Healthcare Workers, I Have a Proposal

Could there be a code, when you call to give me the results of my blood tests where you, when you leave a message, say “No need to worry, but we need you to call us back to discuss your blood tests” if there is no need to worry and just say “Call us back” if there is need to worry instead of saying something so neutral I don’t know how to take it?

But I have to think that, if there really were a problem, I’d be advised to call someone at home, right? And the fact that they waited until 5:30 to call probably means I was in the “Get to these after you call the people who need to call us back immediately, even if we’re at home” pile, right?

Gah, you know I’m going to fret about this shit all night.

A Little Afternoon Melville

From Moby Dick:

…I declare to you, that for the time I lived as in a musky meadow; I forgot all about our horrible oath; in that inexpressible sperm, I washed my hands and my heart of it; I almost began to credit the old Paracelsan superstition that sperm is of rare virtue in allaying the heat of anger: while bathing in that bath, I felt divinely free from all ill-will, or petulance, or malice, of any sort whatsoever.

Squeeze! squeeze! squeeze! all the morning long; I squeezed that sperm till I myself almost melted into it; I squeezed that sperm till a strange sort of insanity came over me; and I found myself unwittingly squeezing my co-laborers’ hands in it, mistaking their hands for the gentle globules. Such an abounding, affectionate, friendly, loving feeling did this avocation beget; that at last I was continually squeezing their hands, and looking up into their eyes sentimentally; as much as to say,–Oh! my dear fellow beings, why should we longer cherish any social acerbities, or know the slightest ill-humor or envy! come; let us squeeze hands all round’ nay, let us all squeeze ourselves into each other; let us squeeze ourselves universally into the very milk and sperm of kindness.

Would that I could keep squeezing that sperm for ever! For now, since by many prolonged, repeated experiences, I have perceived that in all cases man must eventually lower, or at least shift, his conceit of attainable felicity; not placing it anywhere in the intellect or the fancy, but in the wife, the heart, the bed, the table, the saddle, the fire-side, the country; now that I have perceived all this, I am ready to squeeze case eternally. In thoughts of the visions of the night, I saw long rows of angels in paradise, each with his hand in a jar of spermaceti.

Two things.

One: Is there anyone funnier and sadder at the same time than Melville?

Two: Jesus, Herman, leave some semi-colons for the rest of us.

Okay, three: I almost feel like Ginsberg could have written that last line and it would have fit right in with his angel-headed hipsters.

Things I Like

1. Paul Simon’s new Christmas song, which I heard on Lightning 100 this morning. Yes, I know, multi-millionaires singing about angst only goes so far, but I think Simon is at his best as a songwriter in that space between hope and worry. No, I don’t know what it’s called. But keep an ear open for it.

2. Tracy Moore has made possibly my whole week by reminding folks that Belmont University was likely founded by lesbians. Hard to imagine why else one would need to block your bedroom door with a couch while you and your dear friend took your daily afternoon naps. I would recommend to anyone who wants to believe that the past was a simpler time to keep in mind that the past was as strange and scary as the present, with people doing all manners of things other people worked hard to pretend weren’t happening. And I have to give props to Hood and Heron for daily afternoon “naps.” That is one way to keep hot Nashville afternoons from weighing you down.

3.  The Wolfman. Lord, this movie is terrible. I don’t even know where to begin with how terrible it is. The Butcher and I were discussing it this morning and he’s of the opinion that you can’t turn away from it because you keep waiting for a better movie to break out. But, people! Who even knew there were Billy Bob Thorton impersonators? And who knew they could get work? And Gollum? Haven’t you wondered what he’s been up to since Lord of the Rings? I thought it was good to see him. And I know it’s kind of canon that you have to have Gypsies in your Wolfman movie, but I felt like it was kind of… like… oh, well, there has to be some mysterious Other who explains this shit and it can’t be the random Sikh guy, though I’m not sure why not, and I know there had to be some nod to how we would see the dad as… problematic… with his world-conquesting and shooting things and such. But at some point, you can just see that Anthony Hopkins said, “Aw, fuck it. Let’s just be as evil as possible!” I think it’s about when he goes to visit his son in the asylum but it’s like a switch flips and suddenly, Hopkins is in another, knowingly cheesier movie that exists side by side with the movie you’re being forced to watch. In that movie, he’s probably strutting around the English countryside naked all the time, wolf or not, doing evil things. And did they ever address how ooky it was that Del Toro’s character was pretty much instantly in love with his dead brother’s fiancee? No, they did not.

But my god, I thought it was beautifully shot. I don’t know who Shelly Johnson is, but the moving looks amazing, just rich and dreamlike every step of the way. And the set construction was exactly right, too. If the director had had more of Guillermo del Toro’s sensibility, if you really got that he knew he was playing with these really archetypal places and states, made the movie deliberately more dreamlike, it could have been really amazing, I think.

But it’s a beautiful and hilariously terrible movie.

Quick! Let’s All Come Up with Something Republicans Hate!

Okay, I was reading over at JR‘s–who really needs a nickname, but sadly the University of Wales website does not provide a translation for bow-tie wearing smartypants. I’m sure that this is so common in Wales they probably just have one short word for it. Perhaps thwwwwwwthllyll or something and I’m just not able to get close to it because I don’t know Welsh slang.–about how Bill Ketron wants to file an Arizona-style immigration bill here in Tennessee and how Tennessee-based CCA makes over 10% of their money from interring illegal immigrants and that they give big money to our politicians.

Now, obviously, I don’t have big money. But I do have $15. So, clearly “Mexicans” are taken. But is there something or someone their base fears who could be funneled into an institution we know about that we could slightly modify to get money out of the taxpayers if we only had the TNGOP rewrite the laws? I can provide the $15 lobbying money.

Um… I’m just not coming up with something off the top of my head, but this is such a good gig that I feel like we’ve got to get in on it. Ten percent is nothing to sneeze at. Especially if you have normally a really crappy, dangerous job and can convince states to start rounding up families instead of criminals. Shoot, morale has to go up a shit-ton if your guards aren’t terrified for their lives every day.

Okay, so think on it. We have time. The bill-filing deadline isn’t until next year. We’re at a slight disadvantage because we haven’t been lobbying all along, but the new guys won’t know that.