Your Labor Day Open Thread!

Hi, gang! We are not publishing any new content today (I am Wordpressing this on Friday morning, so by the time you read it, I will either have contracted my kid’s illness and be moaning quietly in bed, or not, and I will be reading silently in bed), but here’s a fine Open Thread for you to use for whatever purpose you deem best.

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Toast Points For The Week of August 29th

Hey! Did you apply for a job with us semi-recently? You’re going to hear back from me in this upcoming week. THANKS ENORMOUSLY FOR YOUR PATIENCE, YOU GUYS.

How is your week going. Is it pretty good. Did you try wearing a medicine hat to work

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Cocktail Hour: Open Thread

How has no one ever told The Bartender about slow cookers? Did you enjoy me slaving away at the stove for hours, checking for burns, seeing splatters decorate my kitchen quite unpleasantly while food “simmered”???

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Trans Microaggressions: “Women, Amirite?”

The Toast’s previous coverage of trans* issues can be found here.

Actual Reasons People Have Told Me I Am Not A Real Man

1.) I enjoy musical theater. (Someone should probably call Hugh Jackman and inform him that he is female.)

2.) I want to kiss other men. (Wanting to kiss women and people of other genders as well is irrelevant. The only people who want to kiss men are women. Full stop.)

3.) I don’t hate women. (Quickest way to get kicked out of any male bonding exercise–refuse to respond positively to the phrase, “Women, amirite?”)

4.) I write fanfiction. (Shakespeare based many of his plays on pre-existing works of fiction. Therefore, Shakespeare was a woman.)

5.) I have a vagina. (Thanks for the reminder, asshole.)


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Femslash Friday: Deep Space Nine

Previously on Femslash Friday: The Young Avengers.

Star Trek‘s greatest appeal, if you talk to the nerds who are really into it, is its bold embrace of a post-scarcity structure. In Star Trek, technology has allowed humanity to earnestly and fully eliminate sexism, racism, poverty, even extreme weather disasters or pollution. Every single structural problem on Earth is truly gone forever, they’re all really gone, and now humanity is doing the only thing really still worth doing, exploring space.

The Original Series was full of boundaries being broken—a black woman the equal of a white man, Russians working together with Americans. It also featured a stunningly close friendship between one James T. Kirk and Spock. This is Femslash Friday, so we will not go into their fascinating relationship, but needless to say, the fan reaction to it was huge. The very term “slash fiction” comes from Star Trek fans, who would identify their erotic zines like GRUP with terms like “Kirk/Spock” (Kirk slash Spock, get it??)

When The Next Generation booted up, dropping the “man” from “where no one has gone before!” intro speech, the hopes were high that like its predecessor, it’d push the bounds of what was regularly seen on TV. In terms of gender, it mostly punted. There’s one episode where Will Riker dates a member of a species without gender, but the alien quickly comes out as identifying as female, a crime punishable by brutal retaliation on her planet (Jonathan Frakes, aka Will Freaking Riker, later came out saying he felt the alien should have identified as male). Dr. Beverly Crusher falls in love with a Trill, a parasitic species that takes different hosts for dozens of lifetimes, but decides she can’t continue the relationship when the Trill switches from a male to a female host.

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Link Roundup!



Mychal Denzel Smith on how Trayvon Martin’s death launched a new generation of black activism:

While the audiences for these new groups may not be larger than the older ones’—the Dream Defenders has more than 27,000 Twitter followers; the NAACP has over 74,000—the newer groups use Twitter to hear from, not just talk to, their members. The Dream Defenders hosts Twitter discussions about its key issues, including gun violence, the criminalization of black youth and the prison-industrial complex. Community cultivation is vital as these organizations take on the challenge of long-term movement building. In February, Agnew and others put together a Tumblr called “Blacked Out History,” featuring members’ artwork. “We were born out of [the Trayvon Martin] murder, but that didn’t become our focus,” Agnew said.


some fancy-ass DIGITAL JOURNALISM about erosion and water issues in Louisiana


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Bird of the Month: The Swan

Note: In fact, this is the swansong of Bird of the Month, which has reached its first birthday and is going into retirement (birds age faster than humans.) Thank you to all Toast readers for sharing your bird knowledge, enthusiasm and stories in the comments. I’ve loved reading them. For your perusal, previous Birds of the Month can be found here.

W.B. Yeats first visited Coole Park, the Irish estate owned by his friend Lady Gregory, in 1897. He stayed there regularly over the next couple of decades and in 1916 wrote “The Wild Swans at Coole,” a poem in which the speaker, wandering by a lake in the October twilight, sees that

Upon the brimming water among the stones   

Are nine-and-fifty swans.


When he first counted the swans, 19 years ago, he “trod with a lighter tread.” Now, his “heart is sore.” This could be for a number of reasons (World War One, the difficult political situation in Ireland, the recent death of Lady Gregory’s son) but, Yeats being Yeats, it’s a good bet that romantic disappointment is high on the list. 

If you are feeling bad about the state of your love life, swans are not the ideal bird to look at.

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Conversations That Servers in Portugal Might Have Had After Dealing With Me and My Mother

OUR WAITRESS: Thanks for meeting me for a drink, babe. Wow, do I need it after the crazy time I had at the restaurant tonight.


WAITRESS: These two American women came in to be seated. Mother and daughter, they looked like. I tried to seat them in the nice part of the restaurant, but a guy was smoking a cigarette at the table next to them, so they flat-out refused.

BOYFRIEND: That’s dumb. It’s not like they were going to get lung cancer over the course of dinner.

WAITRESS: I know! But I didn’t want to say anything because I was hoping they’d tip me if I was polite. You know how Americans love to tip. Anyway, I finally get them seated, and then the daughter has a million questions about every item on the menu. Like, what kind of vegetables are in the vegetable soup? Is the chicken dark meat or light meat? Is the rice brown or white?

BOYFRIEND: Why does she need to know any of that?

WAITRESS: I have no earthly idea. After I answer all her questions, she proceeds to order the one menu item that she didn’t ask anything about. Her mom orders the California rolls, only—get this—without the shrimp.

BOYFRIEND: That is crazy! The shrimp is the best part.

WAITRESS: Totally. So I bring over the daughter’s order, which she immediately tries to send back, claiming it’s not what she ordered.

BOYFRIEND: Was it what she ordered?

WAITRESS: Of course.

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