It cracks me up when the new kitty comes bounding into the room like she’s late for her cue. And I’m glad to see her feeling sassy.

I’m always saying stupid stuff to the cat. Like I was cooking dinner and she was just hanging out in the kitchen and I was all “Hey, shorty, whatcha doing? Just hanging out being short?”

And she was like “Yeah.” I mean, what can you say to that? Plus, she’s a cat, so obviously she’s not saying anything, really.

But I swear to god, the Butcher and I were just doing up the new kitty’s medical routine and Mrs. W. was barking like she had nursing experience and we were not doing it right. Is this what she does all day? Takes nursing classes? Who is she to criticize?

Anyway here’s something cool. Tommy Johnson’s grave is now going to be accessible to the public.

Tommy Johnson had what we might call a more accessible voice than his erstwhile co-Devil-soul-selling Johnson, Robert. But what’s really cool about Tommy Johnson is that you can hear the influence of the blue yodel on his vocal performance. He’s not yodeling, exactly, but he’s breaking his voice and playing around with the vibrato in a way that makes it sound like the yodel has worked its way into Johnson’s lyrical delivery.

Compare Johnson’s delivery to Howlin’ Wolf’s just to get a sense of how that yodel echoes down. He’s just teasing at an echo of it, in that voice break, when he hits “bay-ayeuh,” which is how I will say “baby” from here on out. (As a side note, can I just say Howlin’ Wofe…? Whew. I want to say he’s totally underrated, but everyone loves him, so… I don’t know… I just feel like not enough.)

I can’t mention the blue yodel without pointing you to Jimmie Rodgers, of course.

Probably you should listen to that first and then you can see how Johnson and Wolf are using those same vocal tricks.

Ooh, and then check out Lucinda Williams, doing her version.

That’s it. We should probably all run around tomorrow singing “I asked her for water…” just to see the looks on people’s faces.

Me & My Dream of Kris Kristofferson

Last night I dreamed I had to escort Kris Kristofferson to my alma mater where he was going to perform an intimate concert at the English Department. And, for some reason, he got so drunk he couldn’t perform and so Willie and Waylon had to step in and sing along (luckily) and then Hank Jr. showed up, took his clothes off, and sang a really beautiful rendition of “Blue Bayou.” Why my subconscious assumed he’d do that in his underwear, I don’t know. But there you go.

The worst part is that none of the kids who came, at the invitation of the College Professor, even knew who these guys were.

The whole dream was about all this anxiety I felt because the show was going poorly and ruining their reputations, and that it didn’t matter because the kids didn’t know these guys’ reputations anyway.

I Still Love the Library, But I Have a Question

This morning I saw this book on John Scalzi’s blog and… Can we pause a moment to talk about John Scalzi? I love Scalzi’s blog. I love the discussions that he has there. I learn about books I want to read there. And I can recognize him as a talented, skilled writer. I just don’t care for his books. Like, I don’t hate them or anything. They’re just not my thing.

I think about that more often than I should, just to remind myself that the relationship between a writer and a reader is more complicated than “you write something perfect (and I do think that Scalzi is pretty much the breed standard for his type of sci-fi) and everyone who knows about you will read your work and love it.” There’s a certain kind of magic, too. Like, I know a lot of people for whom Catcher in the Rye was a formative read. I think I read it too late.

Which is to say that Scalzi stays on my radar because I think he’s a great writer and I love his blog and I wonder if there’s a time when the alchemy will happen. Will I just be browsing along and pick up one of his books and finally get it?

Anyway, I do want to read Southern Gods, so I looked for it in our library and they don’t have it. So I interlibrary loaned it.

But here’s the thing that has been niggling me since I started regularly going to the library. At the doors of every library in town are those upright plastic doohickies that you would think would detect when a book that hasn’t been checked out leaves the library.

But my library has self-check-out. I think only half the time I’ve checked out has someone even been at the desk. And I don’t have to run the books over anything to demagnetize any metal strip. And I have walked into other libraries, through those plastic upright things with books I checked out at Bordeaux to return them. And there’s never been an alarm.

So what do those plastic thing do? Just work as a psychological deterrent to stealing? Or are there things that are strip protected, that I just haven’t encountered yet?