Well, Heck, If Everyone Else is Doing It…

Let me just state publicly that, after the November elections, I will have a place for Bill Clinton in my house as well.  He can do the dishes.

I mean, really.

Bill Clinton is not our president.  He is never going to be our president again.  Electing anyone–current Clinton, Edwards, someone from Clinton, Iowa, whoever–is not going to restore the glory days of the Clinton presidency.  Could we liberals just look in the mirror, say that to ourselves repeatedly until we hear it, and then move forward?

Shoot.

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A Better Reason than Most Not to Vote

The big news in Nashville is that, over the holidays, someone broke into the Davidson County Election Commission and stole laptops containing all registered Davidson County voters’ names, addresses, and social security numbers.

I have a bit of advice for the Davidson County Election Commission.  They have these portable drives that plug right into a computer’s USB port and they hold a ton of information.  You could just totally keep all of our invaluable personal information on such drives, leave those drives hanging off of your front door knob at night and that way, that information could just fall into the hands of whoever without you having to suffer with broken windows or missing computer equipment.

Seriously, there’s not one person at the Davidson County Election Commission who thought, “Gee, maybe we shouldn’t put this information on devices easily stolen?”

Anyway, I hope folks are right and that the likelihood is that the thieves wanted the computers and not the information on them, but you know, it seems to me that, unless the burglars are as thoughtless as the Commission, even if they only wanted the computers, once they realized that what was on the computers was so valuable, that probably changed their interest in the machines.

More Blah, Blah, Blah

I would like to catch my troubles, like lightning bugs, in a jar and keep them with me, but apart from me, pulling them out and looking at them, from behind the safety of glass.

I am tired and grossed out by how all of my brother’s games with my nephew revolve around real or pretend violence.  It’s more like watching two brothers than a father and son and my nephew talks a lot about the ass-whoopings he’ll dole out to my brother once he’s big enough.

I’m sure he will.  That will be fun.

Yesterday, they were all sitting around laughing about how my mom used to break wooden spoons on my brother’s butt and my nephew said how they hurt, but they hurt the worst when someone hits you in the knee cap or on the feet with them.

Jesus Christ.

He’s also announced that he prefers to be beat with a thick belt rather than a thin belt because the thin belts hurt worse.

My dad was all “He was asking about what your grandfather was like and ha, ha, ha, what could I say that was honest without ruining it for him?  I said ‘He liked girls.'”

Jesus Christ, again.

Someone’s whopping that kid with a belt and switches and spoons.  I cannot imagine he’s going to be surprised to learn that he comes from a long line of people who got the shit knocked out of them by the people who were supposed to be protecting them.

So, we’re going to protect him from the awful truth about a dead guy who is, I repeat, dead and deserving of nothing but people being honest with themselves about who he was as a man, but we’re not going to protect him from the people who are smacking him?

And, lord forgive me for saying this, but I completely see why the adults in his life think that violence is a good way to keep a kid in line–because they are dumb asses.

I mean, seriously, I love my brother, but he is an idiot parent.  The nephew’s mom is an idiot parent.  Her husband is an idiot parent.

My nephew is a bright kid and they basically act like babysitters.

They don’t do anything to guide him and he’s already weird in that way that kids who raise themselves are–kind of sly and needlessly duplicitous and constantly on guard.

I’d like to say that I don’t know what to do, but the thing is I know exactly what to do and who it is who’s going to end up doing it.

It just fucking sucks.

And it pisses me off that people who have had this kind of shit done to them would turn around and do it to others.

But, what the fuck?  Let’s just buy him a bunch of stuff and that’ll make it all better.

Tonight, on the way to supper, the recalcitrant brother was all talking about how I was going to wait too long and not be able to have kids.  My dad chimed in with some story about how I should keep in mind that I could always adopt.

I have no words for how that made me feel–horrified and angry and deeply, deeply amused.

Yeah, let’s bring some more folks into this mess.

And I swear to god, I love you people, but the next person who tries to talk to me like I’m actually enjoying my parents’ visit is going to get impaled.

Y’all, they’re going to do nothing.  I feel in my heart that they’re going to do nothing.  I pray that I’m wrong, but I know them and I know their instinct, if they even think that something is wrong, is going to be to convince themselves that they’ll be able to help alleviate my nephews’ suffering once they get to Georgia.  And in the meantime… I don’t know.

Here’s what’s all the issue, as I see it.

There’s the recalcitrant brother.  He has an ex-girlfriend with whom he had my oldest nephew.  She’s got a husband who has, on one occasion, beaten her so badly that it put her in the hospital. My understanding is that my nephew witnessed this.  My understanding is that both adults in that family discipline my nephew with objects and not just on his bottom.

The recalcitrant brother was in jail earlier this year for not paying child support for this nephew.  I have never witnessed it, but I’m sure he uses some level of physical discipline on my nephew.

If I call DCF and they do a thorough investigation, I can’t imagine anyone’s going to come out looking like a great parent.

My brother is still married to the self-medicating bipolar nightmare who is my sister-in-law, even though they haven’t lived together in half a decade and she’s has this boyfriend for nearly that long.  Since they aren’t involved with the judicial system in any way, they have their own custody arrangement worked out.  She has my youngest nephew whenever she wants him for as long as she wants him.

I already have told my brother that if I see any evidence ever again that she has laid a hand on my youngest nephew, I will call the authorities.  This has basically resulted in me not seeing him.  He’s supposed to be in kindergarten.  He’s not going, because she can’t get her act together enough to get him there.

It is imperative that my brother get custody of his youngest, even if that means the youngest has to sleep in the tub.

It pisses me off that my brother doesn’t feel the same level of urgency about this that I do, but there you go.  He is a stupid-ass parent.

If a moment comes when he gets that he must take custody of my youngest nephew, there can be nothing standing in the way of that.  It’s extremely important that there be nothing that could impede my brother’s taking custody of my youngest nephew.

And so, dear reader, you see the barrel I’m over.  My oldest nephew’s situation sucks, but, as far as I can tell, his life is not in imminent and constant danger.  My youngest nephew, however, is in circumstances I can’t allow myself to think too much about or I feel sick.  I don’t want to have it on record that my brother is a shitty parent, if that’s going to stand in the way of him getting the youngest nephew, should he ever decide to stop being a shitty parent and gain custody of the boy.

My family is fucked up and, if I make too overt a problem, they will decide that I just should not be told about things in the future.

So, I must figure out how to make my stand in such a way that I’m listened to instead of just written off as “bossy” or “unable to handle things” and how to make a threat I can carry out without feeling like I’ve just cut off one nephew’s escape route in order to help the other.

But other than that, it’s been a great visit.

Or whatever.

Short Notes to Folks Who Need Them

1. 

Dear Yahoo,

My computer is old.  I’ll admit.  But why is it that I can read my emails but not send any?  If you weren’t going to work on a computer, wouldn’t you just not work completely instead of torturing me with emails I can’t return or send?

b.

2.

Dear Slarti,

This is tickling me so much I can’t even tell you.  Let me mull it over a little and get back to you after the folks are gone.

b.

3.

Chris,

Absolutely.  We must go check out the place behind Purity.

b.

4.

Brittney,

In response to your Christmas card, I just wanted to say that what I’ve always appreciated about you is your willingness to tolerate people’s weirdness.  It put me at ease.

b.

5.

To my Present-Sending Midwestern Reader,

The Butcher actually got the box out of the mailbox and then left it on the table under some other crap.  I finally found it and opened it, and much to his chagrin at the moment, it was not a box of SARS. 

Hurray, and thanks.  The tiny shampoo was a delightful touch.

b.

6.

Hey, Mack,

So, we’ll all be there about three, okay?

Ha, ha, just kidding.  We have to go to the Parthenon, but not in the Parthenon, and then to Ryan’s.

b.

My Brother is a Nerdy Plumber

Dude from Disturbed, on Cribs:  I like this shower because it can fit two people.

Recalcitrant brother: Yeah, but if you don’t go ahead and install the rainforest shower head, one person’s not getting wet.

Night Three–Pork Chops with Sweet Potatoes and Green Beans

The pork chops were a big hit.  My nephew ate two and a half of them, which made me feel very accomplished.  The dog had one and a half, which has made her have to sprawl out on the floor and snore loudly.

Among the chicken soup, enchilladas, and pork chops, I think the pork chops were the biggest hit.  We have fixings for spaghetti, chili, and… ha, leftovers, to carry us through the weekend.  And my dad has promised the nephew a night out at Ryan’s.

I had lunch with NM, who made her famous tortilla and, now, having seen how it’s done, I can see how I ended up with so much of it on Mack’s rug the time I tried to make it.

Things with the family seem to have eased some with the arrival of my nephew.  I’m still finding it grueling, but you’re sick of hearing about it.  I’m sick of talking about it.  I’m kind of sick of everything and I’m tired of being on the defensive all the time.

Bleh, it sucks.

And I’m only writing because it feels good to go through the motions of writing.

Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

I suck.

Blah, blah, blah.

I’ve got to pull myself together.  The recalcitrant brother is going to be here any minute and I’m sitting here just making a mess of myself.

On the other hand, I have invented a drink.  I call it “Family Togetherness.”  It’s coffee liqueur and milk over ice.  So, now you can believe me when I tell you that I can’t get enough family togetherness.

Ha.

I’m sure it has some other name.

Did I tell you that I’m writing a play?

It’s based on the true story of the invention of the vibrator.  It’s supposed to be funny, but I’m worried it’s too obvious.

My family problems are trite and boring.  My imaginary lesbians are trite and boring.  I am trite and boring.

But my dog’s cute, so let’s fill up the glass and move on.

Oh, Right-Wing Blogosphere, How You Make Me Look Like a Genius!

Just last night, I was mulling over and trying to suss out for myself what exactly is going on with men, between men, over the bodies of raped women.  And this morning, I awake to a conservative blogosphere full of outrage over reports of a paper by Tal Nitzan that seems to argue that Israeli soldiers don’t rape Palestinian women out of, in part, a motivation to send a message to the Palestinian people about their worth.

Now, I don’t want to get bogged down in talking about the Israeli/Palastinian mess.  I’m not even that interested in talking about the paper, because I, like most people in the world, haven’t read it.  Folks seem to be pretty creatively quoting from this news article in a way that makes it seem as if they’ve seen the article, but if it’s out there, easily accessed, I can’t find it.

And one would think that, if bloggers had found it, they would be linking to it in order to tear it to pieces.

But no, instead, based on a news report, we’re all supposed to contact The Hebrew University and express out outrage that… what? 

Scholars are speculating?

Anyway, any more than that, I’m not going to defend or deride Nitzan.  I haven’t read her article and I’m not going to be outraged based on wide-spread extrapolations from the interpretations of what she’s saying from one news source.

Anyone can have words taken out of context.  I could write a sentence that says “I love Stalin!” in the context of, say, writing a paragraph about how things can be taken out of context, only to find that folks who disagree with me would take those three words and paint me a neo-idiot.

No, what I find interesting is how you can see being played out something similar to what I was talking about last night.

See Stickwick here.  Her line of thought seems to be pretty representative, I think.:

In other words, it’s dehumanizing not to rape someone, and the IDF can’t win. I knew this student was a woman before I even read through the rest of the news article, because only a woman could conceive of a scenario in which a man is guilty no matter what he does. Unfortunately, as the rest of the article indicates, the bias of this student and her professors goes much deeper than this.

The other problem with the paper is that the author apparently sees rape, as most women do, in sexual terms while rapists see it in terms of exerting power. In a woman’s mind, someone she regards as a potential rapist refusing to rape a woman must mean that he finds her unworthy of sexual relations. In other words, she is unappealing in the extreme or less than human. In that sense, not raping is viewed as an insult. This line of reasoning, compounded with the author’s bias, led to the illogical conclusion that not committing a crime is an injustice in itself.

I quoted at length because there’s a lot to get at here.  For starters, you can see how there’s this tension between understanding rape as a crime against a specific person and about that rapist’s view of that particular person and understanding rape as a message to a larger group.  On the one hand, Stickwick is arguing for an understanding of rape that is just about one person committing a crime against another specific person.

And, from this perspective, claiming that we can understand Nitzan’s article in terms of women seeing men in a perpetual state of “guilt”–guilty if they do rape and, supposedly, guilty if they don’t.

But it seems to me entirely plausible that what Nitzan is talking about is what message rape (or lack thereof) sends to an entire community–“We don’t have to prove that you can’t protect your women, because everyone already knows it.”

And, in fact, if you look closely at what she’s saying, I think Stickwick tips her hand that she understands and is, in fact, sympathetic to what seems to be Nitzan’s broader claim–that rape (or the lack of) sends a message about who has power.

I know you skimmed over the sentence because it’s just so ridiculous and so easily disproven, but take a look at it again:

The other problem with the paper is that the author apparently sees rape, as most women do, in sexual terms while rapists see it in terms of exerting power. [Emphasis mine.]

Now, just for a second, ignore the fact that a person would have to be willfully ignorant of even basic feminist theory to make such a claim and look at it in terms of what she’s saying about how rapists see rape.  Women, she claims, make the mistake of assuming rape is about the particular woman (she typifies this as “sexual terms;”  I call it a mistake of particularity, assuming it is about you as a specific person), while the rapists see it as exerting power.

Yes, exactly.  And not just over his victim, but over her entire community.

So, if Stickwick can see, and clearly she can, that rape functions not just at the level of particulars, but also at the level of being a broader message about power, why is she taking umbrage at a scholar who also seems to be arguing that rape can be understood as a broader message about power?

That, my friends, is a question for the ages.

Are we really at a point where folks can, with a straight face, argue the exact same things as their ideological opposites and not realize that they are?

I guess so.
 

Enchilladas

I made enchilladas with Mexican rice for dinner.  They were delicious.  And my mom did the dishes!  Hurray.

They complained yet again about an unlocatable smell.

It finally occured to me what they’re smelling.

And why everyone grows more and more hungry for snack foods the longer they stay here.

And why they become easier to get along with.

Damn hippies next door!

I Saw It With My Own Eyes!

The tiny cat can pee in the toilet!!!!!!

I was sitting here and I heard the sound of tinkling and I grabbed the phone and ran over to the bathroom door and tried to get the camera on the phone set up while getting the bathroom light on, but all the noise and light-flashing was not condusive to getting a picture of an animal with a tiny bladder peeing.

But damn if that cat hasn’t taught herself to pee in the toilet!

Seriously (or in LOL cat srsly), she has a brain the size of a small toad and yet she has managed, after seven years, to figure out what the toilet is for and how to use it.

I have to tell you, it makes me feel a little inadiquate.

And, as for all you babies out there who read Tiny Cat Pants, I am on to you.  If a cat can teach herself, after seven years, to pee in the toilet, there’s no excuse for giving your folks any trauma about potty training.

Counting The Awesomeness

1.  I made some great chicken soup yesterday.

2.  Mack threw crap at me twice on Sunday and twice I was able to throw it back at him and actually hit him.  And his primary wife announced that we–she and I–were going to Vegas.  I can’t wait to go to Vegas with Mack’s primary wife, if only because I hear through the grapevine already the rumors about me and him and I would love to be the kind of girl with a life so scandalous that it was rumored that I was, separately, the lover of both partners in a marriage. 

3.  Just now, I threw a bag in the garbage from clear across the room.

4.  I am King of the White Sauce.  Seriously, if there’s any person without formal training who can whoop up a simple white sauce of butter, flour, and milk as well as I can, in order to pour it over chipped beef which is then spooned over toast, in order to make a meal delicious and filling and cheap as hell, I will challenge her to a duel.  Throw some peas in there and it’s even vaguely good for you.  From that, I can make turkey gravy, brown gravy, pepper gravy, whatever.  The world is at my fingers.

5.  I was ignoring my parents until my dad said, “I don’t care how convenient it is, I’m not shoving anything up my penis.”  No, I have no idea.  But it did break the tension that had been hanging over the van all day. 

6.  Plimco had a little girl with her on Sunday who was telling a ghost story about a haunted bathroom at their school and how she and her friend thought that it was probably the ghost of a girl who died in the bathroom a long time ago in a fire back when everything was made of wood–you know, 1996.  When I graduated from college.

Fun with Feminism No Longer Fun

As an experiment, I’m giving up the feminist blogosphere.

Not feminism, of course.  I’m not stupid.

Just the feminist blogosphere.  For a while.  To see what it’s like.

See, here’s the thing.  I’m not a great mover and shaker.  Not in the feminist blogosphere.  Not in the world.  But what I do, the little I do, can sometimes be grueling and heartbreaking.  And what I need from my fellow feminists is not much, really.  I just need to be able to read what they write, as strangers on the internet, and take it at face value.

That to me, would be and is very refreshing–to assume that what I’m reading is whole in and of itself and that a person’s thoughts and motivations are as transparent as they can be.  (It’s the reason I am half-convinced that Renegade Evolution is doing some of the most important feminist work on the internet, modeling a kind of transparency you don’t often see in women.)

I like to be challenged; I appreciate the opportunity to learn from others; and I understand I’m going to read some shit that will piss me off.

But I appreciate feeling like we’re practicing ways of interacting with each other that are different than the shitty ways women normally interact with each other.

And it is a practice.  It’s something we have to continually be mindful of and repeat in a mindful way in order to get better at it.

So, I’m over at Mag’s, following her links, and I stumble aross this at Theriomorph’s.  (I assume Chris is Chris Clarke.)  Chris says:

Most likely if someone outside their peer group had proposed the idea, some of them would be leveling these very same criticisms. But this comes out of a mailing list of a couple dozen feminist bloggers that sprang up around the Full Frontal Feminism book, and closed ranks and offered each other comforting shoulder rubs during the criticism of Marcotte’s book cover, and it’s them against the world. [Emphasis mine]

I keep waiting for someone to say something about that, but no one has.  Maybe no one else thinks there’s something wrong with this.  Maybe there isn’t.  But it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

It’s not the existence of a mailing list, per se–maybe it’s not just a couple dozen feminist bloggers, maybe it’s a couple dozen internet friends who share a common cause in feminism (which is a distinction I’m willing to believe is important)–it’s that there’s the real possibility that it could be a couple dozen feminist bloggers who are organizing to accomplish certain goals within the larger community without disclosing to the larger community that that’s what they’re up to.

This is supposed to be an egalitarian movement.  We don’t live in an egalitarian world, so I accept that people are going to have to consolidate power in order to accomplish things.  But hording our tiny scraps of power and influence in secret?

How is that any different than what’s going on in the world now?

How are we going to make change in the world if we don’t strive to be different than the dominant pardigm?

And I’m sorry, but I already live in a a world full of women talking about folks behind their backs and making decisions about who’s in the cool crowd and who’s not solely through back channels, where the person up for discussion doesn’t even know she’s up for discussion, let alone given the chance to defend herself.

Shoot, why don’t we just settle the men in the living room with their beers and a football game while we all go into the kitchen and cook, clean, and gossip about the women who aren’t there and take refuge in the moments we have to admit to ourselves and each other how much we hate our lives, while the women who are trapped in the kitchen with us, who don’t agree with us, but don’t want to be rude, look on in horror?  You know, what the non-feminists do.

Since there appears to be no difference between us and them anyway.

Bah Humbug

I can’t go to sleep on that note.  I just can’t. 

Instead, imagine this with me.  We’re in a mansion in Newport, Rhode Island, sitting on a hard, wooden floor, looking at the sun rising over the water, out French doors.  The sun is hot on our faces and the house is still and quiet.

We don’t own the house.  We don’t know the folks who do.  We’ll never be back here again.  We’ll never belong to this place and it will never belong to us.

But legs folded on hard wood, sun streaming through glass, and the smell of salt water–this, too, is our life.  This moment is just as real as any other moment.

And the memory of it is so sweet.

My Back Continues to Trouble Me

I was hoping to take the dog to the dog park today, but there wasn’t an empty one, so we ended up walking a trail.

Well, really, we ended up walking a little bit of the trail and then standing around waiting to see if my back was going to stop troubling me enough so that I could get home.  I about couldn’t even get in the car; it hurt so bad.

My dad, of course, didn’t believe me.

And then decided it was just psychosomatic.

The thing is, I believe it’s psychosomatic, too.  It still hurts.

I would say that the visit is not going well.  I already fought with the Butcher who announced, at the beginning of dinner, that he doesn’t eat off my dishes if he can help it because I don’t clean them to his satisfaction.

America, there is crayon wax over every single one of my glasses.  I, myself, don’t have an art that requires melting crayons all over shit.  So, really, when he wanted to talk about how dirty my glasses were, with his fucking wax all over them, I about lost it.

I about lost it again when I realized that, even after I’d admired my parents’ new van and said hello to everyone only to be ignored, my dad was seriously going to sit on the couch while I finished cooking and complain about how he shouldn’t even bother to come visit me because I don’t care enough if he’s there or not to even greet him.

I am trying to decide if he acts that way just to reestablish that he is the boss or if it’s intended to be an act of aggression or if he just hates me and can’t bring himself to realize it.

I don’t know.  I don’t guess it matters.

I took this week off, but I think I’m going to have to go on on Thursday and Friday.

I’m just livid pissed at everyone.

And, you know, I realized that I never feel more alone than I do when my family is all together.

I should talk to my therapist about this, but it makes me feel like a traitor.

It’s fucked up.  I know it’s fucked up and I don’t seem to see my way out of it.  And now, it’s going to manifest itself in me physically.

That’s just great.

On the upside, this may be the year we don’t have to discuss what a fat, unloveable bossy bitch I am, since they brought down shit-tons of food.

The other thing, while I’m complaining, that just irritates the shit out of me is how my mom always tries to commiserate about how bad my dad’s behavior is.  She’ll like roll her eyes or give you knowing looks.

Like that means something?

Whatever.

Ha, you know, it’s funny.  Just admitting that I’m miserably mad at them makes me feel better.

I just thought this stuff would be easier as I got older, but instead, it seems to come in waves.  Sometimes it’s just fine; they’re just fine; and I’m happy to see them and they’re happy to see me and it seems like we might find ways of being with each other that don’t cause each other so much pain and discomfort.

And other times, it’s like we talked about–that blast furnace of fucked-up-ness you should not open full force on people, like we have to stand in the heat of that in order for…

I don’t know.

I just feel like there’s this gaping hole in my family and no matter how much of your good stuff you throw into it, it never fills.  And I feel like everyone, myself included, expects me to toss more and more in and that, when I don’t, I’m failing as a human being.

Here’s the thing: I don’t want to be unhappy.  I look around my family and I see a bunch of people who are, most of the time, unhappy.  And I don’t want that.  More than anything, I don’t want that.

So, when they’re around, I feel really torn because, on the one hand, I still desperately want their approval.  I want to be trusted and valued and cared for and to feel safe with them.  And I feel this overwhelming compulsion to try and figure out and then do whatever it takes to get that from them.

But that way, I think, leads only to misery.  The things they do, the things they think they should do, make them mostly unhappy.

So, some part of me–my back, this time, apparently–undermines me in order to save me.

I appreciate that, body, I do.

I just wish it didn’t require so much pain.

Merry Christmas, My Christian Friends!

When we were little, there’d always be that moment when we’d be waiting for our parents to wake up, and we’d sneak into the living room and sit quietly in the blinking lights, listening to the Christmas music…

Oh, hey!  I guess that means the parents weren’t that asleep, or hadn’t been asleep that long.

Anyway, that moment, before the presents were open, while the stockings were still full, before we ate all that candy and then our parents stuffed us in the car to head to my grandparents was one of my favorite feelings, full of possibilities.

I hope your whole day is full of that–anticipation and the fulfillment of all your Christmas wishes.

Two Quick Hits from Tiny Pasture

1.  He reports that the Tennesseee Republican Party is violating copyright in order to show us the true meaning of Christmas.

2.  He reports that we’re just says away from the start date of the new Tennessee law that will fine businesses for knowingly hiring illegal immigrants.  I have a couple of questions, all snarkiness aside.  One, doesn’t that “knowingly hiring illegal immigrants” sound like a loophole you could drive a truck through?

But here’s my other question, and I ask this as someone who has long advocated for going after the folks who benefit from a powerless labor force hated by the larger community, can we live with the unintended consequences of this law?  I mean, no business in Tennessee has a 100% illegal immigrant work force; Tennesseans have jobs because there are businesses here.

What happens when we start handing out fines?  Yes, some folks might reform, but it seems to me that we’re risking other folks just taking their business elsewhere.  And then what?  What does it do to our economy to lose a couple of big manufacturers?

This is, in part, why my focus has really shifted to immigration reform–we need to make it legal for these folks to get here and we need to find a way for folks who are already here to gain some kind of legal status–not just because it’s the humane thing to do, but because our economies depend on it.

I hear some folks talking about how we could make do without the labor of undocumented workers; we’ll just put folks who don’t work to work.  But let’s look at that pool.

Keep in mind that there are somewhere between 15 and 30 million undocumented workers here.

There are 24 million people who didn’t work outside the home at all last year, according to the .gov.

So far, so good.  Maybe the two populations could be swapped out.  What were the 24 million lazy-ass Americans doing rather than holding down jobs so illegals couldn’t get them?

Six and a half million of them were sick or disabled. 

Almost ten million of them are retired. 

Three and a half million of them were in school.

Only 714,000 could not find work.  Less than a million people.  And I don’t mean to suggest that that’s not devistating for them.  Of course it is.  But we’ve got less than a million people in this country who spent all last year unable to find work.  And we have between 15 and 30 million people here filling jobs.  See what I’m saying?

There’s not enough people who don’t have jobs to fill the jobs done by the people who are here illegally.

So, what happens then if we run illegal immigrants out of the country?  Won’t the multi-nationals just relocate to other countries with available labor?

I don’t know, honestly.  It just feels like we’re playing a dangerous game of chicken with our own futures.

Sad Happiness

I saw the whole Plimco family yesterday and it filled me with such sad happiness.  I love those guys so much and I feel like, in some parallel universe, we meet for coffee regularly and have meals at each others’ houses and dog-sit each others’ dogs.

In this one, though, we just have to make do with the few hours we can squeeze out of a year.

The Cumberland

Last night, we were standing on the edge of the Cumberland River, looking towards downtown and it really struck me what a crappy, crappy job we’ve done as a city of utilizing one of our best assets–the river.

I guess the issue is that the river used to be (and, in some ways, still is) a major thoroughfare for the city and a way to bring goods in and out.  So, it only makes sense that, especially before the advent of the interstate, you’d have a lot of industry on your riverfront.

But, Nashville, we should be building places to live and work and play that make better use of it.

Also, as I was driving east down Charlotte last night, I saw that the State has arranged it so that the whole side of the Snodgrass Building says “Peace.”  I should have taken a picture; it’s really beautiful.

I don’t know.  It’s just little things like that that make you feel good about a place.  I should make it my New Year’s Resolution to show you all the things about Nashville that I love.

But, in the meantime, they’ve painted the tressle by the Zoo, and one of them has a tiger on it so realistic that, when I saw it out of the corner of my eye, it made my heart jump.  And I saw the new Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church.

I swear, we must have one church for every ten people.  Nashville has got to have one of the highest church to people ratios (or would it be lowest?) of any city in the nation.

Holy Sh*t!

Y’all, I don’t know if it’s just residual crap from my ankle acting up the other day or sitting on the floor last night or what, but I have hurt my back so bad I about can’t stand it.

I was trying to clean the bathroom and just to lean over the little bit to scrub the sink was agony and I had to go lay down every twenty minutes or so and just let the pain subside.

I want to take something, but I’m not sure I should take any more Advil.  Is it cheating to reach the recommended dosage of Advil and then switch to Tylenol?

A Dead Man Not My Own

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I wanted to drive up and down the empty streets and watch the yellow lights blink on and off and listen to Bob Dylan asking that his grave be kept clean. I wanted to cry.

I came home instead.

The solstice party was amazing. A good balance of ritual with free time.

I wrote my regrets on a piece of rice paper. I threw rice into the river. I burnt my regrets on a log. I painted what I envisioned for myself in the coming year. I can’t tell if it’s part Virgin of Guadalupe, part clitoral hood, or what. I wanted it to mean that I would try to be more sacred. Maybe it just means I’m going to masturbate more. I like it, though. It looks like a mystery.

I read fortunes. One after another after another, all met with women giving me weird looks and saying how right I was. That, in itself, would have been draining. I am drained just from that. Each person has a life that is scary. The stakes are always so high and also, at the same time, so ordinary.

I read for a woman whose brother had killed himself. I read for him. I don’t know that I have ever done that before. It was so hard. Her grief was so deep and his grief…

I can’t tell you that I’ve ever felt anything like that–his joy at being free and experiencing new things and his devastating guilt and dispair over the pain he’d caused his family. Even telling you about the memory of it is rolling the tears right down my face.

I’m not a medium, not normally. I’m not even sure that our souls survive death. I mean, I desperately want to believe, but I’m just not sure. But he was there, as real as anything I have ever felt, and when he left, I didn’t know what to do with myself.

I felt buzzed and drained. I feel empty and less cramped.

I feel like I’ve pulled a truck.

I feel a little afraid.

I feel deeply honored.

Modranicht and Midvinterblót

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It’s Mothers’ Night, which is, in general, when your female ancestors come back to make sure you’re doing your chores and, along with their friends, terrorize you if you’re not.  I plan on spending the evening screaming in horror as the Krampus whips me with a birch stick, because my house is a mess.

It’s not surprising that, on the longest night of the year, we yet again find that the barrier between here and There is thin and that the gatherings of dear friends and family extend beyond the barriers of the body.  And, as always, when the dead show up, we greet them with mixed feelings and interpret their return as both cause for celebration and fear.

It’s also time for the midwinter blot, or sacrifice, again, because the veil between here and There is so thin.  If you remember how Christmas was celebrated even 200 years ago, or know anything of the Mummers’ Dance, you know that we’ve carried with us this knowledge even up until now.  It makes sense that we’d place the birth of the Christ child right here.  There are only a few times a year when the Divine slides so easily in next to us.

It’s also a perfect night for fortune telling, and that, I hope, is what I’ll spend my evening doing, turning cards, one after another until the dark is at its deepest and Sunna is at her farthest and then, I hope, the noise of her relatives laughing and drinking and acting rowdy will pique her curiosity and she’ll turn around and begin the trek back to us.