Raul Malo

I went to Raul Malo’s CD release party this afternoon.  I drank mojitoes until I was good and tipsy and then I called Mack and sang “RAaaahooooolllll  RRRAAAAaaaahhhhooooolllll” to him.

I found it hilarious anyway.

Can we talk frankly, America?

Okay, it’s like this.  There appears to be no one in charge of Nashville.  Seriously.  If you go out on the town any night of the week, to hear country music being performed, you will hear someone on stage talking about how they make “real” country music unlike what’s being made in Nashville right now.  And everyone in the audience will cheer.

Okay, fine.

You find yourself drinking with some washed up old country star and you’re going to hear about how they just don’t make music like they used to.

Again, fine.

But here we are at BMI and the dude introducing Raul Malo is all talking about what a big event this is with folks from all the major studios and all up and down music row and how it just goes to show that when good music is being made, folks who like good music will show up to support it.

I call bullshit.

You cannot have a situation where the audience, the performers, and the music execs all seem to think that there’s some other, better music that’s not getting its due because of the pressures of… I don’t know.  I guess whatever group is not around at the moment so that they can be blamed.

If everyone really wanted different, better music, there would be different, better music.

Someone is buying what they’re selling.  So, why does the industry itself act ashamed of that?

In other news, even though I’d gone to a CD release party, sadly, no CD got released to me.

Malo had a beautiful voice and an infectious smile.  The songs they did sounded good.

Did I mention the mojitoes?  And all the big brown-eyed girls standing around me?

I think I need to swoon a little.

Now, where did I put that fainting couch?

Forget What John’s Writing, What’s Willie Singing?

We should have a contest and whoever can come up with the most plausible interpretation of what Blind Willie Johnson is singing when he’s singing “John the Revelator” would win some fabulous prize.  Because his version is almost totally different than the song Son House sings.

House’s version is easy enough to hear.

The chorus goes:

Who’s that writing? John the Revelator.  (3x)

Wrote the Book of the Seven Seals.

And the first verse is:  You know, God walked down in the cool of the day.  And He called Adam by his name.  He refused to answer.  ‘Cause he was naked and ashamed.

Second: You know, Christ had 12 apostles.  And three he led away.  “Watch with me one hour ’til I go yonder and pray.”

Three: Christ came on Easter morn.  Mary & Martha was down to see.  “Go tell my disciples to meet me in Galilee.”

See, it goes a certain way.  There’s sense to be made from it.  That might not be exactly right, but I’m pretty sure I’m hearing it all.

Turn to Willie Johnson’s though and discerning the lyrics is a bit like interpreting some ancient prophecy.  (You may ask yourself why it’s so important to know what Johnson is saying when House’s version is so clear.  I would point out that, aside from the nearly indecipherable lyrics, Johnson’s version is more fun to sing.  For starters, it’s got the most awesome chorus.  If you sing it with another person, one of you gets to be all “Who’s that writing?” and the other can answer “John the Revelator.”  If you sing it with yourself, you get to use your gravelly voice on the question and your best falsetto on the answer.  Good fun.  And second, there’s something about the way that Johnson’s backup singer sings “John the Revelator” that makes it nearly impossible for a girl to not move her hips in tiny figure-eights, which makes me believe that Johnson, more than House, in this case, is toying with something a bit more powerful.)

Johnson’s chorus goes (I think):

Who’s that writing?  John the Revelator. (3x)

The book of the seven seals.

What’s John writing?  [Bout? ] the Revelator. (3x)

The book of the seven seals.

Okay, let’s try the verses.

1.  [Well, I hope my wifey? Well, that who I be] thousands cried holy. Fountain of [Sultan? Zoltar?] Son of Our God.  Daughter of Zion.  Judah the Lion.  He redeemed us and he bought us with his blood.

2.   Now, the Revelator, Great [aggregator?] [Dancing on the battlement’s sign?]  Telling the story.  [Writing the glory? or Rising in Glory?].  Crying, Lord, [too loving some I?]

3.  Well, Moses, Sir Moses, watching the flock, saw the bush, well, he had to stop.  God told Moses, ‘Pull off your shoes.  Out of the flock, well, you I choose.”

I found a website that claims to have the lyrics:

Who’s that a-writin’? John the Revelator!
Who’s that a-writin’? John the Revelator!
Who’s that a-writin’? John the Revelator!
Hey, the book of the seven seals
What’s John a-writin’? About the revelation?
Hey, book of the seven seals
Well, I who or who would I be, thousands cried of holy
Found the fountain, son of our bible God
Daughter of Zion, Judah the lion
He redeemeth and he bought us with blood
John the Revelator, great advocator
Gets’em on the battle of Zion
Lord, tellin’ the story, risin’ in glory
Cried, “Lord, don’t you love”
Well, Moses to Moses, watchin’ the flock
Saw the bush, well, he had to stop
God told Moses, “Pull off your shoes”
I let the flock go, well, you I choose

I’ll admit, some of that seems plausible, but I’m not wholly convinced.

What is Feminism?

I’m running late so poke your heads in here.  Here’s the only tangent I would want to go off on, if I had time.  I think I reject a definition of feminism that says “men and women are equal” unless there are a ton of caveats, because I think masculinity, as currently performed, can be pretty fucked up.

I think aiming for men and women being equal sets the bar pretty damn low and requires nothing of men but for them to “wait for us to catch up.”

I want men and women to change.  I want a paradigm shift.

To me, feminism is the radical notion that women are human and that being human is not equivalent to suffering.

One for the Academics–The Ithaka Report

So, my scholarly and librarian friends, have you read The Ithaka Report?  I have mixed feelings.  I feel ooky about the idea that the university press exists only to to supply content for libraries and, while I think that libraries and university presses do have common ground, their goals are very different.  Libraries want information to be freely and widely available.  University presses clearly want to at least break even during the dissemination of information.

But it was stunning to see how negative the attitudes towards scholarly publishing were.


Are Radical Feminists Happy?

I hesitate to ask that question because “insufferable, miserable bitch” pretty much goes hand in hand with “feminist” in the popular culture and I hate to add to it.  But I see these radical feminists running around the internet killing joy wherever they see it and I just have to wonder.

In a way, it reminds me of that saying–To the person who has only a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.


Let’s try this from another direction.

I’ve been reading Renegade Evolution for a while now.  She’s one of the toughest blogs for me to read, personally, because so much of what she says fundimentally challenges my ideas about what it means to be a feminist and what it means to be sex positive and what it means to feel powerful.  I think I benefit from reading her a great deal, but I read her and am always just “No, no, no, no, no.  La la la.  I can’t hear you.”  Which, I think, means that she’s someone I really need to hear from and consider.  So, I try to honor that.  I read and consider.  But I don’t comment over there because I feel like my objections to what she’s saying are based in how challenged I feel by her perspective, not by their validity.  At this point, arguing with her would be about my desire to remain unmoved and unchanged by what she says and I believe being unmoved and unchanged are not valid goals.  Does that make sense?

Anyway, I bring her up because she’s had it with feminism

Okay, let that stitch hang for just a second.

Over at Alas, they’re still debating the hilarious cartoon Amp drew the other day.  A certain set of radical feminists believes that his comparing them to certain conservative Christians is misogynistic.  Unless they believe that any man daring to critique a woman is inherently misogynist, I’m afraid I don’t understand their position.

And I, like Mandolin, often don’t recognize myself in the online rad fem defintion of “woman,” let alone feminist.  The rad fem strategy seems to be to have a framework through which to view the world and to force that framework to… um… frame (ha, if I had an editor, she could smooth that mess out) whatever it is they’re looking at.  If you read some of the comments in the threads Mandolin links to, you can see some women grateful to have a way to view the world.

And, you know, I guess I don’t get that.  Again, I want to come back to ethical pleasure–feeling good and doing things that make you happy that don’t hurt others.  Why aren’t we advocating that women do things that feel good to them?

See, I consider this to be radical, in a different sense of the word, of course.  But to me, the notion that women should be encouraged to actively take part in the world (do things), and not passively wait for the world to happen to them, in a way they find pleasurable (meaning that women would have to figure out for themselves what felt good for them and seek it) and being attentive to it not hurting others (taking up space in the world and being aware of what taking up that space means) is radical.

Changing women’s thinking so that we, ourselves, decide our own destinies is radical.  But how can we know if we’re on the right track?  None of us can really imagine what it will be like when women are not so fucked up anymore.  We can’t set goals or use theoretical framework because we don’t know where it is we’re going.

Say that we were all fish and some of us had a dream to get onto dry land.  We might have, by leaping out of the water, some ideas about what we’ll need to get there and what we’ll need when we get there.  But we’ve never been on dry land before.  We can’t say for sure that what we need to get there is the same as what we’ll need when we’re there.

We have to be able to be flexible and to plan for a future we cannot wholly envision.

That, to me, is where pleasure comes in.  Pleasure doesn’t require having a known goal.  It’s a way to guide you.

With that in mind, I don’t know why we can’t say that, just as it brings some women, like Renegade Evolution, great pleasure to dance naked in front of folks, it brings other women great pleasure to find dancing naken in front of folks very silly.  And both groups would go on their ways doing and believing the things that bring them pleasure and acting on that pleasure in ways that don’t hurt others.

That, to me, seems very powerful.

Random Things that Made Me Laugh and Nod My Head

1.  Little girl.  Big bamboo.  What I wouldn’t give to be that matter-of-factly adventurous again.  What happened?

2.  “If you combine an introverted streak, a slow-growing social sense, and a fast-growing sense of risk aversion, you get a nerd.”  Fast-growing sense of risk aversion!  That’s me.

3.  And Britain, too, apparently, where folks are up in arms (ha, not literally [woo, I like making jokes for my libertarian readers when I can]) about Olympic hopefuls being able to practice shooting, because it might, somehow, make it easier for criminals to get their hands on handguns, I think.

4.  Ha, could you believe I found a way to tie all those things together?  Me neither.

Fun With The Butcher

It’s 6:20 and the Butcher is still in his bed.

“What are you doing here?”

“I’m back to basics.”


“You know, bratwurst.”

“Why aren’t you at work.”

“It’s noble downstairs.”

“THE BUTCHER.  Why aren’t you at work?”

“I have today off.”

“What does that have to do with bratwurst?”

“Nothing.  What are you talking about?”

Edited to add:

I think “Noble” may be a name or a nickname, as there is some guy on my couch.  Bless his heart, y’all, but when I came downstairs, both the cat and the dog were standing right by him making noises like they were trying to hork up giant furballs.  I don’t know.  Maybe some guys find that attractive.

Here’s a picture of them waiting for their beloved to awaken.


Random Things–Girls, Girls, Girls

–I hope Richland Creek is not too polluted, because I let Mrs. Wigglebottom play in there for a good quarter of an hour during our walk.  I’m really enjoying the greenway, even if it does just go around the golf course.  I would enjoy it a whole lot more if it weren’t ninety-five and humid beyond belief.

–Yesterday, SuperMousey yelled at me for using “blog language.”  That tickled the shit… er… crap right out of me.

–I’ve been accused of being easier on women on-line than I am on men.  This strikes me as true, reasonable, and obvious, so I’m not quite sure how to defend myself.  I mean, yes, I am.  That seems to me to make perfect sense.  I don’t know.  Am I missing something here? 

To make broad, sweeping generalizations for the sake of proving that I’m right, a lot of male interaction can be summed up as “Respect me, because I have a big dick.”  “Whatever.  Here are all of the reasons your dick is small and mine is bigger.”  “Whatever, your momma never complained.”  When faced with such interaction, a person such as myself has a few options.  I can respond with, “Oh, please, does this have to turn into a dick waving?” or “Yes, yes, your dick is so big.  Mmm.  What a beautiful big dick you have.” or “Whatever, here are all of the reasons your dick is small and mine is bigger.”  I think most folks expect one of the first two responses from a woman, but I don’t think that should always be the case.  Also, again, broadly speaking, men tend to be better natured about the bullshit between them.  In other words, one man can say to another, metaphorically, “Here are all of the reasons you have a tiny dick” and they can be friends after that.

But when women take after each other, we are evil to each other.  We can argue about why this is, but it’s, again, generally speaking, true.  After about four years of this (usually transpiring between 11-14), we are all well-versed in how much we suck and well-aware of how much it sucks to have a girl turn on you.  We spend a lot of time trying to get over the damage wrought by living in a society that feels free to tell us how much we suck and that supports women policing each other in exceptionally cruel ways.

For me, and I suspect for most women, this means that it’s very, very hard to argue or fight with another woman the way I would with a man, because I’m almost always sure that the men won’t take it personally and I’m not convinced that women can hear argumentative or fighting words from another woman and take it as just a fight and not something that echoes too closely the fucked up ways we’re used to interacting.

And why would I do that to another woman?  I mean, if you knew that a person you cared about was called “Dog boy” right before his dad beat the shit out of him on a regular basis, would you ever call him “Dog boy” unless you were absolutely sure that he and you had some understanding that would make that okay?

–The Professor is on her way over and we’re going to have dessert!  Ice cream, I hope.

Like Tuning in a Faint Radio Station

We didn’t just watch Premonition, we also watched all of the documentaries about people who actually have premonitions that they included on the disk. Bless their hearts, it made the stinking mess of the movie even more clear. If you’re not going to make a movie actually about premonitions, don’t include supplemental material that will make how short you fell so readily apparent.

Anyway, the documentaries were interesting–interviews with people who claim to have had premonitions. And they were also sad. One guy had a premonition of a terrible plane crash some decades ago and you could see that he still felt anguish over the fact that he was unable to really do anything about it. Why, he wondered, was he shown these things, if he wasn’t supposed to do anything about them?

I told the Professor that this is where I differ from folks like that. I’m willing to believe that people can have premonitions. I don’t believe the whole future is set, but I believe that events in the past and in the present make certain future events almost inevitable. And I would not be surprised to learn in the future that we’d discovered that some people really can sense some things.

Not because they’ve been touched by God necessarily, but because there is a slight evolutionary advantage (or maybe more than slight) to being able to anticipate trouble.

I don’t think these folks have a gift given to them by Anyone. But I don’t doubt that, for some of them, something real is happening.

Same thing with this show I was watching the other night on the SciFi channel about Virginia City and how haunted it’s supposed to be. There was some interesting footage of what looked very much like a somewhat, but not quite solid figure walking in front of a window. I was ready to go that far with them, that they’d found something they couldn’t explain–a figure walking. But they were convinced that it was the ghost of a departed person.

I just couldn’t go that far with them. Clearly, something was on the film. I wanted to see them do some work to try to debunk it. Could they have made something similar happen by, I don’t know, giving the dust time to resettle and then opening and closing a door in the room? Was there a curtain we didn’t see? I don’t know.

But then, let’s say that there’s nothing in the room that would explain that footage and it also isn’t the result of tampering. How can we know that it’s a ghost of a dead person? What if it’s an elf or some kind of being that never had a body? I mean, I know that’s kind of ridiculous on its surface, but once we’ve decided that something might be supernatural, why is the obvious explanation that it’s a ghost? We’re in a realm we don’t know anything about. Who knows what kinds of things live there?

On my way home from Boston I was reading Spooked, which is this one writer’s quest to explore the afterlife. She doesn’t really succeed, but it’s interesting nonetheless, and she’s talking to a guy about EVPs–when you leave a recording device in a room and listen to it later and discover voices on it–and he was some kind of radio wave expert and he was telling her how folks who work in radio have long observed a phenomenon where, if you have two equally strong signals at the same frequency, you will sometimes get neither signal but instead get, say, a Greek radio station at that frequency. They’re not sure why it happens, but it happens. He wonders if, with EVPs, folks aren’t actually inadvertently picking up with their recorders, this phenomenon.

I’ve also heard that, sometimes, when you’re walking through the stacks at the library across the street from the WSM towers, you can hear low voices like people talking, even when no one’s there. But, if you put your ear right next to the metal stacks and listen carefully, you’ll become aware that you’re hearing DJs from the radio station.

Again, just because you hear a disembodied voice on your recorder doesn’t make it a ghost, necessarily.

Which, I think, also means that just because your prayers are sometimes answered doesn’t mean there’s a god.

I just am not sure if there are gods or an afterlife of any sort.  I’m not sure what kind of proof I’d have to have that would make it real and meaningful to me.  I mean, I think I’ve experienced ghostly phenomena and yet, I just can’t say for certain, even if I can say that something strange happened, that it’s proof of the afterlife.

Take for instance the utiseta. I like it.  I think I benefit immensely from doing it.  And yet, I can’t ever be sure that I’m actually doing anything more than just tapping into some deep brain knowledge or some ancestral knowledge or whatever–that I’m just giving my subconscious time to bubble forth with useful stuff.

I can’t say that it makes me feel certain of the gods.  But it makes me feel certain of my place in the world, that I am doing something similar to what my ancestors would have done when they felt discombobulated and out of sorts.

It’s like this: imagine your goal is to get wet.  Do you rely on your prayers to your gods to bring about rain or do you rely on the skills of the people who came before you, and turn on the shower?

That being said, sitting out is, for now, a necessary element in my feeling right in my soul.

Part of it, to me, feels like waiting for some other reality to overlay this one and, once that happens, to either launch yourself into that one long enough to look around or to pull a bit of that world over here.  In a way, it feels like tuning in a faint radio station.  Sometimes, you get mostly static and other times, you hear something real and true and foreign to you just as plain as day.

Is it, though?

I don’t know.

Maybe it doesn’t matter.

Random Weekend Observations

–If you watched only cheesy movies, you would come to believe that all black people are originally from Philadelphia.

Fred Claus could not look any more ridiculous.

The Simpsonswas hilarious.  The first half is more movie-ish and the second half is more tv-show-ish, but it’s all very, very enjoyable.  Also, who does not love Lisa’s little Irish boyfriend?

–“You didn’t sit there in grad school dreaming of this life, did you?”  Ouch.

–I’m really, really tired of the humidity.

I’d Like Two Words

Wanted: One word that would encompass Coble, Abramson, Exador, etc. and another word that would encompass Frank, Oatney, Campfield, etc. Clearly, those are two vastly different groups of folks that, though they share a lot in common, differ so widely in whether they make sense that really, they shouldn’t be lumped under the same giant umbrella.

So, anyway, I swear this will be my last post about pitbulls for a while. I just could not let this pass when I saw Joe Powell mention it, but clearly, a person could devote her whole life to refuting the things Oatney, Frank (were I still reading her), and Campfield say. Still, this comment thread over at Volunteer Voters is ripe for snarking.

Let’s give it a cursory try.

1. David Oatney, “aborticide” makes no sense as a word. “Abort” means to miscarry. It’s a verb. “-Cide” means to kill or to cut and it refers to the thing that comes right before it. One cannot kill miscarrying just as one cannot kill walking or bike riding or thinking, though, Lord knows, if anyone were committing “thoughtoside” in that thread, it’s the person trying to pass off “aborticide” as a word. Abortion not a gruesome enough term for you? Then call it fetucide (the killing of a fetus) or clumpocellicide or whatever. Just don’t be mangling the English language in an effort to score points with your fellow advocates of making women property of the State.

2. How funny and right on is Brittney? Yep, exactly. Somehow, Oatney is trying to argue that dog fighting is an integral part of the culture over in his neck of the woods and folks who oppose it are somehow elitists who just don’t understand his culture.

3. And didn’t you just cheer a little when Joe Powell was all “Yes, David, I, too, live over here and have somehow managed to not become immune to the grossness of blood sports.”?

4. It’s funny how David Oatney thinks that insinuating that East Tennesseans are amoral monsters who he understands, even if no one else does, is somehow standing up for the common man.

Anyway, it’s really threads like that that make me wonder if those conservatives ever reread what they say and cringe at how ridiculous they are. I mean, really, both Frank and Oatney seem to be arguing that, as long as women can have abortions, well, by golly, dogs will just have to suffer.

Shoot, is there anything women haven’t fucked up for everyone else? First we bring sin into the world, now we’re tying David Davis’s hands when it comes to stopping dog fighting and, I suppose, also forcing Michael Vick to fight them in the first place.

Women. Damn it. Running around ruining it for the rest of us.

Edited to add:  Tiny Pasture has a post up that links to Oatney’s clarification.  I responded.  I crack myself up.

The Supposedly Cursed Brentwood Library

I’ve been working on this big long post for three days that brought to mind the story of the cursed Brentwood library.  I was thinking of said story on our walk this morning, too, because who, now, would believe a story about construction in Middle Tennessee that included no reference to Mexicans?

Mull that over, folklorists.

Anyway, like any good story, I heard this from an ex-co-worker who heard it from a woman on the board of the Brentwood library back when they were building the new building which is right across the street from the WSM tower (if you’re looking at the library, your back is to the tower and if you’re looking at the tower, your back is to the library.  I’m going to say they’re probably about a hundred yards, maybe a little more since the library sits so far back, apart).

This was right around the time that they found the ancient Native American baby grave right where they were trying to widen Hillsboro Pike there at the intersection with Old Hickory and the Native Americans were protesting the expansion and tying everything up in court.

Well, supposedly, as they were excavating the site for the new library, they found skeletons and the prospect of facing a similarly lengthy court battle and delay in the project loomed before the Library Board.  And so, after a bitter fight, the Board and the Contractor decided to go ahead and not tell anyone about the skeletons and just build over them.

Dun dun dun!

Well, the main support structure of the Library is supposedly steal beams and, as I heard the story, the best folks for working on steel beam structures were also Native Americans, (Mohawks, apparently).

Well, as it turned out, while they were putting up the steel beam structure, they would hear voices, sometimes, and soft singing.  The contractor was convinced, and had them convinced, that it was just that atmospheric circumstances were right and the beams were picking up the signal from the WSM tower across the street.

Now, this explained the singing and some of the voices, but it didn’t explain the voices that announced, “We’re still here.” or “I’m underneath you.” or the ones that would call the workers by names.

Finally, one of the workers came to the foreman and said, “the voices claim that this is their land, that they’re buried beneath us.  We can’t work if it’s desecrating a grave site.”

“Then how will I finish the library?” the foreman asked, basically admitting that what the voices said was true.

“I don’t know, but it won’t be with us.” and all of the Native American workers walked off the job.

Of course, other crews came in and finished the work and if they heard anything, it was just chalked up to transmissions from WSM.

And, so they say, there are still times when you can be walking through the stacks of this brand new, beautiful building, when the atmosphere is ripe, and hear the faint sounds of the Grand Ole Opry humming along the metal bookshelves.  And there are other times, when you are sure you’re alone, when you’ll hear people murmuring and sometimes you can just make out them saying, “We’re still here.”

Is It Too Much to Ask?

I want a cabinet like this.  I thought it might be easy enough to build one, but I think I might have been dissuaded from that.  But here’s the thing.  This is a hundred and fifty bucks and it doesn’t come assembled, which means, I’d still have to put it together.

I couldn’t do better putting one together from scratch?

I really only want to spend fifty dollars.

Is that so wrong?

Random Things That Struck Me This Morning

1.  I want to say something about this, but I can’t quite work my mind around it.  It seems spot on, but I don’t know that I want to call it a liberal/conservative split.  Hmm.  Maybe we’ll come back to this.

2.  The perjury bothers me, but the refusal to answer questions bothers me more.  Conservatives, please tell me that you’re also concerned about whether Bush understands that he’s not above the law.  I mean, my conservative friends, you do get that, if we don’t all play by the Constitution, we’re not really America any more, right?  We just can’t have one branch of the government decide it can be above the Law.  Right?

3.  More evidence that fat people are ruining it for everyone.  We make our friends fatter and we’re abusing our children with our fatty fatness.  Never mind that the government’s own studies suggest that people who are “overweight” live longer than the folks who meet the government’s ideal.  Even obese people are only going to lower the life expectancy of Americans two years over the course of the next century.  Two years.  Over a hundred years.  Still Jennifer Chait is convinced that many of the people her age aren’t going to live to see their grandchildren.  Well, yeah, maybe if everyone waits until they’re forty to have kids and then their kids wait until they’re forty.

Here’s a handy tip from me: If you’re concerned about the health of Americans, encourage everyone to eat better and exercise more.  But if you find yourself out in public staring at the fat people you find so disgusting and then rushing home to talk some more about how gross they look, don’t bother to pretend you’re concerned about their health.  We can all see that the problem is that you believe you should be surrounded by a world filled only with pretty and it offends you that some folks don’t give a shit about surrounding you with said pretty.

Dog Tired

I’m so tired. So, so tired.

I want to come up with something amusing for you, but here’s the only thing that springs to mind.  You know how when you have an itch?  Scratching an itch is a lot like having bad sex.  It’s nice to have the sensation, but the longer it goes on, the more apparent it is that no relief is coming.

Yet Again, Martin Brady Chaps My Hide… or is it Chafes My Hide? No Matter.

Is this Martin Brady the same dude who writes for the Scene? If so, I have half a mind to take Mrs. Wigglebottom down to their new headquarters and let her meet him.

Once he’s charmed and enamored with her–as most folks quickly become–I’m going to pick her up and knock him upside the head with her.

Ha, no. I bet that would be bad for her knee. Speaking of which, we tried the half an aspirin thing last night, mixed in with some peanut butter. She slept on the floor, but I didn’t see her limping.

Anyway, we weren’t talking about Mrs. W. We were talking about Martin Brady.

Here are five things Martin Brady needs to know before insinuating that Michael Griffin is going to end up being the Titans’ Michael Vick.

1. The term “pit bull” is not just a breed, as I explain here. It can refer to a specific breed, a general ‘type’ of dog, or a dog with a specific job.

2. The AKC doesn’t recognize any breed called a “pit bull.” They recognize four types of dogs commonly referred to as “pit bulls”–the American Staffordshire Terrier, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the Bull Terrier, and the Miniature Bull Terrier. If Michael Griffin is going around to dog shows looking at pit bulls, he’s most likely attending UKC events, because the UKC recognizes the American Pit Bull Terrier as an official breed.

3. You can look up Griffin’s kennel on the internet and take a look at how he’s presenting the dogs. Now, granted, folks don’t show everything, but I don’t see any dogs being tied up to car axles or so aggressive that they can’t hang out with other dogs. None of the dogs seem scarred or maimed. My point is that, from what evidence Griffin presents, there’s nothing to suggest that he is anything other than what he claims to be–a man interested in breeding a dog he thinks is bad-ass.

4. Since there is no journalistic standard for what’s considered a “pit bull,” forming your opinion about pit bulls based on what you read in the media is bound to be skewed. Pit bulls are thought to be vicious, therefore, often, when a vicious dog attacks, it’s just assumed to be a pit bull. Take a look at this post and these videos and get some knowledge.

5. I’m not claiming that Griffin is a saint. I don’t know anything about him. But lumping him in with Michael Vick because they both share passions for the same dogs is like lumping a rapist in with a good husband just because they both like to put their penises in women. Michael Vick is a sadistic fuck who enjoys hurting dogs and watching dogs hurt each other. Lumping Griffin in with Vick based solely on the type of dog he likes is a pretty serious allegation. If you have other reasons to believe that Griffin has issues, out with them. Otherwise, stop maligning pit bull owners.

Robert L. Crosnoe, You Appear to Be a Dink UPDATED

Dear Professor Crosnoe,

Congratulation on getting your article written up over at The Chronicle of Higher Education.   Too bad you appear to be a dink.  I have only four words of advice for you–find you a feminist.

Here’s the problem (and I’m sorry I have to quote so much from The Chronicle but most of my readers can’t actually read them online and I don’t want them to miss out): your article finds, and I quote,

Many obese girls skip college because of mental and behavioral problems associated with their weight, according to a new study by Robert L. Crosnoe, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin.

Obese adolescent girls, the study found, are half as likely to go to college as are non-obese girls, and those who attended a high school where obesity was uncommon were even less likely to enroll.

The study, which tracked 11,000 teenagers, also found that obese teen girls were more likely to consider suicide, have negative self-images, and use alcohol and marijuana than their non-obese peers.

By contrast, the study found little difference between the college-enrollment rates for obese and non-obese boys, leading to the conclusion that body image plays a greater role in girls’ self-concept and education choices.

“Obesity has been identified as a serious public-health issue, but these results indicate the harmful effects extend far beyond physical health,” says Mr. Crosnoe.

Let’s take a look again at what you say.  You say, “Obesity has been identified as a serious public-health issue, but these results indicate the harmful effects extend far beyond physical health.”

Bless your heart!  No they don’t.

What your results indicate is that it sucks to be a fat teenage girl in today’s society.  And, guess what?  It does suck.  In general, it kind of sucks to be a teenage girl in today’s society and, if you have something noticeably different about you?  Whoa, doggie.

But see, here’s the problem, you’re conflating a harmful effect of being a teenage girl–that your body is up for public scrutiny; that because it’s up for public scrutiny, people are free to (and often feel obliged to) let you know what they think of your appearance; that you must find some way of navigating the conflicting demands of appearing to be sexually available to everyone who wants you without appearing to be a slut; AND that, if you fail to meet people’s expectations, they will make your life hell–with a harmful effect of being obese.

You’ve proved that it’s not actually a harmful effect of being obese, because boys don’t suffer from it.

How can you not see that?

My second huge problem with your conclusions, based on how they’re typified here, is that, even if a lack of going to college is linked directly to obesity, it’s not the fat chicks’ faults.  There are things that are often a direct result of being obese.  You are obese; you can’t get the seat belt on an airplane to buckle around you.  Cause and effect.

But–you are obese; you don’t go to college?  No.

That’s other people making you feel bad about yourself because you don’t meet some arbitrary beauty standard and making you feel like you aren’t worthy of attending college.  That’s not actually a problem with the fat chick; that’s a problem for the fat chick.

Why would you reward anti-fat bigotry by suggesting that it’s the fat chick who should change?

Would you, if you did a study on college attendance and race and found that fewer black kids go to college than white kids because black kids face racism and bigotry that leads them to think they can’t succeed in college, ever write a sentence like “Race-related conditions have been identified as a serious public-health issue, but these results indicate the harmful effects extend far beyond physical health”?

I doubt it.  I think you’d see that it’s not the race of the person that is the problem, but society’s attitude towards people of that race which is the problem.  Why is that type of body hatred apparent and not this type?

Just wondering,

Aunt B.

P.S.  Argh!  Professor Crosnoe, NM has convinced me that you, yourself, are clearly not a dink, but have been misrepresented by the Chronicle in such a way as to make you appear like a dink.

I still stand by my original assertion that there’s something deeply dink-like and troubling about the Chronicle piece, but I apologize for not looking into you further to discover that you were not the source of the dinkiness.

My sincerest apologies to you.

Dropping Bombs in the Middle of the Story

Slate.com has a story about Muslim polygamy here in the U.S.  I will summarize it for you.  Blah blah blah some Muslim men have more than one wife.  Some Muslim leaders don’t mind.  Some Muslim women don’t mind.  Some do.  And so forth.

Now, you may remember Akon from such publicity stunts as dry humping a fourteen year old girl on stage and tossing some other fan off stage.

Ha, I’m sure some of you may see where this is going, but I’m reading along on Slate.com, wondering if I could put up with being a co-wife when, bam:

Similarly, Senegalese-American hip-hop star Akon casually revealed to a New York radio host in late 2006 that he not only had four mothers growing up but also currently has several wives at home in Atlanta. (He said he would go public with his “multimonogamous” family only if he had his own reality show. Just imagine it: Big Love meets Run’s House.)

Well, slather me with butter and call me a biscuit.

At the Vet

Mrs. Wigglebottom is at the vet. I am in full-on fret until I hear from my parents how it went.

UPDATE: So, Mrs. W. tried to bite the vet. Not my proudest moment as a dog owner. Also, apparently, her problem is in her knee. He wanted to do x-rays for another $150 and then send her to a specialist to do surgery. Apparently she needs a specialist because she’s “so big.” For the record, she’s sixty pounds. He says that there’s a danger her leg may atrophy as she realizes that she doesn’t need it and stops using it. Of course, as it is right now, she uses it 98% of the time.

So, I don’t know. We’re going to try giving her buffered aspirin twice a day and Dad thinks we should put an ACE bandage on it and see if that helps.

I mean, it’s not that she’s not using the leg at all. She almost always uses it, but sometimes you can tell that she’s not putting as much weight on it as she is the other leg. She only limps when she’s been curled up in the car or after she’s had to do something with her leg that she doesn’t normally do (like getting in and out of the bathtub).

I don’t know. I’m going to have to talk more to my parents about it and maybe see about getting a second opinion. I love my dog and I don’t want her to suffer, but I also don’t want to get sucked into shelling out a bunch of money on her for surgery if there’s some other way that we can address it.

And I’m confused about why he wouldn’t be able to do the surgery. I think of a big dog as being one that’s over 80 or 90 pounds.

I don’t know. Internet, advise me. Does this sound reasonable or sketchy? Should I call the vet at lunch and ask him to tell me what he told them, on the off chance they’re not relaying it correctly? And, if so, what questions should I ask? Also, how hard is it to get a dog to eat aspirin? Keep in mind that she eats everything from poop to tamales.

UPDATE, AGAIN:  I just got off the phone with the vet, who said that she’s got noticeable thickening of the knee tissue and he’s pretty sure, especially after talking to me about her activities, that she’s got a partial tear somewhere in her knee, either her meniscus or her anterior cruciate ligament.  But he wants to do an x-ray to make sure that it’s not a bone issue or, most unlikely, cancer.

If it is a partial tear, we’ve got some options.  We can make her comfortable and wait until it inevitably tears completely and then find someone in town who can do the TPLO procedure, which is going to run a couple thousand dollars.  He doesn’t do that procedure; he doesn’t know of anyone in general practice who does, but it’s got the best outcome for dogs like her.

I then channeled Exador and said, “Two thousand dollars?  How much to just chop her leg off?!” which worked well to bring the conversation back to the land of the sane, because, apparently, you can chop a leg off for a little of nothing (ha, it tickled me to hear my vet talking like a mechanic), but he’d want to get in there and just do what he knows how to do before we did anything as drastic as chopping her leg off.

So, I guess I called his bluff.

On the other hand, I am a weeping mess just thinking of having to take her to the vet and having her sedated for the x-ray.  Lord, folks, I really hope I’m the biggest baby you read or else I don’t know how you can stand the internet.

Anyhoo–I’ve got to talk to the Butcher because we’ve got to come up with the x-ray money at least and pronto.