Ivy’s given me a letter and some instructions.  So, here I go.

Poetry–I really believe that we could all benefit from learning to love poetry.  Like beer, it’s an acquired taste, I know.  But you don’t have to love all poetry.  Just find one poem or part of a poem that reminds you that what we’re doing here is something magical.  "The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want."–You could start with just that much and have enough for a whole life.

Potato–My grandma loved potatoes.  She would make us mashed potatoes when we went to visit her or she’d buy us extra large fries at McDonald’s.  After she died, as she was laying in her casket, I put a potato in there for her, tucked it under her arm.

Dead people are like seed pods, really.  They look like the people you love, but there’s something so frail and dry about them that you know the thing that made them really them is gone.

I like to think of that potato as a stand against the chemicals and the locked box and the concrete bin we drop our remains into.  I hope that potato takes root and returns my grandma to the ground that sustained her when she was alive.

Prairie–The natural prairie is gone, for the most part, replaced by corn and beans.  Still, when you stand on the edge of the field, the Queen Anne’s Lace and the cornflowers tugging at your clothes, and you shut your eyes, you hear that same sound–endless acres of tall grass rubbing against each other–it’s a dull, ceaseless roar and you think, if only you listened hard enough, you could hear what it was saying.  I suspect, though I don’t know, that the corn says to the deer, "eat me" and the deer say to the wolves "chase me" and the wolves say to the moon, "light my way" and the moon says nothing at all.

Pig–My grandma used to sing us this song, when we were little about an old woman who goes to the market to buy a pig and she’s bringing the pig home and they come to a style and the pig won’t go and so she goes a little farther and she meets a dog and she says, "Dog, dog, bite that pig.  Pig won’t go.  And I see by the moonlight, it’s almost midnight.  Time pig and I were home an hour and a half ago."  But the dog would not.  And so she went a little farther and she met a stick…

It goes on and on until she meets a hammer and then the hammer begins to break the knife, the knife begins to cut the rope, the rope begins to hang the butcher, the butcher begins to kill the ox, the ox begins to drink the water, the water begins to quench the fire, the fire begins to burn the stick, the stick begins to beat the dog, the dog begins to bite the pig and the pig begins to go.

I really loved that song.

Pen–The whole side of my hand would turn a shiny blue black from my pen by the end of the day and I could smell the ink on my skin.  I really felt like writing would be my salvation.  I think it has been.

Portent–I think the difference between a sign and a portent is that a sign indicates that something is happening and a portent indicates that something will happen.  The real question is–what is the difference between a portent and an omen?  I have no reason to make this distinction, but I believe that a portent is more general than an omen.  Like, if you drop a fork, that’s a portent that company is coming.  If you drop three forks and they form a letter "N" that may be an omen that your brother Nick is planning a visit.  But I could be talked out of that.  Maybe there is no difference.

Police–I still have nightmares about the police knocking on my parents’ door and barging in with badges and guns and dogs and swarming over the house.  I can see my mom’s look of blank confusion, probably followed by tears.  I imagine how my dad feels, all impotent rage and looking for blame.  I wonder about the red Grand Am headed back for Georgia and I can’t even begin to know what the driver of that car is thinking–"Lucky I got out of town."?  The dogs are what bothers me the most, something about the police coming through the house with dogs.  It makes everyone in the house the criminal.  I don’t think either of my brothers ever got that, really, how what they were doing made inadvertent criminals of us all.  I wasn’t there, but I still have nightmares about it.

Pants–Arguably the funniest word in the English language.  It sounds like it should be an onomatopoeia of some sort, but, if so, I’d think the word would actually be the noise a paintball makes upon leaving the gun or that a dart makes upon thudding into the board.  But, no, instead it means trousers.

Pagan–According to the OED: "The older sense of classical Latin paganus is ‘of the country, rustic’." Ah, early Christianity! You’ve got to love that, even then, folks knew how much people are influenced by advertising. "Come join the cool church or everyone will know that you’re a hick."

Potluck–I loved when we had potlucks at church.  It’s such a good and simple idea.  Everyone brings a dish.  Everyone eats a little from all the dishes.  Everyone helps to clean up.  Potlucks are the unacknowledged cornerstone of much church life.  They build community and reinforce the notion that everyone can contribute and everyone benefits from those contributions.

Strawberry Blues

I love strawberries.  I make a mean strawberry shortcake from scratch.  But I also like just popping a big, luscious juicy strawberry in my mouth and slowly sinking my teeth into it so that the sweet juice fills my mouth and runs down my chin and…

Yes, I love strawberries.

Right now, on the table, there is a vanilla cake with strawberry filling.  I want a piece of this cake more than I want Bill O’Reilly to suck my butt.

Alas, the older I get, the more allergic to strawberries I grow.  So, for you jackasses, I’m going without.  You don’t say it, but I know you’d miss me if my throat swelled shut and I died.

I hope you appreciate the sacrifices I make for you.

Rex L. Camino, Professional Music Nit-Picker

I was watching Keith Olbermann last night and I realized that I may have inadvertently stumbled onto Rex L. Camino’s purpose in life.

Before I share that with you, I must say this: “Rex, if you go to the LOC website, you can search for music and you will find MP3s of all kinds of crazy stuff that they have in their collection (like the Lomax recordings) that you can then download, at least until the LOC figures that out.”

Okay, so what the world needs Rex for…

I was watching Olbermann last night and it was that other dude subbing in for Keith and he was talking to Dan Was about the current crop of anti-Bush songs and Was was pulling that insufferable music snob crap about how these songs are not as good as songs from the 60s because they’re too specific, as if ambiguity in a protest song is good.

I mean, could you imagine if Woody Guthrie had been all like “This land belongs to some folks/ let’s not get too specific.  This land belongs to some other folks / clear to the Pacific.  Which is an ocean I have no opinion about.  This land is here beneath my feet.”?*

Anyway, my point is that Charles Wolfe, god rest his soul, is dead, which means there isn’t anyone who can just be like, “Excuse me, but I believe you’ve over-looked the grand and important contributions of…” whoever.  I don’t known, because I don’t know that much about music.

But Rex L. Camino does and he could learn more.  It could then be his job to call up places while folks are on the air and be polite, yet firm, as he corrected their myopic notions of what American music is.


*Shoot.  That’s kind of good!  Maybe I should get into the ambiguous non-offensive protest song writing business.

Good Night, Folks!

Once a girl uses ‘heteronormativity’ in two posts on the same day, she’s allowed to go to bed without doing the dishes, even though she has company coming tomorrow.




1.  I’m a little envious of Mrs. Wigglebottom.  She’s sleeping on the afghan and looking so cute I just about can’t stand it.  I love her freckly nose.

2.  I’m a little more envious of The Nashville Knucklehead.  If I could write like him, I’d quit my job and spend my days locked in my house masturbating and writing sentences like “As I was falling, I heard a very loud scream. Much to my surprise, it was me. ”  I would quickly starve to death and die, but it would be a life well-lived.

3.  I’m a little envious of Newscoma, who meets the divine Patrick, who says, “Damn, having Bush do a probe on gasoline and oil is like putting a pedophile in a preschool.”

4.  I’m very envious of our Wayward Boy Scout.  No, it’s not just because he’s got this sweet old disconcerting way about him that he keeps hidden behind a thin veneer of scary right-wing propaganda.  It’s also because how awesome would it be to have someone as cool as me constantly flirting with me? 

Does Kleinheider appreciate how awesome it is when I flirt with him?  No.  Apparently once you become a professional right-wing pundit, you want to be teased by other professional pundits, not us lowly amateur ones.  Your loss, Kleinheider.  If you won’t flirt back, I’ll just move on to Terry Frank.

Oh, wait, Frank is in favor of heteronormativity.  I guess it could never work between us, then.  That’s too bad, because she’s like our very own Nancy Grace.  It’s kind of cute.