Not Quite What I Planned

My Plan for the Evening:

1.  Come home.

2.  Drink until I pass out.

3.  Pass out.

What Actually Happened:

1.  Come home.

2.  Pay bills.

3.  Sit around in the dark.

4.  Learn that Mercury is in retrograde.  Rethink dismissal of astrology.

5.  Sit around in the dark some more.

6.  Fall asleep at some point.

7.  Wake up to the sound of my oven shuddering.  Decide neighbor must be rearranging his kitchen.

8.  Go to bed.  Again.  As always.

Why Can’t I Parlay My Influence into Smooches?

This tickles the shit out of me.  Turns out this week I’m the 4th most influential political blogger in Tennessee.

What can I do with said influence?  Let’s see… Okay, I will make three demands.  We’ll see if they’re met.

1.  Put a 4-way stop at the corner of Acklen Park and Park Circle.

2.   Give me as much consideration for Larry Daughtrey’s job as you would Bill Hobbs.

3.  Smooches!  Smooches for me.  If you see me out and about and you recognize me, heap some smooches on me.

The Book of Love

I can’t remember if we decided that Stephin Merritt was an ass or not the last time we talked about him.  I kind of think we decided he was an ass, but so were his critics.  Isn’t that how it is?

I was trying to find that Magnetic Fields song that goes “A pretty girl in her underwear/ If there’s anything better in this world, who cares?” and then “A pretty boy in his underwear/ If there’s any other reason to jump for joy, who cares?” when I accidentally found “The Book of Love,” which is such a beautiful song that I want to hear a choir sing it.

I like the whole song.  It’s short and sweet and I really like the idea of the Book of Love being just this enormous almost useless tome sitting unmovable in a library some place.  And how it contains all these things “facts, and charts and instructions for dancing” as well as having music in it.  And yet, each couple must work out between them for themselves how love goes.

And, at the end, when he sings, “I love it when you give me things and you ought to give me wedding rings.”  It just gets me right in the heart.

We’re going up to my cousin’s wedding on Thursday.  I really, really don’t want to go.  It’s not that I don’t think he should get married.  Shoot, I love his fiancee.  Anyone who drives my family that crazy should be immediately welcomed in with open arms.  And who doesn’t get a little misty-eyed and optimistic about folks setting off together in the world?

It’s just that Greg won’t be there.  And he won’t be there not because he’s hiding from scary folks who want their money or that he’s in no shape to come or that he’s out in the parking lot trying to talk the younger folks into letting him into their cars to “make phone calls” when really he’s up to whatever weird thing he’s up to.

He couldn’t be there if he wanted.  What a terrible fucking waste, you know?  Just what a stupid, stupid fucking waste.

We always joke that we only get together at weddings and funerals.

That “we” gets smaller and smaller.

That’s the bullshit thing about grief, too, you know?  That you’re sitting here six months later and it’s like your hearing of his passing for the first time.

I’m a mess.  I’m really sorry that I’m a mess.

But let’s be optimistic.  I just have to get through this weekend and then it’s on to Boston and no matter what happens in Boston, there are no dead relatives there, haunting the peripheries of all this family time.  Let’s hope things here at Tiny Cat Pants return to normal at that point.

Until then, let’s just muddle through as best we can.

Probably Not What the Southern Poverty Law Center Has in Mind

The nephews were watching two Chinese dudes cross the road when one of them started and the other joined in with “Hit the Mexicans!”

This continued until my brother threatened to smack them. He then said, “What the fuck are you running around being racist when you can’t even tell your races apart? I don’t want to hear shit about Mexicans when you don’t even know what a Mexican looks like.”

Needless to say, it was both funny and mortifying.

I don’t know. I just get bummed out when I think of my family, in their own clumsy ways, trying to instill in us this notion that people are people. And here, unless the Butcher gets on the ball right quick, goes our family line descending into this nonsense.

Is there any way to combat that? They’re so young and it just pisses me off that they’re already picking this shit up.

Mack and I were having a fight the other day about Aaron Sorkin* who, on one of his shows–Studio SportsWing, maybe?–, was having this discussion about how (so I guess it was Studio 60) this small town in Missouri or Kansas or where ever, you know, out here were we golly gee just don’t know any better but to be so gosh darn ignorant had banned their high school from doing some musical–Grease, maybe–and the show in the show was going to do some joke about this and then they found out that everyone in that small town works at a chicken processing plant** and that’s the only industry and these folks are just hard-workin’ god-fearin’ folks who just want to bring their kids up and so maybe we shouldn’t make fun of them.

Holy Jesus, this pissed me off. One because it just seems so patronizing to me. Oh, don’t criticise the hicks. They’re just hard-workin’ (etc.) folks trying to do what’s right. As if trying to do what’s right makes you immune from criticism. And two, look at what they think is right!

It’s not right to raise your kids to be afraid of being exposed to ideas that are different than the ones you hold. It’s not right to demand that your children be kept ignorant because that’s all you’re comfortable with. It’s not right to let your fear of art or the bigger world or whatever dictate what other people’s kids can do. And it’s really not right to ignore what people who dissent from your views in your own community say just because you think you have the line on what’s moral.

Romanticising what passes for “what’s right” out here in the heartland is bullshit.

Look at my nephews. That’s what half of their families think is “right.”

Oh, Atlanta, I pray for you to grow right out to the Alabama border. Shit, grow farther than that. Stretch out I-20 and I-85 and blanket my nephews in urban sprawl. Please let them go to school with and become friends with kids who are different than them.

I don’t know.

Aside from the fact that I’m embarrassed to know they’re picking up on that crap, I’m also worried for them. I want them to have good lives and I don’t want them to be limited in their choices.

At the end of the day, that’s what pisses me off about it. That they’re being trained to be reactionary and afraid, to view people who look different than them as remarkable because of it, and those attitudes are going to make their lives hard.

How do you counter that?

Can you?

*Note to readers: When around Mack, it’s just easier to pretend like Sorkin is a genius. No, I know, you’re thinking “No, I could totally have that fight with Mack and win.” You cannot. He will glue you to his couch and tape your eyelids open and force you to watch as much Sorkin as he has Tivoed until you’re, for some reason, compelled to walk up and down his hallway with him having rapid-fire exchanges about foreign policy, your love for a wayward prostitute (or coke), and how much bloggers suck while his kids run in and out of their rooms throwing in pithy rejoinders at appropriate times.

It’s not worth it.

**And is dying of TB, brought here by time-travelling illegal immigrants! No, not really, but wouldn’t that be great?

Edited to Add: Upon discussion with Mack, I want to say that a.) I was wrong for jumping down his throat and want to2_20.jpg publicly apologize; b.) He has a brilliant point, that one mustn’t let small town politics distract us from larger political issues and that we do run the risk of being grossly patronizing to small town folks if we only focus on their short-comings as if we are so much better; and c.) he is so awesome that the women of Iceland, whom he has never met, put up this statue in his honor just based on the legends they’ve heard of him.

In Your Face, John Keats

I’ll take you on, too, Jimmie Rodgers.

Although obesity has been linked to health problems such as hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, experts notice that among people suffering from the same ailments, those who are overweight tend to outlive those who are thin.

In the latest issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers in Hong Kong reported that elderly, obese people tend to be better protected from tuberculosis than slim people.

Edited to add: Folks, if only there weren’t time-traveling tubercular chicken workershere illegally from Latin America, we might still have Keats and Rodgers.  I demand you demand that your congresspeople address the problem of illegal time-traveling tubercular chicken workers.  After all, what good’s a wall going to do if illegal immigrants can just travel back to 1490, emigrate to what will be Georgia, and then time-travel forward, killing off beloved poets and country music singers in their wake?

Edited again to add: The last edit makes me laugh until Diet Dr Pepper threatens to come out my nose.  I acknowledge that it’s probably not that funny in real life.