Cutting the post down again so as not to intrude on people’s dashboards too much.

a couple of trans women currently struggling to pay rent, and buy
electricity, gas and food. People have been incredibly generous so far
but we still need roughly £300 to make it through the next three-ish weeks.
After which, hopefully – although I’ve hoped this before – we’ll be able
to support ourselves again!

If you are able to
help, my PayPal is at

Reblogs are  appreciated. I’ll delete this post when when/if it is no longer needed.











what if i told you that a lot of “Americanized” versions of foods were actually the product of immigrant experiences and are not “bastardized versions”

That’s actually fascinating, does anyone have any examples?

Chinese-American food is a really good example of this and this article provides a good intro to the history

I took an entire class about Italian American immigrant cuisine and how it’s a product of their unique immigrant experience. The TL;DR is that many Italian immigrants came from the south (the poor) part of Italy, and were used to a mostly vegetable-based diet. However, when they came to the US they found foods that rich northern Italians were depicted as eating, such as sugar, coffee, wine, and meat, available for prices they could afford for the very first time. This is why Italian Americans were the first to combine meatballs with pasta, and why a lot of Italian American food is sugary and/or fattening. Italian American cuisine is a celebration of Italian immigrants’ newfound access to foods they hadn’t been able to access back home.

(Source: Cinotto, Simone. The Italian American Table: Food, Family, and
Community in New York City
. Chicago: U of Illinois, 2013. Print.)

Stuff you Missed in History Class has a really good podcast overview of “Foreign Food” in the US.

I LOVE learning about stuff like this 😀

that corned beef and cabbage thing you hear abou irish americans is actually from a similar situation but because they weren’t allowed to eat that stuff due to that artificial famine


Everyone knows Korean barbecue, right? It looks like this, right?


Well, this is called a “flanken cut” and was actually unheard of in traditional Korean cooking. In traditional galbi, the bone is cut about two inches long, separated into individual bones, and the meat is butterflied into a long, thin ribbon, like this:


In fact, the style of galbi with the bones cut short across the length is called “LA Galbi,” as in “Los Angeles-style.” So the “traditional Korean barbecue” is actually a Korean-American dish.

Now, here’s where things get interesting. You see, flanken-cut ribs aren’t actually all that popular in American cooking either. Where they are often used however, is in Mexican cooking, for tablitas.


So you have to imagine these Korean-American immigrants in 1970s Los Angeles getting a hankering for their traditional barbecue. Perhaps they end up going to a corner butcher shop to buy short ribs. Perhaps that butcher shop is owned by a Mexican family. Perhaps they end up buying flanken-cut short ribs for tablitas because that’s what’s available. Perhaps they get slightly weirded out by the way the bones are cut so short, but give it a chance anyway. “Holy crap this is delicious, and you can use the bones as a little handle too, so now galbi is finger food!” Soon, they actually come to prefer the flanken cut over the traditional cut: it’s easier to cook, easier to serve, and delicious, to boot! 

Time goes on, Asian fusion becomes popular, and suddenly the flanken cut short rib becomes better known as “Korean BBQ,” when it actually originated as a Korean-Mexican fusion dish!

I don’t know that it actually happened this way, but I like to think it did.

Corned beef and cabbage as we know it today? That came to the Irish immigrants via their Jewish neighbors at kosher delis.

The Irish immigrants almost solely bought their meat from kosher butchers. And what we think of today as Irish corned beef is actually Jewish corned beef thrown into a pot with cabbage and potatoes. The Jewish population in New York City at the time were relatively new immigrants from Eastern and Central Europe. The corned beef they made was from brisket, a kosher cut of meat from the front of the cow. Since brisket is a tougher cut, the salting and cooking processes transformed the meat into the extremely tender, flavorful corned beef we know of today.

The Irish may have been drawn to settling near Jewish neighborhoods and shopping at Jewish butchers because their cultures had many parallels. Both groups were scattered across the globe to escape oppression, had a sacred lost homeland, discriminated against in the US, and had a love for the arts. There was an understanding between the two groups, which was a comfort to the newly arriving immigrants. This relationship can be seen in Irish, Irish-American and Jewish-American folklore. It is not a coincidence that James Joyce made the main character of his masterpiece Ulysses, Leopold Bloom, a man born to Jewish and Irish parents. 


I can’t remember if I told this story already, but I’ll tell it again anyway because it’s relevant.

When I was in high school, we had an extremely popular music teacher. He’d been working at the school for decades, everyone who knew him loved him. He was the band director, worked with the annual musicals, helped organize concerts, the whole nine yards. He was one of my favourite teachers, and even after I graduated, I would sometimes stop in at the school just to say hi to him.

In early 2016, a few months before he was set to retire, he was accused of sexual abuse.

It started out with one anonymous accuser, then another came forward. Because of the timing right before his retirement, people thought it was just some immature kids making up shit to ruin his reputation. Or maybe it was someone who’d misunderstood a friendly arm around the shoulders. It just wasn’t possible in all of our minds that he could be a predator. It went completely against what we knew of him as a teacher and a person. In the fall out, commenters on Facebook accused those lodging charges against him of trying to ruin a good man’s reputation. Other teachers even joined in in the comments section of newspapers.

About a year later in May 2017, right before he was set to go to trial, he died in a car accident. Car collided with a garbage truck and he was killed immediately. No one thought we’d get any closure. I went to his funeral. I hugged old classmates and teachers, his wife, his kids. I believed the victims, but it was also incredibly hard to let go of a person who may or may not have been innocent.

Then one day a few months ago, I got a message out of the blue from an old classmate. She had run into another classmate earlier that day and she had been the one to press the first charge.

This is a woman who was one of that teacher’s favourite students and was always attached to him at the hip. She used to hang out in his classroom all the time, she was in all the bands, every concert. She idolized him. She had been in therapy for years following graduation as she slowly realized that she had been groomed and preyed upon. I reached out to her to offer her an ear as her story slowly spread, and I learned more about the whole thing than I wish I had.

She was slowly letting people know her story as the dust settled after his death, but she had wound up cutting ties with almost everyone from high school after she pressed charges. She couldn’t handle everyone assuming his innocence and her as a liar. People who she’d thought were friends wouldn’t even entertain the idea that he could have been a predator, so she cut everyone off to protect herself. When he died, she said she felt denied her chance to face him in court and get closure. She told me that the detective assigned to her tipped her off that the fact that the police did not immediately release our teacher’s name after his accident was a sign that it was most likely suicide. 

I have zero doubt in my mind that she is telling the truth. The fact that it took her more than 10 years to press charges is irrelevant. She was a child when he started abusing her. He groomed her to think that what was happening was normal and acceptable. She respected him loved him, so she didn’t question him. She was taught to think that what was happening was her fault, that she was the young temptress coming on to an older married man, so she didn’t tell anyone. She’s not a “perfect victim”, but she’s one of the bravest people I’ve ever met.

Victims like my classmate and Professor Christine Ford are not less believable because of the time that passed between their abuses and accusations. There are so many reasons why people wait, and those reasons do not invalidate their experiences or make them liars. We owe them so much better than making excuses for their abusers because of the timing of the disclosure.











So I was told that Human Planet had a segment about pigeons in the Cities episode that I might be interested in and I was honestly so underwhelmed. I haven’t finished the episode so maybe there’s more pigeon stuff but I feel like all I saw was more Birds Of Prey Are The Only Cool And Acceptable Birds and pigeons are Trespassers In Our Urban World Who Shit On Everything And Are Useless On Top Of It. Which isn’t true and I’m so tired of this being framed as some horrible burden that humanity must face. Pigeons are the victims here, not us. 

Hate of pigeons didn’t start until the 20th Century. Before that was about 9,900 years of loving them. The rock pigeon was domesticated 10,000 years ago and not only that, we took them freaking everywhere. Pigeons were the first domesticated bird and they were an all-around animal even though they were later bred into more specialised varieties. They were small but had a high feed conversion rate, in other words it didn’t cost a whole lot of money or space to keep and they provided a steady and reliable source of protein as eggs or meat. They home, so you could take them with you and then release them from wherever you were and they’d pretty reliably make their way back. Pigeons are actually among the fastest flyers and they can home over some incredible distances (what fantastic navigators!). They were an incredibly important line of communication for multiple civilisations in human history. You know the first ever Olympics? Pigeons were delivering that news around the Known World at the time. Also, their ability to breed any time of year regardless of temperature or photoperiod? That was us, we did that to them, back when people who couldn’t afford fancier animals could keep a pair or two for meat/eggs. 

Rooftop pigeon keeping isn’t new, it’s been around for centuries and is/was important to a whole variety of cultures. Pigeons live with us in cities because we put them there, we made them into city birds. I get that there are problems with bird droppings and there’s implications for too-large flocks. By all means those are things we should look to control, but you don’t need to hate pigeons with every fibre of your being. You don’t need to despise them or brush them off as stupid (they have been intelligence tested extensively as laboratory animals because guess what other setting they’re pretty well-adapted to? LABORATORIES!) because they aren’t stupid. They’re soft intelligent creatures and I don’t have time to list everything I love about pigeons again. You don’t need to aggressively fight them or have a deep desire to kill them at all. It’s so unnecessary, especially if you realise that the majority of reasons pigeons are so ubiquitous is a direct result of human interference.

We haven’t always hated pigeons though, Darwin’s pigeon chapter in The Origin of Species took so much of the spotlight that publishers at the time wanted him to make the book ONLY about pigeons and to hell with the rest because Victorian’s were obsessed with pigeons (as much as I would enjoy a book solely on pigeons, it’s probably best that he didn’t listen). 

My point is, for millenia, we loved pigeons. We loved them so much we took them everywhere with us and shaped them into a bird very well adapted for living alongside us.

It’s only been very recently that we decided we hated them, that we decided to blame them for ruining our cities. The language we use to describe pigeons is pretty awful. But it wasn’t always, and I wish we remembered that. I wish we would stop blaming them for being what we made them, what they are, and spent more time actually tackling the problems our cities face.  

I just have a lot of feelings about how complex and multidimensional hating pigeons actually is


And also pigeon poop was a very valuable fertilizer before we had other options, people would hire guards to stop thieves from stealing their flock’s poop.


Late night, reblogging, so bear with me here…

Thank you for posting much of my thoughts over the past year and a half! I am known by many as “that guy who keeps the raptors”. Yes this is true, I do keep and handle raptors for educational purposes, but what many fail to realize is, I am fascinated with pigeons. My interest with birds began with the obvious, the raptors, corvids, and parrots. Then I discovered pigeons. These wonderful little birds with big attitudes and the incredible ability to thrive among people. 

The organization I work with got its first pigeon a little over a year ago. She was a rescue with nowhere else to go. I was quickly drawn to her character and attitude about life.

We rarely handled her, but we did spend time with her.

She grew attached to our volunteers very quickly because their were no other birds she could socialize with in our facility. 

We never intended to train her for educational programs. It was a job reserved for our raptors. It was our pigeon who decided she would be a part of what we were doing. One day, when we entered her enclosure to change water and food, she decided to fly to my hand and perch like our raptors do. 

No training, no treats, just the reward of being with us. 

What we hadn’t noticed for the couple months prior was her watching us. This brilliant little bird had been watching us every day as we trained and worked with our raptors. Finally she decided she didn’t want to be left out any longer. She made her place on our hands.

This occurred several times before we finally put her on a glove and brought her into the public. Needless to say, she was right at home. She fluffed up and preened the entire evening while people gawked and asked us why we had a pigeon on one glove and a hawk on another. 

Since then, we’ve added 5 more rescued pigeons to our growing flock. And our pigeon (Tybalt) has become a mainstay ambassador for our programs. Each of our pigeons are incredibly fun to watch and interact with. Pigeons simply don’t get enough love. They are marvelous creatures incredibly suited to life alongside people both physically and mentally. 

Raptors my have been my introduction into birds, but pigeons opened my eyes to a new appreciation for them and the fascinating world of bird cognition.

NOT ONLY are pigeons very amazing, worth our respect, and INTERESTING (did you read any of that stuff above?), but they are beautiful too!

Look how lovely:

Photo by .jocelyn.

They have a complex and fascinating social structure, both within a flock and with other individuals:

Photo by Ingrid Taylar


Photo by Musical Photo Man

Not chickens, but I feel compelled to spread this gospel.

hmmm. this is making me rethink my new york pigeon hate

and, AND, haven’t you ever wondered why city pigeons come in a magnificent rainbow of unusual colors?

Most wild animals all look alike within a species, with TINY, RARE individual variations in terms of rare color morphs, unusually big or small animals, different facial markings and other subtleties. But there is no evolutionary benefit to having species where everyone looks slightly different, and in fact, it’s beneficial for species to be similar and consistent, with a distinctive aesthetic. Especially if you’re trying to blend into the environment – a black wolf is all very well, but it looks positively silly in the summer tundra, where its grey/brown/brindley cousins blend in. A white deer has a great aesthetic – and a very short lifespan in the forest. Distinctive Protagonist looks are rare in the wild, simply because natural selection usually comes down heavily on them.

To humans, most wild animals are visually indistinguishable from each other.

As a result, most wild animals are like

“Oh it’s obvious – you can tell the twins apart because Kara has a big nose.”

Wild animals usually have a pretty consistent aesthetic within their species. It’s important to them!


Look, in one small picture you’ve got a red color morph in the center, several melanistic dark morphs, a few solid black birds, a few variations on the wildtype wing pattern, a PIEBALD, a piebald copper color morph…

Like, there are LAYERS UPON LAYERS of pigeon diversity in most flocks you see. Pure white ones with black wingtips. Solid brown ones with pink iridescent patches. Pale pinkish pigeons.

WHY IS THAT? When other wild animals consider “being slightly fluffier than my brother” to be dangerously distinctive in most circumstances?






See, pigeon fanciers bred (and still breed!) a huge array of pigeons. And the resulting swarms of released/discarded/escaped/phased out “fancy” pigeons stayed around humans. What else were they going to do? They interbred with wildtype pigeons.

Lots of the pigeons you see in public are feral. They’re not wild animals. They’re citizen animals. They’re genetically engineered. And now that’s what “city” pigeons are.

These “wild” horses are all different colors because they’re actually feral. Mustangs in the American West are the descendants of imported European horses – they’re an invasive domestic species that colonized an ecological niche, but they are domestic animals. Their distinctive patterns were deliberately bred by humans. A few generations of running around on the prairie isn’t going to erase that and turn them back into wildtypes. If you catch an adult mustang and train it for a short period, you can ride it and have it do tricks and make it love you. It’s a domestic animal. You can’t really do that with an adult zebra.

No matter how many generations these dogs stay on the street and interbreed with one another, they won’t turn back into wolves. They can’t. They’re deliberately genetically engineered. If you catch one (even after generations of rough living, even as an adult) you can make it stare at your face, care about your body language, and love you.

City pigeons? Well, you don’t have to like them, but they’re in the same boat. They’re tamed animals, bred on purpose, living in a human community. Their very bodies are marked with their former ownership and allegiance; they cannot really return to what they once were; if you caught one, you could make it love you (in a limited pigeon-y way.) They have gone to “the wild,” but not very far from us, and they’d be happy to come back.

So next time you see a flock of city pigeons, spare a moment to note their diversity. The wing patterns. The pied, mottled and brindled. The color types.

All of it was once meant to please you.

I am now on Team Pigeon.  Thank you.

Aww, the pigeon discourse has come home to my dash again! Like a homing pigeon.

Team Pidgeon!!!!