And the Hooooooommmmmmmmmeeee of the Braaaavvee!

Just imagine me singing the National Anthem and waving sparklers behind Vibinc as he reads this aloud.

Edited to add: Oh, shit.  I forgot that we’re supposed to be doing East Tennessee outreach!  Okay, two thirds of the state, picture me singing the National Anthem and waving sparklers.  You guys to my right?  Imagine me standing in the dark there at Ruby Falls, doing my best Kate Smith impersonation, and as the lights slowly come up, there’s Vibinc talking

The truth of the matter, as Newscoma so often details is that rural America is losing so much so fast. They’re losing jobs and people and the richness of their community to forces that are hard to understand. To add insult to injury, by not contesting the 26 State House seats we left open in the last election they are losing one of the foundations of our Republic, debate. We are duty bound, as Americans, to rectify this situation.

as I come rising out of the water like an ample bosomed symbol of the future prosperity Tennessee so richly deserves.

Bow down, Tennesseans!  Bow down before my magnificent boob freckle!

Umm…. Yeah… Ooops… I got a little carried away there.  I mean, “Please consider voting Democratic in the future.  We’re considering getting our acts together.  So, yeah.  There’s that.”

Guess What? The Crows in Dumbo were Racist Caricatures, Too!

I am obviously not a black person and I am not going to sit here and speak for black people.  I am, however, going to tell you that it doesn’t matter how much Bill Hobbs protests, sending out a flyer with Nathan Vaughn’s head on a crow, is fucking racist.

It just is and I can’t believe we have to sit here and hem and haw about it otherwise.

And here’s the thing.  Yes, if that flyer or if Hobbs’s little “Obama’s a Muslim” act or Tinker’s “Steve Cohen is going to turn our babies into Christ Killers!” campaign happened to turn a few voters against the candidates under discussion, that would have been wonderful.

But that’s not their purpose.  And again, I am stunned that I have to sit here an explain this to folks.

Let Hobbs obfuscate all he wants about the “lib’rul media calling East Tennessee folks racist.”  But even he, in his own sneaky way, comes out and shows you his cards; he practically tells you how the trick works.

Vaughn lost because the Republican Party nominated a great candidate who voters liked and agreed with and who raised sufficient funds and flat out-worked Vaughn.

Hmm.  And why would that be?  What would Vaughn have been busy doing?

I don’t know.  Maybe responding to the attacks against him?

Those kinds of political flyers and ads and youtube videos aren’t about convincing voters.  They’re about baiting the candidate under attack into fighting that fight instead of campaigning.

And we all have things that we cannot let slide–our religion, our sense of self, our ethnic background, whatever.  It’s not going to be the same for everyone.  But if you find that thing and you can push that button, you can keep people distracted.  Especially if you can hold over them the threat of what you’re saying affecting voters.  But that’s just the attractive assistant designed to distract the audience from what the other hand is doing–and the other hand, in this case, was busy doing some vile shit.

This isn’t about the voters; this is about Hobbs and his ilk continuing their “I did something racist; I’m going to deny it’s racist because I can count on most white people, who are a majority of the people in the state, not seeing it as racist; and then I’m going to claim that folks are calling all Tennesseans racist and transform myself into a champion of the people by sticking up for them as not being racist.” magic tricks.

And it worked.

Let’s not pretend otherwise.

You Say “Grief Hallucination,” I Say “Ghost”

Via Sullivan, we learn that almost everyone sees dead people.  Oh, Science, I love you, I do, but the term “grief hallucination” has to be the most inadequate thing you’ve ever foisted on us.

I don’t know.  I get annoyed when religion wants to sit next to science, like they’re almost the same thing, and it annoys me to watch science try to barge in on superstition’s territory.

And the other problem that I have is that, if there’s anything I’ve learned from science, it’s that you need to be wary of things that start from an unexamined place–like saying that the universe is here, so it must have been created by Someone.  To me “Well, we know there’s no afterlife, so these must be hallucinations” sounds like the same thing–that we’re starting from a place we haven’t necessarily given full thought to.

Maybe there is an afterlife.  Maybe there isn’t.  Maybe these things are happening only in people’s brains.  Maybe they aren’t.

Here’s the thing.

My dad being a minister, you hear a lot of these kinds of stories, of people seeing loved ones after they’re gone.  Now, my dad has a world-view that makes sense of that–that some part of that loved one is able to reveal itself to you, even after the physical body is dead.  It’s not a scientific explanation.  It’s a superstition (using the word as lovingly as possible).

But the thing is, while probably 60% of those experiences would also fall under the “grief hallucination” scientific explanation–that you are missing someone so terribly that your mind wills them up like some kind of phantom–30% of them don’t.

A good third of the stories are the other kind–where the person does not know that the loved one is dead until after the “hallucination,” either because the “hallucination” informs them of his or her death or because they find out later.

So, Science, what’s that?

I think it’s something.  I don’t have to buy that it’s a ghost (though I want to, I’ll admit).  It could just be that we humans are connected in ways we don’t yet understand and we feel the loss of loved ones even before we have the knowledge that they’re lost.

But dismissing it as a hallucination seems to me like we might be missing out on a greater scientific understanding of what it means to be human.

I’m not arguing that we accept that those are “ghosts;” I’m just not willing to dismiss it as only a trick of the mind.

The Cervix

World, I have to show you something so amazing I about don’t know what to tell you about it.  A month in the life of a cervix.

I had no idea your cervix did that much.  I guess I just imagined it sitting up there capping off the end of your vagina, but it turns out that it’s moving around and opening up and closing.  Who knew?

I mean, aside from Rachel.

Edited to add: Rachel writes that the url for the site has changed.  Find it here, now.

Well, Watch Me Blush and Call Me ‘School Girl’

I’m reading over at The9513 the review of the new Johnny Cash album and I’m reading along–doo doo doo–and I hit

Cash later engages in the innuendo-heavy “The Legend of John Henry’s Hammer,” audibly smirking his way through lyrics rife with double entendres, much to the delight of inmates at both sets.

And I’m all like “What?  No.  I’ve heard that song one million times and I never heard any lyrics rife with double entendres.”

And then I just whoop out the Bruce Springsteen version, and even he’s got John Henry “swingin’ thirty pounds from his hips on down,” which is obviously not where one swings a non-metaphorical hammer!

I couldn’t find the Folsom Prison version online, but even when you see Cash trying to make it just an innocent song about a “steel-driving man,” once you have all the women coming to watch him because they heard him grunting and groaning…

Did they have steam-powered vibrators back in the day?

Have y’all seen this?  It’s like a giant family tree for universities and it is so brilliantly simple that I can’t believe it hasn’t been thought up before now.  Sometimes the amount of information just so easily available to folks who have a computer stuns me.

Wednesday Randomness

1.  Forget space shuttle launches, what about December 31?

2.  And I believe it shows what we already knew–that the GOP is now firmly the Southern party.

3.  My question is this: what are the Tennessee Republicans going to do to get us out of this financial mess?  Can you really keep taxes where they are and cut enough from the budget to get us out of this hole?  Income tax or no, where is the money to run the state going to come from if one in ten people are out of work?

4.  About the whole “crushing a beer can with your boob” thing?  Well, I asked the resident expert on strange things women do with their boobs to get money from men and it turns out… Well, let’s just say that, when I hear the term “crushing a beer can with your boob” I imagine some kind of feat that is going to involve more pain for the beer can than for the boob.  You know, a cool party trick you can show your friends.

But I’ve now seen the video and this looks like some kind of unfun thing you’d be required to do with your boob in hell.  And I think that woman has a garbage bag under her shirt!

I don’t know why that’s just the cherry on the shit sundae that is crushing a beer can with your boob for me, but it is.

That doesn’t mean I’m not going to get drunk and try it.  It just means that day is coming later rather than sooner.

5.  I have a neighbor!  Who I know!  Who lives in my neighborhood and I know her!  Already.

6.  The Redheaded Kid called Mrs. Wigglebottom “Navy Seal Dog” last night for her ability to snore with her eyes open.  I had no idea that snoring with your eyes open was a skill they taught Navy Seals, but it made me laugh when he said it.