Democratic Women of Tennessee, It’s Time to Have a Little Talk

Let me say up front that, from what I know of him, I like Rep. Butch Borchert. He’s fighting for jobs in his district and that, really, is where every legislator’s priority should be. If he thinks he knows better than me what I should do with my body, I don’t like it, but I’ll live with it. I don’t think being anti-abortion disqualifies you from being a Democrat or even a Democratic politician.

But when the Democratic party itself starts talking positively about anti-abortion candidates specifically because of their anti-abortion records, as if that’s a selling point?

Then it’s time for us Democratic women to open our eyes and see the world how it is. If this is what the Tennessee Democratic Party sees as praiseworthy, as an argument for voting for someone, then there is no reason for Democratic women to continue to be loyal to the Democratic party. There is no difference. I mean, I suspect that’s the point in the other direction–to try to signal to conservative voters that there is no difference, so they could vote Democratic if they like. But it’s the point we need to hear as well–there is no difference. On a state level, you could vote Republican if you like and feel no tinge of regret.

I, myself, will not be doing that. I will, however, be continuing my refusal to give money to the Democratic party. I will ask you, Democratic women, to consider how much of your free time you give to the Party for work the Party pays men to do. Just consider it. Look around you when you’re at functions. See if you’re giving away something other folks get paid for.

And third, I will no longer give my “free” votes away to Democrats, until the state party gets its act together. In the past, if I knew a little something about the race, I voted for the candidate I thought would be best, regardless of party. This means that, in those races, I was probably voting Democrat 80% of the time. In races where I didn’t know anything or when there were no other candidates (with the exception of Sheriff Hall, who I don’t vote for), I have voted straight Democrat.

I will no longer be doing that. I will either not vote in those races or write in someone I do think would do an acceptable job.

Just one person doing this doesn’t accomplish much, I know.

But I don’t know any other way to show my disdain for the party in equal amounts to how they’ve shown their flip disdain for Democratic women today.

The Animals Have Complaints

I have been laughing at Chris’s exploits with the cat and I was reminded of it this morning when I woke up to the dog barking in the kitchen and the new kitty standing on the edge of my bed, mewing at me with some alarm.

Was the house on fire? Was Timmy in the well?

No, apparently the problem was that my Dad had lifted the tiny cat up onto the counter (as you may recall, she claims she can’t get up there herself) and then (warning for gross cat injustice) only fed her dry food because he didn’t know where the wet food was.

Oh, I know. It’s hard to even read about it.

The tiny cat had to wait until her normal breakfast time to get breakfast from someone who knew where the wet food is, even though everyone could see that there was a perfectly capable human in the kitchen who was just too stupid to understand when the dog was trying to tell him how things go in the morning.

I have no sympathy for the tiny cat, though, because she and I are having a huge fight. She wants to move into my clothes basket. I would prefer she wait until I get my clean cloths out of it. She would prefer to not sleep in dirty clothes. So she knocked all the books off of my grandma’s stool and settled in there. I covered the stool with a towel so she would not get it all hairy and gross. She retaliated by knocking more stuff on the ground. I don’t really have plans to escalate, but I will make some up, if I need to.

Check out my park review!

It includes directions to go see the Tennessee coneflowers. I know many of you are not local and may actually be afraid of traveling to Tennessee, because our reputation precedes us. But it’s totally worth it to come visit to see these. And it’s too yucky this summer for us to actively be suspicious of outsiders. Sure, we might eye you funny, but it’s too hot to even think about chasing you through the woods with our old-timey shotguns.

Tired, Tired, Tired

I swear, my family is like a hurricane. The Butcher, I just want to tuck him into bed and leave him there for like three days. It’s funny, when he was gone, folks were like “Oh, but I bet it’s nice that he’s gone!” but it’s really not. It doesn’t suck or anything, but I like his company and it’s nice to know that it’s not all on me to feed things or make sure their poop is cleaned up.

I had a point, but I can’t remember what it is.

I just if they are happy, sometimes. I remember, when I had more of their mindset, that I thought happiness was a useless goal, that you did what you did and happiness came or not along the way and, when it came, you enjoyed it, and when it went away, you did your thing until it came back.

Now, I think you can cultivate happiness by choosing to do things that make you happy and taking the time to recognize when you are happy and enjoying it.

And I think this is so much better for me.

And so I’m glad I’m working at it.

Vampires All Evening

First, I watched True Blood. Am I wrong or was the scene where Eric was all overcome with bloodlust while he was eating the werewolf surprisingly hot? And then I just loved how he walked around with blood smeared all over him. Quite a contrast to Bill.

I know other folks are kind of put out with the whole Mississippi storyline, but I’m kind of liking Bill with an evil streak. He would make a great and charming bad guy.

And then I read The Graveyard Book, which one of you recommended a million years ago and it was great!

So, that was nice.

Why I Now Support Bredesen’s “Prove Your Citizenship” Bill

I’ve changed my mind. I’m sorry this is going to suck, really hard, for some people, but I cannot wait to see this implemented. And I’ll tell you why. This is going to be hilarious.

Here’s the thing. This is being sold as something like 287(g) for the whole state. Except communities that have 287(g) have a relationship with the Feds, who can actually do something about immigration. So, if Davidson County says “We have these five guys whose citizenship we cannot verify,” there’s someone on the other end to say “Okay, hold them for us” or “Don’t keep them on our account.”

Nothing in HB0607 outlines any reciprocity with any federal agency. In fact–and people, I am not even kidding you–all it does is establish that, if a local law enforcement agency cannot determine someone’s immigration status, they have to send a fax to Homeland Security saying as much.

Yes, send a fax. To Homeland Security.

The bill doesn’t even say to which department the fax should be sent (as far as I can tell, your best bet would be ICE’s Law Enforcement Support Center in Vermont, though they’re set up to deal mostly with violent criminals and they are but one office. I’m sure they’ll love being flooded with faxes concerning traffic stops). And then, it doesn’t say what should happen next. Do the jailers hold the person until someone at Homeland Security faxes them back? How long will that take? How much is that going to cost taxpayers? At least under 287(g), a participating department gets reimbursed by the Feds for the cost of holding someone. But this law makes no such arrangement with the Feds.

I honestly cannot believe that this law requires a fax be sent to some unspecified place, doesn’t outline what should happen to the person about whom the fax is sent, and this is going to be sold by politicians as a great victory against illegal immigration.

You have to laugh. They care so much about illegal immigration that they have to pass and sign these laws, but not enough to actually specify where the fax in question should be sent?

No one on the Hill can even put in the 10 minutes on their computer it would take to try to track down to whom to send the fax?

And here’s the thing. The Governor isn’t stupid. So, he signs this bill because he knows it’s a vague cluserfuck. I mean, really. Send a fax to Homeland Security. That’s like saying the directions for getting to Tuscon are “Drive west.”

And after that?

Once folks have sent their faxes?

Do they detain those folks until they hear back from Homeland Security? And, if so, who pays for that? And, if not, then what was the point of the fax? If they do have to hold them, who pays for transporting them to a Federal immigration judge? There’s nothing in the law about who foots that bill.

But it’s you and me, folks. They can claim all they want that they didn’t raise our taxes, but forcing our localities to raise our taxes to pay for crap the state legislature put through is, in fact, raising our taxes. It’s just being cowardly about it.


More lemony and less musky than other magnolias I’ve smelled, but I’ll take it!

I can’t wait for the day when the tree is covered in stinky blooms.

The Ghost Stories Consume My Life

In another pocket of things going on, I have been meeting with folks and trying to figure out the logistics of self-publishing the ghost stories v. hunting around further for an appropriate publisher. It’s kind of exciting and daunting.

But the consensus seems clear that, in this day and age, a person can self-publish a book and live to tell the tale. And that, maybe, considering the publishing climate, it’s a legitimate choice. I’ve asked folks about the cost of getting it professionally designed. I’ve asked folks about what kind of press kit I need. I’m debating whether to buy my own ISBN, etc. etc.

And I’ve got to get these stories edited.  I’m feeling pretty good about them, though, I must say. With the exception of a couple which need to be majorly reworked, they seem to be in pretty good shape.

Ha, sadly, though, when I told someone who was familiar with my mad type-setting skills that I might typeset the book myself, she said, “Um, maybe you should let me help you with that.”

Random Monday

–After two tire blow-outs, break issues, Bell’s Palsy, and other assorted misadventures, my family is back.

–I haven’t watched True Blood yet! Thank goodness for On Demand.

–Seeing the Tennessee Coneflowers yesterday really still blows my mind. It’s hard to believe there’s a place so unique so close to me. I also realized that I should not have sprinkled my fireplace ashes on that end of the bed. This winter, I’ll put ashes on the peonies, but clearly, the coneflowers might appreciate some pine needles.

–I’m considering putting a few more Tennessee Coneflowers in my garden, I am so tickled by my adventure yesterday.

–The dog and the oldest nephew were actually chasing each other around in the yard yesterday. I honestly don’t know where she gets the energy in this weather. Or maybe I’m misinterpreting when she finks out on walks. As a human, if I have to stop and rest on a walk, you know it’s because I can go no further without resting right then. But maybe she just stops when she gets uncomfortable and rests until she’s comfortable again. I don’t know. I do know that she’s loving going outside and baking in this weather.

–The orange cat is so happy to have his boy home.

–The throw I’m working on is boring the crap out of me. I don’t know why I try to crochet in the summer anyway, but, whew, this is almost unbearable. I’m going to have to switch it up some just to keep me interested.

Why I’m Tired of the Racist Argument from Democratic Politicians

Let’s say that it’s true. Just for this post, let’s say that the vast majority of Tennesseans are such huge racist fucks that anyone down ticket from a black man is going to suffer for it. Let’s say that I buy that.

You still want to run for office, right?


There must be some reasons why you think a bunch of racist fucks still need your leadership and things you think you can do better than the other guy.

What are they?

Unbright Moves

I am completely ready for my family to be back on this side of the Mississippi. Hell, even if they were in Arkansas and something went wrong, I know I could count on some Memphis blogger to run over and rescue them (that’s “run over to them” and “rescue them,” not “run over them and rescue them,” though I suspect a couple of them could be compelled to do the latter).

Anyway, in the old days, I’d just sit around and be like “Oh, I’m having cupcakes for dinner and feel sorry for myself.” But I tried that once this week and felt so crappy afterward that I had to recuse myself from cupcake for dinner duty.

So, I have been spoiling the animals instead. Big ole bones for Mrs. Wigglebottom and, yesterday, chicken livers for the cats.

Lord almighty that was stupid.

First, our cats don’t get chicken livers. It’s something I remember from when I was a kid. So, the livers plopped down in front of all three of them and they all just looked at the liver like, “Um, what the fuck is this?” Well, I didn’t want to have to feed three chicken livers to the dog, so I felt like I had to cajole the cats into at least trying them. But nothing. There was nothing I could do.

Finally, I was all “Well, maybe they’re just not used to trying to eat something that big,” so I started to cut into one. I don’t know if it was that a big waft of blood was released or what, but all of a sudden, they got it.

Nom, nom, nom.

They all ate the chicken livers.


And now?

Every time I go to the motherfucking kitchen, for any reason, or even just to walk through it to the back room, I am accosted by three cats who have come to see if maybe, just maybe, they might have more of that liver.

Dad and Flowers

Oh, y’all, when I talked to my parents just now they were still so shook I couldn’t bear to even tease them a little bit about Dad being stricken by Bell’s Palsy by God for running over my flowers. Mom was all “It could have been so much worse. We’re so lucky… blessed, I mean, blessed.”

Dad was all complaining because he can’t hear out of his ear and he can’t drive because his eye isn’t quite right. But, if my dad’s complaining, you know he’s feeling better. It’s when he’s sweet that you have to worry something’s really wrong.

Thank the gods the Butcher went with them.

Anyway, in their honor, here are some of the new flowers in my garden. If you could identify these first ones, I’d appreciate it. I thought they were a weed, but they look like a real thing now.

Two Months

I have been thinking about, if I wanted to do the ghost stories as a book, how to organize them. I love that they are a month’s worth of stories and that they lend themselves so well to be read one at a time, one per night (on a side note, didn’t we decide that the time kind of sucked last time, that it was too late at night that they were published? Help me remember. I’m leaning more towards cuing them to go up at 6 p.m. but I’m hoping someone can remind me.).

So, I want to keep that structure, I think. But there’s no good reason to have two Octobers. So, I’m thinking of organizing the stories into two groups–April and October. April is the lead-up to Walpurgis Night, which is an excellently appropriate night to build towards by reading ghost stories. And October is, of course, October. Plus, I think that suggests some of the cyclical and mythic rhythms I’m trying to get at in the stories.

Just typing it out and rereading it kind of satisfies me, so I think that’s what I’m going to do.

Family Crap

The family is stuck in Albuquerque where my dad is in the hospital and the trailer is in the repair shop. The trailer needs new breaks. My dad, apparently, has Bell’s Palsy.

Well, fuck me, Martha. I knew he was speaking strangely when he was here. I thought he had a sore tooth or something. I even asked him about it and he kind of blew me off.

I feel a little helpless, even though the Butcher assures me everything is going to be fine.

Can We Have a Moritorium on the MLK Invoking?

Yes, I’m so sure that every day, Lou Ann Zelenik wakes up and thinks “Gosh, I wonder what a radical anti-segregation, anti-war, anti-poverty activist who regularly broke the law and social mores would say about anything?”

I mean, please, it’s laughable to think that, if Zelenik knows anything about King’s work beyond ‘he was a pastor who gave speeches’ that, even if she thinks the segregation of African Americans was a bad thing, that she would ever let his words come out of her mouth.

I don’t know. It’s sad, but it’s kind of hilarious that Dr. King has become the “safe” black man for Republicans to invoke. I mean, does Zelenik really expect us to believe that MLK would, of course, be on her side?

She’s oppressing a group of non-white people. And she thinks any words Dr. King spoke are fitting for the situation?

It’s hilarious. It’s scary, yes, don’t get me wrong. But it’s hilarious.

I wonder if King ever imagined conservative whites would embrace him like they were his legacy? I mean, how could it have, even in his wildest imaginings, been a possibility that the way they’d ruin him is not with his own failings or the murder, but with full-on co-opting him?

If someone had told you that 50 years ago, would you have ever believed it? I see it happening and I can barely believe it.

The Situation in Milan

Trace has a story about Milan, Tennessee, which is facing the loss of their main industry AND having being made a nuclear dump (even in the face of  just the regular industry there leaking crap into their water) bandied about as a possible thing that might happen to them.

It’s depressing. Sometimes, I’m fairly certain large portions of our population are kept poor and uneducated so that they just have to take whatever happens to them.

Anti-obesity v. Anti-poverty

NM sent me this great post by Tom Colicchio from “Top Chef.” It’s pretty self-explanatory and I love the idea of making healthy and nutritious breakfasts and lunches available to all school children, period. And I love that he makes explicit that these “anti-obesity” efforts are more rightly framed as anti-poverty efforts.

But here’s the question I have–do you think it’s easier to get people on-board with anti-obesity campaigns because it means someone is being punished than it is to get them on-board with anti-poverty campaigns because it means someone, who might be undeserving, gets help?

The Dog and the Pool

I don’t know if y’all remember, but last year, I bought a kiddie pool for the dog and she did not get it. She circled around it and then, eventually, stood in it all dejected because, maybe, she was going to have to have a bath.

So, we put it up and thought no more about it.

Well, when the Shill and her family were here, I pulled it out, washed it out, and filled it up. And I will be damned if that dog didn’t finally get what the fuss was about. She splashed and splashed and splashed in it. She growled and barked at that water. She stuck her whole face in it and made a “burgurgleleypth” noise.

And last night, when we went outside for our evening constitutional, I got caught up in trying to figure out what color the coneflowers that are getting ready to bloom might be, and I lost track of the dog.

Where did I find her?

Standing in the kiddie pool. Just standing there. With this enormous grin on her face like there was no place in the world that could make her happier.