Some Stuff to Read

1. This poem is so good. I love the tension between the really formal sense of it and the superheros. I don’t know. It just delights me.

1a. Man, I am honored to be included in with writers like this. Did I tell y’all my parents read “Bone”? And my dad called and was all “They published that? What? They couldn’t tell you were just ripping off ‘The Sword in the Stone’?” “No, Dad, that’s the point. To retell old stories.” “Oh, well, then, you did that pretty good.”

2. Roger Abramson raises a good point. Most voters don’t know anything about you and you want to assure them that your vast wealth isn’t a problem? Um, they didn’t yet know you were wealthy. And now they’re pissed you’re not in a Barbershop Quartet. Okay, that last part is just me.

3. Ron Ramsey doesn’t care about dead babies. That seems like a strange platform to run for Governor on, but okay. For the Republicans, we’ve got The Rich Guy, Tennessee’s Angriest Gubernatorial Candidate, and the Baby Hater. Good luck with that vote, conservative friends.

The TNGOP Gubernatorial Candidates Put Out Some Ads

Weren’t there three Republicans? I’m going to be honest. I think there are three, but I can only remember “the rich dude” and “Tennessee’s Angriest Gubernatorial Candidate.” Third guy, you need to come up with something catchy about you. If there is a third guy.

Anyway, let’s consider the ads.

First, the rich dude. In his ad, we learn three things:

1. JR Lind is right. That logo is a little too Coke.

2.  He has a huge heart.

3. And god damn it, no matter how much peppy piano music is playing in the background of his ad, that motherfucker doesn’t once break into song (and tell me he doesn’t look like he could easily be 1/4 of a barbershop quartet).

I’m just saying, I would vote for a governor who was in a barbershop quartet. Haslam might want to consider at least getting himself a red and white stripy shirt, to fool folks like me into thinking he might be in a barbershop quartet.

Oh my god, you know who else kind of has a barbershop quartet look to him? Our guy!

Oh dear Sweet Jesus, I will reconvert to Christianity if you somehow arrange for Haslam and McWherter to be in a barbershop quartet together. Perhaps with Lowe Finney and Lamar Alexander. And they could sing “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” because the author of that song is from Tennessee! I’m just saying, Lord Baby Jesus, I’m not asking for a big miracle. Just a barbershop quartet of our most barbershop quartetty looking politicians.

2. Tennessee’s Angriest Gubernatorial Candidate. People, tell me you did not laugh when he whipped up that “comprehensive plan” at the beginning of the clip! Note to director: In the future, have the candidate already have the plan up and ready to go before the camera starts rolling. Otherwise, you’re going to startle snarky bloggers. Also, I had to wonder if the plan is some kind of bomb or dangerous substance or if this was a taping of an elaborate game of Republican Hot Potato or what? Maybe you don’t have to pay people if they only appear on screen for a millisecond? I don’t know. But people were trying to get rid of that thing like it was a poopy diaper. Note to director: In the future, have recipients of the plan actually look at it, seem to be contemplating it, not trying to get rid of it as quickly as possible.

Though, you know, I might vote for a guy who was going to distract the whole state by engaging us in a state-wide game of Hot Potato. Would it be wrong to file this commercial under “Unspoken, but understood, campaign promises”?

Also, for being Tennessee’s Angriest Gubernatorial Candidate, Wamp looks surprisingly and disconcertingly good-natured here. I can only assume the ad where he beats someone half to death with the rolled up Plan comes later.

I know Governor Bredesen is anxious for the… Oh, duh, Ron Ramsey. That’s the third GOP candidate.

Ha, shoot, AND I BLOG ABOUT TENNESSEE POLITICS. I don’t know if this speaks worse to me or to Ramsey’s level of visibility.

Anyway, I know Governor Bredesen is anxious for the state legislature to stop doing crap and pass a budget, but, Governor Bredesen, we, as a state, have been through a lot. I’m just asking you to consider: Could we not have a whole-state picnic? Perhaps with a game of Hot Potato and a Barbershop Quartet?

It might do us some good.

Take My Crap and Be Happy

Since I’ve moved to Tennessee, I have pretty regularly had these conversations with people about how having the government provide basic things for people is a crock because it’s the government performing a role that should be performed by churches or other charitable organizations. This morning, I read this post, about how a woman came to an organization that’s been doing a lot of difficult work helping flood victims (a charity, we could call it) and, in spite of the organization being clear about not taking used clothing, the woman got pissed because they wouldn’t take her used clothing.  “Beggars can’t be choosers,” she said.

I also overheard a man in Bordeaux talking about how folks kept bringing in expired canned foods for the flood food drive (I think at his church, that was my impression), and not just a few months, but ancient canned foods. They basically just had to throw them out.

And I’m not trying to make an argument that the government is necessarily the better alternative to charities. I don’t think that’s the case at all. Local organizations have knowledge and flexibility that a huge bureaucracy is never going to have. And I think we all know families who have struggled who would never take food stamps, but who appreciated a box of canned goods left on their doorstep every now and again.

But I think the thing I’d say is this. We are all deeply fucked up. And, at least, with a bureaucracy, no one expects you to be grateful for whatever crap they give you. In a best case scenario, you don’t get crap, of course. In a best case scenario, every step of the way you have people who are willing to say “No, not good enough,” even in the face of people who mean well (or who are angry). But we don’t always get, or often get, the best case scenario.

Often you get people who expect to be able to hand you their crap and have you be happy about it.

The Great Funk of 2010

If you follow Tennessee politics, it’s pretty natural to get to a point in the spring where you’re just like “Fine, you fuckers win. You broke me.” Where you’re pushing “Yes, do that,” or “Oh, god, no, don’t do that stupid thing.” and you just lose the ability to keep pushing as hard as the thing deserves. This year’s general assembly has been up to some wack-a-doo stuff and at the last minute they’re playing a giant game of “fuck over the vulnerable,” but I honestly just don’t feel like there’s anything we can do.

And that next year, it will be worse.

I don’t think that this is just the annual “fine, you idiots broke me” moment. I don’t think this is just about politics.

I feel like my ability to grant people the benefit of the doubt is just gone. My ability to try to view them with a generous heart.

I’m tired of calling driveway repair places, talking to someone on the phone who promises to come out and give me an estimate and never, not once, having anyone show up. I’m tired of my inability to keep calling.

I’m tired of fuckers keep calling me up and asking stuff of me and I can’t get shit in return.

I’m tired of it seeming like there’s just one more piece of bad news after another. And I’m tired of myself taking every piece of bad news like it’s my bad news.

And I’m tired of feeling like, if I throw myself into things I love, in order to feel better, I might miss something.

I can’t turn off the feeling like I need to be vigilant.

I know it will go away after a while, but it’s difficult to just admit, we are all a little fucked up right now. And dealing with us is a pain in the ass.

Ha, I would like to just walk through my day saying to everyone “Are you fucking kidding me?” which, believe me, is my first, gut reaction to everything.

Ugh, well, this post has petered out. But really, folks, if there are pictures of flowers or stories about my pets more than usual, it’s because every post I would otherwise write is some variation of “Fuck this fucking shit,” and “Are you fucking kidding me?”

I’d feel worse about it except that I know everyone is in the same space.

Still, I would just like to say “fuck this fucking driveway” and “are you fucking kidding me that yet another fucker didn’t actually show up to give us an estimate?”

And then I would like to punch some ticks. Really, the inordinate glee I am lately taking from flushing those fuckers down the toilet and imagining a vast watery crypt in my front yard full of dead and dying ticks makes my day.

That concerns me a little bit.