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Home: The Toast

Here is a picture of my friend Carrie’s puppy, Carmella, who is starting to feel neglected by her Toastie fans.


You HAVE to see Melanie Mark’s triumphant entrance as the first female First Nations MLA elected in British Columbia.


The Atavist has some great stories they’re showcasing for their anniversary (you get three free ones a month, so choose carefully!)


WELL, I learned a lot from this:

The USDA, in 1994, said that E. coli could no longer be in hamburger meat, and the industry went absolutely nuts. They sued the government, saying E. coli is a naturally occurring bacteria. To the government’s credit, they used science and the court agreed that the government had the power to do exactly what it did. And over time, that determination that E. coli was an adulterant worked its way through the system and got us to the place we are now.


yep (I’ve always been softer on the multi-with-folic-acid suggestions, because that really IS something that does the most good before you know you’re pregnant, but this is ridiculous):

The CDC isn’t alone in this recommendation: the Mayo Clinic, for one, also recommends that any sexually active woman not on birth control refrain from drinking. But “the risk is real, why take the chance” has such a historical stranglehold even on women who are already pregnant, whose risk level is not real but immediate; to extend this idea to women who might become pregnant just because they are alive and unmedicated—or to phrase the recommendation with a basic disregard for the facts of how women live—suggests the same old idea that all women are either future, current, past or broken incubators, and that is their body’s primary use.


Alexander Chee on giving historical fiction its due:

What I knew is that when I would describe the subject of my novel to friends—an opera singer in the court of France’s Second Empire is afraid her voice is cursed, dooming her to repeat the fates of her roles—they would look at me, confused, only to respond, “Oh, you’re writing a historical novel.” The only answer to such a question was yes, and yet I felt somehow misunderstood. Worse still was the trepidation in their eyes, as if I had announced that I was giving up years of hard work writing literary fiction to sell out and become a hack. I had inadvertently hit on a literary taboo.

The literary historical best-sellers of the 1990s were late to the game long owned by historical romance, a game which has confounded literary writers and publishers since at least the mid-nineteenth century. Historical romance novels were selling half a million copies in the 1840s when Nathaniel Hawthorne complained of the “hordes of scribbling women” and George Eliot skewered the type in her 1856 essay “Silly Novels by Lady Novelists.”


Nikki and Linda’s chat about diversity in publishing:

According to the Lee & Low survey, 80% of publishing and review journal staff are white, 98.7% are cis, ~78% are cis women, 88.2% are straight, only 7.6% identify themselves as having a disability. In your opinion, what are some of the biggest reasons for the overwhelming whiteness in publishing?

Part of it is that publishing salaries are incredibly low for entry-level—my editorial assistant salary was less than $13.50 an hour, and that has not improved since I started some years ago. Without middle-class or greater resources to subsidize living in New York, where most of the publishing jobs are, it’s difficult to accept those wages in addition to the student loans associated with going to both a prestigious university and NYU or Radcliffe or Columbia publishing programs. So publishing’s whiteness is partly a class issue.


I appreciate Marcia Clark’s ability to empathize with people who are DEEPLY and REASONABLY suspicious of law enforcement and the justice system, and this piece really made her seem like a human to me (also, all I want is for Sarah Paulson to play me in a movie about my life) but, oh, man, the prosecution and the cops made such a hash of their case that the verdict really shouldn’t have been a shock to anyone:

With the Furhman tapes and all of the racially incendiary testimony that wound up coming in that should have never come in, I think they got to a point where they just couldn’t trust anything, they couldn’t believe anything without a reasonable doubt. And so that’s the verdict. Now, that played directly to the black experience, which is legitimate. We call it in legal circles “the race card,” but that pejorative sits on top of truth, of real truth, and we’re seeing it now on cell-phone cameras, with all the dashcam footage, surveillance footage, we’re seeing why. It works because there’s a truth there — because black men have been unjustly convicted and treated and mistreated by the police. And these shootings are a graphic illustration of why there’s this mistrust of law enforcement. And Johnnie [Cochran] knew it, and he played to it, and we knew what he was doing. But what do we do about that? He’s not wrong. It’s just not true in this case.


From our own Matt and Jaya, six magical food hacks:

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This twat is trying to rise from the ashes:

But aside from those remarks, there’s no reference to Driscoll’s troubled and controversial history at Mars Hill. Indeed, there’s no direct mention at all of the megachurch he presided over for 18 years in Seattle, until snowballing allegations of plagiarism, emotional abusiveness and misogyny led him to resign in October 2014.


On a housekeeping note, when we did the redesign, we turned our ads down to a 1, basically, in terms of their presence on the site, and it’s been lovely for users, but we’re really hurting for revenue as a result (indie publishing revenues are down this quarter and the last quarter of 2015 for everybody, but this is the first month I’ve had to dip into my own funds to pay our bills for ages), and I’ve given our publishing company the go-ahead to take ads back up to a 4 or 5. This is a really necessary move for us, and I would ask that you be reasonably supportive of it. There should still be no auto-plays, and if one sneaks in, please email the link/screenshot to me, but there WILL be more ads visible on the site. If you decide to use an ad blocker, I’d appreciate a donation of $5 a month (Marco has returned recurring donation functionality to the donate page.)


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