February 21, 2015

It was almost Old Testament God day on the blog, but doughnuts edged Him out.

It's strange the way the blog plays out sometimes. When the first 2 posts by chance have a common element, you think a theme is striking. Old Testament God appeared in Post #1 today, and then, damned if the Old Testament didn't rear its head in Post #2. But a tiny frog rode into town on a beetle, and things were never the same. Next thing you know, Scott Walker was walkin' here, and we were ass-deep in doughnuts. And so doughnuts it was. I spent my afternoon pulling doughnuts out of the hot fat that is my Kindle collection. So here's the Krispy Kreme of my Kindle:

David Foster Wallace, "Up, Simba" (an essay about following the 2000 John McCain campaign, in "Consider the Lobster"):
About two-thirds of the way down the aisle is a little area that has the bus’s refrigerator and the liquor cabinets... and the bathroom.... There’s also a little counter area piled with Krispy Kreme doughnut boxes, and a sink whose water nobody ever uses.... Krispy Kremes are sort of the Deep South equivalent of Dunkin’ Donuts, ubiquitous and cheap and great in a sort of what-am-I-doing-eating-dessert-for-breakfast way, and are a cornerstone of what Jim C. calls the Campaign Diet.
Hunter S. Thompson, "The 'Hashbury' Is the Capital of the Hippies" (an essay in "The Great Shark Hunt"):
A 22-year-old student was recently sentenced to two years in prison for telling an undercover narcotics agent where to buy some marijuana. “Love” is the password in the Haight-Ashbury, but paranoia is the style. Nobody wants to go to jail.

At the same time, marijuana is everywhere. People smoke it on the sidewalks, in doughnut shops, sitting in parked cars or lounging on the grass in Golden Gate Park. Nearly everyone on the streets between 20 and 30 is a “head,” a user, either of marijuana, LSD, or both. To refuse a proffered “joint” is to risk being labeled a “nark”—narcotics agent— a threat and a menace to almost everybody. With a few loud exceptions, it is only the younger hippies who see themselves as a new breed. “A completely new thing in this world, man.” The ex-beatniks among them, many of whom are now making money off the new scene, incline to the view that hippies are, in fact, second-generation beatniks and that everything genuine in the Haight-Ashbury is about to be swallowed— like North Beach and the Village— in a wave of publicity and commercialism.
Mary Karr, "The Liars' Club: A Memoir":
The next day right after dawn, I pulled down my BB gun from the top bookshelf and went on a rampage that prefigured what Charles Whitman — the guy who shot and killed thirteen people from the tower at the University of Texas — would do a few years later. I stuck a can of hot tamales with a can opener in a paper bag and fixed myself a jelly jar of tea. While all the other kids were still sitting around in their pajamas eating their doughnuts with powdered sugar and watching cartoons, I was sneaking across the blackberry field behind our house . There was a lone chinaberry tree at the field’s center, and I shinnied up it, then pulled my BB gun after me to wait for the Carter kids. They’d planned to berrypick that morning so their mama could make a cobbler. I’d overheard talk about it.
Mary Roach, "Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal":
To experience taste, the molecules of the tastant— the thing one is tasting— need to dissolve in liquid. Liquid flows into the microscopic canyons of the tongue’s papillae, coming into contact with the “buds” of taste receptor cells that cover them. That’s one reason to be grateful for saliva. Additionally, it explains the appeal of dunking one’s doughnuts.
 J. Maarten Troost, "Headhunters on My Doorstep: A True Treasure Island Ghost Story":
I had always imagined your typical twelve-step meeting as occurring in some grim, darkened chamber full of cigarette smoke, bad coffee, and doughnuts, filled with fat, spiteful old men telling you to take the cotton out of your ears and stuff it into your mouth and listen for a change, why don’tcha, but these days, you’re more likely to find a meeting in a smoke-free hall serving herbal tea, filled with people discussing Bikram Yoga and their latest marathon time. This made sense to me, of course. Try as we might, the word moderation leaves many of us scratching our heads. Why run one mile when you can run ten? Why do half an hour of sun salutations when you can do ninety minutes of pretzel-like contortions in a 105 degree sauna? More is better. Always.
Mark Twain, "At the Appetite Cure":
"My system disguised—covert starvation.  Grape-cure, bath-cure, mud-cure—it is all the same. The grape and the bath and the mud make a show and do a trifle of the work— the real work is done by the surreptitious starvation. The patient accustomed to four meals and late hours—at both ends of the day—now consider what he has to do at a health resort. He gets up at 6 in the morning. Eats one egg. Tramps up and down a promenade two hours with the other fools. Eats a butterfly. Slowly drinks a glass of filtered sewage that smells like a buzzard's breath. Promenades another two hours, but alone; if you speak to him he says anxiously, "My water!—I am walking off my water!—please don't interrupt," and goes stumping along again. Eats a candied roseleaf. Lies at rest in the silence and solitude of his room for hours; mustn't read, mustn't smoke. The doctor comes and feels of his heart, now, and his pulse, and thumps his breast and his back and his stomach, and listens for results through a penny flageolet; then orders the man's bath—half a degree, Reaumur, cooler than yesterday. After the bath another egg. A glass of sewage at three or four in the afternoon, and promenade solemnly with the other freaks. Dinner at 6—half a doughnut and a cup of tea. Walk again. Half-past 8, supper—more butterfly; at 9, to bed. Six weeks of this regime—think of it. It starves a man out and puts him in splendid condition. It would have the same effect in London, New York, Jericho—anywhere."
Kurt Vonnegut, "Slaughterhouse Five":
“Go take a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut,” murmured Paul Lazzaro in his azure nest. “Go take a flying fuck at the moon.”
Lena Dunham, "Not That Kind of Girl":
Everything took on a hazy romance: having a pimple, eating a doughnut, being cold. Nothing was a tragedy, and everything was a joke. I had waited a long time to be a woman, a long time to venture away from my parents, and now I had sex, once with two guys in a week, and bragged about it like a divorcée who was getting back in the game.
Thomas Sowell, "The Thomas Sowell Reader":
At the heart of the affirmative action approach is the notion that statistical disparities show discrimination. No dogma has taken a deeper hold with less evidence—or in the face of more massive evidence to the contrary.

A recent story in the Wall Street Journal revealed that more than four-fifths of all the doughnut shops in California are owned by Cambodians. That is about the same proportion as blacks among basketball stars. Clearly, neither of these disparities is due to discrimination against whites.
Robert M. Gates,  "Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War":
When I walked in and saw coffee and doughnuts, I thought I would get along just fine with these folks. The traffic coming in from Midway Airport was awful, and Hillary Clinton was late. She had dispensed with a police escort complete with lights and sirens, clearly having an elected official’s sensitivity to ticking off everyone on the road. I did not have that sensitivity....
Andy Warhol, "The Andy Warhol Diaries":
I asked Reese how he started in crystals and he said that when he was little, “Mr. Morning” came to see him. When he was a baby. He saw “Mr. Morning,” but nobody else did. And then in the army he got interested in electricity and the body and all this stuff. Reese was talking about his trip where he went around sticking crystals all over the pyramids and the Wailing Wall. And he eats things like coffee and doughnuts. But he cures the coffee by passing the crystal over it ten times.... Reese is Episcopalian, so I feel better with him than with the Jewish crystal people, somehow, because knowing he believes in Christ I don’t have to worry that crystals might be somehow against Christ.
Tom Wolfe, "Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers":
Sixty strong, sixty loud, sixty wild, they come swinging into the great plush gold-and-marble lobby of the San Francisco City Hall with their hot dogs, tacos, Whammies, Frostees, Fudgsicles, french fries, Eskimo Pies, Awful-Awfuls, Sugar-Daddies, Sugar-Mommies, Sugar-Babies, chocolate-covered frozen bananas, malted milks, Yoo-Hoos, berry pies, bubble gums, cotton candy, Space Food sticks, Frescas, Baskin-Robbins boysenberry-cheesecake ice-cream cones, Milky Ways, M&Ms, Tootsie Pops, Slurpees, Drumsticks, jelly doughnuts, taffy apples, buttered Karamel Korn, root-beer floats, Hi-C punches, large Cokes, 7UPs, 3 Musketeer bars, frozen Kool-Aids—with the Dashiki Chief in the vanguard....

The young guy from the Mayor’s office retreats... Much consternation and concern in the lobby of City Hall... the hurricane could get worse. The little devils could start screaming, wailing, ululating, belching, moaning, giggling, making spook-show sounds... filling the very air with a hurricane of malted milk, an orange blizzard of crushed ice from the Slurpees, with acid red horrors like the red from the taffy apples and the jelly from the jelly doughnuts, with globs of ice cream in purple sheets of root beer, with plastic straws and huge bilious waxed cups and punch cans and sprinkles of Winkles, with mustard from off the hot dogs and little lettuce shreds from off the tacos, with things that splash and things that plop and things that ooze and stick, that filthy sugar moss from off the cotton candy, and the Karamel Korn and the butterscotch daddy figures from off the Sugar-Daddies and the butterscotch babies from off the Sugar-Babies, sugar, water, goo, fried fat, droplets, driplets, shreds, bits, lumps, gums, gobs, smears, from the most itchy molecular Winkle to the most warm moist emetic mass of 3 Musketeers bar and every gradation of solubility and liquidity known to syrup—filling the air, choking it, getting trapped gurgling and spluttering in every glottis— 
And it was here that Bill Jackson proved himself to be a brilliant man and a true artist, a rare artist, of the mau-mau....
 Barack Obama, "Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance":
“We’re interested in the best possible outcome for the residents,” Ms. Broadnax shouted over her shoulder. We followed her into a large room where several gloomy officials were already seated around a conference table. Ms. Broadnax remarked on how cute the children were and offered everyone coffee and doughnuts.

“We don’t need doughnuts,” Linda said. “We need answers.”
John Steinbeck, "The Red Pony":
“There’s two doughnuts in the kitchen for you,” she said. Jody slid to the kitchen, and returned with half of one of the doughnuts already eaten and his mouth full. His mother asked him what he had learned in school that day, but she didn’t listen to his doughnut-muffled answer. She interrupted, “Jody, tonight see you fill the wood-box clear full. Last night you crossed the sticks and it wasn’t only about half full. Lay the sticks flat tonight. And Jody , some of the hens are hiding eggs, or else the dogs are eating them. Look about in the grass and see if you can find any nests.”
James Thurber, "Writings & Drawings":
I got back to New York in early June, 1926, with ten dollars, borrowed enough to hold on until July in a rented room on West 13th Street, and began sending short pieces to the New Yorker, eating in doughnut shops, occasionally pilfering canapés at cocktail parties (anchovies, in case you don’t know, are not good for breakfast). My pieces came back so fast I began to believe the New Yorker must have a rejection machine.
Howard Zinn, "A People's History of the United States":
At Boston University, a thousand students kept vigil for five days and nights in the chapel, supporting an eighteen-year-old deserter, Ray Kroll....

On a Sunday morning, federal agents showed up at the Boston University chapel, stomped their way through aisles clogged with students, smashed down doors, and took Kroll away. From the stockade, he wrote back to friends: “I ain’t gonna kill; it’s against my will. . . .” A friend he had made at the chapel brought him books, and he noted a saying he had found in one of them: “What we have done will not be lost to all Eternity. Everything ripens at its time and becomes fruit at its hour.”
The GI antiwar movement became more organized. Near Fort Jackson, South Carolina, the first “GI coffeehouse” was set up, a place where soldiers could get coffee and doughnuts, find antiwar literature, and talk freely with others....
David Sedaris, "Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls":
I find a half-empty box of doughnuts and imagine it flung from the dimpled hand of a dieter, wailing, “Get this away from me.” Perhaps the jumbo beer cans and empty bottles of booze are tossed for a similar reason. It’s about denial, I tell myself, or, no, it’s about anger, for isn’t every piece of litter a way of saying “fuck you”?
Cass Sunstein, "Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness":
Self-control issues are most likely to arise when choices and their consequences are separated in time. At one extreme are what might be called investment goods, such as exercise, flossing, and dieting....

At the other extreme are what might be called sinful goods: smoking, alcohol, and jumbo chocolate doughnuts are in this category. We get the pleasure now and suffer the consequences later. Again we can use the New Year’s resolution test: how many people vow to smoke more cigarettes, drink more martinis, or have more chocolate donuts in the morning next year? Both investment goods and sinful goods are prime candidates for nudges. Most (nonanorexic) people do not need any special encouragement to eat another brownie, but they could use some help exercising more.
And then there's the choice of how to spell doughnut/donut. Isn’t the failure to pick one spelling and stick to it a way of saying "fuck you"? That question is me nudging Cass Sunstein. We'll see if he does better in the future.

And that's all the Krispy Kindle Kremes for now, so — as they say in the azure nest — Go take a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut.


Sprezzatura said...

My favorite is from Mighty-O in Seattle.

It's chocolate cake loaded with shredded coconut on top. When I get it to-go, the paper bag quickly shows signs of oil saturation. And these things don't keep, waiting four or five hours is too long.

Name: "Don King"

Unknown said...

According to the internet, Voltaire said: “God is a circle whose center is everywhere and circumference nowhere.”

That sounds an awful lot like a mystical doughnut to me.

lemondog said...

You missed the “KKK Wednesday" promo.

traditionalguy said...

Is this post a symptom of early onset cabin fever. We southerners have heard of that happening to people trapped in the far North.

Seriously, very good work. You even have Steinbeck's Red Pony on your Kindle.

Twain said the diet cure spa only allowed them a half of a donut at dinner. Sounds like Michelle Obama was in charge.

cold pizza said...

Donut=manna. Duh. -CP

Heartless Aztec said...

Or the Australian surfer game of "spittin' the winkle" where a young surfer perches on the hood of a car and is driven through a parking lot full of spunky teenage surfer girls wearing a glazed donut on his erection. "Oy mate. He's just an Ocker from Oz" by way of explanation.

traditionalguy said...

If this is a cafe with its coffee and donuts?

The Oscars are coming up tomorrow night. We will get to see if Hollywood loves America or not.

Bradley Cooper and American Sniper have to win, unless the voters truly do hate America, Americans Clint Eastwood and a $400,000,000 box office in two months.

Heartless Aztec said...

Oops, got my Australian hi-jinks mixed up. That is not "spittin' the winkle". Old age descends on me and other continental games become mixed up in me dotage. However, seeing a glazed donut pierced by an erection was never to be forgotten if not the name of the game. The things we learn when we travel...

jimbino said...

The science quiz for you readers is: if you heat a donut, whether of steel or dough, does the hole get bigger or smaller?

ken in tx said...

Previously I commented 'dough naught'. I could have written 'dough nought'. They both mean a zero made of dough--the original term that became donut.

Quaestor said...

Last Tuesday (which was Mardi gras) evening I went grocery shopping. I discovered that the store had been totally denuded of bread and milk (In the South a threat of snow prompts some people to raid the shops as if the alternatives are starvation or cannibalism à la Donner Party.) The only baked goods to be had were pączki, which are extremely rich Polish jelly doughnuts prepared especially for Fat Tuesday feasting. Since I don't observe Lent I'm still nibbling on my haul of pączki.

Ron said...

With spring training upon us, it is important to remember that the Old Testament also discusses baseball. Genesis starts with "In the big inning..."

Quaestor said...

Ken in TX wrote: They both mean a zero made of dough--the original term that became donut.

If I had your etymology and a nickel I could buy a cup of coffee, if a cup of coffee costs a nickel.

The ovoid nut-shaped thing that comes out of the center of the doughnut (such as Dunkin Donuts Munchkins) were the original "dough-nuts" (1809)

Quaestor said...

Homer dreams of doughnuts, or something.

Ann Althouse said...

"You missed the “KKK Wednesday" promo."

No, you missed clicking on all the links.

Ann Althouse said...

Please let me know if anyone read and enjoyed the passages.

Ann Althouse said...

"Twain said the diet cure spa only allowed them a half of a donut at dinner. Sounds like Michelle Obama was in charge."

I wonder what wisecrack you would have made if you'd actually read the passage!

traditionalguy said...

I really did read the passages and found them special and...well doughnutty. Was there a secret code I missed reading Mark Twain's?

Quaestor said...

Slowly drinks a glass of filtered sewage that smells like a buzzard's breath

I don't know if Mark Twain ever actually smelled a buzzard's breath, but I have, and I can describe it quite vividly. Imagine what very salty dried beef would smell like. That's what buzzard's breath, red-tailed hawk's breath to be precise, smells like, especially when they're panting. It's not unpleasant. The birds that many American's refer to incorrectly as buzzards are vultures, as are all members of the order Cathartidae. All members of the genus Buteo -- red-tailed hawk, broad-winged hawk, rough-legged hawk, etc. -- are in fact buzzards.

m stone said...

I read and enjoyed the passages, Ann. Thank you for the work in compiling them. I find Lena Dunham strangely out of place among the other others, although she may be the product of many doughnuts.

David Foster Wallace seems to be the the only author cited who appreciates the distinction of the doughnut. I heartily recommend his collection of essays, the Oyster thing.

rhhardin said...

Donuts make your brown eyes blue.

Quaestor said...

Everything took on a hazy romance: having a pimple, eating a doughnut, being cold.

The most idiosyncratic use of romance I've ever read.

Lena Dunham implies three truthy things by that sentence. They are in order of truthiness: 1) Quaestor has no idea what that sentence means. 2) Lena Dunham fired her editor too soon. 3) Lena Dunham gets paid by the word.

Quaestor said...

Coffee and doughnuts, coffee and doughnuts, coffee and doughnuts, coffee and doughnuts, coffee and doughnuts. Coffee and fucking doughnuts! Are these things linked, manacled at the wrists together like convicts? At least with tea there's variety -- tea and crumpets, tea and biscuits, tea and cream cakes.

I never seen anyone, except in old movies, dunk a doughnut. A Krispy Kreme probably wouldn't survive such a plunge in eatable condition. Except for the most austere cake doughnut, I don't think dunking any currently available commercial doughnut would be an appetizing adjunct to coffee by way of being immersed in same -- all those sprinkles and icings that festoon the 'nut floating forlornly in a bay of Arabica. And a jelly doughnut dunked in coffee? The King must roll over (well, wallow from side to side) in his grave!

Heartless Aztec said...

The passages were wonderful. Thanx...

Quaestor said...

How about "all those sprinkles and icings that festoon the 'nut floating forlornly in a flagon of French roast like a flubbed philter"?

Laslo Spatula said...

So Scarlett Johannson and I are just enjoying a lazy Saturday afternoon, sitting naked in bed and eating donuts when she says:

"These donuts won't go straight to my ass, will they?"

So I said:

"Baby Girl, the only thing that goes straight to your ass is ME."

It was a sweet moment.

I am Laslo.

Laslo Spatula said...

So she laughs that sexy sweet Scarlett Johannson laugh and says:

"You know what I mean, Laslo."

And I say:

"Baby Girl, you have the BEST ass of any thirty-year old woman that I've ever seen."

This lead to a longer conversation.

I am Laslo.

Freeman Hunt said...

I bet God gets edged out by doughnuts a lot.

Laslo Spatula said...

So Scarlett Johannson and I are having a 'longer conversation' when she says:

"Laslo, one day I will get older; everyone does. One day my ass will not be so round and firm and pert as it is now. What happens then, Laslo? What happens then?"

So I say:

"Baby Girl, that will only mean that blow-jobs become that much more meaningful."

I have a way with the women.

I am Laslo.

Quaestor said...


I did finally read, and re-read, all of the offered passages. I enjoyed many of them, but a few I found somewhat less than meaningful outside their context. I've already registered my confusion with Lena Dunham's. She not a writer I'm likely to put aside Edmund Burke to read, so there's a bias I acknowledge. The Tom Wolfe, a writer I heartily admire, was also driving at a point that eluded me, though it was as lyrical a list of junk food as I've ever read.

"Radical Chic" was my introduction to Wolfe. It was published in an issue of New York magazine that I read in the periodicals section of my middle school library. The cover was wonderful -- a picture of never too rich and never too thin Manhattan socialites with their black-gloved fists raised. It was so clever and wicked that it could have been a National Lampoon cover back when P.J. O'Rourke paced its quarterdeck, another writer should add to your Kindle if you haven't already. I was so taken I surreptitiously and illegally photocopied the article and put it in a binder of Important Stuff. It may yet be around here somewhere.

My next Tom Wolfe read was the magnum opus, The Bonfire of the Vanities which led in turn to reading about Girolamo Savonarola, which led to a study of the life and ecclesiastical career of Rodrigo Borgia, which in turn revealed Cesare Borgia, which dovetailed into the previous read and appreciated The Prince. It's neat how the pebbles roll down the slope.

I've never read "Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers," but now I'm going to have to, aren't I? It seems to be about Black nationalist radicals of the kind so well documented by David Horowitz, or tooth decay -- can't tell yet. I've bookmarked the link with your portal code so when I've finished Burke's Reflections on the Revolution in France and Paleofantasy by Marlene Zuk (I usually have two or three unrelated works going in tandem) I'll click the link and get the Kindle edition, and you get the commission. Deal? I wish it was an epub; I do prefer the iBook reader to Kindle.

Amexpat said...

According to Wikipedia the "donut" spelling goes back to at least 1900 and "the interchangeability of the two spellings can be found in a series of 'National Donut Week' articles in The New York Times that covered the 1939 World's Fair." The Dunkin' Donuts name wasn't used until 1950, so don't blame them.

The dropping of the extraneous "ugh" from the spelling is the product of practical Americans spontaneously casting aside the burden of unnecessary letters.

I agree that Sunstein should be chastised for careless inconsistent spelling in the same paragraph.

Quaestor said...

previously read.

I absolutely cannot proofread myself except that a few hours at least pass.

Amexpat said...


Impressive selection of American writers using the "doughnut" spelling.

Made me doubt my own sense of what's the most common usage, but a quick Google check showed that "donut" prevails (62,000,000 to 16,200,000).

Left Bank of the Charles said...

"We don't need doughnuts, we need answers." That would be a good way to taunt Obama administration officials at press conferences and Congressional hearings.

chillblaine said...

There is a video game out called Donut County. I became aware of it from the Twitter #gamergate hashtag. The developer is very aware of his "internalized biases" and "cultural appropriation," and is not proud of them.

Ann Althouse said...

"Impressive selection of American writers using the "doughnut" spelling."

From my perusal of many books, I can tell you that "doughnut" is the preferred spelling. I think people like seeing the word "dough" in it, rather than "do" (which with "not" feels a bit like "do not").

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Adrift Transient,

I'm almost positive that quotation is Pascal, not Voltaire.

Quaestor said...

I think people like seeing the word "dough" in it, rather than "do"

Granted "dough" is better than "do" since "dough" is always one thing while "do" is at least two. However...
George Bernard Shaw pointed out many idiosyncrasies and obsolescences in English orthography, especially "gh" which is occasionally "eff" and more often silent, as in "dough." Ergo I propose a compromise which disposes of "donut" and reforms "doughnut" to reflect modernization of speech and to honor an important figure in the history of toroidal pastries: dohnut

Amexpat said...

I think people like seeing the word "dough" in it, rather than "do" (which with "not" feels a bit like "do not").

The "do not" association could be useful to dieters.