Why a Girl Like Me Can’t Take Herself Too Seriously

Every once in a while I have a day where I get so worked up that I’m just like Bill the Cat at the end of it.  And not in the “Finds herself president or in Billy and the Boingers” way.

And then I look at my blog stats and I realize that, no matter what all else I write, the window most of the internet has to Tiny Cat Pants is either some post I wrote on hermaphrodite porn or the post I wrote on the exorcism on Paranormal State.

I don’t know.  It puts it all in perspective somehow.

Yesterday, I came home, planted poppies, zinnia, and alyssum and then hung out in the hammock.  It feels smart to me to plant right before days of rain, like free water!  The Butcher has a friend with a truck, so, after it stops raining, they’re going to go rent a tiller.  Since that might not be until Sunday, I was a little stressed that the lines that the Professor and I mapped out to plot the beds would be gone.  But the Butcher went out and dug holes at each corner of the beds.  So, even if the rain takes care of the paint, he’ll still know where to till.

I also got him all excited about the mushroom compost.  Or at least for my sake, he pretended to me.  He also spent a good part of yesterday clearing more brush in where we put our poor lone raspberry.  But holy shit!  I can’t remember.  Did I inflict a picture of the raspberry on you on Sunday?  Anyway, since we planted it, it has twice as many leaves and appears to me to be taller.  In other words, it’s really taken to that spot.  No reason it shouldn’t though.  We looked for where the privet was growing the best, dug the privet up and stuck it right there. If it’s a good spot for privet, it’s a good spot for other growing things (or often visa versa, of course).  Still, it’s really satisfying to see it thrive.

And the other satisfying thing, about seeing the holes at the ends of the beds, is that it reconfirmed that that’s much better soil on that side of the creek.  Good dark brown stuff that does not behave so much like it’s about ready to become a clay pot.  So, it’s not just where we put the raspberry, but all over.

Here’s a question I have for you, internets.  What constitutes organic gardening?  Is it just not using chemical pesticides or what?  And should this be something I’m embarrassed to admit I don’t know?

Also, in tiny cat news, yesterday, she hid under my bed and jumped out and grabbed my toes and then skampered off, kind of terrified and pleased with herself that she had the guts to do that.

Never, folks, never in the history of the tiny cat has she ever, ever done something like that.

Other Feminists Talk Gardening

By the time you read this, I hope to be up to my elbows in dirt, planting my front beds, and trying to determine who is already eating my parsley.  Grr.

But all kinds of folks are talking about gardening today.

Over at Pandagon, The Kitchen Table, Shapely Prose, and Feministing, and I am linking to them all because I want to.

An Open Letter to Lowe Finney, Who Sold Us Out

Dear Senator Finney,

Just tell me this.  The next time a 12 year old girl in Carroll, Gibson, or Madison Counties gets raped and impregnated by her step-dad, will you be willing to look her in the face and tell her she has to carry her rapist’s baby to term?  Or what about the mother of two in Carrol, Gibson, or Madison Counties who desperately wants another child, but is carrying an ectopic pregnancy?  Are you going to look her in the face and say you don’t think she has the right to abort that pregnancy, but needs to just let it run its course, even though it means certain fetal death and likely the loss of her ability to reproduce?  What about the man who is sitting in a doctor’s office listening to the doctor tell his pregnant wife the she needs to start cancer treatments immediately if there’s any hope of her living out the year?  Are you going to tell him that those treatments have to wait?  What about the mother who’s pregnant with triplets and the doctor says that she isn’t able to carry all three babies to term?  Do you feel like you have the right to say to her that it’s better for her to lose all three babies than to give one the best shot she can?

I mean, frankly, just who the hell do you think you are?  Would you like it if I drove over there and followed you around and found the worst, most terrible moments of your life and then encouraged my state senator to get involved with passing a constitutional amendment establishing that you don’t really have the right to make your own decision in that moment?  I bet not.

Listen, trumping a policy that establishes that women have no constitutional right to make our own difficult decisions and especially no right to make them without considering what you, a stranger, might think is best might win you votes.

But it is wrong.

And, frankly, I think you know it.

Which makes it worse.  If you aren’t going to stand up in front of your voters and say, “You know, I think abortion is wrong, but I’m not going to go to Nashville and let them pass laws that say I know better than you your personal business” then why are you a Democrat?  If you can’t have principled disagreement with your constituents, then you aren’t a leader.

I was going to dog on you for not bothering to submit one piece of legislation that would make ordinary women’s lives easier–nothing that helps us get the prenatal care we might need, that helps us get time off from work, that helps us afford to take kids to the doctor’s, that expands sex education in schools, etc.–that does anything to help women choose not to have abortions and to end up with kids in good homes.  But then I saw the chunk of legislation you did submit all aided to help prosecute child abusers and I am dumbfounded.

You know.

You know what shitty parents can do to a kid.  You want to protect kids from shitty parents who abuse them and their other parent and then try to claim “parental alienation syndrome” during the divorce.  You want to redefine “serious bodily injury” to include broken bones in kids 8 years old or younger.  In fact, you’re doing a ton to increase the severity of punishment for child abusers.

So, you know.

You know that some people should never bring a child into this world.  You know that they aren’t going to have a baby and then give it up for adoption.  You know that when a woman like that finds out she’s pregnant, if she carries that pregnancy to term, that kid is in for Hell on earth.

You know.

How do you reconcile that with your vote on SJR127?

The next time someone in your area kills their kid, are you going to look in the mirror and say that was a better outcome than if they’d just never had the kid to begin with?

Disappointedly yours,

Aunt B.

Okay, So What If You’re the Tail End of the Two-Headed Dog?

One of y’all wrote to me and asked ” how a single individual can contribute to the Democratic cause here in Tennessee.”

And, frankly, I don’t know.  I mean, I became an internet curmudgeon, but I can’t say that that’s been a very appreciated, or even noticed, contribution to the Democratic cause.

But, I think we’re starting at square one here.  And since we’re starting at square one, we can ask ourselves some very basic questions.

1.  Why are we Democrats?  What is it about the Democrats that appeals to me?  In other words, what do I stand for politically and why do the Democrats in general provide the best fit for me?

2.  Are there places where I’m willing to compromise?  For me, I could support a pro-gun candidate without thinking twice.  But frankly, I find Democrats who oppose gay rights to be too cowardly for my taste.  We live in a state where people who don’t seem like “normal” heterosexual people get beat up and killed.  If you can’t stand before your constituents and say that everyone who lives in Tennessee has the right to live here free from harassment and threat of bodily injury even if you yourself are uncomfortable with what kinds of people they are, then fuck you.  Don’t get me wrong.  I believe in full equality and gay marriage and the whole scary liberal shebang, but I live in a state where we’re still fighting over whether people who don’t meet some heteronormative standard have the right to exist and have their existence acknowledged.  And I want even conservative Democrats to be willing to say “Yes, all the different kinds of people in Tennessee do actually exist and have the right to do so free from harm.”

That should not be too radical for any Democrat.

And don’t even get me started on women’s rights.  God.

You may have some other standard.

3.  Are there candidates that best represent my values?  What can I do for those individual candidates?

And then, and only then,

4.  What are the goals of the State party?  How are they meeting them?  What can I do to help?

I don’t know.  Like Rachel Maddow says, talk me down.  But I feel like any effort by a regular person to try to understand and make a difference right now at a state level, unless you already know all the players and have a score card, can’t be done.  I barely understand it and I try to follow it pretty closely.  The ground is constantly shifting and knowing where to put your foot takes skills most folks don’t have.

It’d be nice if a politician in this state had a “D” after his or her name for some other reason than that there was already a full field of “R”s.  It’d be nice if all those Democrats worked together towards common Democratic goals.  And it’d be nice if they shared resources and strategies.

But from the outside, that doesn’t appear to be the case.

So, what then?

I honestly don’t know.  It is my belief, and I could be wrong–like I said yesterday, the more I learn, the less I realize I know–, that for many Tennessee Democrats, they are Democrats because they are.  Not because they believe in any mutual goals or subscribe to a broad, similar philosophy, but just because.  So, I’m not sure what being a Democrat in Tennessee means.

I’m not sure anyone does.

And, frankly, that problem runs much deeper than the Governor or Chip Forrester or whoever.  Fighting about which one of them has fucked up worse is a distraction from that fundimental problem.

What does it mean to say that you’re a Democrat in Tennessee?

The Tiller

Apparently, the way to meet your neighbors here in Whites Creek is to try to find someone who can till your garden.  Shoot, I’ve talked to more folks who live around here in the past 48 hours than I have in the entire time I’ve lived here.  And none of them seem to have any better an idea than I do about who might have a tiller and who would till my garden.

Even the Joelton Shopper is silent on the matter!  Which everyone I talked to just about could not believe.

On the other hand, Bates Nursery has mushroom soil–basically the shit they grow mushrooms in, literally–for $5.99 a 20 quart bag.  And I will be picking some of that up for my garden, should I ever get it tilled.

Folks, one guy even offered to come over and break ground by hand!  All I could think was trying to explain to his family and my insurance how trying to move Mudblob killed him.

Anyway, I’m still not quite sure what to do.  But it’s turned into one of those hilariously charming things, so I had to share it.

One in Four

The result of our glorious efforts to keep kids ignorant of their bodies and how to protect themselves while they’re having sex results in us having the ninth highest teen pregnancy rate in the nation (pdf).  Do you suppose that makes God happy?  Are these kids and their kids an acceptable sacrifice, do you suppose?

If ever you’re sitting in your church wondering why more and more people in this country refuse to affiliate with organized religion, consider the fact, Tennessee, that you worship a god who gave his only son as a perfect sacrifice so that no other human sacrifice was necessary and yet you keep demanding other people accept that you have to oppress them and fuck them over in order to appease your god–who has told you repeatedly that such sacrifice isn’t necessary.  Even people who love and trust your God are going to be uneasy hanging out with a bunch of people who have so terribly missed the central point of their religion.

Anyway, certainly being a teen mom is not the end of the world.  But it does make life more difficult.  And there are real risks to both mother and baby.  Having a baby when you’re a kid yourself may indeed be the right choice, but god damn it, how can we say that one in four girls in this state really has a choice when we work so hard to keep them ignorant about themselves?

Tea Leaves for Reading

In one story today we learn that the University of Michigan Press has been reorganized and become a unit of the library (see here, if you can).  In another, we learn that the University of Michigan Press will begin publishing almost all of their books as digital editions (see here, assuming you don’t have to be a subscriber).

Sometimes you wish that you could overcome your feeling of pending doom long enough to do your “I told you so” dance.

Can We Have Just One “Feel-Good Monday”?

You know what would have been worse than the sword of Damocles?  The boulder of Damocles.  Ugh.

Anyway, let’s for a second forget that it’s Monday and four and a half days loom before us until we can get back to lounging in the hammock.  And, instead, I point you to this little song that you can get for free from Amazon.  “La Luz Del Ritmo” by Los Fabulosos Cadillacs.  Weirdly enough, a loose translation of the lyrics from Spanish to English reveal the song to be about tilling my garden, which is weird, because I don’t know any musicians from Argentina, but I guess it just goes to show you that people all over the hemisphere find my vegetables as compelling as I do.

More on the Two-Headed Dog

I just want to return for a second to the idea that the Tennessee Democrats need someone to take on Bill Hobbs.  Because I hear that a lot from folks and I appreciate it (though, honestly, what’s Hobbs been doing lately?  Making Facebook groups for disgruntled fans of awkward grammar who oppose the bailout?  How the mighty have fallen.), but Ta-Nehisi Coates says something today in another context (talking about conservative columnists at The NYTimes) that we should be thinking long and hard about:

The dude was good for that first Monday morning entry, no doubt. But here is the thing–in the war of ideas you don’t gain much by measuring yourself against the worst that your opponents have to offer. The thing about competing against jokers, is that it eventually makes a joker of you. Your ideas lose their complexity, their volume and heft, mostly because you don’t need them to take down Kristol. You just need to read the corrections on the Times website. I don’t see how that helps me become a better writer. [Emphasis mine.]

I understand that it sucks to listen to the Republicans say stupid thing after stupid thing.  And Lord knows I love to take after Campfield every so often just for the fun of stretching my muscles.  So, it’s not that I think it’s wrong for liberals to want someone at the TNDP to take on the loud-mouth critics.  But who you take on as your opponant and how you take them on does indeed tell onlookers who you are.

A Two-Headed Dog is in Trouble When It Turns on Itself

The more I learn about state politics, especially among the state Democrats, the more I realize that I don’t know anything about state politics when it comes to the Democrats.

But it seems that the state Democrats are in big trouble.

I do want to reiterate, though, that it seems like there’s this understanding of the situation that pits the folks who think that the Democrats in power now are part of the problem versus the people who think that you can’t move forward without the Democrats in power, and that this understanding is wrong.  That’s not a “versus” situation.

It is true that elected officials have their share of the blame for the current situation.  Need I point out every drunken lobbeyist indictment scandal embarrassment?  If you cannot get through your heads that most people who are not cued into the ins and outs of politics in this state see the Democrats as corrupt, then we are going to continue to have problems.  And we will continue to alienate voters who want to believe that they’re voting for “good” people.

Need I point out that our governor encouraged Obama to stay away and told Obama he should visit Wal-mart?  I’m sorry but I still cringe every time I think about it–one rich man trying to tell another rich man how to keep it real?  Yuck.  And with that, we’re alienating voters who want Tennessee to have a presense on the national stage other than as the butt of the nation’s jokes about stupid Southerners.

We cannot win by being Repubicans-lite, because voters who want Republicans in office will just vote for Republicans.

On the flip side of that, though, we cannot alienate the party leadership as if they are all a bunch of corrupt jackasses or condescending fools.  There are good people doing good work and they should be looked to as the core and the voice of the party.

But part of that means that being a Democrat needs to mean something.  It means, or should mean, that you don’t hire a guy who gives substantial money to Republicans to raise money for Democrats.

Can the TNDP be salvaged?  I don’t know.  If I had to give advice right now, I would give two pieces of advice.

1.  Unless you have on staff the liberal equivalent of Bill Hobbs, someone who enjoys slinging mud and doesn’t mind getting dirty and who can be Regent of the Press Release (which means a press release every day or twice a day sometimes, not once a week or month or whatever), then stop trying to take on Republicans the same way Republicans take on Democrats.  Until the TNDP gets its shit together, stop sending me press releases with any “-nounce” words in it except “announce.”  You should not be denouncing, renouncing, pronouncing anything at all until you have your own house in order and your vision for what the state of Tennessee could be under Democratic leadership.  Stop wasting your time addressing your critics until you have something substanative to offer instead.

“You suck,” “Yeah, well you suck, too” does nothing.  “You suck,” “This month the Tennessee State Democrats did such and such” is the better response.

If you have to engage your opposition, do it from the perspective of finding them slightly ridiculous.

2.  Decide what it means to be a Democrat.  And in a way that is different and, hopefully, better than being a Republican.  And then stand for it.  Every day, all the time, even when it’s unpopular.

3.  Run someone in every race.

4.  Someone needs to stand up and lead.  We have a party of people who want to sit around and say “I told you that wasn’t going to work.”  But who are the people who are actually trying things and having success?  Put those people in charge.

5.  Women, children, gay people, single parents, people who have lost their jobs, people who have jobs but can’t support their families, students, poor people, rural folks, people who are sick or poisoned because of the actions of large companies they have no power against, etc.–we need a strong Democratic party.  We are your constituents and we are the people who should be voting for you.  When you look in the mirror and ask yourself, “What am I doing to help my constituents be able to make their own ways in the world?” what is the answer?  Are you hording power for yourself and your buddies or are you doing what you can to empower the people of Tennessee?

El Ray

They’ve opened a new Mexican restaurant around the corner from us–El Ray, or El Rey, sorry.  I can’t remember.  It’s fine, I think, if a little pricey.  I’d like to see something survive there, though, so I’m happy to support it.

The Question Becomes “Will The Plants Kill Me Before I Kill the Plants?”

When the Butcher got home, I was still on the couch, in pretty much the same position he’d left me.

“Take the dog out,” I said.

“Then you at least have to get up and feed the animals.”

“I can’t.  Gardening is trying to kill me.”

“It’s called ‘exercise.’  It’s good for you.”

“I’m too out of shape to garden.”

“Gardening will get you in shape for gardening.”

“Oh great, then I’ll be ready for next year.  Apparently I’m a biennial.”

“It could be worse.  You could be one of those plants that dies at the end of the season.”

Anyway, the end result of my hard work on Friday and yesterday is that the big bed with the bottle tree (which is only two bottles away from being completed, and I have word that the two bottles are in transit) is prepped and planted.  There’s something coming up in the south end already which I’m going to take a “wait and see” attitude towards, but I’ve got Mexican sunflowers at the other end, hollyhocks all along the back, marigolds lining the front and a mix of daisies (which I don’t think will bloom until next year) , black eyed susans, columbine, and some other stuff scattered around.  Last year Leslie gave me a bunch of holiday cards embedded with wildflower seeds that her workplace had left over and I planted those near the bottle tree where the morning glories will be.  I didn’t bother to soak or knick the morning glories, though, because I don’t read instructions until it’s too late.

And I left myself a place for the coneflowers that should be arriving next week.  And I planted parsley in the bed, because Saraclark said the caterpillars will like it.

And there were peonies already there, of course, so it should be very flowery and awesome.

Then the Butcher and I ripped out some privet.  And really, I just need a macro so that I can hit “shift+control+P” and have it type “ripped out some privet” because I swear that’s 90% of what this yard needs.  So, we ripped out some privet along the back fence and put in our raspberry.  And yes, probably, I should have bought more than one, but I’m trying to strike a balance between splurging a little because my soul needs it and living frugally.

Anyway, it was while planting the raspberry that the Butcher and I noticed something very interesting.  Mud blob does not appear to live on the other side of the creek.  The dirt in the hole that we dug for the raspberry was the same color as the potting soil we brought back to fill in the hole with.

I don’t know if this is why they had their garden clear back there or if this is a result of 50 years of gardening back there and amending the soil or a mix of both, but you could have knocked us both over with a stick.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I found Illinois dirt back there or anything, but it is remarkably better than the stuff in the rest of the yard.  (For instance, while I was loosening the soil up around the bottle tree, I found this triangle thing that I thought was a piece of plastic.  I bent down to pick it up and realized that it was just some mudblob that had come to the surface when we dug the hole for the pole and then dried against the pole–so that it had a straight flat side.  I could have killed someone with its sharp edge.  I hope they don’t have Mud Blob under the prison or prisoners who read my blog have just discovered a whole new way to construct a shiv.)

Anyway, we’re going to till the garden today, so I do have a question.  I have been taking Bridgett’s advice to heart about not tilling what you don’t want to weed, so I was planning on having a garden that was a series of beds separated by grass.  But then I thought, “Oh god, how wide would those grass strips have to be to get a lawnmower down them?”

So, here’s my question (and here’s the garden plan as it stands now as a reminder).  Instead of doing what I have planned here, would I be better off to turn all the rows so that I have the three three-sister plots at the top and then two long beds at least the width of the lawn mower apart that run north and south instead of a bunch of short east-west beds like I have planned here?

Here, let me show you a sketch.


What do y’all think?

I am Tickled

I bought the Butcher a raspberry bush and he is so excited.  He’s “preparing the right spot” for it right now, as we speak.  I hope he doesn’t mind that we won’t have berries until next year.

Two Nice Things

I like this and this.  I wanted to have something big and insightful to say about them, but, you know, then I thought, when you see a Van Gogh, you don’t have to run out and paint a picture, too.  You can just stand back and look.

So, I encourage you to look.

My Problem with the Whole AIG Mess

Here in the real world “bonus” means “something you wouldn’t normally get, but because of some special, good, circumstance, you have it.”  Like a “reward.”  So, when I hear that people at AIG got bonuses for running the company into the ground, I am appalled.

But someplace I read–and of course I can’t find it now–that companies hand out bonuses as a tax dodge.

And I suspect this is true.

But what I don’t get is–whose tax dodge is it?  Is this a way for the company to pay less tax or a mutual way for the company and the employee to pay less tax?

Because it sounds like it’s not actually that beneficial for the employee, but I don’t know enough about it to make a judgment.

But here’s why I ask.  Say I’m a company and you’re my employee and I say “I’m going to pay you a salary of $100 a year (sorry, we have to keep the numbers small, because I’m an idiot), but I’m going to pay you a bonus every year of at least $100.  So, you’ll actually be making $200, but to the Feds, it’s going to look like I’m only paying you $100.”

Now, do you pay tax on the whole $200?

And do you have any way of opting to receive the whole thing as salary?

Here’s why I ask.  Because yes, I find it appalling and infuriating that people at AIG got this “extra” money.  But it seems clear to me that this wasn’t actually “extra” money.  It was part of their promised income from the company and they had little or no way of saying “No, just pay me everything as salary.”

So, if this is a way that companies and employees dodge taxes–by looking like you make x when really you make x + y–then I have no problem with making sure y is taxed as part of your regular income, though I’m still not sold on taxing it at 90% (and this may be the only time in the history of Tiny Cat Pants that I take the side of rich people).  There are already tax laws and tax rates on the books that should be applied.

BUT, if this is a way for the companies to dodge taxes and it is of no benefit to the employee one way or another–if the IRS doesn’t care if the company says you made x but they paid you x + y because the Feds want their cut of x+y no matter what–then I strenuously object to taxing y at 90% because this punishes the employee, but has no effect on the corporation who was doing the hinky tax dodge in order to cheat us (as the American people who do pay our taxes and as the Federal Government).

You see what I’m saying?  If I pay you $100 and give you a $100 bonus because I promised you $200 and giving you half of it in this way gets me off the hook with the Feds in a way I really shouldn’t be getting off the hook, having the Feds take $90 from you doesn’t even begin to address the problem, even if it makes most folks feel good.

So, can anyone explain to me what’s going on?

Sweet Jesus

So, I had this brilliant idea that I would add some dirt to the big bed, because we’d been digging in it already and Mud Blob was more at the surface than one might care for him to be.  I skipped out of work early, got the soil, some parsley for the caterpillars, and came home with an intention to get that bed planted this very evening.

Ha ha ha ha ha.


By the time I got the whole thing weeded and the dirt mixed in with the dirt that was already there and the stepping stones re-layed, I was too exhausted to come inside and do anything but sit here and blog this.

Lady Day

It is the first day of Spring and it is exactly like you’d like the first day of spring to be, here in Nashville.  The sun is shining, but it’s cool out and the breeze still has a bite of winter.  Thanks to the arrival of the new lilac bush, I was able to look at it and look at another bush in my yard and say “Oh, hey, I have a lilac right here, too.”  I guess that should not surprise me.  It looks like, at one point, they tried to have as many flowering things in the yard as they could.  And I think two in the yard will be lovely.

The peonies they left are starting to sprout.  I don’t see any signs of the ones I planted last fall yet, though.

My hope for this weekend is to get that bed cleaned up and planted, all except for the echinacea to come.  And I want to get the garden tilled, but that means getting beds measured out and marked off.  Walking around the yard is such a treat.  The roses that I trimmed this winter look great and have all put out new leaves.  The rose my dad had to cut back to one lone green stick seemed to have survived as well and now it’s one green prickly stick coming out of the ground with three leaves.  The pear tree just breaks my heart.  It is obviously half dead and way larger than a pear tree needs to be, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t covered in flowers.  I’ve come to think of it as the crusty old man of the yard.  I imagine him spending long days grouching to the pine by the well, who is also enormous, but seems more cheerful, as if having the pump house near him is happy company.  Like a little pet or something.

Even the old daffodils have started to bloom.  I’m excited to see what the blooms look like, but I have a feeling that they’re going to be small, which will crack me up, considering how large the daffodils are.  At least it explains why they didn’t bloom the same time as the neighbors’.  They’re not the same type as the neighbors’.

It’s hard not to feel glad when spring is in the air and flowers are in bloom.

Some folks call today ‘Lady Day,” which of course got me thinking of Lady Day, herself.  And another season.

Though I like Ella Fitzgerald’s version so much better.

But this is the version that always, always makes me think of summer.

The White House Garden

Did y’all see that they’re putting in a garden at the White House?  According to the article, it’s the first one since the Roosevelts’.

My favorite part of the article is just how excited everyone who works at the White House that they interviewed is.  And a carpenter is going to keep bees for them!  (Did I tell you that the neighbors confirmed that they used to keep bees here?  I haven’t seen the hives, but I wonder if they had the hives in the cow pasture.  I don’t imagine that we’ll become big bee keepers, but I hope we have a lot of bees come and enjoy our flower garden.)

Listen Up, Indiana

Everyone in Illinois knows there’s no Pawnee in Indiana.  So, don’t let this Poehler show go to your heads.  Some of us know the truth.

(Interesting side note: Pawnee, Illinois was supposed to be Horse Creek, Illinois, but the postmaster thought the name was stupid and suggested “Pawnee” instead.  No actual Pawnee ever lived in Pawnee, or in Illinois at all, though I’m sure some of them have stopped to go to the bathroom at the truckstop there off I-55 while on their way to see the Lincoln sites in Springfield.  Another interesting side note: When we traveled to Pawnee to see my Dad’s new church, the Butcher, who was nine or ten, saw the watertower and shouted out, “Oh no!  We’re moving to Peewee?!”  We still tease him about that.)

“These be her very C’s, her U’s and her T’s and thus makes she her great P’s”

(Ha, I’m convinced they have kids read the shittiest Shakespeare to dissuade them from every getting to the fun stuff.  The real conspiracy is not whether Will was actually DeVere, but why we purposefully try to make kids hate him.)

I actually kind of like Britney Spears’ “If U Seek Amy” and am glad to have a history of great secret cussing.  That includes James Joyce!

The Butcher is a Winner in Need of a Gameshow

So, the Butcher is finally back home after his stay in Jordonia.  And I’m glad, if only because it’s hard for me to justify making a big pot of chili like that if it’s just me to eat it.

And last night we were watching TV.  And when we watch TV together we are always watching at least two, but usually 3, things.  And we can do this because the Butcher either knows or can easily figure out the plot to anything on TV.

It’s like how we were talking the other day–it’s not that I’m brilliant; I’m just a good test-taker.  I can imagine what the test taker is thinking and the ways he or she might be keeping the correct answer apparent, but slightly hidden.

Well, the Butcher has that skill when it comes to television shows.  He can see a twist miles away.  And so each show becomes an effort to map the plot and then make sure that you return to it often enough to see if you’re right about it.

Anyway, last night he had Criminal Minds, Law & Order, and CSI: New York (a show he doesn’t even watch normally) all figured out before the half-hour mark.

Some People Say a Man is Made Out of Mud

So, of course, since we planted the lilac last night, I ran into my friend “Mud Blob.”  Mud Blob lives just under the grass in my yard and waits patiently for the day when you may need to kill an intruder, which you will be able to do by picking up Mud Blob and throwing it at the intruder, who will be taken out by its sheer weight.  Mud Blob is the lead of soils.  Each handful weighs about ten pounds.

Mud Blob even could have a theme song.

Who lives in the yard and under the trees?

Mud Blob Dirt Pants.

Blobby and dirty and muddy is he!

Mud Blob Dirt Pants

Okay, obviously, it’s a little derivative, but I’m still working on it.

I turned to the internet to learn more about Mud Blob.  And, though I was able to find what appears to be some kind of Farmer/Scientist Fetish Porn site (SFW), I wasn’t finding dirt that looked particularly like the dirt in my yard.

But then I went to the Web Soil Survey and mapped my house and learned that I have Newark Silt Loam all in my yard.  It’s about 80 inches down to the rockbed, but the water table, as we discover often, is just 6 to 18 inches down, and the soil drains poorly–which is why, I suppose, it clumps together into Mud Blob.

The USDA says elsewhere about Mud Blob (You can call him “Newark” but he’ll always be Mud Blob to me), “The Newark series consists of very deep, somewhat poorly drained soils formed in mixed alluvium from limestone, shale, siltstone, sandstone, and loess. The soil is on nearly level flood plains and in depressions. Slope ranges from 0 to 3 percent.”

I had to look up “alluvium” which basically just means “deposits of mud formed by flowing water.”  And it’s very crumbly.

But people grow stuff on it, so that’s good.