Zippy on sleep, and more

Today’s Zippy (more or less about sleep), with a rich collection of references and allusions:


Some cultural references, another diner, and (via the diner) country ham and beaten biscuit (“Food, Glorious Food”).

1. Rolltops are footwear (slippers, athletic shoes, boots, etc.) with a tongue that rolls over on the outside. Mens Timberland Rolltop Boot:


2. Flappy Bird is a reference we’ve seen before on Zippy, here.

3. Judge Judy is one of Bill Griffith’s favorite cultural references:

Judge Judy is an American arbitration-based reality court show presided over by retired Manhattan Family Court Judge Judith Sheindlin. The show features Sheindlin adjudicating real-life small claims disputes within a simulated courtroom set. (Wikipedia link)

4. The diner. This is the Amherst Diner in Winchester VA (so-called because it’s on Amherst St.). A posting on the Retro Roadmap site:

Country Ham and a Drive-In Theatre Tip (11/16/11)

While we had planned plenty of stops planned for our Retro Roadweekend away,  we hadn’t planned on seeing the bright neon signs of the Amherst Diner in Winchester, VA.

But as soon as we did we knew where we were eating breakfast the next morning!

Not a diner in the strict “built off-site in a factory, hauled out to the foundation” type of northern diner I’m so fond of, The Amherst is a more loose, “hey we’ve got booths and counter service” interpretation of the D word. I’ll take it, especially since the place has been around, “since the early 1960s” according to the fellow behind the counter. As you can tell from this shot, the place is quite tiny, with no more than a dozen seats at the curved counter, and just as many small booths, both in the main entrance part and the alcove just past the counter.

While Retro Roadhusband opted for a more traditional breakfast, I ponied up some extra cash and got real  Country Ham with my eggs. Country ham is a salty meaty treat found south of the Mason Dixon line, and since Virginia is known for this delicacy, how could I resist?

[advice from a local] When we mentioned Retro Roadmap and that we were in town just for a short visit he immediately offered up information on a local 2 screen drive in movie theatre located just south of Winchester, in Stephens City [but they didn’t have time for a visit].

An exterior view:


(Compare the image in #1. As is often the case with diners, the color scheme is changed occasionally.)

An interior view, very close to the one in #$1:


5. Country ham. On to the food.

Country ham, from Wikipedia:

Country ham is a variety of cured ham, typically very salty. Country ham is first mentioned in print in 1944 [surely it was around well before that], referring to a method of curing and smoking done in the rural parts of North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Georgia, Kentucky and other nearby Southern states.

… There are several methods of cooking a country ham including slicing and pan-frying, baking whole, and simmering for several hours (in several changes of water). Whole hams may need to be scrubbed and soaked for several hours before eating to remove the salt cure and mold. Even when soaked, they are still quite salty.

In the 1970s and 1980s, my Kentuckian father-in-law regularly gave our family a Kentucky ham at Christmastime. He had a connection to an old man, out on a country road, who supplied him with the ham. Our Columbus household had a huge pan specifically for cooking the thing — a long process of simmering it. The result was served in very thin, dry, dense slices.

It was not easy to get genuine Kentucky hams then. I imagine it’s enormously difficult now. Through the Southern Foodways Alliance, I did find a writeup on Col. Bill Newsom’s Aged Kentucky Country Ham in Princeton KY — an interview (of 8/245/05) with Col. Newsom’s daughter Nancy Newsom Mahaffey, seen here with aging hams:


From Mahaffey:

I think the ‘country ham business’ is on its way out… I think the generation of people that understood and appreciated the ham business and that kind of thing are gone.

6. Beaten Biscuits. Traditionally, country ham was eaten with beaten biscuits:

Beaten biscuits are a Southern food from the United States, dating from the 19th century. They differ from regular American soft-dough biscuits in that they are more like hardtack. In New England they are called “sea biscuits”, as they were staples aboard whaling ships.

The dough was originally made from flour, salt, sugar, lard, and cold water, and beaten [very hard, for some time] with a hard object or against a hard surface. It is pricked with a fork prior to baking and cut smaller than a regular biscuit. (Wikipedia link)

Beaten biscuits with country ham:


It’s been at least 35 years since I had any.

4 Responses to “Zippy on sleep, and more”

  1. John Lawler Says:

    Very interesting text structure, too. All those second person generics establishing a narrative, a generalization as fanciful as the generics, and then a final generic that’s totally relevant in context.

    • arnold zwicky Says:

      I hadn’t fully appreciated that. Nice observation.

      Just realized that I didn’t say anything about the title (“Point, Counter Point”). Now I see that I don’t really get it. So I seek illumination.

      • Robert Coren Says:

        Well, the echo of Aldous Huxley’s title is fairly obvious, but I don’t quite see how it ties in. Maybe it’s relevant that the customers of a diner are likely to sit at a counter. That’s all I have.

      • arnold zwicky Says:

        Yes, I dismissed the Huxley connection right away. But I concentrated on point — but I think you’re right, counter is the crucial item. You sit at the counter in a diner and in conversation there make points. Works for me.

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