Shooting Dice at the Mothership

Last night was Blogger Bunko.  Blondemom and Malia hosted it. 

I had never played Bunko before, but it turns out it’s one of those games that is deceptively simple.  You just roll some dice and hope to get some numbers.  But the nice thing about games with deceptively simple rules is that it lets everyone jump right into playing and the group adds its own fun touches.

Anyway, Malia’s got the rundown, though somehow she neglected to mention the most amazing feat of the evening, when Elizabeth (Gunner’s wife, for those of you who read Say Uncle) rolled two Bunkos in the same round.  She won two prizes at the end of the night.  There was some talk among the Democrats of taking half her prizes and redistributing them to the people who didn’t get any, but once we rememebered that she was a gun-toting libertarian, we thought better of the idea.

Also, on a side note, Knuck has expanded the menu at the Mothership.  There’s chicken now, which is delicious.  Even the white meat is juicy as all get out.  And green beans, which I did not know about until I saw them on someone else’s plate.  I don’t know if they’re any good, but they looked yummy.  And baked apples.

My god.  Try the baked apples.

In a perfect world, you would stop off and get yourself some cold beer and a little thing of vanilla ice cream.  You’d order pulled pork, cole slaw, and baked apples.  You’d ask Knuck to keep the beer you’re not drinking yet and the ice cream cold for you.  You’d eat the pork and the cole slaw while drinking the beer as needed.  And then, you’d put a big old scoop of vanilla ice cream on those baked apples.

I’ll give you a minute to savour that.

 

 

 

 

Anyway, yes, the baked apples.  They count as a side, but really, they are a fabulous dessert.

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An Open Letter to the House Republicans

Dear House Republicans,

Some of you appear unclear on the concept of just what to do when you find out that someone you work with likes to prey on the underage boys who work for you and your other co-workers.

This is a crime.

You might think that the guy preying on the boys would know it’s a crime considering that he passed legislation clarifying that what he was doing is a crime. But people who prey on children tend to be sick fucks, so maybe we can understand him as being too sick and evil to understand that the laws he signs also apply to him.

You, however, are not sick fucks. You are grown men with families of your own. You write and pass the laws of our country. You should understand how they work.

If you become aware that some sexual predator is having, say, cybersex with an underage boy, your first obligation is not to the Party. It is not to report it to your other Party members.

Your first obligation is to protect that child. Go to the police.

If you can’t bring yourself to go to the police over one child, when you discovered that there were multiple children, that should have compelled you to go to the police, not to play “Who, if anyone, told Denny Hastert and when?”

You have done many things that I strongly disagree with (see ‘habeas corpus, the chucking of), but I assumed that you had what you considered good reasons for doing so.

Covering up for a pervert who preys on children just so that you don’t have to deal with the hassle of trying to fight for another congressional seat?

That’s morally bankrupt.

In essence, you sacrificed these boys to this fucker so that you could stay in power.

That’s evil, too.

Shame on you.

Sincerely,
Aunt B.

 

It’s Time to Discuss FAQ Question Number 27

27. You’re liberal, right? So why are you so hard on liberal men?

Because liberal men claim to be on my side.

I dread doing this, because I know it makes me seem like a humorless bitch, and with all the ways that feminists are typified as humorless bitches, I hate to add to the problem.

However, when something nags at you, you’ve got to poke around and see what the problem is.

I want to start with Stokely Carmichael, but the man’s dead, so what good does that do?  It’s just that he said what so many of us fear y’all (y’all being ‘liberal men’) are thinking but leaving unsaid.  It hangs out there, like an echo so loud and clear you can mistake it for a man’s speaking voice, even half a century later–"the only position for women…"

How often do we feel like we’re sitting right at a crucial moment in history, how often do we think "Now is our chance to DO something" only to find that the folks who always get to do don’t want us to do anything but lend our support, and keep our legs open, as some kind of rest stop where the folks who are busy changing the world can stretch and refresh before they get back to the real work?

The question progressive women are always asking is whether progressive men are going to make room so that we can do some shit, too, or if we’re still supposed to wait around looking pretty and doing some light typing until you need a quick fuck.

Are we really a part of the progressive movement or are we relegated to a "special interest"?

I mean, if you’re a lefty boy and you want to have a blog that is called "Joe’s Pink Taco Stand" that deals mostly with your exploits as you attempt to bed as many anarchist girls as you can, more power to you.  I don’t give a shit.

But, if you’re going to call you blog "Tennessee’s Progressive Report," then I’m going to read you with an eye as to how I fit into your plans for progressive politics in Tennessee. 

I’m accepting applications for a TPR Intern. You know, I need some eager college student who’ll work for free and I can treat like crap all in the name of learning what the "new media" is all about.

Qualifications:
Female
age 18-25
Photo identification required
Must be able to read… writing is a plus but not required
I don’t drink coffee, so bartending skills are a must
Must work well with others… or just me…
If you’ve been convicted of a crime, please explain…
If you’ve committed a crime, but didn’t get caught, even better…

Please note that all applicants will be subject to a drug test. Results will not affect employment, I just wanna know how fun you’ll be…

And well, there you go.

Sometimes serious, sometimes a joke, sometimes a joke made in all seriousness–Carmichael’s old saw still doing its work. 

Progressive men, I’m just at a loss.  Listen, I get that being criticized by the feminists is no fun, especially when you’re clearly doing more to advance women’s rights than the conservatives are, but enough already with the "Heh, heh, I’m going to get me a hot chick to ‘help’ with my work" jokes.  It wasn’t funny the first time; it’s not funny now.

And you’re needlessly alienating your allies. 

Abramson, I Will Never Forgive You For This

Dear Mr. Abramson,

I am so outraged at this latest turn of events, I cannot even bring myself to type your first name.   Here’s how things work here in America.  I make fun of Kleinheider; Kleinheider plots my gruesome demise (lately, I suspect he’s been planning to beat me to death with Pat Buchanan.  Just think about that.  Beat to death with Pat Buchanan.  That’s not going to be a fun way to go.  No.  That’s going to suck.  But I await that day knowing that my death at the hands of Buchanan at the hands of Kleinheider will have been for a good cause.). 

Why?  Because Kleinheider and I agree on very little.  Check out this actual* conversation from last night:

Me: Hey, Kleinheider.  I think there’s a rainbow.

Kleinheider: No, there’s not.

Me: Yeah, look over there.

Kleinheider: Is this some trick to get me to look at a Gay Pride Parade?

Me: No, there in the sky is a rainbow.

Kleinheider: I wouldn’t believe there was a rainbow in the sky if I could see it with my own eyes if you said there was one.

Me: But you can see it with your own eyes.

Kleinheider: Nice try, pervert.

Me: What?

Etc.

And yet you have written a post (this one) which Kleinheider then responded to (here) with which I agree.  Yes, for the most part, I agree with Kleinheider in opposition to you.  Do you know what that does to a girl?  To find herself in agreement with Kleinheider?

Is this revenge for me picking on him so mercilessly last night?

Now I have to sit here and say, “Well, Abramson, actually, you are wrong and Kleinheider is right.”?  I have to say “Kleinheider is right”?!

Is there no justice in this world?  Good god.

Anyway, you make this claim so nonsensical that I had to lay down on the floor in order to recover from the ridiculousness of it:

 As a general rule, Americans do not hate rich people. Most Americans do
not look at a rich person and say “Well, what a rich a**hole! I hate
that guy!” Rather, most Americans look at a rich person and assume that
he or she must know what he or she is doing to have gotten so rich.

Oh, sweet, naive Abramson. Where to start?

First, let’s interview a poor person:

Me: Self, do you have an irrational hatred of rich people that you are often embarrassed about because it seems like such a lame and stupid irrational hatred to have?

Me: Yes.  But I’m trying to be better about it.

Then let us turn to that case-study in class relations, MTV.  Have you never heard of this incredibly popular show, My Super Sweet Sixteen? The whole point of said show is for poor people to watch it and mock, mock, mock the rich people portrayed on there.  The whole point is to look at those people and say “What an asshole, I hate that girl.”

Do Americans appreciate folks who pick themselves up by their bootstraps and make something of themselves?

Yes.

Do we live in a country where most everyone assumes that such is the life story of most rich people?

No we don’t.

Why do you think it’s so incredibly important for rap artists to “keep it real.”  It’s important for them to prove to their audience that being rich hasn’t changed them, because if they are perceived as regular guys who did good, they will have record sales.  If they are perceived as rich, spoiled brats, they will not.

If you think there’s no class resentment in this country, you’ve lived a very lucky life to have missed out on it.

Yours Truly,

Aunt “Power to the People” B. 

 

 

 

 

 

*Of course, I mean “actual” in the Republican sense, in that it didn’t really happen, but it could have, thus proving that we are better off without habeas corpus

I’m Planning for Retirement

You know how, on those days when it’s really cold and rainy and you’ve been out because you had to walk the dog, and so you stop off at Starbuck’s and you order yourself a hot chocolate, and you take that first sip and you can feel the heat from it down your throat and spreading all across your body?

I realized last night, that’s kind of what it’s like to hear Knuck talk.  He could be talking about watching a baby eat wormy dog shit and you’d still listen because he’s got such a nice warm voice.

When I start my phone sex line, I’m totally hiring him. 

You Can’t Take Me Anywhere

There was a blogger meet-up tonight.  Asses were grabbed.  Men’s bathrooms were used.  Tits were felt.  Boob freckles were filmed.  Amandas were squeezed.  Conservative bloggers were informed how cute they were.  Watersports were discussed.  And Kleinheider’s “cell phone” was explained to famous internet folks I don’t really know.


Paul Chenoweth had the most awesome line of the night–“Someone must have been messing with your wiki”–which I was totally convinced I was going to forget and so did not, but I don’t remember what the context of it was, which actually is even worse than forgetting the line.


Anyway, good times.


Thanks to Coble for bringing me home.  Thanks to everyone else for putting up with me.

Unfair Use

Dear Tennessean,

An old man, a proud veteran, just brought it to my attention that you are attempting to claim copyright on government materials (i.e. mugshots).

That is bullshit and we both know it.

Shape up.

Love,

Aunt B.

p.s. I hope you enjoy my gratuitous use of this mugshot for no good reason other than that I can because your copyright claim is ridiculous.

mugshot.jpg

I Guess I’m Not Quite Done with Tennessee Right to Life

As we all know, I don’t really get math that well.  I have trouble figuring out how to put things together in a proper story problem.  And so I don’t know if I have another legitimate gripe with the Tennessee Right to Life folks or not.


Now, on their website, they say “For every two babies born, another baby dies in an abortion.”


The CDC says “The abortion ratio, defined as the number of abortions per 1,000 live births, was 246 in 2002, the same as reported for 2001.”


And since you can’t abort a partial pregnancy, I was willing to concede to the Tennessee Right to Life website their point.


But it’s been nagging at me.  Is the CDC saying that for every two babies born, another “baby” died in an abortion?


Follow me here while I try to work this out.  There are 1,000 lives births.  Those babies are born.  There are 246 abortions.  Those “babies” were not born. 


I think the Tennessee Right to Life is making an honest mistake here in interpreting the CDC’s data based on their “a fetus is a baby” rhetoric.  They think that the CDC is counting the 1,000 babies and the 246 “babies” as the same thing.


Like, if I said, “One in twelve eggs will break before it leaves the store” you would know that there are probably eleven whole eggs in your dozen.  Tennessee Right to Life is reading the CDC data as saying 246 in 1,000 babies will not be born because the pregnancies were terminated.


But I think what the CDC is saying is the equivalent of saying “For every twelve whole eggs that leave the store, one will be broken”–which means that all the eggs that leave the store are whole.  So, it’s not one in eleven eggs that are broken, it’s one in thirteen.


Do you see what I’m getting at?  If all fertilized eggs implanted and no pregnancies ever miscarried, Tennessee Right to Life’s one in three number would still be wrong, because it’s not 246/1,ooo, it’s 246/1,246, which is closer to one in five than one in three.


But Tennessee Right to Life is making a larger mistake, which is to assume that those 1,246 “babies” are all the pregnancies there were.  See what I’m getting at?  The CDC’s number tells us nothing about how many pregnancies there were, and without that number, we don’t get a true idea of how many pregnancies end by abortion. 


You can’t look at the number of live births and the number of abortions and extrapolate from that how many pregnancies ended because of abortions, because women miscarry.  The March of Dimes reports that about 50% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, most happening before a woman even knows she’s pregnant.  That’d bring the number of “babies” lost in abortion to 1 in 10 pregnancies, I think, not 1 in 3. 


But, the March of Dimes defines a miscarriage as “A miscarriage is the loss of a baby before the 20th week of pregnancy.”  So our one in ten ratio doesn’t include still births.  I couldn’t find the most recent numbers from the CDC, but in 1998, the fetal mortality rate was 6.7 per thousand live births in the U. S.


Okay, so I still think we’re a lot closer to one in ten pregnancies ended by abortion, not one in three, which the Tennessee Right to Lifers seem to be promoting.


Anti-abortion people probably think that one in ten is far too many.  Fair enough.  But the point is that one can be anti-abortion and still be concerned about the accuracy of a lobbying group that wants to be taken seriously as having great political power.


Senator Henry can be anti-abortion and still want to distance himself from a group that appears to be gravely inaccurate in its reporting and biased in its presentation.


 


 


 


*Even though, technically, pregnancy begins when the fertilized egg is implanted in a woman’s uterus.

I Got a Bulldog

I’ll admit, I put this whole video together just to have an excuse to share this song with you. There’s a freckle for those of you who like my freckles. There’s a little poop humor for those of you who like pooping. And there’s the song, which is both about a bulldog (so you know I love it) and it seems to be a variation of the “Take this Hammer” variation of “John Henry” which I like to get drunk and blog about.

So, all kinds of lighthearted fun.

(video no longer available @ YouTube)

An Open Letter to the NiT Readers

Dear Folks Who Were Planning On Going to Lunch Tomorrow with Amanda Congdon,

No dice.  She won’t be there.  She will still be at Wolfy’s, but not at the Mothership.

So says my source at WKRN.

Ha, wouldn’t it be awesome if I really had secret sources at WKRN instead of Brittney just desperately begging me to get the word out?  Shoot, if I could have a secret source from any major media outlet (Hey, Liz!  Are you looking for a side hobby?), I’d be a happy woman.

 Love,

 b.

Quick Question

How is this gossip and not news? A news anchor openly critical of the administration ends up with an envelope full of suspicious white powder delivered to his home and that’s not news?

What the fuck, America?

Also, how nice of the New York Post to treat the incident as if it were just obvious foolishness. That will be a comfort to the people who’ve died this very way, I’m sure. We can’t bring hair gel on an airplane even though no one has ever made a hair gel bomb and that’s reasonable, but someone mails Olbermann white powder and he insists on going to the emergency room and he’s a baby, even though five people died and seventeen others got sick from anthrax five years ago, and one of the letters even went to the New York Post.

If anyone might understand Olbermann’s jumpiness, you think it’d be them.

So, that’s why no one else reported it.

The Music Issue of the Oxford American

It’s time again for the music issue of the Oxford American.  I have not read a word of it, though it appears to be chalk full of many of my favorite authors: Peter Guralnick, Cintra Wilson, Tom Piazza, Bill Friskics-Warren, and Charles Wolfe.

Charles.

There you go.  Who can bear to open a magazine knowing some of the last new words of his await you at the end?

Not me.

I did, of course, immediately rip open the CD and stick it in the player.

It’s good.  Strong all the way through, with some nice treats.  Uncle Dave Macon does “Keep My Skillet Good and Greasy” and the way he plays banjo is just creepy as hell.  Listening to it is a little like being haunted by a crazy moonshiner who died in 1931.

They’ve got a really nice version of “Oh Mary, Don’t You Weep” which makes you want to grab hands with a small kid and dance around your living room.  I don’t know what it is, maybe how they drop the tempo just a little and give it a little swing, but it’s cool.  Bruce Springsteen has a much different version on We Shall Overcome which is also good fun, but Bruce sings like he’s motivating an army marching for justice.  The Swan Silvertones sing like the battle’s been won, if only folks would open up their eyes and see and bother to move their hips to dance.

Then there’s an incredibly sweet version of “Three is a Magic Number” by Bob Dorough.

Towards the end there’s Townes Van Zandt doing my absolute favorite song of his, “Nothin'” which is the kind of song that rips out its heart and eats it right in front of you.  This version sounds like it must be more recent than the one I love best, but I don’t think it’s worse, just different.

 Anyway, it’s, as always, good fun.

Well, You Can Smoke Pot as Long as You Don’t Like It, I Guess

I’m still waiting to get my hands on the Wall Street Journal article in which the “shocking” revelation that Constance Gee smokes pot is made, but alas, you have to pay and I’m not al that excited about paying for it.

I did read the article in the Tennessean though. And I think it’s pretty funny to watch all these folks trip over themselves to assure the public that even if Gee smokes pot, she only does it for medical reasons. No, god forbid she smoke pot and actually enjoy it. Can’t have that.

But it’s got me even more curious about the tone of the original Journal article, because, in a piece about Gordon Gee’s supposed out of control spending, what is the point of bringing up Constance Gee’s pot use? Is the insinuation supposed to be that not only can’t Gordon Gee keep his spending under control, he can’t keep his wife under control?

So, if you have access to those paragraphs that deal with Constance and can shoot them my way, I’d appreciate it.

In the fall of 2005, university employees discovered that Constance Gee, a tenured associate professor of public policy and education, kept marijuana at Braeburn and was using it there, according to people familiar with the matter. A few weeks later, several trustees and a senior university official confronted Mr. Gee in his office, telling the chancellor he shared responsibility for allowing marijuana on university property, the person familiar with the situation recalls.

Trembling, the chancellor replied, “I’ve been worried to death over this,” according to this person. Mr. Gee said his wife smoked marijuana to relieve an inner-ear ailment, this person says. The Gees decline to comment on the incident.

I’ll tell y’all what I told Sarcastro, which is that I’m convinced the UDC or their sympathizers have their hand in this somehow.  Mark my words.

The One-Man Vernacular Tow Never Ends Well

I grew up in rural America.  I have seen some half-assed things.  I have seen houses with mold stalactites coming down from the ceiling.  I have watched my mom fall through a hole in a porch that was “repaired” by putting some green fake grass carpeting over it.  I have put a washcloth on a baby in hopes that that would hold whatever might come out of said baby until someone returned with diapers.


But never, until I moved to Nashville, had I seen people just towing around other cars with nothing more than a pick-up truck and a rope.


I think that it goes without saying that if you tow a vehicle behind your pick-up truck with nothing more than a rope or a chain you are an idiot.


But at least, if you’re going to be an idiot, be a two-person team of idiots.  This is a hilly city, one, and so you need someone to break when you’re going down hill and you really need someone to sit in the car and steer.


Needless to say, the guy we saw towing a car behind his pick-up truck this morning had not taken such precautions.  As scary as it was, it was also amazing to see.  He got out, aimed the car in the direction he wanted it to go (into the street) and then got in his truck and started driving.  Of course, the car kept going straight, kind of diagonally across the street, and he had to jump out of the truck and grab the steering wheel and kind of scoot along beside the car and yank on the wheel. 


Once he got the car to a stop and it was actually in the road, he got back in the truck, shouted to us “I’m going to need to be in front of you” and started pulling the car up the hill.  The car, as one might imagine, started to gently sway back and forth across the road, first way over to mere inches from us, then way over to the other side almost into the electric pole, then back across almost into the boxy van of the cute neighbor who, unfortunately for him, was running late for work and so almost got hit by a driverless car.


And finally, it was at the top of the hill.


I pulled the dog’s leash and we hurried as fast as we could, because, at that moment, I realized that he intended to take the car all the way to the end of our street, to tuck his piece of shit car in our dead end, hidden from anyone who wasn’t looking for it by the curve of the hill going down into our dead end.  And boy, once I realized he was going to try to put that thing in my front yard, I really wanted to see it smash into his pretty truck once it had the momentum of the hill behind it.


Alas, he must have realized that the slope of the hill would have left him no way to control the momentum of the car, because he let it drift into the grass at the top of the hill and then hightailed it back by us as fast as he could.


I’ll be curious to see how long it sits there.

Why One Might Not Flaunt an Endorsement by Tennessee Right to Life

Well, y’all, it turns out that I’m a political blogger (even if Kleinheider seems to question whether or not I deserve the title) and as such, I’m going to take the opportunity to blog about Tennessee Politics.

Bill Hobbs today has a post questioning why Democratic State Senator Doug Henry is not flaunting his endorsement by Tennessee Right to Life.

Is Sen. Henry afraid that being too public about his endorsement by
a pro-life group would anger the pro-abortion voters amongst the
left-leaning groups that have endorsed him? Has Sen. Henry decided to
focus on turning out the Democratic base for him in the November
election? Is he abandoning Republicans and conservative Democrats who
have kept him in office in the many long years since his district’s
political demographics shifted decidedly Republican?

Whatever the reason, it is clear that Sen. Henry isn’t proud to have
been endorsed by the state’s leading pro-life organization – and it is
equally clear that pro-life moderates and conservatives in the 21st
Senate District have good reason to wonder if Sen. Henry is abandoning
their cause in his hunt for more votes from liberal special interests
in a district that is increasingly conservative.

I have two minor questions–1.  How does one become the leading pro-life organization?  and 2.  How is this proof that Henry is ashamed?  I’m not clear on that. 

Now, I’m not voting for Henry, as my vote has already been promised to that cutie Bob Krumm.  And I’m pro-abortion (not that I think that everyone should have an abortion, but in that I think it’s none of your business what a woman and her doctor decide is necessary for her and that I believe abortions should be legal and that our efforts to curb abortions should go into making it as easy as possible for women to make a positive choice to have children, which you all already know, but I say again anyway).  But still, a quick perusal of the Tennessee Right to Life website gives me some indication that there might be other good reasons why Henry would not flaunt an endorsement from these folks, with “being ashamed that folks might realize he’s anti-abortion” not even being on the list.

Let’s count them, shall we? 

1. Their numbers seem wonky.  For instance, they report an estimated 1,312,990 abortions in 2002.  The CDC reports that there were roughly 854,122 abortions in 2002.  The number of abortions performed each year is not as high as they suggest and is in fact declining.

2.  “MYTH: The typical abortive women is a poor, black teen.

FACT: Two-thirds of women getting abortions are between the ages of 20 and 24. 
Sixty-eight percent are white.  And two-thirds have an annual income of over $11,000.”

As Senator Allen can attest, it’s bad news for politicians to be too closely linked with things that carry even a hint of racism.  Suggesting that abortions are a real problem because white women have them (and would be less of a problem if the myth that the typical woman having an abortion is a poor, black teenager was true) has a strong hint of racism.

3.  Tennessee Right to Life mocks non-Christian belief systems–“Father God never said ANYTHING about a mother earth”–and Henry may not wish to alienate potential voters by aligning himself with an organization that disparages the beliefs of non-monotheists.

I could go on, but I’m rapidly running out of time.  But those are three big reasons why someone who is anti-abortion might be reticent to align himself with Tennessee Right to Life without it having anything to do with him turning his back on his cause. 

 

 

 

Peoples and Sequins

I hate the word ‘peoples.’  Hate it.  I also hate ‘persons.’

 I hate persons because the plural of person is people.

I hate peoples because people is already plural.

What other word in the English language is a double plural?  I can’t think of any.

On top of that, it’s always the most pretentious people who use the words persons and peoples.

 And also, I am trying hard to be grumpy today, but it’s made completely impossible by the fact that the bathroom floor is covered in sequins.  I defy you to sit on a toilet you’ve had to brush sequins off of and look down at a bunch of sequins on the floor of your bathroom, which is in a non-descript office building, and not laugh.

What the fuck?

Who’s wearing sequins?  And why?

Shoot, I thought I was feeling fancy in my new skirt and someone’s got sequins. 

I Don’t Like Uncle Tupelo or Bands that Sound Like Uncle Tupelo

I just realized that yesterday.  I don’t actively dislike Uncle Tupelo–I’m not going around kicking Uncle Tupelo fans or anything–, but I don’t think they’re nearly as great as their reputation.  They’re just a band and a band a little too in love with the sound of their own unique spot in history.

Fine.

But why would you want to be a band that sounds like Uncle Tupelo?

Yesterday, when Mrs. Wigglebottom and I were walking by the big red brick house, we heard blaring, at six in the morning, what sounded like Uncle Tupelo.  And when we got around to the back of the house, the porch light was still on and there were two young hipsters standing by an open car door, listening to some band that sounds like Uncle Tupelo, and the one was pointing out stuff on the CD case to the other.

There are times, when you live in Nashville, where you cannot help but think, "Holy shit.  How weird is it that I live in Nashville?"  I feel like that when I’m staring out the windows at the Hall of Fame or when I’m wandering around the guest parking at Sony BMG looking for an obvious front entrance or when I was standing on stage at the Belcourt, just me and a microphone, just like everyone else who’s ever stood on stage at the Belcourt, from the Opry on down.

And I felt like I was intruding a little bit on what was clearly one of those moments for these guys–where you’ve been up all night because you’re so excited about this thing you think you’ve got a hold of, this thing you think is going to transform you from living in Nashville to living in Nashville.

Who knows?   Maybe they’re right.

But I kind of suspect that a band that sounds just like Uncle Tupelo might not be the thing that helps you make that leap.

Blue Monday

The Butcher has decided that he might start looking for a new job in a couple of months.  My dad has started a subtle, yet effective, campaign to get us up to Illinois to see their new house. 


I get tired of how easily the same old shit sneaks up on me.


Today, I stumbled across something that had my name and “Age: 32” on it and I was like, my god, maybe I’m too old to be still living like this, like I’m still waiting for things to start.


You know what I hate most about me, aside from the crippling insecurity?  It’s that I think I feel terrible things much more thoroughly than I feel the good things.  I’m terrible about good things.  I tuck them away, like one might put a beautiful butterfly in a box, only to take it out later and find that it crumbles to dust when you touch it.


Last year, I worked on something that meant a lot to me.  I worked my ass off on it and when the time for accolades came, I didn’t get any.  Which is fine, in some regards; it’s the nature of my job.  And I don’t know how to graciously accept accolades anyway.


I don’t know where I’m going with this.


To speak in vague terms, something else good is happening with this project and I had to set aside some time recently and draw together the materials so that the person who’s facilitating this good thing–getting some shit you’d think would be on the national historical places list already on there where it belongs–could have some maps and photos she needed for her presentation.


I invisibly facilitate other people’s successes.  I’m good at it because I like to see people succeed and I have no ability to imagine myself as successful in their place; I don’t get in the way of the work I do.  I’m good at my job because I accept my place as being invisible.


Sometimes I have these moments that feel like I feel when I’m up too high.  When I’m up too high, I literally cannot make my body move.  I can’t hear anything; it’s like the noise of the world just turns off.  It’s like the terror makes me deaf.


Ha, it’s funny.  Sometimes I get so mad I can’t hear either.  I wonder if that’s a form of synesthesia?


Anyway, I have these moments where I just want to go ahead and fling myself into fear and doubt.  I’m suspicious that, if I could just give myself over to it and let myself work through it, I could get over it and get on with things.


But there’s no one here but me to keep things moving.  And so I don’t.


I do wonder if I could learn to start invisibly facilitating my own successes.


Here’s what’s bugging me.  I don’t feel different than you.  I never have.  I feel like I must be just like everyone else, except less sure of myself.  I can remember when Shug’s cousin took me aside and said “We’ve never known anyone like you.  You’re not like anybody else here.”  The weight of that “we.”  Or when my grandpa told my cousin I was a very weird girl.


Maybe that’s why I never really rebelled–I was always on the outside, somehow.


I don’t know.  I say things aren’t different, but they are.  Writing makes them different.  I used to be able to write wallowing posts where I’d sit here and cry and exorcise all my demons and it’d be hard, but god damn, it’d feel better.


I don’t write like that any more.  I don’t know if there aren’t any big demons left to slay or what.  Or if we’re just beyond the things I recognize as being problems and kind of drifting out into uncharted territory.


I’m afraid I’m too weird for you.


I’m afraid I’m not good enough for you.


And I’m afraid in saying that that you’re all going to rush in and say nice and supportive things and I won’t know how to respond both because I don’t know how to experience the full weight of good things and also because what’s fucked up in me you can’t fix, even though I really wish you could, and so kindness from others is kind of beside the point.


I didn’t like the cathartic posts, but I liked how they helped me feel better once they were out–like cutting out something rotted.  This is more like trying to stab at bugs with a fork.  There’s no great revelations, no catharsis, just me and this anxious feeling that I’m doing it wrong.


And I worry that doing it publicly makes it less likely that you will love me.  But I worry that, if I don’t do it publicly, I won’t have the guts to do it at all.


So, there you go.


I should probably get a hobby, like drinking myself into a stupor or pressing flowers.

The Butcher is Afraid He’s Sold Out

The Butcher is of the belief that there’s nothing flattering for the imitator. He thinks that if you obviously copy someone’s style, you are a sell-out.

I say that it’s not the same if you’re copying an artist that doesn’t actually exist. Then it becomes something bordering on genius. Especially when you consider that it’s a copy of a painting in the house of a fictional Bartholomew J. that will now hang in the house of a real Bartholomew J. and that, when we all first met the fictional Bart, my real Bart was that Bart’s same age.

In other words, I think it’s all kinds of fitting and funny that this is the piece the Butcher just finished up.

—–

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The Gun Nuts Ruin Crappy Television for Me

So, there I am watching Cold Case, which is one of those shows that one watches only so that one can properly enjoy the MadTV send-up of it, when all of a sudden it dawns on me that this particular episode is strangely biased against guns and violent video games.

You know how it came out a couple of years ago that the government had some kind of arrangement with Television that, if shows had a sufficient anti-drug message, they’d reap some governmental benefit?  I don’t remember the particulars, just that the government was encouraging shows to subtly preach that drugs are bad.

Watching this show last night?

I’ve begun to suspect that there may be a similar program against guns, if not also violent video games.

The premise of the episode was that there was a mall shooting, similar to Columbine, in which two deranged kids opened fire on a mall full of people, killing some number of them before killing themselves.  A video tape of the shooting appears after a number of years and it becomes clear that there was third person involved in the shootings in some regard, because the killers pass the camera off to that person before they start shooting.

It turns out that, right before the shooting, the local jocks gang-raped a girl and she was the one who encouraged the murderous kids to pick that day, of all days, to start their rampage.

The big plot hole being that they came to the mall with knapsacks full of guns.  Did they carry their arsenal with them every place, just in case one day they’d meet a girl who encouraged them to start shooting?  Did they plan on committing the murders that day and she just happened to coincidentally also be in a situation where she’d like them to start shooting?

I don’t know.  It was a big enough problem with the plot that I kind of couldn’t get past it. 

But so, the police go to interview the parents of one of the shooters and the whole point of the interview seems to be so that the police can make all kinds of snarky, judgmental comments about how come he needs such high-powered weaponry.  Now, if the police had wanted to make snarky, judgmental comments about how he’s a shitty gun owner for not noticing that his son seems to be carrying said weapons around with him 24/7, I’d be with them.

But this kind of gratuitous "If you’re such a good person, why do you own guns like that?" tone?  It just seemed weird.

And then, at the end of the episode, the girl who was the "trigger" for the killings goes to the mall with a gun and threatens to kill herself because she deserves to be punished, at which point, the main character has to go and deliver a heart-felt speech about how guns never just punish the person they’re aimed at, but punish all kinds of innocent bystanders.

All the while, mind you, the main character is armed and both characters are surrounded by an armed SWAT team.  It was really as if the moral of the show was that good people don’t need guns–only bad guys and the people supposed to protect us from bad guys need them.

Which, maybe even is also fine, as far as morals go, if you like your TV shows with morals.

But the thing is that the whole show seemed to be some meditation on just who’s to blame when something like this happens and the conclusion the show seems to come to is that the blame always exists outside the person.  

Why did those two kids open fire on a crowded mall?  According to the show, it’s because they had access to guns, because they played violent video games, because some girl told them to, because the jocks picked on them, because other people said they said they wanted to be famous etc. etc.  But the thing is that we never get to see what motivates them internally.  Were they crazy?  Angry?  Who knows?

And all the solutions that the show toys with seem then really hollow.  Would these kids have done that if they hadn’t had easy access to guns?  Would they have found some other way to wreck havoc?  Who knows?  They seemed deliberately indecipherable, which left the blame to be put on everyone but them.

I’m all for collectivity, in a lot of respects.  But this aspect of it troubles me deeply.  People are responsible for their own actions.  We can understand a lot about why they chose those actions and not others based on their circumstances, and, because of that understanding, we can and, I think, often, should feel some measure of sympathy for how they ended up doing what they did and should work to help other folks not end up in those circumstances.

But at the end of the day, each person must be responsible for his or her own actions.  It’s trite when the NRA says it, but it’s true.  If I deliberately aim a gun at you and pull the trigger, it is not, ultimately, the gun’s fault that I shot you. 

 It bothers me to see television shows devoted to proving otherwise.

Aunt B.’s Civil War Battlefield

The cool thing about where we live, is that we live right on top of the Battle of Nashville Battlefield. Unlike most major Civil War battlefields, this one was not preserved. There are no vast open swaths of fields, dotted only with monuments to fallen soldiers for people to come and look at in order to get a sense of what happened here.

There’s no visitor’s center with helpful park rangers to sit you in a movie and give you insights into the landscape.

You have to drive around neighborhoods and try to imagine what it must have been like in 1864.

Or you can look out in my back yard and imagine the Union’s front line camped out along the railroad tracks out back.

Here’s the Battle of Nashville Preservation Society’s map . If you find Harding Pike and then look north and find the railroad tracks. You’ll see two jagged lines representing the two lines of Union forces. The one farthest west is the one that concerns us. And where the jagged line and the railroad tracks intersect?

That’s where I live!

Every day, I can look out my back yard and onto a little bit of history.

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My Sister-in-Law, May She Get Stung by 1,000 Angry Wasps

My littlest nephew is back with my brother, after a month.  My sister-in-law wanted to send him back to the recalcitrant brother after two weeks.  She claims she just can’t handle him.

I shouldn’t complain, because at least he’s back someplace safe, but it just pisses me off that she makes it out like it’s his fault, like he’s too much trouble, and not that she’s a psycho bitch who couldn’t even take care of a dog (see Wigglebottom, Mrs.).

Luckily, the preschool near the recalcitrant brother will let him enroll, which is good.  He loves school and loves other kids and could use the structure.

It just hurts my heart.  I can’t even tell you.  I just look at that little boy and my heart hurts.  I want him to have a good life and to be safe and to have a good close relationship with his brother and every second he’s with her, I’m terrified something bad is going to happen.

 Anyway, that’s all.  I just had to bitch about her.

I May Be the Only Girl to See the Dukes of Hazzard

I watched The Dukes of Hazzard yesterday and I’m still mulling it over today.  On a lesser note, I wonder why the make-up people didn’t do more to get rid of the dark circles under Johnny Knoxville’s eyes.  He looked a little like Zombie Luke Duke.  But I still find him fun to watch.

But the greater note?  Damn you, Jay Chandrasekhar, damn you!  No one should have to think so hard as I’ve been thinking about your weird "black guys meet the Dukes" scene, when it’s in a movie as inconsequential as the Dukes is.  And yet…

For those of you who haven’t seen it, the Duke boys go into Atlanta with their newly painted General Lee and they end up surrounded by some black guys who don’t take too kindly to the Confederate flag on the top of the car, especially since the Dukes have, through some weird contrivance, ended up with coal on their faces.

It’s a weird moment.  It’s hard to watch, not only because of the gratuitous racial crap, but because it doesn’t really seem to fit in with the rest of the movie or further the plot.  And even after the rest of the movie goes by much like any other episode of the television show upon which it’s based, that moment sticks out like a rough spot on an otherwise smooth and forgettable surface.

And so it makes me wonder just what the hell is going on there. Is it some hint from Chandrasekhar about what he thinks of the whole film?  Are Bo and Luke and the whole Hazzard gang types?  Is there something funny about how willing we are to watch a movie that trades in stereotypes of rural Southern whites and yet find the scene that draws attention to how blacks were portrayed (and are still portrayed) uncomfortable?  Or is it just an acknowledgement of how fake the movie is?  How in real life the bar-fighting, moon-shine-running, folks with Confederate flags on their cars are not sweet old boys we’d like to spend two hours with, but in general, are kind of scary and that there’s something really weird about a cultural phenomenon that portrays them otherwise?

I don’t know.  It’s something, though.

Lazy Sunday

When I walked into their house, one of the first things that the Legal Eagle said to me was that I sure had a Southern accent.

I denied it.

Doing these videos, though, has made it obvious.

It’s so nice and sunny out that I want to just go lay outside, but that would mean getting up from the couch, and frankly, I’m too lazy to move from here.

It’s been so long since I’ve had a weekend where I had nothing going on, no obligations to anyone but myself, and nothing pressing to do around the house.  It’s really, really nice. 

 I did give Mrs. Wigglebottom a bath and I got the drain upstairs running again.  But otherwise, I’ve not accomplished a thing, which is awesome.