Isn’t Defense Money Federal Money? Aren’t We Putting a Boot in the Ass of the Feds?

I swear, trying to understand Republican politics in this state can give a girl a headache. (Not that following Democratic politics is much better. I mean, folks, apparently these days the TNDP chair gives a list of the Democrats the Party thinks are vulnerable to the media so that Republicans can have it. Why we would do this, I’m not sure. If it’s brier-patch politics, that’s one thing [that being “oh yes, Ty Cobb is SOOOOO vulnerable. Please run someone against him so we can stomp their butt, er, lose horribly.”] but otherwise? I just don’t know. Don’t get me started. I love Jeff Woods, and as a contributor to Pith and a great admirer of him, I encourage him to ask any and all questions. As a Democrat, I am begging, on my knees, for Democrats, when asked a question by Woods, to take ten seconds and just contemplate “Is what I’m about to say incredibly dumb?” And if you have to answer “Yes” or “I’m not sure,” then just say out loud to Woods, “You know normally, this is when I’d say something dumb. But, instead, I’m going to go get some ice cream. Would you like some?”]

Where was I? Yes, Zach Wamp, Tennessee’s angriest gubernatorial candidate.

So, Tennessee’s angriest gubernatorial candidate has unveiled his strategy for job creation and it is… take money from the Feds?

I mean, that’s clearly “Take money from the Feds” right?

I’m not opposed to taking money from the Feds, of course, being a liberal.

But Zach Wamp isn’t a liberal. So, I find this somewhat baffling. We’re against the Federal government except when we’re not? Is it too much to ask for a playbook? Or maybe a flowchart that Republicans could hand out to liberal bloggers who are trying to understand what the hell they’re talking about, that we could follow to understand when the Feds will be welcome in Tennessee and when we need to meet them armed at the border?

In Which NM Has Inadvertently Given Me Mad Hydrangea Skills!

My front hydrangeas look weird. I don’t know anything about hydrangeas, just that there were some here when we bought the place. The first fall, my mom claims she cut them back (I don’t remember this but, if she says she did, she probably did). So, we had like, I don’t know, five blooms last year. Very disappointing.

And so we didn’t do anything to the last year. I didn’t know when to trim them, so we didn’t trim them. But I thought you had to trim them to force them to bloom. So, I was worried we’d have yet another year of no blooms (really, I should write a column called “the idiot gardener” with the theme being “If I can fuck up this bad and still have plants, so can you!”).

But now, we’re at this weird point where we’re clearly going to have some blooms. I see buds on the hydrangeas. But I also have these sticks sticking up through the green leaves from last year. And I’m still a little like “Oh god, what do I do about/with my hydrangeas?”

So, now we switch over to NM’s advice about the nandina. I have learned, since mentioning that I have a nandina, that gardeners have firm feelings about them–either love or hate. There is no middle ground. But, in spite of people’s feelings, everyone seems to admire their ability to rebound from whatever dumbass thing you do to them.

So, the first year, Mom and I cut the fuck out of the nandina and it promptly got even by dropping all its leaves, sulking, pretending like it might die, and then growing three gangly long branches that stretched all over the front of the house like an angry muppet. This spring, I took NM’s advice and I went in and cut out about a 1/3 of the canes at the ground (in the future, I plan to only do 1/4,  but the nandina was in need of some drastic revitalization). I cut the oldest, thickest looking canes, except for a couple, which I plan to get next year. Then I gave the whole thing a nice shape that I thought it could grow into.

And what do you know?

My nandina looks great. I had no great leaf dropping and it’s filled out nicely.

(On a side note, I really love my nandina, and I have to think that anyone who likes to take a lot of pictures of plants that look really interesting in a lot of circumstances would enjoy having one as well).

So, back to the hydrangeas. It turns out that you don’t have to trim them to make them bloom. In fact, in general, you can just leave them alone to do their thing. Now that I know that those dead sticks really are dead, I can go in and cut them out for aesthetics and eye-poking reasons.

But! If my hydrangeas are old (which I think we can assume mine are) or if they’re in a place where they need to be kept kind of small (which mine kind of are), I can go in this summer and prune about a 1/3 of the stems to the ground! I can use my mad nandina skills on my hydrangea!

I’m feeling pretty darn excited about this.

Because I am a nerd.