” are not because TransCanada wants to put that oil in our cars or give us jobs, but because they want to get to a port to ship it overseas, and the British Columbia ports are too shoaled up to accommodate oil supertankers; the biggest boats they can handle are less than a thousand feet in length, and supertankers are typically well over 1,100 feet. (By the way, the unsuitability of the BC ports renders the “we’ll just sell it to China if you don’t buy it” argument ridiculous; without the BC ports, there’s no cost-effective way to get it to China, or any other country not named the U.S. of A.) As for the effect on US gas prices, check this out (courtesy of Bernie Sanders and The Guardian, which published what no major US paper likely ever would).

The pipeline is the only way the frozen tar sands muck – which must be specially and expensively treated for it to even be able to flow in a pipe in the first place – can be made profitable for TransCanada.

Emphasis mine.  Well, except the ‘up’ which is in the original.

If you don’t like Phoenix Woman’s references you can check out this yellow bordered News Corp publication called The National Geographic for Harper and TransCanada’s plan B.

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

John Nichols: Occupying the Home Front: Veterans Deploy With the 99%

This Veterans Day has a certain numerical resonance. World War I ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. Today, we recall the end of that horrific conflict, and those that have followed it, on the 11th day of the 11th month of the 11th year of a new century.

Unfortunately, World War I was not the “war to end all wars.” American soldiers continue to be thrust into unnecessary conflicts, fighting and dying in recent years in the undeclared wars of Iraq and Afghanistan.

The United States has not learned much about avoiding unwarranted wars.

And if has not learned much about respecting the veterans of wars.

Just as in the aftermath of World War I veterans were abused when they made reasonable demands for economic justice at home, so veterans are today abused when they make the same sort of demands.

After World War I, veterans seeking bonuses they had been promised were shot in the streets of Washington.

This fall, veterans were who survived the fighting in Iraq were wounded on the streets of Oakland, as they joined protests inspired by the “Occupy Wall Street” movement.

Paul Krugman: Paul Krugman to Paul Ryan: “The Truth Hurts”

During a recent speech, Paul Ryan, the Republican chairman of the House Budget Committee, expressed outrage over what President Obama has been saying lately.

“Just last week, the president told a crowd in North Carolina that Republicans are in favor of, quote, ‘dirtier air, dirtier water and less people with health insurance,’ ” Mr. Ryan said at a gathering at The Heritage Foundation on Oct. 26. “Can you think of a pettier way to describe sincere disagreements between the two parties on regulation and health care?”

Just for the record: Why is this petty? Why is it anything but a literal description of Republican proposals to weaken environmental regulation and repeal the Affordable Care Act?

Ari Berman: Karl Rove vs. Elizabeth Warren

The Karl Rove-backed super PAC, Crossroads GPS, has made the first major ad buy in the Massachusetts Senate contest between Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren, attacking Warren for her support of Occupy Wall Street.

It’s no surprise that Rove and his ilk are attacking Warren. She’s a major threat to the Republican Party and its allied corporate backers for two reasons.

Number one: she’s running even with Brown in a race that may very decide control of the Senate.

Number two: her reformist background and brand of progressive populism is deeply resonant right now. Unlike so many in Washington, she’s taken on the banks and their allies, is not beholden to them, and is not afraid of them. That makes her dangerous to the political establishment in both parties. No wonder Tim Geithner didn’t want her running the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Karl Rove doesn’t want her in the Senate.

E. J. Dionne, Jr.: The Right Wing’s 2011 Shellacking

This week’s elections around the country were brought to you by the word “overreach,” specifically conservative overreach. Given an opportunity in 2010 to build a long-term majority, Republicans instead pursued extreme and partisan measures. On Tuesday, they reaped angry voter rebellions.

The most important was in Ohio, where voters overwhelmingly defeated Gov. John Kasich’s bill to strip public employee unions of essential bargaining rights. A year ago, who would have predicted that standing up for the interests of government workers would galvanize and mobilize voters on this scale? Anti-labor conservatives have brought class politics back to life, a major threat to a GOP that has long depended on the ballots of white working-class voters and offered them nothing in return.

Dave Zirin; Penn State and Berkeley: A Tale of Two Protests

Last night, two proud universities saw student demonstrations that spiraled into violence. On the campus of Penn State University in State College Pennsylvania, several hundred students rioted in anger after the firing of legendary 84-year-old head football coach Joe Paterno. At the University of California at Berkeley, 1,000 students, part of the Occupy USA movement, attempted to maintain their protest encampment in the face of police orders to clear them out.

At Penn State, students overturned a media truck, hit an ESPN reporter in the head with a rock and made every effort at arson, attempting to set aflame the very heart of their campus. They raised their fists in defense of a man fired for allegedly covering up the actions of a revered assistant who doubled as a serial child rapist. The almost entirely male student mob was given the space by police to seethe and destroy without restraint.

At Berkeley, the police had a much different response. Defenseless students were struck repeatedly with batons, as efforts were made to disperse their occupation by Sproul Hall, the site of the famed Mario Savio-led free speech battles of the 1960s.

Two coasts and two riots: a frat riot and a cop riot. Each riot, an indelible mark of shame on their respective institutions.

Timothy Egan: Ascent of a Woman

SEATTLE – Crawling along a ledge leading to the 13,775-foot summit of Grand Teton two months ago, Senator Maria Cantwell, Democrat of Washington, paused for an instant at the crux of the climb. The gap between her and the next solid footing was nearly half a vertical mile of thin Rocky Mountain air.

“The guide said there was no room for mistakes,” said Cantwell. “So I just never looked down.”

Having mastered a technical and demanding route up the central spire of the Teton range, Cantwell is back at sea level taking on a more elusive target – Wall Street. She has been after the lords of big finance for almost a decade, and is furious now that reforms intended to rein in the kind of car-bomb speculation that brought down the global economy have been seriously diluted. Wall Street has not changed its ways.

Occupy Wall St. Livestream: Day 56

Watch live streaming video from globalrevolution at livestream.com


The resistance continues at Liberty Square, with free pizza 😉

“I don’t know how to fix this but I know it’s wrong.” ~ Unknown Author

Occupy Wall Street NYC now has a web site for its General Assembly  with up dates and information. Very informative and user friendly. It has information about events, a bulletin board, groups and minutes of the GA meetings.

NYC General Assembly #OccupyWallStreet

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann’s campaign for the Republican presidential nomination aboard the USS Yorktown in Charleston, SC was interrupted by an OWS mike check. Ms Bachmann looked confused and was escorted off the stage by a police officer and staffer. When she returned to the stage she quipped “Don’t you love the First Amendment?” Yes. we do, Michelle, and it would have been “presidential” moment, if you had told your supporters to let them speak instead of being shouted down and you walking away instead of listening and responding to their message.

Man Outed As Undercover Cop At Occupy Oakland Condemns Police Brutality, Supports The Movement

Across the country, police have used undercover and/or plainsclothed police officers to monitor occupations and protests that are a part of the 99 Percent Movement. [..]

Shavies thinks his fellow police officers are over-using heavy-handed tactics.

Across the country, police have used undercover and/or plainsclothed police officers to monitor occupations and protests that are a part of the 99 Percent Movement. Earlier today, the Tennessean published excerpts from emails sent by the Tennessee Highway Patrol that confirmed not only that police were infiltrating Occupy Nashville but that they were hoping for the movement’s demise.

In a video released last month, Oakland Police Officer Fred Shavies was outed as one of these plainsclothed officers at Occupy Oakland. Watch it.

Now, in an interview with Justin Warren, Shavies said that he was just doing his job and that he actually supports the movement. He said that the police brutality that occurred could be our generation’s Birmingham – referring to the civil rights struggle in the South – and that he hopes the movement is a turning point for changing the country:

   SHAVIES: I’m a police officer. I’m part of the 99 percent. […] In the ’60s when people would protest, would gather in order to bring about change, right? Those protests were nonviolent they were peaceful assemblies. They were broken up with dogs, hoses, sticks. […] It looks like there was a square, and police shot tear gas. That could be the photograph or the video for our generation. That’s our Birmingham. So, twenty years from now this movement could be the turning point, the tipping point, right. It’s about time your generation stood up for something. It’s about time young people are in the streets. […] Ya’ll don’t need to throw gas canisters into a group of people occupying an intersection.

On this Day In History November 11

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

November 11 is the 315th day of the year (316th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 50 days remaining until the end of the year.

World War I is commemorated on this day, commonly known as Remembrance Day. The ceasefire went into effect at 11:00am CET in 1918, the date of which (and sometimes the commemoration of) is known as Armistice Day. Veterans Day is an annual United States holiday honoring military veterans.

On this day in 1918, the armistice between the Allies and Germany was signed in a railway carriage in Compiegne Forest.

Clairière de l’Armistice

In November 1918 the Engineer in charge of the North Region Railways: Arthur-Pierre Toubeau, was instructed to find a suitably discreet place which would accommodate two trains. By coincidence on the outskirts of Compiègne in the forest of Rethondes lay an artillery railway emplacement. Set deep within the wood and out of the view of the masses the location was ideal.

Early in the morning of the 8th November a train carrying Maréchal Ferdinand Foch, his staff and British officers arrived on the siding to the right, nearest the museum. The train formed a mobile headquarters for Foch, complete with a restaurant car and office.

At 0700 hours another train arrived on the left hand track. One of the carriages had been built for Napoleon III and still bore his coat of arms. Inside was a delegation from the German government seeking an armistice.

There were only a hundred metres between the two trains and the entire area was policed by gendarmes placed every 20 metres.

For three days the two parties discussed the terms of an armistice until at 0530 hours on the 11th November 1918, Matthias Erzberger the leader of the German delegation signed the Armistice document.

Within 6 hours the war would be over.

Initially the carriage (Wagon Lits Company car No. 2419D) used by Maréchal Foch was returned to its former duty as a restaurant car but was eventually placed in the courtyard of the Invalides in Paris.

An American: Arthur Fleming paid for its restoration, and the wagon was brought back to Rethondes on 8th April 1927 and placed in a purpose built shelter (Since destroyed).

Numerous artifacts were obtained from those who had been involved in 1918 and the car was refurbished to its condition at the time of the Armistice.

At the entrance to the avenue leading down to the memorial site is a monument raised by a public subscription organised by the newspaper Le Matin.

The monument is dedicated to Alsace Lorraine and consists of a bronze sculpture of a sword striking down the Imperial Eagle of Germany it is framed by sandstone from Alsace.

The Clairière was inaugurated on 11th November 1922 by President Millerand.

29 Bells

Edmund Fitzgerald sank 36 years ago, 29 died

It’s been 36 years on Thursday since the ore boat Edmund Fitzgerald sank in a violent storm in eastern Lake Superior taking all 29 crew members with her.

The storm of November 9-10, 1975, ranks among the most powerful to strike the Lake Superior region. Various shoreline reporting stations recorded sustained winds of more than 60 mph, with gusts reaching 85 mph. Conditions on the afternoon of Nov. 9 were peaceful and the lake surface was glassy as the Fitzgerald finished loading taconite pellets at the Burlington Northern docks in Superior, Wis.

Forecasters were predicting a quick change as a storm system approached from the west. Captain Ernest McSorley chose a northeasterly course as he headed the ship to the US Steel plant in Zug Island, Mich., outside of Detroit. This course allowed the ship to hug the northern shoreline of Lake Superior and avoid the full force of the northwest winds.

The Fitzgerald was joined by the ore carrier Arthur M. Anderson, which had departed Two Harbors, Minn. The two ships would brave the trip together.

The Edmund Fitzgerald now lies under 530 feet of water, broken in two sections. On July 4, 1995, the ship’s bell was recovered from the wreck, and a replica, engraved with the names of the crew members who perished in this tragedy, was left in its place. The original bell is on display at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point in Michigan.

The November Witch

They are the largest bodies of fresh water on Earth: Huron, Superior, Erie, Ontario, Michigan, the Great Lakes. Like the mighty oceans, their floors are tombs, littered with the silent hulks of once proud ships, awaiting someone to tell their stories. While these sleeping giants await the return of the November Witch.

This Week In The Dream Antilles

Well, well, well.  And tut, tut, tut.  Your Bloguero feels ever so sweetly but wrongly chastened by a Maddow Blog article by Kent Jones on November 9.  A taste of this article about referring to one’s self in the third person, if you really insist on it:

That word is illeism. The act of referring to oneself (often habitually) in the third person.

According to Wikipedia, illeism has a variety of uses including self-promotion, to give the speaker lofty airs, to illustrate the feeling of being outside one’s body and watching things happen, as a form of sarcasm or as a way to show dim wittedness, such as when the Mongo in Blazing Saddles declares: “Mongo only pawn in game of life.”
So why does someone become an illeist? According to Yahoo answers:

Because when you do that it makes you feel like you’re not so alone. It’s a psychological way of making yourself feel like there’s someone with you, even if it is only yourself. He was probably picked on as a child, that usually being the cause for this behavior. On the other hand if he’s doing this in a joking fashion, its just that, a joke.

Aha! it could be a joke. That backs up Rachel’s Herman Cain is a Performance Artist theory.

Wait a second.  Wait one forking second.  On this pop psychologizing and its implicit fault finding of your Bloguero and negative judgments about him, your Bloguero, who almost always refers to himself in the third person in these Friday posts, calls, to adopt one of Maddow’s pet phrases, “Bull pucky.”  That’s right.  Bull. Forking. Pucky. Bull Pucky, you hear?  Bull pucky.  Bull pucky.  Bull pucky.  

Let’s look at the facts.

Is your Bloguero trying self promotion in this post?  Right, like your Bloguero is the Deion Saunders of the small blogs, on some of which his Friday posts get, oh wait for it, two, count them readers, count them, two reccs.  Or giving himself lofty airs?  Right, like your Bloguero is some kind of authority on something or claims to be?  Seriously.  The only thing your Bloguero is an authority on or has even claimed authority about are his own multifaceted idiosyncrasies.  And those, to his sincere regret, are many, but he knows them intimately.  Or, did you check this out?  Your Bloguero is outside his body?  As if he were Emanuel or some other channeled, discorporate being?  Not so.  Totally untrue.  Your Bloguero is living in his body as he types this out.  His fingers are cold.  One does not have cold fingers unless one has a body.  QED. And is your Bloguero sarcastic?  OK, ok, ok, ok.   Well, all right.  Sometimes he’s sarcastic even when he uses the first person.  If you grew up in Newark like your Bloguero and spent some of your waking hours at the local courthouses observing what passes for justice in America, you’d be sarcastic, too. You might even be more than sarcastic. You might be postal.  Not your Bloguero.  Your Bloguero is a pacifist of sorts.

Look, you don’t have to write in the third person to be disillusioned and to lash out in sarcasm or rolling eyes or making faces.  C’mon, admit it.  And is your Bloguero, heaven forefend, dimwitted?  One, even if that one is solely your Bloguero, hopes not.  What an insult.

And then there’s the hardest question.  How can you even ask it?  Is referring to one’s self some kind of joke?  Is this a joke?  Is your Bloguero making a joke? Your Bloguero takes umbrage at the suggestion.  And also a double martini.  With two olives.  It’s not a joke.  No joke.  It’s life itself.  If life’s a joke, it’s not your Bloguero’s fault.

No.  Why does your Bloguero have to explain himself to smart people like Rachel Maddow and Kent Jones?  Look.  Writing in the third person at its very worst is a pose taken by the eccentric (there’s that word again), offbeat narrator of these Friday post.  That’s who shows up every Friday.  The Bloguero. That’s who’s been showing up every single Friday since February with this digest.  If you were Deepak Chopra you’d note this bizarre, quantum equivalence:

weekly digest = the Bloguero


Anybody who thinks this is wrong, or a problem, or weak physics, or has some other wisecracks or criticism about it, just raise your hand.  Go right ahead.  Raise you hand.  Right now. Your Bloguero will now ignore all that snickering and the waving hand too.  Nobody, including especially your Bloguero, has to put up with these indiscreet, prying inquiries.  The idea of asking for an explanation. Humpf.

This Week In The Dream Antilles is usually a weekly digest. Sometimes, like now and for several of the past weeks, it isn’t actually a digest of essays posted at The Dream Antilles. For that you have to visit The Dream Antilles.