A Bit of Happy, Weird News

I’ve been getting the map ready for the second collection of ghost stories, so I had to click over to the map of the first one to refresh my memory on what I’d done.  And, people, according to Google, that map has had 37,414 views.

Dang!

It’s a private map, so you have to have the URL of the map to get to it.

I wonder how they count a view. Were you counted as a viewer of the map when you saw it on a post? Or did you actually have to click through to the map? I don’t know. But it still delights me. That’s a lot of views. If everyone gave me a dollar for every time they looked at that map, I’d be a thousandaire.

The Funniest Thing You Will Read in Tennessee Gubernatorial Politics Today

So, the state’s Angriest Gubernatorial Candidate went to talk to the executives at Eastman Chemical Co. In most places, executives at big corporations and the GOP go hand in hand. But after meeting with Wamp, Eastman CEO Jim Rogers says, “I’m guessing he’s never had a cup of decaf in his life.”

Don’t get me wrong. I really, really don’t want Zach Wamp to win. For starters, if he makes the whole state sleep with a gun next to its head, a lot of people in Kentucky are going to get squashed under the world’s largest firearm. And I like the people of Kentucky. Even the ones who send me mean emails.

But it’s no secret that he enjoyed using cocaine as a youngster. As have many folks. And that he says he has moved on from his cocaine use. Fine. Again, many folks can do that.

But I think we have to kind of hear that echoing in what Rogers is saying here, you know? That Rogers is trying to subtly signal that something’s weird here.

We could rephrase what Rogers is saying as “Wow, this dude seems to have some kind of life-long hyperactivity,” right? And once we’ve reached for the life history…

I think Wamp’s in a tough place. He’s been open about his past drug use. He says he’s no longer using. And he may just be a really intense guy. But it just doesn’t take much, especially among Southerners, to put quicksand under someone’s feet. This is the region that made “bless your heart” a phrase that could convey more information about a person’s shortcomings than a 5,000 word essay in most regions.

But that doesn’t mean that’s the only phrase that can say everything while leaving so little to object to. I think Rogers has shown us another shining example of how it’s done.

Bad Childhoods

The thing I find most frustrating is that bad childhoods are a dime a dozen. Everyone’s got stories and most of them are much worse than mine. But then, at least from the outside, most people seem to get to leave that shit in the past. Like, yes, things really sucked back then, but then I got out and I pondered my life and I realized how the shittiness affected me and I came to accept it and I moved on.

But very few people talk about what it’s like when you grow up and become an adult and your family is still comprised of ridiculous assholes. Only it’s worse because now you have to pay attention to them or they’re doing dumbass crap that can put them in the poorhouse or wind them up dead.

I really don’t know how to manage loving and adoring and worrying over these fucking fuckers.

It’s one of the things I appreciate about Jo writing about her family. Lots of people have managed big, dramatic “fuck you, I’m never talking to you again” moments.  But it’s nice to read someone else struggling with “god damn, will you break my heart every time or just every other time?”

I don’t know. It’s stupid, I know, to be this upset over what is, basically, four feet of garden. But every week, I upload pictures of my garden to Facebook for them to see. When they come visit, I like to talk about and show them what I’m growing where. I don’t know how many more ways I could have said, “This is important to me and brings me joy.”

And I’d like to think, as my dad’s daughter, that when I continually say, “this is important to me and brings me joy,” that a little, just a little, effort would be made on his part to not take a van and a camper right through the middle of it. Or, if that is for some reason impossible, for him to call me and say, “I’m sorry, but the only way to get the camper out of the yard was to take it through the flower bed. I didn’t want you to just come home and find it that way.”

But why would he do that when he can be clear to Arkansas long before I notice?

This, folks, is why I have forbidden them to read the blog. Not that anyone but my mom would. I don’t come from a family of big readers. And I know that, if my mom wants to do something, my dad will keep her from doing it if there’s any pretense. So, my saying “Don’t read the blog,” since he doesn’t want to, means he keeps her from it.

But I have forbidden them from reading it for exactly this reason. Because they have no respect for the things I love, that bring me joy, and they will ruin it because they cannot see it as important.

Anyway, yes, over twelve hours later and I’m still livid and hurt.

The rest of my week is filled with visitors, all of whom have said how much they’re looking forward to seeing my garden. Instead, they will get to see the giant gap where my dad drove his van through it.

That is so tight a metaphor for my whole fucking life that you shouldn’t even be able to call it a metaphor. There’s nothing ‘meta’ about it. It’s just the phor of my life.

They Ran Over My Flowers

I am not even kidding. There’s a huge tire track right down the middle of my motherfucking foxglove. The daisies and the mysterious yellow flowers look like they got tackled by the fucking Titans. Some are dead.

I get it. You know.

I get it.

My shit isn’t shit. The things I love, my effort, it’s just some motherfucking shit that’s in the way.

I wish they loved me enough to pretend to respect me, you know?

God damn it.

Republicans Have Lost My Grandma

My grandma, bless her heart, has voted Republican her whole life.  Until now. She has become very concerned that she cannot prove that she’s a citizen of the United States, because she can’t find her birth certificate. My mom tried to assure her that there’s no problem with just ordering a copy from Cook County, but my grandma is also convinced that a copy of her birth certificate will not be good enough proof, considering all of the trouble that she feels Republicans have given Obama about his.

Shoot. I’m wondering where she thinks they’d deport her to. Who knows? Both her parents were born in Chicago. ICE will probably just stick her on the Metra at 179th and send her on into the city. That won’t be so bad.

Still, I love it a little bit that she’s all “What if they try to pull that bullshit on me?!”

Scoring

If I had to say, on a scale of 1 to 10 how angrily irritated I am with my family, I would put me at a 5 for reasons I won’t go into for fear of getting to a 6 or 7. But I have just heard something that has put my irritation in perspective.

My sister-in-law is pregnant.

I swear, no matter how trying these next couple of weeks are, thinking about that makes me smile. I know that makes me a bad person. But, between the flood and the bookcases and the vacation planning in secret behind my back for reasons so stupid I haven’t even bothered to try to figure them out, my ability to give a fuck is broken.

Will my brother bother to try to make sure he’s not put on the birth certificate by virtue of him being her husband?

I am guessing not.

So, hey, I might be an aunt again!

It’s kind of exciting. In the old days, you had to wait until the baby was born to see what gender it was and to finalize a name. In my family, you wait to see who gets put on the birth certificate to see if you’re going to be an aunt again.

Shoot, I hope her boyfriend is smart enough to make sure his name goes on that birth certificate. Lord knows, that baby should not be left under the legal auspices of our family.

Edited to add: Well, I pulled my dad aside and told him that he needs to make sure that my brother understands that a woman’s husband is the presumptive father of her children unless he and the father of said woman’s child and said woman are all on the same page about who goes on the birth certificate and make sure that’s what happens. In response, my dad is considering buying my brother a divorce. This is somewhat outrageous, but also hilarious.

And, at least, a divorce settlement would mean a legal custody arrangement for my nephew and legal recourse if those arrangements aren’t abided by. So, that will be nice.

Good Lord, It’s Hot

I honestly do not know how folks lived in the South before air conditioning. I mean, I get what the women did. We probably regularly soaked our bloomers in cold water and put them on under long dresses that focused airflow into our core. But how did people who wore pants do down here?!

I honestly don’t get it. In my childhood, in the North, we’d leave our cars running in the winter, if we went into a store. When I first moved down here, you’d see people leaving their cars running in the summer if they ran into a store. This morning, the DJ on the radio said “Our official temperature is 84, but the bank on my way in already said 90.” And that was at 9:00 in the morning.

Good lord, no wonder cacti and yucca grow wild here.

Anyway, I got some new underwear, speaking of bloomers, and they must have the thickest top band known to underwear. I am going to bet you a million dollars that they don’t have a fat woman designing underwear for fat women, because your choices are always underwear that goes up to your armpits (which, I guess, you can tuck up under your boobs, to help with crappy bra chafing) or underwear that seems like it was designed for… I don’t know whom. I’m trying to imagine what the woman who this underwear was designed for would look like. Apparently she has a very large butt, but then a very tiny circumference area between her cooter and her belly? Like right where your actual hipbones are? And that’s where they have the thick stretchy band?

I guess in case a big wing catches all that extra fabric in my butt area and I lift off like a kite, they don’t want these puppies falling off me, leading me to crash to the ground, and suing them.

I wonder at what point my underwear is going to come with a safety belt.

I wonder if women whose underwear does have safety restraints have more exciting lives than mine…

Nephewligan

Well, I spent the evening with my nephew while the Butcher was at Bonnaroo. We had Oreos for dinner, because we ate lunch so late, and he played video games and we watched TV. I know other folks have organized activities for their family members when they get together. Hell, when my parents come, we always have to play cards.

The truth is, I really hate that crap.

I had a nice visit with my brother.  It’s funny to hear my complaints and my realizations about our family coming from someone else. He’s on this big “You need to tell the Butcher to do this. You need to get on the Butcher to do that.” kick, but I explained to him that I don’t want to be the Butcher’s parent or the boss of him. It would suck so much for me to have to do that. And my other brother was all “It might suck, but you might get him to straighten out his life,” and I was like “it’s not my job to transform the Butcher’s life into what I think it should be.”

And then later he was all “Well, I told him he could move down to Georgia with me, but he’d have to get a job.”

And at first, I was pissed. For all kinds of reasons, believe me, ever single phrase in that sentence is hilarious. But mostly it was kind of like “Well, you had your chance to straighten the Butcher out. Now it’s my turn.”

And I thought, “Is that why the rest of our family thinks the Butcher’s here? Because he’s my project, which I am failing?”

But then, I took a deep breath and I realized, he never told him that.

It’s like this. The Butcher called to tell us his Bonarroo situation had clarified. I was in the store, so I didn’t answer. My brother was in the car with the dog, so he did. My brother told me he told the Butcher that he couldn’t leave until we got home, because he didn’t want my nephew being left by himself.

When we got home, the Butcher was gone.

If that had been me, I would have been fucking livid–if I had told someone to not leave my kid unattended and he left anyway.

So, I was momentarily confused that my brother was not pissed off.

And then I realized, he told the Butcher to go ahead. But he told me he hadn’t. Why? Who knows? Who fucking cares?

But that’s how things go with him. It never upsets The Butcher–“He’s been that way our whole lives. Why does it bother you?”–so I’m trying to learn to just roll with it and not let it bother me.

True Blood, First Episode, Season Three

I expect stupidity, a shocking lack of black people, considering that it’s Louisiana, and Eric being all bad-ass. I predict I will not be disappointed!

7:58 Here we go!

Do you remember when Kathy Tyson said “Fresh Blood” should be on True Blood? And here it is! Kathy is psychic!

–Ha, I am excited for this season again.

–There is just no way that the recap of last season can really cover everything.

–Oh, I forgot what a dumbass Jason is.

–“Deputy Jones.” Ha, I like Kenya.

–I have missed Terry, too.

–Arlene looks good this season.

–Who hasn’t been in love with a serial killer? Bwah ha ha ha ha.

–Bill, no one believes your nonsense.

–A lot less conscience and a lot more cajones. I forgot how funny this show can be.

–I’m in no mood for lesbian weirdness tonight. Hee

–Naked Erik! Woo hoo!

–Holy cow. Vicious Bill!

–Is it just me or has it been a long time since we’ve seen Bill tough and angry?

–Why would Sookie tell Tara that at this time?! Good lord, sometimes the people on this show are stupid.

–How did Bill find Sam? Oh, right. Well, I’m glad I’m on the same page as Sam.

–This has gotten weirdly hot.

–Ha oh, damn, I was hoping this story had just taken an awesome turn. But alas, just a dream.

–Well, Jason is right. Sometimes telling the truth can fuck someone up.

–Oh, lord, I’d forgotten Tara’s mom.

–I’m glad Sam sees right through Tommy.

–Oh no! Reverend Daniels. No, no, no. Between Tara’s mom and her version of God, Tara is pretty screwed.

–I’m glad to see the queen acting a little bad-assed

–Well, except that the Queen is acting all like Hamlet’s mom, protesting too much.

–Troubles with the IRS.

–Pam is hilarious!

–Poor Lafayette. He’s just in such a bad place.

–I don’t know. I’m kind of digging skulking, hungry Bill.

–Ha, ha, I love that Tara’s mom is hitting on the Reverend. That was a nice thing the actor did with her arms, too, a little graceful, erotic move.  I hate that character, but I think the actor is just brilliant.

–Sam, stealing mail is a federal offense.

–Poor Jason. All those girls laughing at his poor pecker.

–Operation Werewolf?!

–Werewolf Odinists?

–Damn it! That was it?!

This show is pretty terrible, still, but god damn it, I love it.

And now we have a post-mortem? Well, I wonder if this will go on throughout the season? But I like seeing all this wolf information.

Okay, so, that was that. I liked it. I wonder if my expectations have lowered so far and the shows quality has so improved that we’ve finally met in the middle?

Sorry, Mrs. Wiggleboottom

People, here’s the thing about old bull dogs: they are notorious for having shitty skin. It is important to keep your old pit bull clean and flea free. Keeping any animal out here flea free is fairly difficult, but we keep her Frontlined and the places she sleeps washed and vacuumed.  I had been using the Hartz oatmeal shampoo on her, but, after I washed her last week, we were out. And, if you’ve seen pictures of her, you know her skin has been really acting up this spring.

So, it’s been a week since her last bath.

I go to get Frontline at that place in Belleview, Bellevue, suddenly I can’t remember how to spell that. Anyway, they’re very friendly and I’m telling the woman who’s helping me about how Mrs. W.’s skin is bothering her and I’m looking for some soothing shampoo.

She hands me some. It’s pretty damn pricy, but you only have to use about a quarter size dollop, so it lasts a good long time.

I ask her about using it so soon after just washing her and with her skin already being so dry. But she says, go ahead.

So, I put Mrs. W in the tub. I turn on the water. I wet her down.  She has some big chunks of debris coming off her, but the water is clear.

I use the fancy new shampoo on her. It doesn’t foam up a whole lot. I let it sit on her for five minutes, as directed. Blah blah blah. It’s boring.

But people, when I rinsed her off, the water that came off her was muddy dark brown. It was like a year’s worth of dirt was just pouring off her.

Never, in my life, have I seen that much dirt come off a dog. Never mind a dog that had a bath last week.

Clearly, the Hartz shampoo was crap.

Owen Bradley Park

Slip and Slide

Boy Vs. Food

My nephew ate an enormous rib-eye for dinner tonight. His father and I did a lot of standing around looking at my driveway and he’s under the impression that the quickest, easiest way to fill the hole is to just use concrete. I may be coming around to that opinion myself, but I don’t know.

The new kitty has been cracking me up. Her body is ridiculously long compared to the length of her legs, which makes her look even more like a Chinese lion when she’s trotting around the yard. She clearly wanted to hang out with us, but whoa boy she did not want my brother touching her.

We spent the afternoon watching the Butcher, his friend John, and my nephew going down a giant Slip & Slide. I even went down it once myself and I screamed the whole way. But it was fun.

My nephew is about to turn 13 and it’s cool to see him really becoming a teenager. His voice is breaking and his body looks very young teenager, but his face is still a boy. But he thinks every girl is hot, even though he spoke so quietly to the waitress at dinner tonight I was surprised she could hear what he said.

Ooo, the Library

They’re remodeling the library here at work and I had to go over there today to get a book. I really, really like when places make an effort to keep their old buildings, but to continue to make them useful and lively places for people to be.

Anyway, the coolest part is that they have you enter through what used to be where the catalogers worked, a part of the library unseen by non-librarians usually. And it has black and green checkerboard floors.

Saying “Yes”

They’re discussing “authenticity” over at Pandagon, in a way that should interest you people who love country music. (Weirdly enough, it was another Marcotte discussion about authenticity years ago that led me to conclude that women can’t be authentic, especially in country music, because femininity itself is always a performance, always already fake. We are disqualified from the authenticity race before the starting gun.

Anyway, one of the commenters over there linked to this, which I love, in deeply complicated ways. I do think there’s a lot of bullshit behind this whole notion of selling out. And I really like it from that angle.

But, the more it moved from speaking abut the specifics of artistry to a kind of general life philosophy, the more I disliked it. For many people, being able to say “no” is a great and freeing force, and one worth practicing.

What Do Tennessee Republicans and Quentin Tarantino Have In Common?

I don’t actually know the answer to that question, but I’m starting to suspect it’s “a foot fetish.” First there was Ramsey’s boot, which he was going to put in the ass of Washington, and now Mike Turner’s Republican opponent has made a campaign video seemingly designed to appeal to the small number of coprophiliac crush-video fanatics in District 51. (Dear lord, let’s hope it’s a small number.)

But, hey, if you like to watch plain-spoken farmers stomp bison poop, do I have the video for you! Not even kidding!

In all seriousness, this seems like a strange strategy. Does Charles Williamson really want to make the campaign about who has the better job?

Mike Turner heroically rescues people from flood water at his job. Charles Williamson farms bison and makes campaign videos that appeal to niche porn audiences.

I’m not sure that’s a winning strategy. I’m honestly torn, though. In principle, I love the idea of a political commercial that features, at its apex, bison-poop stomping. But seeing it in real life, it kind of makes me feel like someone from the TNGOP needs to get out there and tell Williamson that he doesn’t want voters to remember him as the guy who splatters poop all over.