Vikings!

Shane Rhyne is trying to start a Viking trend, to come after zombies fully replace vampires in the popular moment (of course, zombies and vampires are pretty much the same thing, except one you want to sleep with and one you don’t, so maybe I shouldn’t have distinguished between the two).

I, of course, am all for this. I plan on being in charge of historical accuracy in portrayals of burping and farting.

Anyway, today, he’s talking Viking music–music about Vikings.

So, of course, I have to point you to the Viking Answer Lady‘s awesome write-up (complete with music) about Viking music–music of the Vikings.

You can read the whole thing for yourself, but I can’t pass up the opportunity to share this delicious description of Viking singing style, as related by an Arabic trader to the region (yes, to Denmark. It’s weird, I know, but interesting things were going on off-stage while you were taught that all of world history was happening in Rome).

Never before I have heard uglier songs than those of the Vikings in Slesvig (in Denmark). The growling sound coming from their throats reminds me of dogs howling, only more untamed.

I’ve Pushed Newscoma into the Creek!

Ha, it makes me so happy to read about Newscoma’s adventures in Whites Creek! I hope that, today, Squirrel Queen gets something to eat before dinner. There’s food all over the house, woman! Enchiladas in the fridge, bagels in the cupboard.

Just don’t be sneaking off to the red store for burgers without me!

It’s been a strange visit.  Good fun, don’t get me wrong, but the animals are all acting like “If enough of us sit on these people, they won’t be able to leave.”  I’m concerned I’ll come home tonight and find Squirrel Queen crudely tied to a dining room chair, left with one hand free, of course, so that she can pet everyone who wants to be petted.

Bringing the Border to Nashville

I was watching Nezua’s video yesterday and totally digging all the Nezuas in the audience and nodding along as you do when you already agree with what you think someone is going to say, when he said something that caught my ear, about bringing the “intensity of the border guard situation and the borderlands to every city.”

As you know it would, my mind immediately jumped to the Channel 4 I-Team “investigation” into the “disappearance” of 1,200 illegal immigrants who were caught and then didn’t go to court and Sheriff Hall’s righteous indignation that the Feds would ask him to release people who were arrested for very minor crimes.

I have been thinking a bunch of things–about how the way we think about illegal immigration now puts the person who came here the wrong way (or stayed here too long) into an ongoing state of criminality (at least in the public mind; a paperwork issue turns into a crime against country), as if failure to jump through the hoops of government bureaucracy proves that you are a permanent member of a criminal class; about why it would be a problem if the 1,200 people who were identified as illegal immigrants disappeared, after all, isn’t that what we want, for them to, for all practical purposes, be gone from our city, and hasn’t this, then, been achieved?; and lastly, doesn’t it seem like Hall is most upset that he doesn’t know where these people are? Is it really the Sheriff’s job to monitor everyone who lives in his city and know where they are at all times?

We know Hall gets money for housing illegal immigrants for the Feds. He complains in the I-Team story about them not being willing to pony up money to pay to hold every illegal immigrant who comes through his jail.

We know that Hall is upset at the Feds for telling him to let those of their prisoners who were arrested for minor crimes go because they then, sometimes, don’t show up for court in Memphis. (Though how people who aren’t allowed to get drivers’ licenses are supposed to get to Memphis is a whole other story).

We know that Hall is very proud of his ability to reduced the population of Nashville by one percent over the course of two years.

And we know that he has no compunction about speaking to rabid anti-immigration groups (yes, all immigration, not just coming here illegally).

And yet it still felt like one part of the picture was missing. In all other aspects, Hall seems to be a great sheriff. He’s well respected by his peers. I’ve heard nothing but good things from the people who work for him. I’ve never heard people accuse him of treating inmates differently based on race.

So, what, exactly is tripping his trigger, so to speak?

If I think about it in terms of border-guarding, it makes sense to me. It’s weird to think about because people are like water in this regard. They flow around obstacles. They find the cracks and slip through, eventually*.  And we are way downstream from the border, from what some want to imagine as a dam, and we are all water, too, you know?

It’s like Hall is standing in a high spot in the river at Tiptonville, trying to scoop out the blue water from the brown, in order to keep the Mississippi undiluted by the Ohio. Even if it could be done, you couldn’t do it that far downstream.

But if you are hung up on the idea that the Mississippi is a muddy river that flows from Minnesota down to the Gulf, only, regardless of history or observable fact, it starts to make sense how you would feel yourself and your “river” compromised by the water from the Ohio.

It makes foolish sense, but it makes sense. You can imagine how a person starts to think about a series of mini-dams that would catch and filter out the water from the Ohio, how maybe fishing only from the west side of the river would encourage the water on the east side to just go back to Pennsylvania where it came from. You might even scoop out water you’ve identified as being more Ohio than Mississippi and boil it off to make sure that it can never come back to the Mississippi again. Shoot, you might take every opportunity to demand that the Feds continue to give you money for your great Mississippi/Ohio separation project.

But you’re not at the confluence of the rivers.

Even if what you wanted to do could be done, you can’t do it from Tennessee.

And there’s always going to be something that sits strange about insisting you be given all the resources you want in order to try.

—-

*I’m just going to say that I like and hate this metaphor for the same reason. I like it because, for a second, it focuses not on individual experience, but on the whole phenomenon, and lets us see the shape and actions of the large movement. I also hate it because it lets us focus on the whole large movement–immigration, border crossing, as a thing–and lets us too easily lose sight of the real human suffering every step of the way. But can we all just read the metaphor as a terribly imperfect metaphor and remember that, at every instance, how we do things now is not just foolish, but causes real and terrible suffering for everyone involved?

Christians, WTF?

I just saw this at Gawker, about folks selling Cafe Press merchandise with “Psalm 109:8” on it and the words “Pray for Obama.” The shop’s not up at CafePress any more, because as cute as folks might think it is to make veiled Christian death threats against the President, the Secret Service tends to not find it so funny.

There are quite a few things wrong with this. But let’s just set aside the whole smug “I’m bragging about wanting our President dead” crap. If I have to point out to you how fucked up that is, whew, I don’t even know where to start.

But two is the smugness of it. You know what? Most people in the United States are Christian or have been Christian at some point. You are not actually a persecuted minority. You’re a very privileged majority. So, when this small subset of folks start throwing out Bible verses like only a small, chosen group will know or be able to find out what they mean? They look like dumbasses. Guess what? The Bible is a perennial best seller. Churches give them away for free. You can read them on the internet. Your secret code is not secret.

Three, reciting scripture in order to learn it or to know it when you need to draw strength from it, is a time-honored tradition. But calling forth a Bible verse in order to make the things described in that Bible verse happen to someone else? That’s magic. It is, in fact, witch craft in the most basic and historical sense. For centuries, people who wanted to bring the reality described in a Bible verse into their lives have written down those verses and worn them or attached them to dolls or stuff them into bottles or written them on walls. It could not be any more clearly witch craft if you wore a pointy hat while you did it.

And I believe you are forbidden from practicing the crafts of witches, are you not?

Four, you are not the only Christians. You’re just not. But you are ruining it for everybody by making it seem like, in any group of caring, compassionate, loving Christians, there are a subset who cannot wait until God comes around to really smite their enemies. And, if God doesn’t work fast enough, this subset gives the impression of being willing to act “as an instrument of God’s will” in order to hurry things along.

People are afraid of you. Because you are Christian.

That’s what it’s come to. You smug, vengeance-seeking, magic practicing Christians have made non-Christians afraid of Christians.

There should be some mechanism by which you can apologize to other Christians for this nonsense, but I don’t know what it would be. Maybe another round of t-shirts with another Bible verse?

I don’t know.

But I do know this. If you were tempted to buy this merchandise, you have gone off the path and are wandering adrift and rather than trying to convince other Christians that you know where you’re going, you might should consider getting back up on the path with your fellow believers.

And the fact that people are passing this around like “Oh, too funny“? Or trying to claim they didn’t realize what followed that verse?

I don’t know. To me it says something so deeply troubling about the state of Christianity in this country that it just breaks my heart. It’s like these folks think the Bible is the equivalent of a laugh-a-day calendar or something, with a pithy quote for every occasion.

And it makes me feel very bad for the people I love who believe the Bible is deeper than that.

I mean, frankly, my Dad didn’t devote almost forty years of his life to a religion that could be reduced to making jokes about the death of a President. And I resent seeing the public face of that religion represented by people who believe it can be.

Mrs. W. Has Lost Her Damn Fool Mind

People, after sucking on the seem of SquirrelQueen’s jeans last night, for no apparent reason, the SquirrelQueen was just standing there talking and all of a sudden, the dog (who was on the couch) started sucking on her jeans. I don’t know if there was spilled beer there or what, but it was strange, Mrs. Wigglebottom licked Newscoma’s toothbrush!

After we failed to provide them with enough propane to get through the evening with actual heat.

We seriously could not be worse hosts if we made them mow our yard or pick ticks out of the Butcher’s armpit or something.

Augustus?!

Someone over at the Tennessean is calling Tiny Pasture “Augustus Kleinheider,” which made me laugh out loud. I was going to give this person due credit, but alas, the web design over at The Tennessean is so crappy that the individual’s name is not connected to his (or her) (okay, let’s not kid ourselves, his) post, so that he can get credit for nicknaming Tiny Pasture after a lesser Caesar.

I can only hope this leads to a prolonged period of name-calling between SouthComm and Gannett.

Edited to add: And perhaps a site redesign.

Coincidence?

So, at the same time Hall was planning his trip to DC to speak to the rabid anti-immigrationists, he’s also participating in this Channel 4 I-Team investigation in which actual people are referred to as “illegals”? (Nobody over at Channel 4 has a Chicago Manual of Style? Or what?)

But more to the point, should we see this as a signal that Hall is courting the support of rabid anti-immigrationists in order to pressure the city and the feds into keeping 287(g)?

Rounding Up the Morning

I spent my morning doing the morning round up for Pith, but I couldn’t let go the chance to share Vivian Wilhoite’s snark with you. Seriously, someone get that woman a blog. They’re all “But the parks! Oh the humanity! They’re so over budget!!!!!” and she’s all “Hmm, but when the PR for the new convention center was over budget, that just wasn’t a problem, was it?”

Sheriff Hall Was Scheduled to Speak to Yet Another White Supremacist Organization

(Assuming my post at Pith ever makes it up, consider this a companion piece that would flesh out what I’ve learned in the hours since my Pith post was written).

So, Kyle Swenson is reporting that Sheriff Hall was scheduled to speak at a conference held by the Center for Immigration Studies, which has more than just a “long history of association with the Federation of American Immigration Reform (FAIR).” It was, in fact, dreamed up by FAIR founded John Tanton in order to give FAIR a way to mainstream its ideas by putting them under a glossy coat of academic language. Saying it has a “long history of association with FAIR” would be like saying I have a long history of association with the Butcher. They are siblings, working together, to promote the vision of Tanton, who, coincidentally, Hall may have heard of, since his group gave most of the money to Crafton’s “English Only” campaign.  (It would be interesting to know if that’s how Hall came to Tanton’s attention.)

This marks the second time that Hall was scheduled to speak to white supremacist groups (the first being his lovely trip to the CCC). This time the national douchebags he was scheduled to speak with put out a press release, so local immigrant rights activists were able to alert him to CIS’s ties to FAIR and “English Only,” since, apparently, no one in Hall’s office can Google this shit for themselves, and he pulled out of the event.

But let’s bear in mind that, if he had not been called on it, our sheriff was ready to fly to Washington D.C. and speak about 287(g)  on a panel in which he was the only non-CIS participant (Steven Camarota, Director of Research, Center for Immigration Studies, and Jessica Vaughan, Director of Policy Studies, Center for Immigration Studies, were scheduled to be the other two panelists and Mark Krikorian, Executive Director, Center for Immigration Studies was to moderate). His participation gave that panel legitimacy and a hook that would have brought the media. And he would have been sitting there talking about the wonders of 287(g) while Camarota and Vaughan were prepared to speak about how studies may show that there’s less criminal behavior among immigrants than there is the general population, but really, immigrants (of all stripes) “have relatively high rates of criminality.” (Quote directly from the press release touting Hall’s appearance.)

That’s right. Not just the illegal immigrants, but ALL immigrants must be studied for their “high rates of criminality.”

That old stereotype set off NO warning bells in the Sheriff’s office?

This is exactly how CIS is designed to work–to mainstream noxious ideas.

If you said, “Oh, well, you know most of those immigrants are just criminals who shouldn’t even be here. And why can’t they learn to speak English?” people would know you for the bigot that you are.  But if you have FAIR spouting this crap to the group receptive to it and then you also give money to Eric Crafton to spout one part that seems reasonable to many people–“Let’s make everyone speak English”–and CIS to put a polish on your beliefs about immigrants and criminality by framing it as an academic discussion with tales from the frontlines provided by the Davidson County Sheriff.

Much like Crafton was a way of laundering these ideas from their noxious roots, so was Hall.

How does this keep happening? How many times does a man “accidentally” wind up on the speakers’ lists for bigotted douchebags?

Sheriff Hall is not a stupid man.

So, I find it hard to believe that he’s just easily played by white supremacists.

He owes the city an explanation for why he would give legitimacy with his participation to these kinds of groups.

Is someone in his office not doing her job? Is the council that oversees the 287(g) program not empowered to actually tell Hall when he’s doing something wonky? Does he not get how appealing 287(g) is to racists?

Or is it something more?

Really, how many times can a man get on the speaking schedule of racist anti-immigrant groups before it’s not an accident?

Edited to add: The Pith post is posted.

Odin in Drag? Frigg in Her Rightful Place? Freyja Taking the High Seat for a Stroll?

Odin_fra_Lejre

Looking at this figurine, recently pulled out of the ground at Lejre, puts me in mind of Ruth Hill, who, when she’s talking about the way race was understood by people living in Spanish America during the Bourbon period, repeatedly stresses the importance of remembering that we look back on the past through the lens of 19th century ideas about race, and that, before the 19th century, we cannot take for granted that things were as codified and clear as they came to be–that the lines between races were more fluid than we might expect when looking at a racist culture. (In other words, part of being “racist” for us is that there are clear definitions of races and seemingly easy ways to tell one race from another, even if those demarcations have to be constantly monitored. It’s hard for us to comprehend that a culture could be racist without those clear definitions, but before the 19th century, cultures were still racist and yet it would be a mistake to assume that they defined race the way that we do. But it’s a mistake scholars often make and it’s one that has real problematic implications for their scholarship.)

Looking at this figure, I can’t help but wonder how much of a problem our ideas about how men and women behave and how sexist cultures behave are going to be to interpreting this figurine. Can we look at the product of an ancient sexist culture and be sure that we are accounting for our own biases about what would be acceptable in a sexist culture? I don’t know. But it’s interesting to think about.

So, here’s the deal. This very small figurine was pulled out of the ground recently and has immediately caused a lot of excitement and controversy. It dates back about a thousand years, right at the end of the pagan Viking era. The figure is sitting on a throne (or a high seat) and the top of the throne seems to be in the shape of two dogs or, perhaps, wolves (though, owning a dog and looking at it, it’s possible that the back of the chair is not these animals, but that these animals have crammed themselves between the back of the chair and the sitter). The sitter is also flanked by two birds, possibly ravens.

Well, of course, scholars see a person, sitting in a lavish chair, surrounded by two maybe ravens and two maybe wolves and they think “Odin.” Especially when one considers the face up close and sees that one of the eyes looks damaged, much like Odin himself only had one eye (well, he has two, they’re just both not in his head).

But then, other scholars point out, “Hey, look, the person is wearing a long dress, with a cape and necklaces draped across the chest and that’s how women dressed! That is a woman!”

So, if we accept the interpretation that it is indeed Odin’s high seat, then the possibilities for who the woman could be are pretty limited. Some have argued for Freyja, since she is so closely associated with the famous brisingaman, which is thought by most scholars to be a necklace, and the figure has such a prominent necklace. There’s nothing in the stories we’ve been handed down that would suggest that Freyja was allowed to sit in Odin’s seat, if indeed it is Odin’s seat.

Frigg, however, we know from the lore, sat in Odin’s seat when he wasn’t in it.

So, case settled, right? Here’s Frigg.

Except…

Odin dressed like a woman on occasion.

Some folks are already raising a fuss that, if you can’t trust that a figure in women’s clothing is a woman, you’re basically opening the door to interpreting all the cool stuff we’ve found from the Viking-era folks as being men dressed as women and thus everything we know about women is thrown into question.

I don’t think this is the case, though.  We know Odin dressed as a woman and did women’s magic. It’s not hard to imagine that he might be portrayed in art as a woman. I also think that it’s not hard to imagine that an artist would have considered this problem–“I want to show Odin dressed as a woman. My artistic medium is about two centimeters on each side. How do I make sure that people will know that it’s him? Oh, I’ll stick his stuff in there with him.” In other words, we can take our cues from the context the artist gives us. If a figurine appears to represent a woman and there’s nothing else with it to call that interpretation into question, why not assume it’s a woman?  But if the artist has left clues that the person on the throne is just who you would expect to be on that throne, why disregard those clues, just because he’s in a dress, a practice he’s known to have taken up from time to time?

Is our insistence on strict gender norms about making sense of the Viking world or about enforcing our understanding of our own?

Bone-Chilling Acts of Babyness

Oh my god. Seriously, people, there needs to be a warning on Nate Rau’s article about the state of our parks, because the urge to go stick about 17 people in our city in corners until they can stop acting like enormous babies will completely overwhelm you. It’s literally all I can do to not get in my car right now, drive down there, and get my mom on the phone and have her ground these fuckers.

As you know our parks are under assault on all sides. You have Councilmember Coleman mounting some kind of gay-panic offensive on the rural parks (I debated about whether to raise this point, but god damn it, I’m going to. A.) Deeply closeted conservative Christian men who go to the rural Antioch parks to hook up because you think no one will know–WE ALL DO!  Everyone in town knows what you’re up to, when you are sitting in your car alone on a beautiful day at a beautiful park, nervously scanning all the other cars who come into the parking lot. You’re fooling NOBODY except yourselves. Come out and hook up with folks in actual beds, in your own homes, if you want to. Shoot, even in parks, if you can get away with it. But it will be your choice, your marvelous, wonderful, freeing choice to have sex indoors if you want! Also, some of you are leaving your underwear in the parks. That’s littering. Also, when you grow up and join the gay community, please consider replacing your underpants when the elastic around the legs starts to give out. Your lovers will appreciate it. And B.) Assholes (and I’m going to include Coleman in this), if you go to the park and a man from your church nervously flirts with you, your masculinity is not under assault. You are under no real threat. And you don’t need a gun to ward him off. Just say “No, thanks.” or “Does your wife know you’re here?” or “Back off, asshole.” Seriously, could you imagine if women pulled guns on every man who made unwelcome advances towards us? It’s no way to live life and it’s no way to run a park.)

And now you have the acts of babyness outlined in Rau’s article–“My feelings are hurt.” “Oh, you sent us an email, but you didn’t send us an email outlining the importance of the email you sent us.” “Um, okay, so we told you to keep this stuff open, but it’s totally your fault for listening to us.” “But my reputation! Boo hoo hoo.”

FOCUS, people.

The goal is to keep the parks open with the level of service the community needs and to keep people who had no say over this whole mess employed.

The goal is not to make sure that blame lands squarely on who deserves it most.

The fact that this has descended into finger-pointing and blame-passing and pissing and moaning and laying off people who couldn’t help but get caught up in your middle-school levels of drama  instead of focusing on the needs of the community shows that something is completely fucked in this administration.

Get your acts together.

Seriously.

All I Have Are Questions after Watching Saturday Night Live

That had to be one of the worst episodes ever, right? I mean, every generation complains that their Saturday Night Live is worse than the generations before them. But then you see an episode like this and it’s like “Oh, so that’s what bad is.” Did we all sense that the cast knew how bad it was and was just rushing through everything as fast as they could to get it over with? I mean, were those not some of the shortest skits ever on SNL? Most skits go on long after they cease to be funny. Many of these seemed to stop right before the punchline. Was the skit where the girl and the boy were on a date and the girl hadn’t heard of any popular culture things from the past 35 years some kind of meta-joke about January Jones? Has there ever been a host who was in so many skits but allowed to be central to so few? Is there someone from Grace Kelly’s family who can kick some people in the ass or what? Would they have been better off locking Jones in her room and letting random Black Eyed Peas just take her spot in skits and stiltedly read off of cue cards? I suspect it would have.

Oh, Hurray for Gardening!

So, I am slowly working through the fall gardening, leaving the biggest mess for last, but number three on my list of ridiculous things that have gotten completely out of control, was the front flowerbed where the little tree that had all the caterpillars in it this spring is. It had been washed over in a flood this summer, so everything I planted in it had washed away and all that remained were a handful of ancient irises from before my time. And big areas of soil were missing and some really clay-y dirt had been washed into the bed.

And then some privet babies had taken it over and I had just given up all hope of ever bringing back any semblance of sanity to it.

Until today, when I weeded the whole thing and dug up the ancient irises and set them aside to be put back after I was done with my trip to Bates, where I picked up some topsoil and brought it home to fill back in the bed and amend the crappy stuff that had washed into it.  I also went and dug up the three of nm’s irises that survived in the other bed (which is number one on my list or ridiculous things that have gotten completely out of control). And I bought some crocus bulbs at Bates because they’ve having this great sale (and folks, now is the time to plant bulbs; it’s also a great time to plant perennial flowers, like coneflowers and black-eyed susans, which they still have).

So, the soil was brought up to snuff and the irises went back in the ground and the crocuses were also strewn in the bed and now I can cross that off my to-do list.

Thanks, Mom, for making me feel confident about my iris-dealing-with abilities.

Six Thousand Copies

I guess on a side note I should say that my doctor’s visit went fine. There is nothing else wrong with me on top of the PCOS and he’s happy with how the metformin seems to me working and I should continue to try to lose weight, but that was the extent of that discussion.  I did show him the remains of my giant rash, which I was working on the last time I went to see him, and I said I didn’t think it was connected, but if I had been more insistent 10 years ago about informing doctors of the things that were wrong instead of just taking their word that I was fat and just not trying hard enough, they might have caught the PCOS then. So, I showed him where it was all healing up.

And he looked at it, on my arm and all under my boob and said, “Yeah, I, too, don’t think it’s anything, but it’s not that hard for me to imagine how an endocrine problem could cause this, so let’s just run another blood test to be sure.”

So, it was great. And, in honor of being “more” active, I am going to tackle one of the beds that got flooded this summer.

Anyway, that’s not why I’m writing this post. I’m writing this post because I ended up talking to some of the folks from Chapter 16, who I kleinheiderdid not make out with, but totally would have, if they would have but asked (I also kicked Kleinheider’s butt and then shook my butt at him in a friendly, but taunting manner, after which, he hid outside on the porch. Bah.).

Ha, sorry, I got so distracted by how much fun I was having drawing this historically accurate artistic representation of what happened between me and Kleinheider, I almost forgot to get back to my main point.

The Chapter 16 folks.

So, we’re standing around talking about books and they’re talking about how 6,000 copies for a piece of literary fiction is not a bad sales number.

And I guess I knew that was true, but to hear someone who knows say it?

I don’t know.

And it’s not that I think 6,000 copies is some small amount. But, if you figure a dollar a book in royalties, how does $6,000 mean anything in the face of the amount of work that kind of writing takes? It’s not just that writing fiction is a skill, but it’s also then a luxury. You have to have some means by which you have a lot of free time and no dependence on that as a steady income.

And shoot, no wonder authors and publishing houses were/are so caught up in Oprah.

And I’m constantly amazed by the disparate communities, even within our own community, that know nothing of each other. I don’t quite know how to articulate that, but six thousand people could read a book that no one else has ever even heard of and that book has done okay. Not great, but okay. Even though only six thousand people have read it.

I know that, between this, Pith, and my guest stint at Feministe, I’ve had more than 6,000 people read me. Shoot, more people than that probably read me over at Pith in a day.

I don’t know. My thoughts are jumbled but I wonder about the future of publishing. It’s funny because people are always complaining about writers on the internet giving it away for free.

But really, in the vast scheme of “trying to put food on the table,” how is $6,000 for years of work not pretty much the same as “giving it away for free”?

I Might Argue We Should Be Able to Carry in Our Urban Parks

For Pith, I spent my lunch hour looking at how dangerous the rural parks in Nashville are. I honestly don’t care if people can carry guns in our parks or not. But I do care that parks that are demonstrably very, very safe are being singled out for an exception to our “no guns in parks” rule because they’re so rural.

I mean, if they’re less dangerous than urban parks right now, what exactly is it about those parks that warrant needing to be able to carry a gun in them?

It’s not the crime, of which there is, basically, none.

So, what? The people? Rural people suck so bad that, if you’re going to go to a rural park, you need to be able to shoot them, if necessary?

Fuck that.

Either there are guns in parks or there are not. Don’t single out the rural parks like they or the people around them are some particular problem when they’re not.

Blue Moon of Kentucky

One of the greatest moments in American music is the beginning of The Stanley Brother’s version “Blue Moon of Kentucky.”  The backup singers come in first, all “Blue Moon,” “Blue Moon,” and you can guess that it’s a country song because the stringed instruments are a little twangy, but there is literally nothing to prepare you for how I assume it’s Ralph’s voice come crackling across the top of the song, like a weak point in a sheet of ice, finally giving way.

And the way he sings “Bloo Mooooon of Kin TUK eh” is just… I don’t even know, just fucking genius.  If you were floating in outer space on the far end of the moon, you’d still hear that “TUK” clear up there.

Everything about the performance assumes you already know the song. No one’s really enunciating, so much as almost scat singing their way through the song, or doing it in the style of the coon hounds. But every time I hear it I feel lucky to live in such times.

Google Wave

I got my coveted Google Wave invite yesterday. Not that I had any idea what Google Wave really was, but whatever. When the future comes knocking, you don’t sit around wondering if you will need the future in the future, you know?

Anyway, it’s neat. It like instant messaging and email tied in with some blogging functions (like the ability to post pictures and maps and polls) all in an environment where everyone working in a particular wave can collaborate at any time.

I don’t yet see how it will work with friends. That’s probably a failure of imagination on my part. Obviously, I’ve been testing it out on friends. But I don’t really experience it with them as anything more than just a really robust email program.

But when I start to think about using it at work… If I could force everyone in my office to get on Google Wave tomorrow, I would.

I don’t think that’s feasible right yet. There needs, for instance, to be a way to send regular emails as well as participate in waves, so we could, for instance, all have a discussion about a project internally and then the one of us who is responsible for contacting the outside vendor could do so through traditional email. Or maybe not. Maybe you’d just have a two-person wave.

I don’t know.

I just know that I will be shocked if we are not all using this or something similar at work very shortly.

One Benefit of Getting Older

Jesus, people, this has been a weird and, in many ways, sucky week. I’m hoping that’s not an omen for my trip to the doctor, but I am a superstitious fool and it’s hard for me to not read into these things.

I tried to write about it last night, but the suck is related to things off-limits to Tiny Cat Pants, and my vague distress was all pretty cliched.

I have noticed, though, as a benefit to getting older, that when you have crappy days that make you question the whole direction of your life, it no longer feels like “Oh I suck. Oh my life sucks. Boo hoo hoo.” but “I’m fucking doing the best I can here. Why are these people ruining it?!”

It’s nice to have terrible days that are not also plagued by self-doubt.

Is It a Rule that All Cat Rescues Must End in Blood?

People, it’s barely even seven o’clock in the morning and I have already had a cat dangling from my bare boob by one claw. Not that there’s an acceptable hour of the day to find a cat’s whole body dangling from a claw in your bare chest, but at least, in the evening, after a few drinks, if you look down and find a cat embedded in your chest, you can just assume you fell in with some animal-loving inverted-suspenders. Or that you are merely a means to an end for cats who enjoy suspension.

But first thing in the morning? When you’re standing in on the garage steps in nothing but your nightie?

I now see why firemen wear their whole uniforms when they rescue cats.

Anyway, there’s not much to tell.  I was driving home last night, as I am wont to do, cruising from 5 Points over to Dickerson, across Trinity and up White’s Creek Pike, just me and the dark, interrupted occasionally by the lights from the signs of clumps of businesses, listening to Left Lane Cruiser, which is a band I should say more about, but won’t, just feeling like it was the kind of night where you hope to run into old women with cigarette creases at their bright red lips and men with oil deep in the folds of their hands.

I did not run into those folks, but I also couldn’t get my car in the garage, which apparently meant that the cat could not get down from the storage area above where the car goes. Normally, he just leaps from there, onto the roof of the car, and right down my windshield into the house. But this morning, he could not do that, because my car was still mostly in the driveway, at a strange angle with only the front right headlight actually in the garage.

So, I told him he would have to go onto the ledge over the outside door and then onto the outside door itself, where he would be close enough for me to grab and lift him down. Since this is the same cat that will go and fetch the dog when I need him to when it suits him, he understood the gist of what I was imparting.

However, since this is an animal with a brain the size of a walnut, once all paws were off the door, one paw was on my chest and almost instantly, that claw was sunk into my boob. And I, having a brain also the size of a walnut, immediately panicked and, people I am not even making this up, let go of the cat.

Yes, so for an incredibly stupid second, the whole weight of the cat was hanging from one claw embedded in my right boob.

It was sheer instinct.

Luckily, some even deeper, less stupid instinct grabbed back hold of the cat and lifted him up so that his claw could get loose from my flesh.

“Damn it,” I said, though it startled me, because I hadn’t realized I was going to say anything out loud at all, “I knew that was going to happen.”

But, of course, I did not.