Welcome to Maoist Orange Cake. Each week one of our Divas posts a thoughtful (but not necessarily serious) essay on whatever calls forth her Voice or strikes her Fancy. We invite you to join us wherever the discussion leads.
Motto of the MOC: Sincere, yes. Serious? Never!

"I would also like to add that ‘Maoist Orange Cake is possibly the best name for a blog ever. Just my twopence." -- The Sixth Carnival of Radical Feminists, 1 October 2007

The Twelfth Carnival of Radical Feminists is up at The Burning Times blog and mentions one of our posts, Helen 'Wheels' Keller, for recommendation. Orangeists spreading our zest!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


By request, below the fold we're going to post photos of some costumes worn by Maoist Orange Cakers this year and in the past. If you'd like to add to this line-up, e-mail your JPEGs, GIFs or BMPs to one of us. And please continue celebrating little gator's post on Halloween.

The beauty of hand-made costumes, using masks from Venice and creative assemblage:

(Kat, Halloween 2007)

(Creating that medieval "layered look")

(Kat's boyfriend, Halloween 2007)

(Kat's boyfriend Halloween 2007, close-up of mask)

Costumes used by Kat's dear friend Paul Joseph Serna of the Houston Grand Opera in production of Un ballo in maschera (A Masked Ball) and La fille du regiment (The Daughter of the Regiment)

little gator has come through with some photographs of her pumpkin carving party for 2007 and the glorious results, below. In the last photo, the woman in white shirt and black pants is little gator -- only a backside view, maybe we get to see your face next time, too? (please?)

This is not a Halloween costume -- rather, it's from my infamous Pirate Birthday Party of 1984, at Lake Merced in San Francisco. A rowdy crew of dykes and children dressed as brigands swarmed the rowboat concession at the lake. We had cutlasses, pistols (my flintlock shot caps -- o how I love cap pistols!), a plank to walk, and cannonballs (dodgeballs painted black). Within half an hour, we'd cleared the lake of anyone but us. My Chocolate Heart Attack cake from Just Desserts had to be cut with a plastic dagger. This shot is after my roommate and one of the great loves of my life, Sharon "Lava" Franklet had persuaded me to insert my flintlock into my breeches for added effect -- I let her do the placement and adjusting. I was an out-of-control Mary Bonney. It was my first birthday after Mama died. The tattoo between my exposed cleavage was a red rose emblazoned with "Mom."

Last, but not least:

(Ghost doggies, as references in little gator's post)


Thursday, October 25, 2007


(Lydia and pals waiting for The Great Pumpkin at the Gators' house, Halloween 2006)

This is my set of memories, so I'm not going into the origins and possible meanings of Halloween, or the history and alternate spelling fo the name itself. To me, it's a time for certain types of goofy fun.

Pigging out on candy, dressing up as things or people you are not, being scared or pretending to be scared of things that are supposed to be scary or disgusting, creating my favorite ephemeral folk art, running around alone in the dark and for one night a year feeling safe doing so -- what's not to like?

I know a lot of adults who hate handing out candy, but I'm not one of them.

My earliest memory is of the clown suit in the basement. I though it was icky, and not in a good way. It was the right size for a 4 or 5 year old, and I'd probably had a turn wearing it.

We wore our costumes to school if we wanted to, and we usually did. They carefully explained that the "trick" part of "trick or treat" was obsolete and mean, and if someone didn't have goodies for us we should be polite. We got our little boxes for pennies for UNICEF. Later I learned that was intended to replace begging for candy, not supplement it. And we all knew which kids gave brought the money to turn in at school amd which kids kept it. I haven't been asked for Halloween UNICEF money in ages -- do they still do that?

The earliest Halloween I remember I was in second grade, and my mother made me a witch costume. Her black skirt, when safety pinned to fit my waist, almost reached my ankles. I wore a plain white shirt and a black shawl borrowed from my grandmother, and of course I carried a broom. The only thing that cost money was the hat.

(Origami witch)

In third grade, we made hideous masks in school from paper grocery bags. I wanted to use mine, of course, but what to do about the rest of me? Mom to the rescue again. She gave me a long striped satin bathrobe in metallic colors, mostly purple and black. It was icky in a very fun way.

She's never been able to remember where she got it.

The sad thing was there were 11 houses on our street, and we weren't allowed on the busy main road, so only once got the huge sack of goodies some of my friends had. We'd be finished in a very short time. One family always made exactly 12 popcorn balls. There were many more than 11 children on the street, so that house was usually a waste. When my mother checked our candy and saw the popcorn ball she's ask who gave it to us, we'd say "Mrs. Sousa" and she'd say that was ok then. I wished just once she'd remember.
(The Halloween Tree, book and cover painting by Ray Bradbury)
Then came the glorious year of fifth grade. I was to go the whole length of a residential country road with my best friend Debbie, and then stay over at her house. It was everything I'd missed, and oddly enough, once was enough. My paper bag robot costume fell apart early on, but even that didn't matter -- I'd made it myself which made it all good.

The very last time I was in high school and too old, but I was my youngest sister's chaperone and didn't take any goodies, which made it ok. I didn't bother with a costume but I did comb my long hair over my face, put my glasses over it, and said I was Cousin Itt.
(The Bell Witch)
Our first house was in an isolated spot on a dead end at the bottom on a hill, and no one came there. So I started going out myself to a crowded area not far away, to admire the kids and pumpkins. I took my dog along and put a baggy t-shirt on her, pinning up the bottom so she didn't trip or pee on it. This went on for many years, and sometimes I had 2 dogs (all my dogs have been assorted Coonhounds). Kids who had no idea who I was would yell "Look! It's the ghost doggies!" One time someone called me over to the house for a dog biscuit for Rikki. Another time Rikki and I were standing in the road watching a busy house while a mother was near me watching her daughter go to that house. She gave me a disapproving look , so I asked her how she liked my son's dog costume. She couldn't get away from me fast enough. I even met another ghost doggie, whose human said I'd inspired him to do that. This one was a German Shepherd in a tight child's t-shirt -- cute but not very ghostly.

Now I live on a long residential road similar to the one Debbie lived on. Sometimes we get lots of kids, sometimes none. We're near the top of a hill now and some can't be bothered to make the hike. I had the honor of seeing the neighbors' grandson as a vampire in regular baby clothes and a black cape. All he understood was the candy.

My mother stays over at our overly decorated house (we have a reputation by now) on Halloween, and I buy too much candy and you can guess what I do with it. Sadly, I had to go chocolate free this year since my migraines won't let me eat chocolate anymore. Keep Lindt truffles for the parents (only white chocolate this year. sigh), coins just in case, the usual candy for kids, and Halloween themed cheap toys from Oriental Trading.

I haven't seen the two girls lately -- they've probably gotten too old for it. They were close friends who always dressed as the same thing, but in different styles. One year they were both witches, another year they were both angels.

And then there's the pumpkins. As a child we were rationed -- one pumpkin each and we had to carve it outdoors so the house wouldn't get messy. We used to walk about 1/2 mile to a farm stand to get them. One year my brother got one too big to carry and dragged it home on his coat.

Now I always have a bunch of them, homegrown in a good growing year. The Pumpkin Masters gave me tools that made it easier, but I did ok with just kitchen knives. And to me it's just not right unless it's a face, preferably smiling with lots of teeth. I used to draw them before I carve, but now I usually do them freehand.

Most years I have a BYOP carving party. It's always more fun if someone brings children, and I encourage them to not worry about messes, telling them I'll clean up later. I got to teach 2 small boys the phrase "pumpkin guts" while their mother and aunt wondered how they'd ever forgotten to educate them on that.
(After Pumpkin Carving Party 2006 at the Gators' house.)
I torment my friends. Every time I make the first cut to open a pumpkin I sing "the first cut is the deepest."

Sometimes I make rat cupcakes. I bend disposable mini loaf pans into vaguely ratty shapes and make cake (one box mix makes 8 rats) They have candy corn ears, red candy eyes, and gummi worm tails. Best of all, I slit their little tummies and pipe in some red frosting for rat guts. Most people find 1/2 rat is enough, and I'm always happy to tell them that I give a rat's ass.

And finally, a few days later, I carefully place the pumpkins on the compost pile and watch them rot away without having to be close enough to smell them as they enrich the soil for the next years crop.

Poem written by gator's mother with a Halloween-themed Poetry Magnet Kit, unpunctated as is traditional with poetry magnets:

October night
carve a pumpkin
wicked fright
werewolf costume
may I speak
spooky witch
trick or shriek

Untitled by gator

a fat pumpkin was decorated for Halloween
a child carved a face with big silly teeth and creepy eyes
a candle glowed in its head
costumed kids loved the ghostly weirdness

yet after October
lies a silent corpse
smelly bruised and melancholy
its cracked decaying skin
hides cold orange guts and slimy seeds
it slowly rots into wilted dirt
recalling a magic autumn night

Untitled also by gator

black and orange candy corn
in the graveyard zombies born
kids as monsters eerie sky
in rotting caskets corpses lie
evil goblins waking dead
bloody fangs and severed head
vampires drink live peoples gore
that's what Halloween is for


Monday, October 22, 2007

The Worst Book Ever....

This is what I've been reading during my convalescence (I have bursitis), that is, when I have been conscious enough (I'm on painkillers) to read.

Originally the book was called "If I Did It", and O.J. was to receive all of the credit, as well as the profits. The Goldman and Brown families had teamed up to prevent the publication of this "thing" but due to much legal wrangling, they were unable to do this.

However, since the "Juice" has never paid a cent on his civil judgment owed by him to the Goldman's, all rights and profits have been turned over to the Goldman family. The Brown family would be happy if the damn thing were never published, but someone was going to publish it, and the Goldmans felt at least if they published it, they could put their stamp on it.

The title was changed to "I Did It" and the hired ghostwriter did virtually nothing to pretty up O.J.'s ramblings, resulting in a revolting, if somewhat fascinating book. (And in case you're wondering, no, I didn't buy it -- I checked it out from the library. Although if I had bought it, all profits are to go to the Ron Goldman Foundation, which helps victims of violent crime.)

In O.J.'s world, he was the perfect husband and father, who suffered a wife who was an irrepressible bitch. His description of "that night" is typical of most murderers ---"I blanked out, and when I woke up, everybody was dead, and I don't remember a thing". But hey, I'm reading the damn thing, along with a lot of other people.....Thoughts, anyone???


Tuesday, October 9, 2007


I've been inspired by the pieces that have been written by our own Ms. Jochild on Meta Watershed to tell of one of my own run-ins with the health care system. For those who are convinced that socialized medicine is the worst thing that could ever happen to this country, maybe this will make you think again.

In 2005, my girlfriend and I decided to move in together. During the move, I fell down some stairs. Back then, I thought I had injured only my knee -- two years later I was told I had severely injured my back, that THAT was my real problem. But my knee hurt more, and everyone went with that.

I had surgery for a torn meniscus and a torn ACL. I was supposed to get better "in a couple of weeks"; it never got better, only worse. The summer that followed, my contract was not renewed with the school district, and with my job went my health insurance.

Without physical therapy, my whole leg was enveloped with pain. When I could stand it no more, I went to a community health clinic that would see uninsured patients. The clinic doctor told me I needed an x-ray, as she thought I had a blood clot. I was to go to the ER at Truman Medical Center (they see uninsured patients) and have this done right away.

When I arrived at the ER, I was shocked to find it chock-full of the maimed and bleeding. One woman sat in the corner, a bloody towel pressed to her face. Upon inquiry, I discovered her eye had been popped from its socket by an errant boyfriend. She had been waiting TWO HOURS. Another woman, unable to move her left hand, had been there THREE HOURS. I was in for a bit of a wait.

I called my girlfriend to let her know where I was. No, don't come down. Once I get in, I'll have my xray, and probably just end up coming home. Naw, don't worry about me.

Around 10 p.m., I was finally seen (I'd been there since 6). I was in pain, so I was given pain medication. A few minutes later, a beautiful, young, female resident came in my little curtained cubicle, full of questions for me. "You have pain in your leg, yes?" "Yeeeessss" I nodded and said. "And you have chest pain, too, is that right?" "Nooooo" I nodded and said. At least I think I did. Looking at her beautiful Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman-like face, I just might've said yes to anything. I was on painkillers, and by then was pretty baked. "Pos for cp" she said over her shoulder to the nurse. "Nooooo, Noooo for CP" I gurgled, but I think it came out "Og, og, erg og."

Two hours later, my girlfriend Cyndi came in. She tried to talk to me; I answered in gibberish. "What the hell's wrong with her?" she said. "She's having chest pains," said the nurse, "Sometimes they get like that. "I'm calling her kids," said Cyndi "NOOOOO" I cried out "MYFUCKING LEG IS THE ONLY THING THAT HURTS!!!" Apparently the only words that were understandable were "fucking" and "hurts" because then Dr Quinn said "Hear that? She hurts so much she's swearing! Give her another pain shot!"


Some time later, my girls arrived. They drove all the way from Lawrence, Kansas, about an hour away (they went to K.U. at the time) They were both crying, thinking I was dying. (Their father really did die, two years before, hence my concern). I tried to talk to them, but nothing came out right. They eventually returned home with Cyndi and left me to the mercy of the Emergency Department.

I have a dim memory of having my x-ray -- no blood clot was found. "But there's still her chest pain" they said. And even though by then I was beginning to be a little more understandable -- "My chest doesn't hurt!" -- no one was listening. I then spent the next 24 hours on a cot in the ER, waiting for a bed to open up.

The next morning I was taken to a no frills room. Next to me was the woman with the hand problem -- it seems she had had a stroke. The room was very cold, and I asked for a blanket.

"Ain't got no blankets. We out!" was the reply. Then our breakfast arrives, cold eggs on a paper plate with a hard roll. "Ma'am" I said, "Could I have some coffee with my breakfast?"

"Ain't got no coffee. This ain't a hotel!"

My roommate's doctor came and talked with her. "I just wanna go home," said roommate. The doctor told her to get out of bed and walk. Evidently, she didn't do it well enough to suit the doctor. "I'm sending you to a nursing home," she said. My roommate cried, and repeated her request to go home. The doctor turned on her heels and left. My roommate cried.

In came Dr. Quinn, with a bevy of other comely residents. But this time I would not be swayed.

"I want to go home" I said.

"How's your chest pain?"

"I never had any. What's wrong with my leg?"

"Well we aren't sure. And you said you had chest pain down in the ER".

I argued with them over this point for about five minutes, then gave up. I just wanted to go home and told them so.

"Let me see how well you can walk, before we do that."

Remembering my roommate, I girded up all my strength, and stiffened up, determined not to wobble. Hell, I practically goose-stepped, but it was sufficient enough to past muster. And they let me go home.

Later that year, the county adopted a domestic partner registry. Since Cyndi was a county employee, if I became her official "domestic partner" I could get on her health insurance. (BTW, for this privilege, we pay extra taxes, something married straights don't have to do). And so we became "domesticated".

With health insurance, I got better medical care. I finally found out my leg pain was actually sciatica, now called a radiculopathy, and was caused by a back injury no one in Truman or the clinic had picked up on, and I am now being treated for that.

I often think about the other people in that ER. I hope one day they somehow get a new job, get married, or partnered up, and get some health insurance so they never have to go back there. I figure that wish has more of a chance than wishing for universal health care for all of them.



Bookbird, in response to our quest for the perfect Maoist Orange Cake image, suggested the one above. I agree with her, it looks very much like the real thing. So I'm tossing it up here in a brief post, to see how it affects the vote.


Wednesday, October 3, 2007


(The original orange cake image)
Here at Maoist Orange Cake, we're in the middle of a discussion about changing the image we use at the top of our webpage. We've decided to share this conversation with you, to reveal our culinary process. And encourage your input.

It began thusly:

Shado to Maggie, 2 October 2007: I found this picture online. Wouldn't it be great if we could somehow get that bottle out of her hans, and replace it with a piece of Orange Cake?
Just thinkin'....

(Scientist babe)

Maggie to Shado: my god yes. i'm pretty crappy at adobe photoshop but i may have to give it a try. i'll also send it to liza and see if it catches her interest.

Maggie to Liza: Liza, is this is this a project that (a) interests you and (b) is do-able?

Shado to Maggie: whoops sorry---you know I meant hands right? I was just so excited about stumbling onto the picture. I'd love to see what you could do with it.!

Maggie to Shado: oh, well, if its hanDs, forget it! i was so glad to hear someone mentioned that overlooked and extremely delicious body part, hans, i was beside myself. but since you're willing to side with the hands over hans crowd, count me out. HANS FOREVER!

Shado to Maggie: Oh yeah---I know you're just thinkin' about doing something with your "hans" and that piece of cake...

Liza to Maggie: Too tricky. But look at this
(Displaying Maoist orange cake)
Or this.

Maggie to Liza: EXCELLENT. I'm going to share it with Shado but I vote for the second -- it's fairly perfect. Is it public domain?

Liza to Maggie: public domain? It's communist, gimme a break. Who should be making a profit on it? Who owns it? Really, I don't know chinese copyright law.
It's called Friendship and it was done in 1959. I'm attaching a larger version.

Maggie to Shado: Shado, Liza says altering the photo you sent is too complicated (the star rays, I bet) but she offers two other possibilities, attached. I vote for the second one, the little girls eating Maoist Orange Cake. Whaddya think? I could put it up at MOC and see what the vote there is.

Shado to Maggie: I vote for the little girls too! Very cute, but looks like they're up to something!

Maggie to all the MOCers: Thx to an idea from Shado and the finding of a Mao poster by Liza, we now have a new image up at Maoist Orange Cake. Tell us what you think! -- Maggie

Shado to Maggie: I just saw it---looks great!

Maggie to Shado: i gotta say, tho, that scientist babe in the original photo you sent me is ROCKIN'.

Shado to Maggie: She is isn't she? Very cute!

Feminista to All, 3 October 2007: While the Chinese children are cute, I would like to see the piece of cake remain a part of the blog.

Maggie to All: Well, now that some of you are voting for the cake, I realize I didn't save that image and I can't find it in my archives. It was not an actual picture of Moist Orange Cake according to our recipe, you understand -- we don't have one of those, not yet, anyhow -- it was a public domain generic orange cake photo I pulled from the web. So, since it's lost, attached are five other options. Please vote for one of these if you want a cake image. Majority rule. Thanks. -- Maggie

(Orange cake #1)

(Orange Cake #2)

(Orange Cake #3)

(Orange Cake #4)

(Orange Cake #5)

Kat to All: I concur. I like the new pic, but is there room somewhere for the piece of cake as well?

Liza to Maggie: How's this? The image is from a 1937 Sunkist recipe booklet that I happen to have here in the gallery. I'm sending the original scans plus a little graphic i did for you.
(Sunkist recipe cake)

Jana to All: I like cake No. 4. The photo has the most clarity of design, and it is closest to the description of the real Maoist Orange Cake.
I have a suggestion. Somebody needs to make the cake and photograph it from various angles. Then we can use them for the time being, and I can also use the photos as reference to make a Mao poster with a round cake and happy marching peasants. I imagine the cake dominating the background, either as a tower or the sun, while the peasants march across the foreground carrying giant forks and knives. I know it should be chopsticks, but giant chopsticks no longer look like chopsticks.
I don't promise it in a hurry, but I think it would be a good solution. In the meantime we can leave up the children for a while, then put up No. 4, or perhaps rotate all the images. But remember, there is no decadent chocolate on a true People's Orange Cake!
By the way, it might be more amusing to our readers if we discussed this on the blog, including what we've wr itten here. We could even take non-binding advisory votes from our readers. In my opinion, the MOC is not sufficiently chaotic. If no one is planning to be this week's diva, Maggie can post her letter as-is, with photos, and we'll add our comments.

Little Gator to All: Please not 1 or 2. They both scream "Im a carrot cake!'

Feminista to All: Cake #1 gets my vote.

Josiah to All: The original cake picture is still up in Google's cache of the MOC home page. That said, I like the Chinese kids. I also like Jana's idea of throwing the matter open to the readership.

Josiah to All: Immediately after my last email, I found the Blogger page for the original cake image. So, as Dubya would say, all options are on the table. (But our options taste better than his!)

Feminista to All: Thanks, Josiah. I vote for keeping the original.

Maggie to All: very much like the idea of putting this conversation on the blog itself. Unless you have any objections, I'll make a post that includes the comments so far, images so far, and throw it out there -- showing our process would be lovely, I think. Our individual conceptions of what "orange cake" looks like. We can go on from there.


So there you have it. Feel free to argue for any of the 10 possibilities: Original cake, Scientist Babe, Displaying MOC, Sharing MOC, OC #1 - 5, or Sunkist Cake. Or make the cake yourself (recipe at the bottom of this page), take a photo of it and send it to us for our use. Or -- go off on a tangent. (Citrus sprays everywhere when you take a bite.)