Talking turkey in the Fray.

Talking turkey in the Fray.

Talking turkey in the Fray.

What's happening in our readers' forum.
Nov. 26 2003 7:39 PM

Recipes For Disaster?

Talking turkey in the Fray.

Too Many Cooks: Sara Dickerman enrages everyone from the Orthodox Union to chowhounds with her "Turkey Derby: Which bird is the best?" Even the east coast contingent of the MaryJane Butters Society chimes in when Dickerman crowns the frozen Butterball Best in Show over an organic bird, a phony baloney vegan gobbler, and the too-cool-for-market selection from eastern Oregon. John Baker, president of organic outfit Giving Nature Foods, writes:

We at Giving Nature Foods found your taste off for the Best Turkey unprofessional and unscientific. The results imply an absolute condemnation of organic turkey production, but are based on one regional supplier of organic turkeys compared to the behemoth factory farming organization known as Cargill. Factory farming companies can mask much of their products inferiority by adding sodium and water as you mention and by using these and other unnatural feed additives to create product quality standardization.

GNF's entire post can be read here.

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"Oy, Gevalt!" RickinBoulder is off his Rocky Mountain chai because he can't believe that Dickerman…

*buttered* a kosher bird?! Tsk, tsk. For those of us who need to keep our kosher turkeys, well, kosher, is there a good alternative (short of rendering a chicken for some nice shmaltz)?

There's plenty of schmaltz over in BOTF as the holiday hastening and chastening has apparently already begun. 

Strange Birds: "Ever tried beer-can turkey?" asks maestro:

The basic concept is to insert an open can of beer in the bird's body cavity while grilling with an indirect heating method at a low temperature (275F-350F). The beer steams the bird from the inside while the grill crisps the skin on the outside. I have never tasted a more tender and juicy bird regardless of the original cost or quality.

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The most elaborate recipe in Foods Fray goes to Alinator, who insists that "there will be no need for a carving knife," if you pay attention.

Holiday Cheer: Adam_Morgan on the under-doggedness of the dudes on NBC's Average Joe, as reviewed by Dahlia Lithwick ("All Geek to Me: Nerd Love on Average Joe"):

The pretty boys, on the other reality shows Dahlia describes, probably have learned the lesson that these chumps haven't: the prettiness of a woman is a temporary illusion. After the sex, and after the romance of walking around with a statuesque thing that other men crave, what matters is who she is.

The chumps haven't yet discovered this. The temptation of the cheerleader, I'm gonna speculate, perverts the difference between what men think of love and sex. Undoubtedly, some of these men probably do think they're in love. And, women like Dahlia probably believe it is.

The truth, most likely, is that each is receiving what they want to believe, while disregarding the obvious, that a man's motivation is often for sex and the woman's is for love. That is, if these men weren't so desperate and the woman wasn't so pretty, the illusion, like in other reality shows and, you know, life, would have been outted earlier.

Nattering nabob or evolutionary genius?  You decideKA4:30 p.m. 

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Monday, November 24, 2003

A relatively quiet weekend prevailed in the Fray, with the exception of a few biologists, psychologists, and other -ists jumping into Press Box Fray to toss a copy of The Globe into the face of Jack Shafer. Readers continue to pepper the Fray with both invectives and praise for the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruling, though the Fray, to Fraywatch's knowledge, has never fielded an official marriage proposal—same-sex or otherwise. If I'm incorrect, please let me know. 

Subject: "Yes, he would"

Re:        "Low-Yield Nukes: Why spend money on useless weapons?"

From:     Arlington

Date:     Sun Nov 23 1041h

Most presidents could be convinced to use the "baby nukes" if the Pentagon said they were really, really necessary, the only way to accomplish the mission.

Thinking back over the presidents I can remember, I can kind of rank their reactions to proposals to employ small, tactical nuclear weapons:

Eisenhower: "No. I won in Europe without them. Show me how this is like the situation in Japan. See, you can't. Forget it."

Kennedy: "No. I faced down the bearded guy with the cigar when it looked like the end. I'm sticking to conventional military threat and back channel diplomacy."

Johnson: "No, goddamnit. You don't drop one of those things on a goddamn outhouse without my say-so."

Nixon: "No. My (expletive) enemies list is long enough without adding a bunch of (expletive) anti-nuke Euro-fairies. I am not a crook."

Ford: "No. I'm afraid the thing might go off course and hit an innocent spectator."

Carter: "No. I was a nucleah engineer and I understand the destructive power of what you propose to unleash."

Reagan: "No. When I said we'd bomb the Evil Empire, I meant real bombs, the kind we used when I flew with the Hellcats of the Pacific. No, wait ... that was submarines, wasn't it? Well, torpedoes then, but no nuclear torpedoes."

Bush 41: "No. Wouldn't be prudent. Not at this juncture."

Clinton: "No. My polling people tell me it wouldn't be good. That's too much pain to feel."

Bush 43: "Sure. As long as you'll teach me to pronounce nucaler the right way."

[Find this post here.]

Subject: "Evolutionary Psychology"

Re:        "Doing the Celebrity Rag: Evolutionary psychology explains the appeal of the Star, US Weekly, and People."

From:     e_coli

Date:     Fri Nov 21 1119h

While the premise of this article is terrifically amusing, you should realize that in logical and scientific terms, its argument would not survive natural selection ...

 For example, consider that many arguments based on evolutionary psychology start with the undeniable truth that biology motivates males and females differently: while a male can participate in a stupefying number of pregnancies at the same time, limited only by the supply of available females, a female can participate in only one. Thus, to the first order, a woman need not focus much attention on competition from other women, since a desirable man can (and wants to) provide genetic material to any and all willing women. On the other hand, a woman should be very interested in competition among men; since she can incubate genes from only one at a time, it is very important for her to figure out which one of them is superior. By contrast, a man needs to concern himself with comparing the available women against each other to figure out which ones are most worth striving for against his male competitors; and of course he needs most of all to concern himself with his male competitors, since he is engaged in a zero-sum struggle with them for the opportunity to promulgate his genes.

This explains why men are more interested in gossip than women, since they need to scope out not just potential mates but also existing competitors. It also explains why, to the extent that women are interested in gossip, they focus almost exclusively on gossip about men rather than other women.

Hm. This conclusion seems to be at odds with the one we wanted. Oh well. Never mind. We still know from first principles that everything is determined by the genes we inherited from our cave-dwelling ancestors.

[Find this post here.]

Subject: "I've been to some gay weddings"

Re:        "It's the Commitment, Stupid: How to sell gay marriage."

From:     Dar-al-Isalam

Date:     Thu Nov 20 2028h

I've been to some gay weddings ... the only thing missing from the ceremony was a piece of paper from the government recognizing the marriage.

Gays can and do marry, sort of, in churches and elsewhere. These unions are marriages in every sense of the word except for legally. Gays can and do have legal protections for their unions if they engage the services of a competent lawyer. Female Gays can and do procreate, often with the assistance of male gays (use your imagination, ok). Gays can and do adopt children, often children that are less than optimal adoption material. Gays work. Gays pay taxes. Gays vote. Gays buy houses, they live down the block, next door, maybe even in your house. Gays are children and fathers and husbands and brothers and sisters and moms and soldiers and sailors and politicians and beggars and thieves.

The one thing that gays can't do is denied to them by the state solely because they are not a male/female couple. A gay man can marry a gay female and the state doesn't bat an eye. A gay man can marry another man, providing that one of them has been surgically altered to represent a female and this surgical alteration has been duly recognized and registered with the state. Gays can cohabitate, raise families, pay taxes, work, love, live, kill and pay bills. But, by God, they can't get married. To each other, to their lover, to their life companion because ... because ... because?

Because it upsets us?

Don't ask, don't tell and please, please, please by God don't think we are going to let you get married!

That is just too much because, like, I'm married and if you gays got married then we would have something in common?

Something in common other than all that other stuff, I mean.

[Find this post here.]

Subject: "THG is a steroid, and steroids are CHEATING"

Re:        "It's the Commitment, Stupid: How to sell gay marriage."

From:     dirq

Date:     Mon Nov 24 1103h

The fact that the stuff is not illegal, and therefore we should ignore how tons of professional athletes have been shooting THG is morally deficient. The fact is that THG is a STEROID, and our morally bankrupt professional sports leagues are dedicated to LIP SERVICE against steroids. And as such, this is CHEATING. The author argues that there's no law against THG. Pure bunk—THG is a synthetic steroid, and is DOUBLY dishonest to use—firstly because it is a steroid, but is rationalized to be legal because it was just invented, and kept SECRET, so that laws couldn't be written up spelling out that it's illegal, and secondly, because there is (WAS) no test for it, its biggest appeal to athletes was that it was supposedly UNDETECTABLE. A popular method of CHEATING for all athletes is to build strength in training using steroids, and then clean up in competition when the spotlight is upon you. If the spotlight cannot detect the steroid you are using, however, you can use it ALL THE TIME, thereby increasing your nefarious edge in competition. Make no mistake—these professional athletes TOOK this drug, the KNEW it was a steroid, and Barry Bonds, quite frankly, has completely rewritten the baseball record books with it.

Our author may not care about historical standards of greatness, but no clearer example exists of how these standards can be ruined by CHEATING other than Barry Bonds. The amount of damage these steroids have done to the credibility of professional sports is incalculable. If our author has his way, however, the damage may not be so great, as he is willing to do what cheating professional athletes want all sports fans to do, which is to look the other way. If no one cares, then there's no problem. But I'm sorry, I care.

[Find this post here.]

Fray notes: The astral restoration project continues, with Meletus reclaiming a star granted in August, then promptly relinquished in the anti-star revolt of summer 2003 ... KA1:50 p.m.

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Thursday, November 20, 2003

The Massachusetts Supreme Court ruling continues to provoke donnybrooks all over the Fray, most centrally in Ballot Box Fray —in response to William Saletan's contention that if Democrats can parse "marriage" from "gay," they can inoculate themselves from a electoral backlash on the issue—and Faith-Based Fray, where Fraysters get religion.

Subject: "The Case for Gay Marriage"

Re:     "It's the Commitment, Stupid: How to sell gay marriage."

From:  jimsum

Date:  Thu Nov 20 0727h

It is illogical to ban gay people from getting married. There is no reason to have any biological basis for marriage; I don't see why the gender of the married people should make any difference.

Consider the roles of people in a family, parents and children. There is no biological basis for the child-parent relationship, children may or may not be related to the parents, and the parents may not even be physically capable of having children. Legally, all dependents are treated equally, regardless of the biological relationship between parent and child ...

[Find this post here.]

Subject: "A Teaching Moment for Conservatives"

Re:     "It's the Commitment, Stupid: How to sell gay marriage."

From:  Mitch

Date:  Thu Nov 20 1320h

The Massachusetts Supreme Court's ruling, imposing gay marriage on the State, gives conservatives the ideal platform to educate voters on the importance of winning the battle on judicial appointments. What is at stake is literally democracy, whether the people are allowed any say in their government. This ruling, like Roe v Wade it proceeds from, reflects a profound contempt for the ability of democratic institutions to decide important questions of public policy, and to change in the face of societal change. Roe v Wade by imposing a single judicial rule on the entire nation, profoundly insulted the diverse nature of our republic (the accommodation of which of course is the particular strength of a federal democracy). That insult resonates today in the unhealed division over the issue, because the process of democratic debate, and of different states reaching different balances, has been denied to the people.

Once again, an "enlightened" judiciary has decided to deny the people of a State (but ultimately all states) any right to debate, to compromise, to experiment with a new social reality. No. Marriage, with all its religious and historical overtone, is an absolute constitutional right (one discovered magically for the first time after 200 years of jurisprudence overlooked it), and anyone who doubts that is a benighted bigot. Whatever one thinks of gays and marriage, this should be seen as a profound insult to democracy, to the intelligence of the people. I would say to my gay friends, do you really want gay marriage to be like abortion, an unhealed wound, festering in national politics 50 years from now? No, if we want our democratic experiment to succeed, we must have faith in the people. That, ultimately, is what the struggle over the federal judiciary is about.

[Find this post here.]

Subject: "Fear of a Gay Planet"

Re:     "How Radical is the Gay-Marriage Ruling?"

From:  ShriekingViolet

Date:  Wed Nov 19 0939h

Here I am, after years of pushing for legal recognition of gay marriage, and Massachusetts has finally gone and done the right thing. So what's my first emotional response?

Fear of the inevitable backlash.

I'm concerned that this court ruling goes too far, too fast. In Vermont, the courts left enough wiggle room for a compromise solution that conferred the legal benefits of marriage without producing the sort of marriage license that can be transferred to other states. My hope has been that other progressive states would eventually follow suit, creating a regional alternative system of family law that would confer basic freedoms to gays and lesbians without stirring up a hornets' nest of resentment in the Red States ...

I fear that nothing short of an amendment to the US Constitution outlawing gay marriage may be the end result of this process. And that could set us back for generations ...

And in the end, I'm forced to concede that most of America is not ready for this sort of social change yet. Forcing civil rights measures down the throats of an unwilling majority is a drastic step to take in a democratic nation. It is a measure of last resort, that can create bitterness and resentment for years, as seen in the Southern U.S. to this very day. In 1964, Civil Rights for African Americans was an absolute necessity. Gay Americans today are fooling ourselves if we believe we are in the same category of oppressed minority.

[Find this post here.]

In response to Waldman's interpretation that, to the religious:

... homosexuality is wrong because it involves sex that doesn't create life. In the case of Judaism, a key Bible passage is the story of Onan, who sleeps with his dead brother's wife but, to avoid giving his brother offspring, doesn't ejaculate inside her. Instead, he "spilt the seed on the ground." God slew him, which some might view as a sign of disapproval ...

Subject: "The real 'missed conception'"

Re:     "A Common Missed Conception: Why religious people are against gay marriage."

From:  Srrurhino

Date:  Wed Nov 19 1359h

This is yet another misinterpretation of the story of Onan; the other is that the Onan story is the Biblical equivalent of an injunction against masturbation (i.e., "wasting one's seed"). Here's the actual story: Onan was ordered by God to have sex with his late brother's widow, so that she could conceive a child (I believe that Deuteronomy has a law relating to this). Onan rebelled against this command by practicing what amounted to a primitive form of birth control, removing himself from his sister's body just before ejaculating. God then killed him for disobeying the command to help his sister-in-law conceive. It has NOTHING, repeat, NOTHING to do with homosexuality or masturbation. One might just as plausibly argue that the story of Onan should be cherished by bankers, for inspiring the disclaimer "substantial penalties for early withdrawl."

All seriousness aside, there are specific verses in the Old Testament (Leviticus) and the New (Romans) condemning homosexuality. These are the bases for most conservative Christian objections to gay rights. As a supporter of gay and lesbian rights, I think there are constructive arguments to be made in rebuttal of the way in which Christians use these verses to advance their position. But we might as well be "straight" (pun intended) regarding the basis for their arguments.

[Find this post here.]

Subject: "The religious objection"

Re:     "A Common Missed Conception: Why religious people are against gay marriage."

From:  RufRuf

Date:  Wed Nov 19 2138h

Regardless of the reason for the prohibition of male homosexuality (I challenge anyone here without a Yeshiva background to find a Biblical verse prohibiting lesbianism), it is a sexual offense that carries capital punishment. It is in the same category as adultery. Masturbation and the use of birth control are simply not treated as harshly under Biblical law. (Neither is abortion for that matter, which is not a capital offense under Biblical law.)

The sense I get is that the religious in this country are willing to tolerate sin, and no one is advocating that adulterers be executed. There is a difference though between tolerating adultery, and granting it State sanction. If a married woman's lover were granted legal rights by the government, you would see a similar outcry here in America (France is another story). The fear is that by allowing the government to formalize a sinful union, the government becomes partner to it, and by extension the people who voted for such a government would bear the burden of such a sin.

I made a prediction in this area a few months ago. I'm not sure if I'm still as confident with it.

[Find this post here.]

Fray Notes: Diary Fray semi-regular MT has seen enough in that rubric to pitch this concept next pilot season:

... Might I suggest a survival series be created around Jodi Mardesich, MaryJane Butters and Neil LaBute? I can see it now: The three of them marooned on Tristan da Cunha. Ms. Butters looking for edible plants. Ms. Mardesich objecting vehemently to a fire being kindled. Mr. LaBute losing weight, and working out the technical bugs in his writings with the assistance of his fellow castaways. A sure-fire hit!

Remember Slate Staff—you read it here first. Just be sure to send that 7-figure royalty check to MT.

Meta4 is running a sideshow in BOTF, a "submit your caption" contest surrounding a snapshot of Bush's early Thanksgiving Break jaunt to England. Early favorites? Adam_Masin ... but it's still early.

Department of Astral Affairs: Just what the Fray Cosmos needs—another Bay Area attorney. Nevertheless, Fraywatch endows JCormac with a long overdue star. Check out his work here, here, and here ... KA2:35 p.m.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2003

This week's V.P. comes by way of Hateur, the user formerly known as Cicero. Hateur offers a generational testimony here, having watched the events in Iraq unfold through the eyes of a smart 17-year-old schooled in military history, but whose grasp of the war is filtered through a lifetime of simulated reality: 

It is my privilege to tutor a high school senior who attends an elite private college preparatory environment. He and his fellow future graduates are the ones automatically earmarked to attend Yale, Harvard, Stanford, M.I.T. and etcetera. He might someday go on to become a history professor; and then again, maybe not. He has got the potential. He just has to live up to it. He is in possession of strong ethics and morality and he is one among what we mean when we say, "elite." For all of that, I am somewhat disappointed in him.

In a way there is a generational gap of experiences rather than values dividing us. I am approximately thirty-five years older than he, which means that I grew up under the omnipresent danger of the Vietnam war-hammer of doom. He, on the other hand, barely recalls the Soviet Union as any sort of dangerous presence in this world. Then, too, he is a product of an age of information glut and an environment of unending entertainment.

Military history has always been a hobby of his. He knows the World War Two European campaign inside and out. But despite being firmly grounded in military tactics, strategy and knowing that people die in wars I think that he approached Gulf War Two as an entertainment junkie rather than as a sober young citizen witnessing an important event in his life and in his country's existence.

He grew increasingly anxious and excited as the due date for the war approached. Then after the war started, he avidly followed every troop movement report and spent many hours analyzing events during and after their unfolding. With the same eagerness evinced by an ardent baseball fan, as he watches his team move toward the pennant, he enjoyed every moment of the war up to the point of the fall of Saddam's statue in Baghdad. That event was some sort of an event milestone in his mind, as if some prankster of a deity had flipped a switch. Abruptly the boy was bored with the entire event. Now he wanted to switch gears and talk about abortion or the upcoming Matrix movie sequel. Now that the war was in-the-bag it had become boring.

Now here is the interesting thing, he was against the war from the beginning. He had followed the unfolding international politics for months. He was a witness and analyst for every Bush Administration justification and what were later determined to have been the Administration's blatant lies. His anxiety as the war approached was as much over anger at what our President was doing to commit a great injustice as it was excitement over witnessing his first real United States war. Still, I am convinced that the war itself was far more a source of vicarious thrills and real time entertainment for him than anything else, and once victory was a mathematical certainty he was ready for his next hit of entertainment. Now war bored him.

This youngster is not at fault. He already has got the equivalent of a first or second year of entry-level college under his belt considering the advanced nature of his private high school curriculum. His is, in fact, a classic example of bread and circuses. He is firmly middle class—okay, upper-middle class—and wants for nothing in life including structure and discipline. He has abundant bread, so to speak. Additionally, he, like most of his generation, is an entertainment junkie, and unless something directly affects him in life the event—no matter how awesome or horrendous—is slightly unreal. He has his circuses, too, you see.

I find that I cannot condemn him or his generation as they are a product of what MY generation created. We are the ones who thought it perfectly fine for these children to be raised by the television, the news media, by school, and even by church while we went on about our business earning a living—pretty much just as our World War Two generation parents did with us. I think that aside from war, it is the outrageous intensity of the entertainment that mentally or spiritually separates us. I may, of course, be wrong about this.

Particularly our middle class children have been drowned in a sea of Sega, Nintendo, Gameboy fantasy scenarios, by movies so high tech that the division between reality and fantasy has blurred. All that, and then we—particularly in regards to these middle class kids—cram their heads so full of facts, figures, and statistics that they become walking calculators, having left some of their humanity behind them in the process of becoming more than we were at their age. All that and then we [well I] wonder why they react differently to vital news of the day?

Oh, there is more to it that the above, of course. This current generation of high school students, in fact, has been raised in a rarified fantasy world so safe and protected that even the tragic events of 9-11-01 barely left a psychological scar. For most of them it was simply unreal. It was too much like one of their fantasy game scenarios for them to quite take all that seriously.

Far from condemning this youngster for his nonchalant attitude toward a United States war, I feel rather sorry for him and his generation. Nothing is truly real to them unless it impacts them directly.

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Monday, November 17, 2003

While the companion pieces by David Edelstein and Christopher Hitchens on Master and Commander didn't attract all that much traffic, some of the finer posts hail from Movies Fray—in response to Edelstein's review—and Culturebox Fray, where Hitchens, a fan of the Patrick O'Brian series of Aubrey-Maturin books since childhood, dissects Peter Weir's new flick.

Subject: Hating Hitchens

Re:        "Empire Falls: How Master and Commander gets Patrick O' Brian Wrong."

From:     oldie

Date:     Sun Nov 16 0904h

I think Hitchens is exactly right in his interpretation of the books. And, to the extent that the movie is an adaptation of the books, it is perfectly reasonable to discuss to what extent the main points have been preserved. Maturin may not get any more ink than Aubrey, but he is, nevertheless, a far more significant character in the series than Aubrey is.

Aubrey, as complex as he may sometimes seem to be, is still a cookie cutter creation when compared to Maturin, and, most importantly, he is continually defined and measured by Maturin's presence in all that matters. Next to Maturin, Aubrey is revealed as little more than a hot-headed simpleton. On the other hand, beneath his civilized veneer, Maturin is both a more serious and a deadlier character than Aubrey. Maturin allows O'Brian to tells us his stories on different levels and turn them into something more than simple naval capers. Maturin's presence makes the stories rich, complex, cynical, and intelligent.

So, with this in mind, what explains the unreasonable reactions of Slate readers to Hitchens' perfectly reasonable review of this movie? My guess is that these reactions are nothing more than payback for the politically incorrect positions that Hitchens has taken since 9/11.

[Find this post here.]

Subject: Master and Commander—Echt, but ...

Re:        "Naval Gazing: Peter Weir's swashbuckling Master and Commander."

From:     rob_said_that

Date:     Sun Nov 16 1915h

This movie felt genuine, and was very well filmed in (mostly) dim grays and blues and browns. The language was, as Edlestein says, faithful to the language of the books, though I wonder how many lubbers in the audience understood Crowe when he said things like "even let her ride up and luff from time to time" (when he's working a ruse on the French captain).

I had a good time at this movie, but I didn't think it was as emotionally affecting as a really great war picture might be. This was essentially an Errol Flynn movie updated for the post-Bounty, post-Lord Of The Rings moviegoer. The frippery and foppishness are gone, as is the '30s mis-en-scene and political influence, but it's really just a hearty sea tale that works hard to be a vehicle worthy of the star of Gladiator ...

There's a lot of grim reality—bones being sawn, cannonballs atomizing men, and, of course, water and wind aplenty—but is that all we expect from a movie like this? I'd say this was far below The Bounty as a sea adventure of the late 18th century, though it was certainly more enjoyable than, say, an Adam Sandler movie. Maybe if it hadn't tried to hard to be An Important Movie it could have better navigated the treacherous waters of novel adaptations.

[Find this post here.]

Subject: Hitchens the Saveur of Character

Re:        "Empire Falls: How Master and Commander gets Patrick O' Brian Wrong."

From:     MHaag

Date:     Sun Nov 16 0908h

... Hitchens, as shown by this piece, is really less a political critic than a kind of ideological aesthete. Rather than polemicizing on current events, he should stick to rendering his impressions and appreciation, however skewed and bilious, of artistic representations of ideas. For that is where his facility as a writer truly lies.

[Find this post here.]

In response to Hitchens, who writes:

Unlike Forester, O'Brian set himself not just to show broadsides and cutlass work and flogging and the centrality of sea power, but to re-create all of the ambiguities and contradictions of England's long war against revolutionary and Napoleonic France. (This, I argue, was the true and real "First World War," because it extended itself to every ocean and almost every nation, not exempting this one.)

... we get this history lesson from the newly-starred Jack_Baltimore

Subject: The Real "First World War"

Re:        "Empire Falls: How Master and Commander gets Patrick O' Brian Wrong."

From:     Jack_Baltimore

Date:     Sat Nov 15 0615h

The first world war, in my view, was the global conflict between England and France otherwise known as The Seven Years' War, 1754 through 1760. In Britain's American colonies and in the US thereafter, the war was known as the French and Indian War.

To students of history I refer you to University of Colorado at Boulder's Professor Fred Anderson's book, Crucible of War (Vintage Books, 2000) to learn how a young surveyor and planter from Virginia, by name of George Washington, accidentally started this war, the battles of which ranged from Madras and Bengal in south Asia to Manila in the Phillipines to the West African coast, to the siege of Havana, the siege of Minorca in the Mediterranean, major European land battles in Hanover, Saxony, Austria, and what is now the Czech Republic and Slovakia ...

The war of course, also encompassed the destruction of Pittsburgh, the mass expulsion and trans-shipment of the French from Acadia to New Orleans, the collapse of French colonial ambition in North America, and most importantly, the rise of the first global British Empire, its dominance of North America, and the creation of a sense of distinction between the American colonists and their British cousins.

... Which growing sense of distinction eventually resulted in the founding of the US sixteen years later.

How's that for a world war?

[Find this post here.]

Fray Notes

What's in a Name: More good stuff on Maturin and his fictional context as a Catalan-Irishman in the Napoleonic War here from the aptly named, though dubiously spelled, 0Brien.

Suggestion Box: In a long-term effort to improve the Fray, Slate is taking suggestions from users as to how we can make your Fray-perience more enjoyable and user-friendly. Please submit suggestions, parodies, missives, and personal vendettas with Fray_Editor here.   

Department of Astral Affairs: Nothing has preoccupied Fray veterans in recent weeks quite like the preoccupation over the criteria for a star, the responsibilities of a star, the shape, size, fungibility, market value, prestige value, and hue of the star. Onanism aside, Arlington, nose to the mousepad, logs away in stellar fashion. Along with Jack_"Balmer," Arlington earns a star. Sample his style here  ... KA9:40 a.m.