Legalize It

This post over at Pith reminds me of the stupid, puritanical nonsense we have here in Nashville that strippers have to stay three feet away from you (or visa versa), thus ending, for all practical purposes, the lap dance.

Let’s just cover this in a bunch of easy points:

1.  If a woman wants to take off her clothes for money, more power to her.  Why should I give a fuck one way or another?

2.  If a woman wants to grind on a man for money, more power to her.  It’s not for me.  I would not choose to make money that way, but it doesn’t hurt me or make my life harder if someone else willingly dances naked all over a man who gives her money for it.

3.  I don’t even give a shit if it’s a slippery slope between grinding on a clothed man to committing sex acts with a man who then pays you.  Because paying for sex should not be illegal.  Being paid for sex should not be illegal.

Is it unseemly?  I don’t know.  Maybe so.  But I’ve sat there and listened to friends of my mom’s talking about how they feel like they have to have sex with their husbands because their husbands provide them with houses and cars and grocery money and I have to say, I cannot see the fucking difference.

Both are exchanging sex for goods and services and, while I’d hope that most marriages are based on more than that–mutual admiration and caring and love and a sense of camradery–many aren’t and we don’t send police into those women’s bedrooms and arrest them for exchanging sex for the things their men provide.  I mean, shoot, what would happen if we sent the police into every house in Belle Meade looking for women who are earning their lifestyles on their backs within their marriages?

The jails would be full of rich homemakers.  But, we don’t, because we don’t butt our noses into the arrangements married folks make with each other.  It’s perfectly fine for a woman to arrange with a man that he should provide for her and she will fuck him but that she won’t love him, as long as it happens within a marriage.

So why should the freelancers be treated differently?

Because it’s so much plainer what they’re doing?

I find that plainness refreshing myself.

I Never Agree with Christopher Hitchens, But…

I agree with him about this:

Those who despise science and learning are not anti-elitist. They are morally and intellectually slothful people who are secretly envious of the educated and the cultured.

But it’s not just that.  It’s the wanting to be rewarded for that sloth, to have that slothfulness polished up like that will somehow mask it’s turdish nature.

I Had to Read a San Francisco Blog to Get Important Tennessee News

Homegrown terrorists plan to kill black Tennesseans, ending their spree with Obama.

Shoot *or* decapitate? What the? Ya gonna pick which one sounds more convenient when the time arrives? This sounds like a group of people whose mouths are bigger than their bigoted abilities to actually pull anything off like this.

I agree with Brittney that they couldn’t have pulled off anything of the scope of what they had planned, but I do think people could have gotten hurt or killed and so I’m glad to see that the ATF is on top of this.

And, yes, it scares the shit out of me.  I mean, these two are clearly idiots, but what about the evil folks who aren’t?

(Also, in case you aren’t up on your racist parlance, 88 is significant because H is the eighth letter of the alphabet and so 88 is a kind of skinhead shorthand for ‘Heil Hitler.’  I assume the 14 is a reference to April 14th, the day Lincoln was assasinated, but I don’t know for sure.

Help Me, Nashville, You’re My Only Hope

For his birthday, the Butcher wants all of his clothes washed, miraculously.  Is there a service in town that will do that?  Like a drycleaner, but for all his clothes?

Well, shit, too, I don’t mind doing laundry.  I just hate folding it.  Is there a place I could take all his unfolded clean laundry to be folded?


The Greatest Song Ever

I’m not one to shy away from controversy or outragious pronouncements (let’s remember I am the girl who used math to prove that II was a better album than… I can’t remember what.  Some shitty inconsequential Led Zeppelin album.)

Therefore, I feel qualified to say that the best song ever, yes, ever, ever, is Shirley and Lee’s “Let the Good Times Roll.”  Here’s what it’s got going for it.

1.  It’s a fun song about sex.

2.  The woman in the song gets to express as much joy and enthusiasm about fucking as the man in the song.

3.  I mean, listen to the way she sings “Come on baby, just close the door/ Come on baby, let’s rock some more.”  Which, yes, does make 3 pretty much an extention of 2.

4.  Every time it comes on my iPod, I feel like the universe is smiling on me just a little.

5.  It’s in a key I can sing in!

Now I Want a Sleeping Bag

I have a sleeping bag.  But I never thought of using it as a giant vagina.


Now it’s all I can do to not walk up to attractive cops on street corners and say “My, you look cold.  Might you like to slip into my sleeping bag?” and then wink.

We were having a discussion about women who stop trying after they’re married.  And I pointed out that the advantage to me is that I stopped trying decades ago, so there are no surprises.  I already burp and fart in public and don’t bother to wear make-up unless I think there’s the off chance I might get laid.  Shoot, if I have my overalls on, i can’t even be bothered to put on a bra on the weekends, because I find them oppressive and sometimes they give me a boob cramp and any piece of clothing that causes you to have a boob cramp is so obviously evil.

Which brings us to boob cramps, speaking of women’s health.  Sometimes, when I bend forward, I get a cramp right under my boob where the underwire rests.  I’m worried that the underwire on my bras is deforming the muscle there or something.

In a perfect world, I would do away with bras all together and women would either have boob handlers who would hold them up for them or we would develop boob unicycles.

Words Have No Meaning

I have been trying to leave Bill Hobbs alone as the election winds down, because I see the difficult position he’s in as Head Propagandist for the TNGOP.  McCain is going to handily win Tennessee.  No one doubts that.  But as more and more polls come out showing that Obama is going to win the election, Hobbs is in a bit of a jam.

He needs Republicans to turn out to vote–because the TNGOP would like for Republicans to win as many state elections as possible and that will only happen if Republicans turn out to vote–but there’s a huge chance that Republicans who don’t really follow state elections will not bother to vote, since their vote won’t matter.

So, he’s got to keep the base motivated.  He’s got to assure them that the election is very close, that McCain might still win it, that there is, in fact, then, good reason for them to be enthusiastic and turn out.  At least so Republicans can enact their plan of taking over the State.

Okay, fine.  He’s got a busy week ahead of him and an uphill battle to fight.  Good luck, Bill Hobbs.

But today he posts something so ridiculous that I can only assume that the bond that links words to their meanings has broken down and that words may now attach themselves to whatever meaning they want, so that, when a person writes something like

A Democrat asks the media, Have you no shame? If it was an open letter to the media, I’d sign it in a heartbeat.

shame actually must mean something other than what it means.

How else could Hobbs write that and not have to go immediately to church?  Forget that, how could he write something like that and still be able to enter a church without immediately bursting into flames?

Bill Hobbs.  Hello.  YOU HAVE NO SHAME.  If you signed an open letter to Santa Claus asking for a particularly merry Christmas this year, the letter would lose credibility by bearing your name.  Let alone if you of all people signed any hypothetical letter condemning anyone for not having shame.

If I were the media and someone sent me a letter about cleaning up my act and I saw your name attached to it?  I would assume it was a joke.  A parody sent to me from some well-wisher who thought I needed to brighten up my day.

You are a propagandist.  You spin the truth into untruth.  You know, because you are a bright man, for instance, that Obama supporters in Tennessee are not by and large urban elites.  But you twist the truth to suite the story you want to advance.  Just like you knew Michelle Obama wasn’t some America-hating harpie before you made your lovely little video, but you just had to take what was a geniuine moment of happiness for her and turn it into something ugly.

And listen, fine, that’s your job.

But when you turn around and act like you have any, any, any room to talk when it comes to folks acting without shame?!

It boggles the mind.

And here’s the thing that gets me–if your ideas are good (and by “your” I mean conservatives), they will stand up under their own power.  I’m a hippie liberal commie and I think you’re right that enacting an income tax in Tennesee would be, at the least, problematic because of how the legislature conducts itself.  I’ve come to see that Bredesen has some major issues, to put it mildly.  And, shoot, even the crazy gun nuts have managed to get me rethinking my positions on gun control.

At some point, Hobbs, your methods undermine your message.

I mean, shoot, when I think of you lecturing people on having shame, I laugh so hard it startled my dog.

Liveblogging True Blood, Because I Can

Hmm.  Vampires turn to uncongeled Jello.  That’s unfortunate.

I do love this opening, though.  I want to live in the opening of this show.

But what pie will Sookie eat to mourn Bill?!

No!  No!  He’s not wise.  He’s right.  He’s not wise.

Oh, self-loathing half-naked man!  Who can resist that?

So, here’s Jason, finally having some self-awareness, and hippie chick has to talk him out of it.  That’s too bad.

I love Terry.  Just love him.

But I think it’s bullshit to fuck with a dude who’s not got a good grasp on his mental state.  Sam’s kind of a dick to everyone but Tara, that’s for sure.

What happened to the rain?

If Bill had really died, would they open up his old grave to put him in it, do you suppose?

Man, I just hate it when my dead confederate boyfriend comes out of the ground all naked and horney and hungry.  I always, always, make him hose off first.

Ha, ha, Sam.  No, Bill wasn’t.

I really hope Tara doesn’t have a demon.  That would be so stupid.

Is Arlene flirting with Terry?

Oh, Rene!  I love you so much, too.  How did it happen?  You went from being a sweet-talking background character to the sweetest guy on the show.

Oh no!  The little coroner’s helper dude is dead!

“You remember anything else, we’ll be having a burger inside.”  Rich, rich, rich.

Sam’s story about being a nudist is so great, I almost wish it were true.

Did Bill have dry-cleaning?!  I find that hilarious.

Why don’t I ever get to come home and find a tall, naked blond Viking listening to Old Swedish music in my tub?  For that matter, why don’t I get to have a tub like that?

“Area 5.”  That sounds so stupid!  Area 5.  I want to be viceroy of Area 27,

No, Tara!  No!  Find yourself a real hoodoo woman!

Wow.  Amy is a mean-ass, bad-ass.

I jumped when that dude leaped over at Sookie.  Ha.


Okay, let’s cover the main bases.  1.  Sookie was the weakest, most annoying part of this episode.  2.  Someone over at TWoP mentioned that Erik sounds like Kermit and now I want to lust after him, but it’s ruined by that image.  3.  Okay, by the end, I was hoping Tara had a demon so they could get it out of her and she could find someone nicer to fuck.  And 4., They have to have changed the killer.  I just refuse to believe that it is who it is in the book.  But I am willing to believe it’s someone they’ve slept with.

To-Done List

1.  Trip to Home Depot to get stuff for compost pile (chicken wire and posts)–done.

2.  Firewood purchased from shady threesome in a truck–check.

3.  Groceries purchased–check

4.  China unpacked–check

5.  Sheets washed–check

6,  Recalcitrant brother taught to copy and paste on the computer–done

7,  Bathroom cleaned–check

8.  Groceries put away–check

9.  Glass beads fished out of ashes–done

To do:

1.  Make bed

2.  Fold and put away other laundry

3.  Tell the Butcher where I think the compost pile should go

4.  Finally convince chin hair it would be happier being a free-range hair unattached to me

5.  Put bed on little “don’t roll” coasters

6.  The kitchen.  Oh, god, the kitchen.  I shake my fist at you kitchen

7,  Procrastinate.

The China Cabinet is Set Up

I know many of you are sitting around wondering–“What if eleven of us descended on Aunt B. and demanded she serve us a fancy meal on her good china and also eat it with us?”

Well, folks, I have twelve place settings of big plates, little plates, big bowls, little bowls, and saucers.  I have two serving dishes a gravy boat and two things that are, I think, for cream and sugar.

“But wait!” you say, “We’re going to have three more people over for coffee after dinner.”

No problem.  I have, for some reason, three extra tea cups.

I think I told you about this china.  My great grandma Teckla accumulated it and left it for me.  It sat in my grandma’s attic for a long time, while she denied its existence, but my mom and my Aunt B. liberated it and now I have it and I have my other grandma’s china cabinet in which to set it.

Sadly, I only have six dining room chairs, but folks could eat in two shifts, pretty easy.

Nancy Spungen

Before I get started on the meat of this post, let me just say that I read And I Don’t Want to Live This Life when I was in high school and I don’t remember it being a vindication of her parents at the expense of poor Nancy Spungen.

In retrospect, I can see that that’s true.  That it’s an explanation from a “normal” suburban mother for why she couldn’t control her daughter who then wound up dead.  (And let’s just set aside whether that should actually be the role of mothers).

But I remember reading it as a vindication of Nancy–here’s this poor girl who didn’t fit in to her normal suburban life and who railed against it so hard she kind of lost her mind and then she found true love and drugs and died, the end.  I just don’t remember focusing on the “love, drugs, and died” part.  I remember the “normal life can drive you crazy” lesson and feeling a shit-ton of respect for Nancy that she fought against the suffocating normalness, even if she didn’t fight against it very successfully.

That’s why, I think, I was so primed for Courtney when she came along, right?  There was Nancy, but she didn’t die.  More than that, there was Nancy but she got to fuck the boy and be in a band.  I could write a long post on my feelings about Courtney, but hearing her sing

They say I’m plump
But I threw up all the time


Like a liar at a witch trial
You look good for your age

about blew my mind.  Who knew women could be so angry and outraged and unpretty?

Anyway, where were we?  Nancy.  Yes, well, Joey’s linked to this great story about her, which you should read.  One part has been weighing so heavily on me, though, I have to talk about it with you.

The first wave of punk directly confronted a culture it despised. And Madonna hadn’t come along yet to turn bitchy aggression into an art form. “You’ve got to remember, Donny and Marie were on TV,” says McNeil. “We were tired of being nice. It was like, fuck you. The left had become as oppressive as the Republicans. They invented that political-correctness stuff. Punk was supposed to piss off everybody and make people think.”

It’s hard for me to articulate what’s been wearing on me.  But I keep thinking that, no matter what the election outcome, we have to face facts that we’re reaping the whirlwind of the commodification of art.  I’ve been thinking that just in terms of talking about Rex Hammock’s post and blogging.

I think what a lot of us feel is that something we love and that is important to us as an art form*, that allows us to know ourselves and each other more intimately than we might otherwise, and that is in the defining medium (cyberspace) of our lifetimes.  And along come the folks who want to commodify it, to monetize it, to take what was a byproduct of our art–attention–and make that the selling point, to change the focus from expression to attention.

Next thing you know Bill Ivey will be standing around arguing that the art form is nothing without the tension between creation and commodification and I will have to run around all day making gagging noises and then fucking Mike Curb will try to get fucking Pat Boone in the motherfucking Blogging Hall of Fame and a bunch of us will be sitting around all like “Pat Boone?!  What the fuck?!” and a bunch more of us will be sitting around being all “Why the fuck is there a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, as if that doesn’t miss the fucking point?”

Oh, wait, I mean a “Blogging Hall of Fame.”

Whew, where was I?  The commodification of art.  The problem with the change in focus on art from a creative medium some folks might make a living at to a way to make a living through creative expression that meets the demands of the marketplace is that it’s very rarely the time when you can meet the demands of the marketplace by pissing off the marketplace or confusing the marketplace or making the marketplace feel uneasy about itself.

Good art says, “Look at this and think and feel about it.”

A good commodity says “Don’t think too much about this, just want it, and buy it and the things associated with it.”

I’ve grown up in the MTV era, so everything I ever loved or thought was cool was nabbed up and made safe and sold back to me.  And, for the most part, I bought it unquestioningly, assured that the rise of the things I love to notice meant that there was value in the things I loved.

It took me a long time to get the “made safe” part.

Part of the commodification process is to make you numb to the surprises–buy this album, it sounds just like this other stuff you like; buy this book, it reads just like this other book you like; hang this thing on your wall, it looks just like the other stuff you like; etc.–and, what I believe is the most important point, to make you incurious about those surprises.

And folks, curiosity may have killed the cat, but incuriosity is what’s going to kill our nation.  Oh, ha, ha, stupid scientists and their fruit flies.  Who gives a shit about fruit flies?  Oh, oops, that fruit fly research helps us understand autism.

We take pride in being incurious.  Fine.  But then art needs to pull its head out of its ass and its hand out of Marketing’s pocket and do the work it is suited best to do.

And I go on about this at length, because I believe, more than ever–that we bloggers have a job we are best suited to do–and that is to talk about our lives and our opinions and our hopes and our dreams and our worries and to host discussions and to try to stretch others’ minds and to stretch our own minds and, for gods’ sake, to resist being wholly commodified.

Ask Bridgett what she wouldn’t give for a transcript of even one evening’s worth of talk in a bar in Vincennes, Indiana, in, say 1803, to hear what ordinary folks said to each other, what concerned them, what they laughed about, what put them in the mood for fighting, what sent them hurrying home to their beds.  And that’s a woman who can tell you more about the various pulls of history in that town than anyone I know.

It still doesn’t replace the great value of first-hand accounts from ordinary people.

And what this is right here, my friends, first and foremost, is a great big mechanism for recording first-hand accounts of ordinary people.

There has never been another time in the history of the world when ordinary people could write down their experiences and their feelings and their opinions on such a scale and have hope that those ideas will outlast them.

Will they?  I don’t know.  Maybe we all run out of oil and coal and there’s no electricity for 500 years and then when the power comes back up, no one knows how to get shit off the servers and can’t hardly recognize our archaic English when they do.

But we’ve never even had this opportunity before.

And we’ve got to seize it.

Not because there’s money to be made from it, but because we need to encourage and reward curiosity.  We need to provide the materials for those “aha” moments for other folks.  Because we need to be willing to take this opportunity to enrich our own lives and the lives of those who come after us.

And because our country needs us.

Not to play nicely and all get along and happily submit to the mechanisms of commodification that will strip our work of its vitality, though that’s what it will tell you that it needs.

But it needs us like Country Music needed this message from Johnny Cash.

*Keeping in mind that my definition of art is basically “anything that creates a situation of contemplation.”


Today, I was standing at the sink brushing my teeth and I had this fleeting though–“Wow, I’m not in pain.”

It’s true, I’m not in pain.

But what was weird is that I didn’t think I was in any pain, say, yesterday.  And yet, clearly, I do feel better than I did yesterday.  Or for a long time.

I don’t guess I would say that I was in pain, but clearly, something was off in a way that was nagging on me, and today, it’s not.

And that makes me happy.

The Mormons Want What They Can Never Have

As I’m sure you’re aware, there’s a push in California to make gay marriage illegal and that push is being bankrolled by the Mormons.  (In a cruel twist of fate, the angel sent to Joseph Smith was named Moroni, which meant that the Latter-Day Saints had a 50/50 chance of being Mormons or Morons.  Luckily, luck was on their side.)

At first glance, this seems odd–why would a group famous for making what the rest of the country considered to be odd marriage arrangements and who suffered persecution based on those arrangments not have some sympathy for people who want to make what they consider odd marriage arrangements?

But there’s a lot of speculation that the Mormons view this–standing up for Proposition 8–to be their ticket into acceptance among other conservative Christians, proving that they’re just like, say, the Southern Baptists, but with kookier names for their children.

And, on the surface, it seems that the Mormons would be ripe for moving into the more mainstream Christian Conservative movement.  They’re very family oriented, against fun stuff like drinking, smoking, doing drugs, and caffiene.  Conservative Protestants are often also against this stuff, at least in theory, if not in practice.

And the Mormons have been around long enough that it seems like they might be accepted as another Protestant sect just by sheer determination.

Plus, add to that the whole Restoration movement–the belief that there is some primative, pure form of Christianity that can be gotten back to even though Catholicism, Protestantism, and Orthodoxy have corrupted Christianity as it is currently practiced–which is also a popular belief among some Protestant churches.

At a glance, you’d think that this would happen, that Mormons are on their way to being just another Protestant denomination.

But believe me, it’s never ever going to happen, at least not in my lifetime.

I am reminded of my favorite joke, and I feel I should call someone up in Salt Lake City and tell it to them, about the dude trapped alone on the desert island who still managed to have two churches.

Protestants are still deeply suspicious that Catholics aren’t “real” Christians.  Many Protestants have no idea what the Orthodox movement is and they sure as hell have no idea about the Coptic church, and have never heard of the Thomasian tradition in India.

Shoot, we all know towns with three Methodist churches only a third full every Sunday because folks are convinced that the other folks are doing it wrong.

And the theological differences between Baptists of various stripes, or Protestants and Catholics, are small potatoes compared to the theological differences between Christians and Mormons.

It just seems to me to be a fundimental misunderstanding of how Christianity works to believe that you could somehow work your way into being Protestant just by being willing to bankroll cruelty towards gay people, no matter how popular a position cruelty towards gay people might be.

International Cat of Mystery

I let the tiny cat out into the garage twenty minutes ago (because she was crying like her mom was trapped out there).  I was all, “It’s raining and cold and you’re not going to be able to go outside.”

And she looks at me like, “This is where I just look at you and pretend like I know what the hell you’re saying, right?”

And I let her into the garage.

I shut the door.

And here she comes waltzing back into the living room.

I envy people who are cat people, who have cats that like to cuddle with them and sit nicely with them and play on the computer with them or share loving moments.  We have two cats and neither one of them are really like that.

Partially, it’s our fault.  We’re not hugely affectionate people, so if the cats aren’t coming over and sitting in our laps, we’re not chasing them down and loving on them.

And, I was raised to believe that every house needs a cat, but that a cat is a working animal.  Keep the pests down.  Trip burglers on their way out of the house.  Make the back room so stinky hippies use it as a hallucinogen.  Provide a magical air to things.  Pee on the Butcher’s stuff.  You know.  Work.

Earn your keep, as my grandma would say.

It’s the unspoken arrangement of cats and non-cat-enthusiasts everywhere.  You work, we feed you, we scratch your head while we’re trying to shit, you don’t shit on our stuff.

I just had no idea that the tiny cat would take it upon herself to find work as a spy.

But, oh, and speaking of the tiny cat’s spy-like abilities.  So, I’m in the back yard with the dog and the dog is all running around like a three-legged… um… dog, pooping and buring off some pent-up energy and all of a suddend, from under the tall pine, emerging from the needles, almost like some well-camoflauged sniper, is the tiny cat.

Startled the crap out of both me and the dog.

There weren’t enough pine needles on the ground for her to have come from under the needles.  I think she’s just so well-hidden when she’s sitting there still that neither of us saw her.

Any day now, I expect to come out in the back yard and find 15 guys from Fort Campbell studying her for tips.

I May Be Spending My Evenings with James Dickey

I won’t go into all of it, because, frankly, it’s none of your business and it’s craziness anyway so what do you care if you’re getting the whole delusion or just part?

But it was like this.  We were in a clearing and there was a dead deer and He was trying to put the deerskin on, at first, I thought, like some gruesome Cerrunnos, but then, as I help Him into it, I realize that no, He’s going farther than that, to become the buck so that the wolves, which we can hear in the distance, can have the thrill of hunting Him down and killing him.

“What will happen when you come back?” I ask.

“For them, I will be the hunter with the gun and they will run.”

Later, I thought of James Dickey’s “The Heaven of Animals.”

We Are Not Owed Slaves

I’m not sure how to start this post other than to just start it.  Here’s the thing I believe to be true with all my heart.  I believe America was built with a fundimental flaw–and that flaw was the belief that some folks in this society deserve an underpaid or unpaid support system of laboring humans who will invisibly aid them in their successes while remaining themselves without rights or protections.

I believe it’s a flaw that can be overcome, but only if we understand and acknowledge that it’s there and then change how we do things.  It is wrong to use people who are trapped into it to do your work.  It’s wrong if we call that “indentured servitude.”  It’s wrong when we call it “slavery.”  It’s wrong when we call it “sharecropping.”  It’s wrong if we call it “marriage.”  And it’s wrong when we do it to illegal immigrants.

It is wrong to use trapped people to do your work.

It’s immoral.  It’s unjust.  It’s wrong.

So, when I see Nancy Pelosi saying

“Maybe there never is a path to citizenship if you came here illegally,” Pelosi said. “I would hope that there could be, but maybe there isn’t.”

I about want to throw up.

That’s the best we can come up with in the face of injustice?  Maybe?

Let Nezua’s words fall on your ears, my friends:

BURIED in the final paragraphs of this article, the Democratic Speaker of the House offers the LA Times a shocking idea: That millions of immigrants now in the USA—who are currently a deeply-enmeshed part of our commerce and communities—might be relegated to a permanent status of neither citizenship or deportee. What is left after you strike those two possibilities? As Duke said, an indentured class.

That’s what I mean by trapped.  You can’t leave and you have no rights here.  You’re at the mercy of the people who stand to make money off you.

This is playing with fire.

No, this is the alcoholic convincing himself he can work at Jack Daniel’s, no problem.

We cannot have a group of people with no rights and no way to get rights in our society because we commit huge fucking acts of evil when we do.

And I’m sorry, but that Pelosi would even float such an idea…

Just god damn it.


Random Things that Caught My Eye

1.  A 6000 year old homestead.

2.  Do not even try to win this, but tell me, is it not stunning?  All right, fine.  Try to win it if you want.

3.  Mark takes you to school on our “voter fraud.”  There is an underlying sense to this story of the self-importance of some Republican chatterers in this state.  I mean, McCain is going to win Tennessee.  It doesn’t matter if every person here illegally voted for Obama and those votes were all counted.  McCain is going to win.  So why would Tennessee Democrats bother to cheat?  I think folks just wish Tennessee were more important than it is in this election.

4.  Yes, surprisingly, people don’t like to pay people to treat them with assholish condescension.  You needed a study to tell you that?  I think that only doubly proves how out of touch you are with your patients.

5.  I can’t stop watching this.  And I can’t decide if it’s horrid or fabulous.

6.  Lots of folks blogged about this, but Jim Voorhies does it best.

7.  The Missus has toilet paper so amazing I sometimes go to the bathroom at her house just for the joy of feeling it on my nether-regions.  Maybe I should bring Rachel up there.

8.  If this turns out to be true, I’m going to laugh so hard Bill Hobbs will feel it in his gut.

9.  Speaking of Bill Hobbs, I believe I heard God laughing when He read this post.  Do you think the word “honorable” blushes in shame whenever Bill Hobbs uses it?

10.  Tee hee.

Actual Sign in the Window at Noshville

A race for a cure for Diabetes–team name “No More Pricks.”

We can only hope it’s either a lesbian running team or one woman on an otherwise completely male running team.

I thought it was hilarious.  Neither NM nor the Professor seemed nearly as amused as I was.  Though, in all fairness, I also think it would be hilarious to marry Stone Phillips and be obnoxious about insisting on being Mrs. Phillips-Phillips and awesome to name our first son “Flaco.”  In fact, I spent my walk back from lunch just saying “Flaco Phillips, Flaco Phillips” over and over again.

Apple Cider

Some of my favorite memories from grad school, looking back, are of eating and drinking with Dr. J.  Sure, of course, I loved to drink Gin Ginnies (which was a drink I believe Dr. J’s mom invented), and I’ll never forget the time we sat in the porch swing, eating all of the potato salad our roommate had made (girl had some issues, but her potato salad was like a gift from the heavens) only to have her catch us and get so damn pissed.

But days like today remind me of the long days we would spend, each in our rooms, writing away, and Dr. J would put a big stewpot on the stove, fill it with apple cider and redhots and turn it on and slowly let the redhots melt and the apple cider warm, and after a long while, we would go into the kitchen, grab mugs, and drink up.  Then, we’d each go back to our computers, and you’d hear nothing but the clack of keys.

I’m especially reminded of that today because I just caught a whiff of apple, that smell, that is both the crisp of the apple and the crisp of autumn days.

The Professor and I are going to meet NM for lunch and I’m getting ready for my trip to Charleston and… and really, nothing else.

It’s just a nice day and I feel very fortunate to be surrounded by such wonderful folks.

I’m sappy.  What can I tell you?

Yes, More Woo-woo Crap, but World, You’re All I’ve Got

So, three nights down, six to go.  I sat outside.  I sat inside.  I sat outside again.

It’s weird.  It’s the same thing I do every October, but it’s completely new.  I don’t know.  I want to say something profound about it, but it’s hard to talk about.

Sometimes you go drifting around the internet, hoping to find something or someone who puts into words what you’re struggling with.  I did that and instead, I found a site of people who are all the “slaves” of their gods or “belong to” their gods, who are, for the most part, my gods.

And I’ve been thinking about that a long time, because, you know, that level of committment is not something that appeals to me in the least, but nor is it something that I’ve ever felt was wanted from the other end, either.

So, you know, you wonder–are they on the wrong track?  Am I on the wrong track?  What?  And I think I wonder those things because I still have some good old fashioned Protestant bullshit stuck to my metaphysical shoes.  That there is one orthodox way and the rest are capital W Worong.

Two reasons.  One is that I do recognize the Folks they’re talking about when they talk about Them.  I don’t know how to explain it better than that except to say that I read what they write and thing “Yeah, I could see Him doing that or asking for that or liking someone to offer Him that.”  If I recognize the legitimacy of their experiences, isn’t that enough?  Even if we’re all under some mass delusion, it appears to be the same delusion, so I guess you just roll with it.

But second, I think there’s a shared truth there of another sort.  We are weak over there.  It is better to have protection.  Regularly, when I’m over, I’m a little kid.

So, I don’t know.  I’ve just been thinking about how, sitting in the upstairs of the old place, I could just get the world to drop away and I was over one way or another.  But sitting here on my own land, in my own back yard, it’s a different kind of shift taking place.  I’m not going anywhere, but something is opening up.

Redemption Song

Shoot, this made me cry.

For me the most moving moment came when the family in front of me, comprising probably 4 generations of voters (including an 18 year old girl voting for her first time and a 90-something hunched-over grandmother), got their turn to vote. When the old woman left the voting booth she made it about halfway to the door before collapsing in a nearby chair, where she began weeping uncontrollably. When we rushed over to help we realized that she wasn’t in trouble at all but she had not truly believed, until she left the booth, that she would ever live long enough to cast a vote for an African-American for president.

When you think about everything that woman’s seen–90 years of history in a country only 230 years old–it’s pretty amazing.  That woman’s grandparents were born into slavery.  She knew people who were born enslaved and she’s lived long enough to vote for an African-American president.

I just can’t help it.  I’m a sucker for these songs of freedom.

Put Your Sweet Lips a Little Closer to the Phone

Are we still talking about covers?  I hope so, because I’ve been singing “He’ll Have to Go” all morning.  And I think that listening to these three versions really shows you what artists bring to a song.

First up is Jim Reeves’ version, which is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful songs in the history of country music, if not music in general.  There are two things I think you should listen for.  One is how, even though Reeves is closely associated with “The Nashville Sound” (which is typified by these lush arrangements and lots of ooo-ing back-up singers, what you might call “more violin/less fiddle”), listen to how quickly the background music does just that, recedes into the background.

It just gets quickly out of the way of Reeves’ voice, which is, argh, so smooth and rich and just listen to how he hits that “low.”  It makes me shiver every time.  And listen to that “Darlin’.”  I’m sorry.  I might need some alone time.

But the genius of this song is that it gets quieter as it goes.  Pay attention to where your body is before you hit play and then where it is when the song ends.  I bet you’ll find you’ve leaned in.  It’s just genius, folks, just genius.  The more emotional the song gets, the more invested you get in whether she’ll answer yes or no, the more you hope she’ll tell her friend he has to go, the quieter it gets.

In short, it goes from just being a song you’re listening to, to a grown-up lullaby being sung right to you.

Whew.  God, it’s just amazing.

Anyway, let’s move on to Elvis and his version.  There are a couple interesting things about this take on the song.  One is that, though Elvis was a huge rock and roll star when he recorded this–it’s from Moody Blue, his last pre-humous album (I just made that word up.  I don’t actually know what the opposite of posthumous is)–it sounds more conventionally country than Reeves’ version.  You’ve got the twangy guitar and I think I hear a steal guitar in there.  And there’s a kind of gospel thing going on with it, too.

I like that about Elvis.  He’s just not afraid to let his roots show and not afraid to love songs.  That, to me, is what really sticks with me–this is a song sung by a guy who loves this song.  He’s not singing his song or making this song his own.  He’s just singing a song he loves.

And the position of the listener is different, too.  I mean, here’s just the opposite of Reeves’ approach.  Elvis gets louder as the song goes on.  But, I think we all know why.  Elvis isn’t talking to any girl on the phone begging her to choose talking to him over getting some from some other dude.  You just know, from that first Elvis-y “ooo ooo ooo” that he’s got his eye on some woman right there in the first couple of rows there with her date or her husband and he’s seducing her right there, in front of everyone.

This isn’t “let’s pretend we’re together, all alone” two people separated by a bar full of people on one end and a “friend” on the other.  This is a “let’s pretend we’re together, all alone” in front of thousands of people.  The implicit promise in Elvis’s voice (and his delivery) is that all she has to do is say “yes” and all that Elvis magic will turn on her, full force, and the rest of the world will disappear.

Whew.  I know we’re all supposed to believe Elvis became a shitty joke of himself before he died, but damn if you don’t hear some amazing stuff going on in this song.  Old Elvis is completely under-appreciated, I tell you.

Okay, last version.  This is also from ’76, off of Ry Cooder’s Chicken Skin Music.  I’ll just tell you up front that it prominently features the accordian stylings of Flaco Jiménez.  If that doesn’t excite you, it probably means you have no soul and I’m sorry for you.  But I hear that there are some folks who don’t like that stuff.

Anyway, I mention Jiménez, because it’s his presense on the song that shows the main difference between Reeves & Elvis v. Cooder.  In the two earlier versions, we heard versions in which the singers’ voices were the central musical performance in the song–that’s where your ear is supposed to go.

But in this case, this is really about Jiménez’s performance, which is just exquisit.  Who knew an accordian could sound so light and graceful?

Let’s just assume that this is also a song about seduction.  I think what’s interesting in this version is that it’s clearly Jiménez’s accordion which is meant to be the means of seduction.  Cooder is just translating into English for us what we’re hearing from the accordion–that beautiful, heartbreaking, but also joyful longing.

I think it’s the mark of a genius song that it can so easily hold the weight of three very different deliveries.  I think this is one of Joe Allison’s song (though, in fairness, I was also convinced before I started writing this, that it was originally sung by Ray Price, so keep that in mind), and I think you can see from that why he’s so highly regarded as a song-writer.