Keep this Up and You’ll Have Yourself 29 More Years of “Detached Observation.”

Can three days go by without me mentioning our favorite right-wing pundit, Kleinheider?  No, I guess not.

Anyway, he steps in it yesterday good, and then keeps stepping, then trailing mud through the house, when he starts spouting off about how women are.

It’s good fun and you should not miss it.  Coble takes him to task both there and over at her place.

Anyway, as a favor to the hottest man in right-wing punditry in Nashville who is not advocating shooting undocumented workers, I’ve created this little guide:

How To Keep the Women-Folk Untroubled by Your Right-Wing Punditry

1.  And this ought to go without saying, the falafel has no place in sex.

2.  Women are a part of America.  When you say, “People always talk about whether America is ready to elect a women president. You assume that they are talking about men accepting women as authority figures.” you acknowledge and then reinforce that, sing it along with me kids, “Men are, in general, in the system, more powerful than women and one of the main luxuries they have is of being the default human beings and the arbiters of what is appropriate public discourse and what is not. [emphasis added]”  Please, for the love of god, if you can see that you’re reinforcing this idea that “America” means “American men,” don’t do it!

3.  Don’t presume that women (or men) make decisions based primarily on the gender of the candidate.  Even if you believe this to be true, you will outrage us when you assume it matter-of-factly.

4.  And perhaps most importantly, when you see you’ve dug yourself into a hole you’re having trouble getting out of, stop digging.  Your “I know a lot of women.  Some of them are different than you and these women prove my point” is never going to trump our “We have cooters, jackass, don’t try to tell us how women are.”

That is all.  You can thank me later.


Three Stories

My Grandpa Bob had two brothers, Don and Gene. Here are my favorite stories about each of them. I think I may have told you two of them, but stories are for telling, and so I’m going to tell them again.

Grandpa Bob

My Grandpa Bob was in the Army during World War II. I don’t know what rank he was or anything. I know that he did two interrelated things. When he was stationed stateside, it was his job to ride on the train with soldiers from Ft. Bragg through Chicago (where he and my Grandma lived under normal circumstances) to an army base out west before they were shipped off to the Pacific theater. Then, when he was stationed abroad, he was in charge of supplies. I guess he was a clerk of some sort. That would have suited him.

Anyway, while he was in the Army, the only way for my Grandma to see him would be to go down to the train yard in the middle of the night, she and a couple of her friends, and, as the train carrying the soldiers slowed to a crawl to navigate the tracks, my Grandpa would watch for her and when they saw each other, he would open his window and she would throw him fruit.

I don’t know why it makes me tear up to think about it, but it does. If you knew them, you’d know that story kind of sums up so much about them.

Uncle Don

I know I told you this, how Uncle Don put in the elevators at the Sears Tower and how, when we went to visit him in Florida, in his trailer that sat on a lawn of crushed white stone (his neighbor had a similar stone lawn, but had painted his green), across from a pond that had an alligator problem, he put on the home movies they shot while they were up there, high above Chicago. And how they tied the camera to a rope and swung it out over the sky line and, as it spun slowly, you sometimes caught glimpses of these sweaty, shirtless, delighted men, who see the world in a way that few others do.

He also put in the elevator at the deepest mine in the United States and so he’d been the highest folks have reached and the lowest.

Uncle Gene

My Uncle Gene loved to do one thing–hang out at the bar and drink. He never got married. He never had a girlfriend we ever met or, for that matter, a boyfriend. But we liked him and we loved when he’d come to visit. He’d pull up in his big old Cadillac and out would step this blue eyed handsome man and he had a laugh that would fill the whole room.

We were never allowed to visit him. Ever. He made each of us promise.

Because, as you may have guessed, a man who loves to do one thing–hang out at the bar and drink–who lives on the south side of Chicago and drives a big old Cadillac has to support himself somehow. Uncle Gene supported himself by running numbers for the mob.

I remember hearing my mom tell my dad this when I was very young and I wanted to know what numbers running meant. My mom told me that some men would come into the bar and give my uncle some numbers and he would take them to another bar and give them to someone else. This seemed to me like a very strange, but pleasant way to earn a living, though I couldn’t understand why that meant we could never go visit him.


I Saw The Butcher Coming Over the Hill

The Butcher has been walking to work this week and he leaves just as Mrs. Wigglebottom and I are coming back from our walk. Yesterday, he was coming over the hill just as we were starting up it and I was taken aback a little at seeing him strolling down the road.

Something about it reminded me of my grandpa a little, but it’s been so long since my grandpa was alive that I can’t remember what he looked like when he walked when he thought no one was watching him.

At least, I don’t think I remember that.

And yet, some part of me leaped first to "Hey, it’s Grandpa Bob!" not, "Hey, it’s the Butcher." So, who knows? It brings me comfort to think that, as memories fade, it’s not that they’ve been lost so much as they’re just misplaced, tucked away some place where you can’t quite get to them when you want to.

And I like thinking that we’re like patchwork quilts made into our own unique selves out of scraps and pieces given to us by our families and friends. The Butcher walks the way the Butcher walks, and if some part of me recognizes a hint of Grandpa Bob, all the better.


A Cereal Worth Coming to Fisticuffs Over

All right.  I’ll admit up front that, because of the particular famous small Midwestern city that my dad’s family hails from and who has employed them either directly or indirectly through their home buying and insurance needing ways, I can’t really talk objectively about cereal.

And yet, the Butcher and I have the same favorite cereal–Kellogg’s Cran-Vanilla Crunch.  We don’t often get it, because, like most non-store brand cereal, it’s approximately $10 a box.

But yesterday the Butcher burst into the house, arms full of groceries and announced "Kroger, $2.99!"  It was like an air of victory had descended upon our house.  Much like how it must have been for the early cave-brothers to arrive back at the cave with an ox or a brontosaurus much to the delight of the cave-sister*.

I was so proud of him.  And yet sad for the sisters whose brothers went out to get Kellogg’s Cran-Vanilla Crunch and came home empty handed or never came home at all.



*For until the rise of animal herding, it’s speculated that we lived in our mom’s home with our maternal brothers who helped us raise our offspring we acquired from fucking the hot neighbors.  That’s right.  Even when I’m hyperbolic, I’m still bringing you the knowledge.

I’ve Failed In My Two Goals for the Evening

I was either going to get drunk or watch Dan Abrams.  I didn’t do either.  The Butcher was watching Big Love and I couldn’t find anything to mix with the tequila.  Which is for the best, because with my mood and tequila, I’d probably end up throwing the old shit in my freezer onto the interstate as my little way of Sticking It to the Man.

Every once in a while, I start to wonder why I bother to do this.  This thing here, I mean.

I’ll be honest with you.  I do it in large part to make myself understood–to myself and to whoever else comes along–and to feel special, like I am unique in my ability to take up this space.  Those might be crappy reasons, but they’re mine, and to work towards them makes me feel hopeful–like I, along with everyone else, have something to contribute that adds something to the world. 

Today, I felt like I failed pretty spectacularly to make myself understood and to understand someone sympathetic to me in return.  I also came face to face, hard, with the fact that there are a lot of quirky girls out there who are full of moxie who can and do do whatever it is we’re doing better than me.

This upsets me.

But you know what’s weird?  It doesn’t get me down.  It makes me angry.  Just kind of at the universe, but also at myself.  Do I think this is only worth it if I can be the best at it?  The most articulate?  The most special?

Friends, that’s bullshit. 

Knuck is contemplating this today, from the angle of someone who thinks that daily blogging for a lot of people is going the way of the horse and buggy.  Kate reminds us that some folks haven’t even gotten their carriage out of the barn, so to speak.

And they’ve got me thinking that I get discombobulated precisely because I expect this to do something for me.  Precisely because I forget the wisdom of that old Lithuanian (speaking of them), Milosz, who says, “And get up every day to honor the work, / Even if there is no guilt of mine in it and no merit.”

See?  What did I tell you about the importance of loving you some poetry?

There is no merit in this for me.  I’ve got to let that shit go.

Dr. J is over in the comments here talking about this idea that we have physical feelings before we have emotions about them.  It seems relevant. 

I keep getting hung up on whether or not I’m successful at this and mulling over how to measure success.  But I need to write.  I need to write things and have them read and written about.  That is the work.  That is what the body does.  I, every day, honor that.

So, in a strange way, I feel very hopeful.  Strange because even though I’ve failed in all of my goals, I think that’s okay, because my goals were getting in the way of me honoring the work.

Why do I continue to do this?  Because bodies do things and this is the thing my body does, happily.  And when my body does, happily, if I get out of its way, it makes me happy.