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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
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Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

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At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it.

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« And here I thought the suburbs were boring. | Main | Yesterday--when all my troubles seemed right in my lap. »
Wednesday
Jun142006

Whining finally gets the respect it deserves.

So these guys decided that this post had some sort of merit (really?), and they’ve chosen it as a reading for their Blogsday 2006. Anyone who knows me knows that I love the James Joyce (my god, in my high school yearbook my senior quote was from Ulysses—how did everyone not punch me?) (Although at least it wasn’t from Finnegan’s Wake. "She has a gift of seek on site and she allcasually ansars helpers, the dreamydeary. Heed! Heed! Go Class of '87!"), so it’s a great honor to be included in this latter-day take on Bloomsday. Apparently an actor will read my words, adding some whimpering where appropriate. Maybe at the end she’ll burst into heaving sobs! Oh, I hope!

It will be airing on your local NPR affiliate, probably Thursday night. I know it’s on WNYC Thursday at 9, but the rest of you will just have to look it up. I’ll be sitting by my radio, cringing.

Meanwhile, since writing that post, I’ve found myself despite my best efforts actually liking it around here. This house is so pretty that I want to lick it. (I hold off, because of the lead paint.) I keep trying to avoid the neighbors but somehow they find me and then I end up liking them, damn it. I have an herb garden and so far everything is still alive. (Except my basil tastes like nothing. Readers, you’ve helped me with every other aspect of my life, so tell me: why would basil taste like, well, leaves? Instead of the explosive flavor sensation I have long known it to be?) And Henry starts camp in two weeks! Every-day-for-four-hours camp! Much-cheaper-than-the-babysitter camp!

Posts will be light around here for the next month, as I focus on other projects for a while and also try not to get fired. I’ll be posting more pictures on Flickr when I remember, including my new series, “Weed or Something Else?”

Reader Comments (65)

After I posted my Joycean spiel, I started to think it might have been a little, um, I don't know. You know what I mean?
June 14, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAnne in New Jersey
Well, I appreciated it, Anne...
June 14, 2006 | Unregistered Commenteralice
Bland basil: Watering the plants less will help (although it helps more with tomatoes), as will pinching off the newest leaves (somehow this stimulates them to grow more). But alas, you may have to simply to yank out the plants you have, run back to the nursery, & do that surreptitious pinch & taste test before buying more. Some varieties of basil just don't have much flavor. (I've never tried lemon basil but now I think I'll have to.)
June 14, 2006 | Unregistered Commentervictoria
I can't help with your basil, I can't even get dirt to grow around here...oh wait, I'm sure there is a logical reason why my dirt is not growing...oh well, congrats and I love your posts, all of them, the happy and the sad
June 14, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJerri Ann
Too much water is the first thing I thought of too. It has rained a lot along the eastern seaboard lately. (?) I would give it a couple of hot sunny days and re-taste. I've been an avid grower of pesto ingredients for the paste few years. I'll taste my basil tonight and let you know if it is zestless.
June 14, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterfisherking
oops - "grower of pesto ingredients for the past few years".

(I do grow the ingredients for the paste - I like the taste of the paste)
June 14, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterfisherking
Yep- "Pinch the bud, the flavor will flood."or the other one I heard once was "Don't let them flower - the flavor will sour."Congrats! I'm glad you are feeling better about things. Looking forward to your new series!
June 14, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterTeresaLynn
Is anyone else getting a little warm with all the "pinch the bud" talk in here?

(I keed, I keed!)
June 14, 2006 | Unregistered Commentertortoiseshelly
Okay, delurking, decloaking, whatever. Alice, you can friggin write your ass off. And so damn funny! I'd like to listen to NPR and all, but it sounds like more fun to read through your archives...you had me at "Pretty Rambo". And hey, unlike everyone else around here from what I can tell, I'm a daddy - not a mommy! Gasp! It's a MAAYUN! And why does a man risk all sorts of ridicule by decloaking on the exalted finslippy blog? Is it because of the speaking of the pinching of the buds? Well, okay, maybe a little - but mostly, it's because you writing is that good. And that funny. So add another voice to the finslippy chorus. Oh, and on the whole basil leaf blandness thing - um, I don't know, I'm a fucking guy. Buy a Chia Herb Garden or something! Great blog. Cheers!
June 14, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMike
A man! Destroy him, girls!
June 14, 2006 | Unregistered Commenteralice
I'm guessing some wild varment peed on it and neutralized the basil flavor.

I hope you didn't eat it! Oh...um...nevermind.
June 14, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJeff
I've got his arms! Kick him!

Usually I listen to NPR while reading Finslippy and now I'll be...wha? This is all too crazy for me, this world.
June 14, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSiscovitski
Wikipedia entry in the year 2126:finslippy : (noun) a machine invented by Alice, pre-eminent twenty first century blogger. Used to emasculate any weak-minded, less verbal male who dared delurk on her blog. The original finslippy can now be found in the New Jersey Hall of Fame in the space that used to house Bon Jovi's first guitar, steel horse, and big 80's haircut. Alice later took over for Oprah, and occasionally invited NPR hosts onto her blog for cute "story of the week" segments. Alice made her fortune by mass producing finslippies and distributing them to her fellow mommy bloggers at BlogHer conferences. Men stopped commenting soon thereafter and were later found huddled around Mike Arrington's old TechCrunch BBQ pit in Atherton muttering short grunts of ..."web 2.0"..."wisdom of the crowds" ... "beeyotches"..." basil leaves..."



June 14, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMike
I too live in New Jersey and my basil has no flavor either. As my 4 year old would say--we match!

June 14, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterBetsy
Are you okay with Henry starting camp? Our Okapis start camp in less than two weeks (C-12 days to be exact) and I'm...uh... well... a tad bit...um...petrified about how they are going to handle it. Maybe they'll be just fine - maybe they'll never want to speak to us again. Maybe we'll get a phone call from the camp saying our Okapis need to be picked up. Oye, they've never been away from my wife before for any real stretch of time. This is it.

Maybe I should find a garden and see if I can grow basil that tastes like leaves - it might give me something else to focus on, you know?
June 14, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJGS
No no be miserable. I need my daily dose of blog pathos to distract me from my own. JUST kidding. I really am glad you feel better. I do too but I never seem to get nice neighbors, or if they are nice they are drunks with a perpetually barking dog.

Maybe the basil is too young? Maybe the kind you planted? What am I sayin', I dunno nothing about basil except I like it sandwiched between a slice of fresh picked tomato and a slice of mozzerela cheese. That way if the basil is no good, there is back up.
June 14, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSue G
OMG! OpenSource! So, here's something you may not expect: You, and probably everyone else is excited about public radio doing your post, but *I'm* excited that you're plugging OpenSource! My hubs works in public radio (doing technology, blah blah),and OpenSource is one of his projects, and I literally just went screaming into him:

"FINSLIPPY IS TALKING ABOUT OPENSOURCE"

"*My* OpenSource?"

We're public radio nerds. And,it's PRI who produces that, not NPR. They're competitors, kind of. I know, crazy. But they are. And I know, only the nerdiest of public radio nerds would bother to explain that, but it's drilled into me daily, "NPR AND PRI ARE SEPARATE. NPR DOES NOT EQUAL PUBLIC RADIO."

No one said we were cool.
June 14, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterjonniker
um, I am a less-good person than all of you. In my mind, I imagined you creeping around suburban NJ backyards, looking for the neighbors with "grow lights" and suspiciously mellow friends, and taking pictures of their hedges, which suspiciously resemble marijuana. You'd be a one-woman vice patrol! Like Miss Marple! or Angela Lansbury on "Murder She Wrote", but.... not.
June 14, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterNadarine
Hmm as others said, some varieties of basil are just not as flavorful as others . . . however, I don't know if I agree with the advice to cut back on the water if your plant is in a container-- although a little hardship does generally help herbs develop more flavor, basil gets very thirsty, very quickly when it's in a container, and I have found that once my container basil plants reach maturity I have to water them nearly every day to keep them from wilting rather pitifully.

It is very important, as others have said, to pinch back the blooms when they start (although you can let one or two stalks go if you feel like it-- just not the whole plant).

If you do get a new plant, I would suggest potting it in a mix of half potting soil and half peat moss, making sure it's in full sun for at least a good third of the day, and I WOULD recommend adding a little bit of fertilizer-- you can get organic fertilizer-- there are plenty of nice organic plant food sources out there, and many plant shops even carry organic plant food specifically designed for herbs.

Good luck! At least it's not dead yet, which shows you're a better gardener than you thought!
June 14, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterjaelithe
Oh my gawd, I had a horrible image of Christopher Lyden reading that post with his snotty Cambridge accent and I almost choked. Thank goodness they'll have a real live actor read it, because I just can't see him with any emotions whatsoever. And that's after years of watching him on Boston PBS and listening to him on NPR local radio as well.

The baail probably has lost it's edge due to the huge amount of water it's received recently. Too much rain swells the leaves and they tend to lose their potency. Mine is also a lot less potent than it was when it was dryer out. But aren't the plants gorgeous? Huge leaves! So green and vibrant. So they taste like grass, they LOOK so pretty.
June 14, 2006 | Unregistered Commentermargalit
It's probably the same reason that those equal fake-sugar pills taste like...well, I don't know. Something vile and sugary but also SOUR.
June 14, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJem
lis and Alice -

Reunion was cool, but not as cool as it would have been if Alice had been there. And our classe (mine and Alice's) lurked silently in a corner and watched enviously while your class rocked it out with '76, wondering why we were so lame. The we wached away the lameness with a few cases of beer. But realizing we were in Freeman brought all the lamness back...

I am so glad you are happier in Jersey. And Henry will love camp (and you will love the peace and quiet) My son Owen, 4 ("and a HALF, Mommy!" he would yell) is starting camp in July - I can't wait. Now if it were only somehow acceptable to lock my 20 month old in the closet so I could have some peace and quiet myself... Hey! I have a closet with a window! Is that ok? Hmmm... maybe not...
June 15, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterDr. K
Also, on the basil, harvest early in the day. Herbs tend to be more flavorful in the morning.

So much gardening advice from one little question... welcome to home ownership.
June 15, 2006 | Unregistered Commentermox
I have never heard of this blogsday - very cool. Will tune in. Now I must go find some lemon soap.

Looking forward to the weed/not weed flickr set. I will be following it closely. i was recently instructed in the many varieties of hosta. Who knew?
June 15, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLetterB
I killed my basil - so I have no clue.

I'll be listening for your post on the radio!
June 15, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterKat

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