I Present a Baby Kicking and Hitting a Cat

People, who the hell knows with cats? The cat in this video clearly dislikes being hit and kicked by the baby and yet, he seems to be making an effort to tolerate it.

I think it’s because cats have such low opinions of people already that a little one that can’t really control its extremities and barfs and poops on itself just seems like a tiny step down to a cat.

Cat’s all like “Eh, it’s really not that much worse than what the big ones do.”

I Found a Spot!

The places in this city where you can get right down to water level at the river and enjoy it are very few in number unless you’re looking at the end of a boat ramp. There’s Lock One Park, if you’re steady on your feet and… and…

Until today, I would have had no good answer.

But this morning Mrs. W. and I parked over at the trail head by the Ted Rhodes golf course and walked back to and along the river. And the trail goes right down by the river. On the other side of Clarksville Pike, it goes along the top of the levee, but on this side, it goes right down by the water. The views are extraordinary.

I highly recommend it.

The Tennessee State Library and Archives of Awesomeness

So I played hookey this afternoon and went down to the Tennessee State Library and Archives. I finally got a chance to look at the Jack Macon petitions, of which there were two. In the 1830s, right as Tennessee was passing a law forbidding slaves from practicing medicine, Doctor Jack’s patients wrote in and asked for an exception to be made for him. In the letters, a little of Macon’s practice emerges. He did a lot of healing with roots and he healed a lot of people, men and women, who were in pain. There was one account of him helping with some kind of white boil on the back of a kid’s leg, but by and large, he was helping with pain.

But, obviously, these petitions fell on deaf ears, because they wrote again in the 40s, asking the same thing and, interestingly enough, asking that any fines William Macon–Jack’s owner–incurred be forgiven. So, apparently, when the petitioners failed in the 30, William just broke the law instead.

I don’t know how it was resolved, though I think it’s obvious that Jack continued to practice medicine.

But then I looked up Dickinson’s remarks on the Baxters, just to see if there was anything good in it and a.) Dickinson’s a racist jerk; b.) he’s all pissed at Jere Baxter for claiming that Tennessee property is worth less in 1890 than it was in 1860 (adjusting for the loss of slaves) and that Tennesseans are hugely illiterate. Dickinson’s counter is that it’s unseemly to air dirty laundry about the state in public, that Baxter’s numbers are wrong, and that everyone in the South is hugely illiterate, so what’s the big deal? Also, white people are responsible for educating two races, not just one, so their burden is double; c.) But he held Jere’s brother Edmund in high esteem. Believe me, Jere comes out looking better in the exchange at this point in history.

So that was awesome. And they had the Ed Baxter book, so I got to look at it there. It’s, self-evidently, a lot of Civil War crap, but basically, here’s the history of Baxter’s second brigade–walk somewhere, get sick, either get better or die, shoot at some people. Walk somewhere else, get sick, either get better or die or possibly captured, shoot at some people. Walk to yet another place, get sick, etc. Finally the War ends. Get shipped home in a boxcar. The end. Granted, I was skimming, but I didn’t see that many people from Baxter’s unit getting killed in the War. It was all getting sick and dying.

Plus, the TSLA is having this great display all about Tennessee cemeteries which is amazing. I could have looked at it all day. They even have two examples of I think they’re called feather crowns–these balls of feathers that, after you died, your family would cut open your pillow looking for. If they found one, it was evidence that you’d gone straight to Heaven.

How awesome is that? But then they closed at 4:30! I was not done!

Anyway, because I love you guys, I took this picture right outside the doorway of the TSLA. I love how you can really see just how rocky our town is and I love the clouds reflected in the windows.

More on Our Friends, the Baxters

So, you know that it’s my contention that Ed Baxter–Sue’s brother-in-law–who is the lawyer Hamlin Harland heard from Itta K. Reno and Judge Dickinson ran from The Thing. Another candidate has presented himself–Colonel Baxter Smith. Let us stop and note with pleasure that Col. Smith’s first name is Baxter. Col. Smith’s mom was Sallie Baxter, daughter of Jeremiah Baxter. Jeremiah? Oh, just Ed Baxter’s Grandpa.

So, Smith goes heroing it up all over the Civil War as he valiantly attempted to protect his and his neighbors’ right to own slaves. Obviously, that didn’t go well. So when he was done making war on the United States, he came home and became a lawyer. He practiced law with his father-in-law for a while and then his father-in-law went off to be a judge. Then he practiced law with Ed Baxter. Yes, our Ed.

And then he practiced law with Judge Dickinson.

I still think this points to Ed being the guy who had the run in with The Thing–Dickinson said to Hamlin that he knew the lawyer it happened to, not that it was his old law partner. But I had to throw out there that Col. Smith is also a plausible candidate since he’s also a lawyer who would have been tangentially connected to the Allens and who would have known Dickinson.

The Wampus Cat

Writing took a strange turn last night. I ended up with almost a 2,000 word discussion of various mystery animals in the woods of Tennessee–the dog with the face of a rabbit that was the first manifestation of the Bell Witch, the Thing (obviously), and the Wampus Cat. For those of you unfamiliar with the Wampus Cat, it’s basically a sort of mountain lion looking thing that walks upright on two legs and scares the shit out of East Tennesseans.

I also read that East Tennesseans used to have a demonic boar, but I couldn’t find any actual stories about said boar. If you know of any, please let me know. I did download a bunch of copies of “Wild Hog in the Woods” so I will know what tune to hum to myself as I am being attacked by said demonic boar, should that come to pass. Since I don’t have any legends to base my behavior on, I have to rely on music.

Anyway, back to the Wampus Cat. There are two legends I’ve heard/read about the Wampus Cat, both about Cherokee women (the Wampus Cat is pretty much considered the same as the Ewah in Cherokee mythology, though I need to do some more digging into non-Wampus cat references to the Ewah before I understand why). At the Tennessee State Museum, at their awesome ghost story thing, they told a tale (which I have seen repeated elsewhere) of a Cherokee maiden who wanted to learn the men’s hunting magic, so she disguised herself in a mountain lion pelt and sneaked up on the hunting camp and listened in as they did it (I think part of the presumption here is that a woman hearing the men’s magic would then ruin the magic, hence the taboo on her trying to learn it). She’s caught and cursed into some kind of half-mountain lion/ half-woman beast which wanders the land scaring the shit out of people.

The second is that there’s a demon in the woods and when it finds a hunter, it looks him in the eye and drives him mad, thus rendering him useless for anything but women’s work. So, one day, a hunter comes back all demon-fucked and his wife is like “I will have my revenge on you, demon asshole.” So she confers with the tribe’s magic people and they give her a dried mountain lion mask to wear and she goes out in the woods to surprise the demon and scare the shit out of it with her creepy dried mountain lion face. And so she does. And the demon runs off. Though it occasionally returns and she has to go scare it off again. And even now, her ghost haunts the hills of Tennessee and parts of Kentucky, North Carolina, and Virginia (and Oklahoma, Arkansas, and wherever. She’s ambitious.), looking something like a half woman half mountain lion.

Now, both of these stories have some elements that make them nice stories. The first one seems to tell you a little about why different genders can and can’t do different things. It seems to reveal that hunting, for the Cherokee, was as much magic as skill. And it seems to reinforce important gender taboos.

The second one seems to provide a reasonable explanation for why some Cherokee guys might not be big hunters–they’ve been ensnared in a demon’s gaze–and seems to give us insight, again, into gender roles and familial obligations.

But we’re never not telling stories about ourselves, you know? So, when contemporary people tell those stories, they tell them for reasons and those reasons can vary widely depending on the teller. It’s easy to imagine a Cherokee mom telling the first story as a way to illustrate how different things are now. It’s easy to imagine her telling the second one to illustrate the bravery of Cherokee women.

But every widely available version of the legends seemed obviously told by white people. And, obviously, we have different motivations for the stories we tell about Cherokee people than they would. Stories are funhouse mirrors, you know, designed to reflect ourselves back to us in ways that allow us to say “Oh, that’s not really us.”

But I still wonder which, if either, of these stories is actually similar to the stories the Cherokee told/tell about the Ewah.

I was thinking that this is one of the things that kind of pisses me off about how our culture works. If I told you I knew a legend about an Irish-American guy who is transformed into a mountain lion man and in one version of the story, set in the pre-Vatican II days, he sits down for a huge steak dinner on Friday and in another version of the story he doesn’t, we’d all kind of know that the chances of the non-Friday meat eating story being the probable story told among Irish Americans is pretty high. It’s a little cultural tell. Likewise, if both stories had Friday steak dinners, we might say “Well, I’m not sure that’s really an Irish American story” or we might say “Hmm, even though it doesn’t really seem like it, I wonder if this story used to be about the taboo of eating meat on Friday.”

Similarly, I am positive that, to a Cherokee person, there are tells in those stories that make one or the other or both or neither of them actual plausible Cherokee stories. Something in those stories is a cue to whom the story belongs.

But I don’t know those cues. Along the way, our society decided that those were not necessary cues for a gal like me to learn. And, honestly, I’m doing better than most to even know that I’m missing them.

So, the Wampus Cat. What can we say about it? It’s a gal and a mountain lion and it will scare the shit out of you.

Is it a precursor to the Thing? To the rabbit-headed dog in the Bell’s yard?

I have to think so.

But what’s the real story?

I don’t know.

The Baby Blankets are Done!

My mom tried to steal one of these and then made googly-eyes at another. I finally finished the third. I took these pictures and then put them in the washer to block them. The cat was unimpressed. But I think all of these turned out fine and would not embarrass any hip fathers.

I Wouldn’t Want to Live Like That

There’s a very long article in the New York Times about fat. I just want to say up front that the idea of exercising two hours a day and constantly thinking about and monitoring my food intake seems like my own personal hell. No judgment against you if that’s your thing. But holy shit. I would not want to live like the people who were obese and are now not have to live in order to stay non-obese. I believe they may feel better. I just can’t imagine devoting that much time to food. Honestly, it’s like you make being non-obese your second job.

There are many interesting things in the article.

Dieting alters your hormones in ways that then makes it very hard to not gain the weight back:

While researchers have known for decades that the body undergoes various metabolic and hormonal changes while it’s losing weight, the Australian team detected something new. A full year after significant weight loss, these men and women remained in what could be described as a biologically altered state. Their still-plump bodies were acting as if they were starving and were working overtime to regain the pounds they lost. For instance, a gastric hormone called ghrelin, often dubbed the “hunger hormone,” was about 20 percent higher than at the start of the study. Another hormone associated with suppressing hunger, peptide YY, was also abnormally low. Levels of leptin, a hormone that suppresses hunger and increases metabolism, also remained lower than expected. A cocktail of other hormones associated with hunger and metabolism all remained significantly changed compared to pre-dieting levels. It was almost as if weight loss had put their bodies into a unique metabolic state, a sort of post-dieting syndrome that set them apart from people who hadn’t tried to lose weight in the first place.

You can eat the same amount and exercise the same amount and gain or lose different amounts of weight:

In a seminal series of experiments published in the 1990s, the Canadian researchers Claude Bouchard and Angelo Tremblay studied 31 pairs of male twins ranging in age from 17 to 29, who were sometimes overfed and sometimes put on diets. (None of the twin pairs were at risk for obesity based on their body mass or their family history.) In one study, 12 sets of the twins were put under 24-hour supervision in a college dormitory. Six days a week they ate 1,000 extra calories a day, and one day they were allowed to eat normally. They could read, play video games, play cards and watch television, but exercise was limited to one 30-minute daily walk. Over the course of the 120-day study, the twins consumed 84,000 extra calories beyond their basic needs.

That experimental binge should have translated into a weight gain of roughly 24 pounds (based on 3,500 calories to a pound). But some gained less than 10 pounds, while others gained as much as 29 pounds. The amount of weight gained and how the fat was distributed around the body closely matched among brothers, but varied considerably among the different sets of twins. Some brothers gained three times as much fat around their abdomens as others, for instance. When the researchers conducted similar exercise studies with the twins, they saw the patterns in reverse, with some twin sets losing more pounds than others on the same exercise regimen. The findings, the researchers wrote, suggest a form of “biological determinism” that can make a person susceptible to weight gain or loss.

People who’ve lost weight are metabolically different than their same size peers (so if you lost weight to get to 150, it’s not the same as being a person who just weighs 150) and must eat less and exercise more to stay at that weight:

The research shows that the changes that occur after weight loss translate to a huge caloric disadvantage of about 250 to 400 calories. For instance, one woman who entered the Columbia studies at 230 pounds was eating about 3,000 calories to maintain that weight. Once she dropped to 190 pounds, losing 17 percent of her body weight, metabolic studies determined that she needed about 2,300 daily calories to maintain the new lower weight. That may sound like plenty, but the typical 30-year-old 190-pound woman can consume about 2,600 calories to maintain her weight — 300 more calories than the woman who dieted to get there.

Scientists are still learning why a weight-reduced body behaves so differently from a similar-size body that has not dieted. Muscle biopsies taken before, during and after weight loss show that once a person drops weight, their muscle fibers undergo a transformation, making them more like highly efficient “slow twitch” muscle fibers. A result is that after losing weight, your muscles burn 20 to 25 percent fewer calories during everyday activity and moderate aerobic exercise than those of a person who is naturally at the same weight. That means a dieter who thinks she is burning 200 calories during a brisk half-hour walk is probably using closer to 150 to 160 calories.

Interesting stuff. I encourage you to read the whole thing.

The Impending Deer Skull

So, even though I live in Tennessee and even though I know people who claim to be gun nuts, my attempts to track down a deer skull with antlers to put in my room has been filled with “Why don’t you get your license and shoot your own deer?”

Well, dear gun nuts, if I wanted to stand around smelling like deer piss for days at a time while praying for death as an end to my boredom, I guess I could do that.

Or I could finally think to mention my heart’s desire to my gun nut brother, who asked what I wanted for Christmas and when I told him said, “But what do you want that costs money?”

So, my brother is going to procure a deer skull for me and then we’re going to meet up in Chattanooga, home of David L. Ransom, who is our 2nd Great Grand Uncle, since he was married to Juliette Phillips until he died in Bridgeport, Alabama during the Civil War. He didn’t get shot or anything. He caught smallpox. But after the War, they dug him up and settled him in Chattanooga, where he has been ever since. My brother and I thought it might be nice to go and introduce ourselves and pay our respects, since he probably hasn’t had visitors in some time.

I’m excited.

Beef and Noodles

Instead of turkey at Christmas (after Thanksgiving, you can imagine why some of us were not very excited about another pass at the bird), we had roast beef with noodles. The roast beef was nice (if a little dry), but the noodles… oh, the noodles. The Butcher and I have been eating on them for days. We cooked them in with the roast beef at the end, so they are full of carrots and celery and onions and green peppers and bits of roast.

And today, I am taking the very last little bit to lunch. Ha, I mean, to work for lunch. But I would totally take these noodles out on a date, if I thought they were sentient.

My family doubted me, because I was all “Get the noodles that look weird, not the regular ones.” And they got the weird looking ones, which are smaller and more elongated square shaped than flat wavey rectangle. But man, they fatten right up in the water and take on all the flavors in a way flat egg noodles just don’t.

I tried to take the dog for a walk this morning, but even my back yard is a mud pit. We were both kind of bummed about that. If I ever buy another house, I’m making sure it’s on high ground in a place fit for walking.

Big Harpe’s Head

I finished up my story about the witch who ground up Big Harpe’s head and fed it to her nephew–“Sarah Clark.” I really hope I can find a home for it because I hadn’t read it in a couple of months and rereading it to make sure I was ready to submit it made me whoop with delight. I want others to get to see it.

It’s got the Devil in it. I’m really drawn to stories about women and gods. And man, I love the idea of God just strolling on over to his friends Abram and Sarai’s house, hanging out, cracking jokes. God’s all “Hey, Sarai, I think you should have a kid” and she’s all “Oh, thanks for bringing up my pain, asshole.” “No, you’re totally going to have a baby.” And she laughs about it.

I feel like there’s Someone young and cocky and interesting in the Old Testament–dining with his pals, showing off to Wisdom all the cool shit He’s created, getting in huge fights with the prophets, being changing and capricious–learning to be a god as His people learn to be His people.

I’m kind of sad that’s lost in plain sight.

But I feel that way about the witch in Big Harpe’s history. It’s true that there are stories his skull ended up ground up for medicine. And yet, who would do that and why? It didn’t come down to us.

I get uncomfortable talking about woo stuff, but here it is a time of year when there’s hardly anyone on the internet, so I’ll say that back when I did my nine nights, I ended up having a discussion with Patience Phillips about how frustrated I was that I couldn’t nail down a lot of this stuff. And she pointed out that our real lives are in stories–that we are, before we’re born, the stories our parents tell themselves about who we’ll be; that while we’re alive, we are as much what people tell each other about us as we are physical beings, and then, after we’re dead, the immortality we have on this earth is in stories told by the people who remember us.

So, out there down the rabbit hole of history is the woman who went out and grabbed that skull off the side of the road. I don’t know her name or what motivated her. But I’ve given her a fake story to substitute for the real one being lost.

I hope she likes it.

I Just Realized…

I already knew I go towards something, even though it’s only necessary to go toward it. I learned that little tick working on the first book.

But I just realized, writing an email, that I unthaw things. And I think I use it like an action verb. So, I would take the chicken out to thaw, but I would unthaw it. But “unthaw” should mean the same as “freeze” right? If I’m going to unthaw water, I should end up with ice cubes.

Is this a Midwestern thing or am I an idiot?

Ha, let’s just focus on whether it’s a Midwestern thing.

Five Years, Already, Again

So, I know I said I was going to give it some time, but, eh, fuck it. It’s actually not worth spending a lot of time on. Here’s the thing: there are a ton of drug addicts in the world out there doing shitty things. Some drug addicts even kill or try to kill other people in the course of their addictions.

That still is a horse of a different color than seeing a woman you ostensibly care about passed out on the floor of your home and you deciding that her life is of no more value, that she would be better off dead, and then making active motions to kill her. That’s not “my life is of no more value, I’d be better off dead” (a common addict’s refrain). That’s not “I need your money for drugs. Oops. I killed you.” That’s “I decided the kindest thing to do for you would be to kill you.”

And that, my friends, is fucking scary. It’s creepy, but not in the way I normally toss “creepy” around. That’s “I don’t view you as an autonomous person with a life of your own, therefore I can decide to put you down without consideration of what you might want.”

There are a lot of  things that brought Schwyzer to that point that are reformable–he could get treatment for drug addiction; he could no longer have contact with that woman–things he has indeed done.

But being a drug addict doesn’t make you think that you know better than other people whether they should live or die. Being a drug addict, at most, just muffles whatever part of your brain might send up a warning signal that says “You should not act on this impulse.”

I know this kind of sounds like splitting hairs, but I’m going to split a hair. I think that forgiveness for the attempt on her life can only be given by the woman Schwyzer himself admits he tried to kill. And I think that it is not our place to be doling out forgiveness or withholding it on her behalf. Who knows what she wants? And please, let us all be kind enough to refrain from trying to find out.

But Schwyzer himself has now publicly said that he believed that he was somehow helping or justified in trying to end this woman’s life–either because she was in such a bad spot or because he was so whacked out on drugs or whatever. It doesn’t matter, honestly, why he thought at the time that it was justified. He did.

And even if I can believe that he is truly sorry for trying to kill a person–though honestly, I don’t care if he’s sorry–I don’t believe I have a successful way of knowing that he no longer believes that he knows better than another person what she should do with her life. I am wary of him choosing a profession that lets him hold a position in which he is rewarded for knowing better than young women and getting to guide them to knowledge. That, to me, doesn’t signal “I know I am no better judge than the woman before me of what she should do with her life.” I don’t think running a prominent feminist blog or putting himself out there as a male voice of feminism works to that end either.

I don’t intend to read Hugo Schwyzer. I stopped reading him in 2008, long before he provided all this information about trying to kill a woman.

But when he comes up for discussion on places I do read, or when he posts places I do read, I will be reading with a careful eye about whether what I see before me is proof that he now understands that he is not in a position to judge women or to guide us to the result he thinks is best for us. Because, frankly, it’s only evidence of that change that’s going to make me feel like the fundamental problem has been addressed.

I think this whole issue has been muddied by the way the feminist blogosphere works. People are burnt out on the constant wars, the constant infighting, the purity tests, etc. So, believe me, I understand the impulse to chalk this up to yet another round of this group of people vs. that group of people.  And, yes, I get the desire to pull back and talk about these things in the abstract. Can people be forgiven? Can they be redeemed? Those are interesting questions.

But here is the truth. Hugo Schwyzer told a story about himself in which he illustrated that he once came to a point in his life when his belief that he knows better than someone else whether her life as it is has value lead him to believe it would be best if she was put down and he acted on it.

There is not a thing wrong with anyone–women, drug addicts, people who might become unconscious in front of him–for both being alarmed and disgusted at that story AND for being certain that its not our jobs to repeatedly give him the benefit of the doubt that he’s changed.

I, do, though, also want to acknowledge that Schwyzer is apparently a fine teacher and someone at least some of his colleagues and friends feel very positive about and very loyal to.

I’m sure most “angels of mercy” are fine nurses and help and save many people, as well.

So, the esteem his students, colleagues, and friends hold him in really tells me nothing about whether he now understands that he does not know better than women whether our lives as they are have value, since his job rewards him for teaching women things they didn’t know.

And I won’t put myself in the path of him, for the reasons I’ve outlined above–I cannot tell by how he lives his life now that he gets that he does not know better than women what our lives should be like.

I assume everyone else can come to their own conclusions.

Oh, Christmas

This was a weird Christmas. I had a very nice time. It was a little rough on the Butcher.

But we lived and here we are. Hope all of you had a nice holiday as well.

Deep Inside I’m Free

NM introduced me to this song and I’d like to request that we all spend some portion of the weekend working on listening to this song and developing an appropriate strut. We can meet back here early next week to plan when we’re going to walk/roll across the world doing our “Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky From Now On” struts.

Bonus points if Allen Toussaint’s version causes you to have a slightly different strut:

I really, really like the guitar part in Toussaint’s original. It’s like a late nod to how country and blues overlap. Toussaint also wrote “Fortune Teller” and I think it’s fun to compare the first version with the latest:

Yes, all roads end in Robert Plant. It could be worse, really.

One Thing about Large Families

Not that the Phillipses are incredibly huge, but large enough that you can both see how things play out in similar ways among people with similar temperaments and how “similar” is not quite the same as “the same.”

Last night I was at dinner with my parents. We went to El Rey Azteca, which I like to support both because it’s good and for its role in bringing down Paul Stanley. The waiter called me “señora” which made me feel a little old, but then he called my mom a diminutive I’ve never heard before. I know “señorita” is for young woman. But I think he called my mom something like “señorota?” Something that had a “ta” sound. And then she tired to argue with me that he was calling me “señorita” and her “señora” and I was like “Please, Mom. He looked right at me and said ‘señora.’ Then he took my order. Then he addressed you with whatever the other word was.” So we were bickering and my dad was all “I don’t see why there wouldn’t be some word in Spanish that meant ‘little old lady who always takes too long to decide.”

It made me laugh.

Anyway, my dead cousin came up in conversation. We all are Facebook friends with his kids and his daughter posted a status update yesterday about going to decorate his grave. And my dad said that he wished he could have a few minutes with my cousin S.–my dead cousin’s brother–because my dad felt that S. ended up in a similar situation to my Grandpa with his brother Bill. It turns out that my Grandpa gave Bill money regularly, even though he was pretty sure he was just going to drink it away, because he couldn’t bear the thought of this being the one time the money really was needed and him having it and not giving it to his brother. Apparently my Grandpa found out that Uncle Bill was trying to sell his wife’s jewelry behind her back, so he bought it and returned it to her. (This is also apparently how one gets to divorce a Phillips with the full best wishes of the Phillips family. Or at least that’s the memory now.)

Uncle Bill died when my dad was four and yet he spoke like it broke his heart fresh about how his dad felt so guilty about not being able to do right by his brother or even figure out what the right thing to do would have been. My dad said that my Uncle B. (my dead uncle I’m sorry is dead) would regularly have to talk my Grandpa out of these kind of depressive guilt episodes.

And my dad wants to say something to my cousin S., to let him know that he’s not alone in not knowing what he should have done or how he should have done it, that he shares that with my Grandpa.

I don’t know. I have a difficult relationship with my Grandpa, that has improved now that he’s dead. But something about that story–which I know is depressing as hell and I am sorry–made me feel deep compassion for him. I hadn’t heard it before.

And I am glad to have a story about him that makes him human again for me.

Five Years, Already

It’s cool watching my cousin’s kids living their lives on Facebook. For all its drawbacks, it is nice to keep up with family you probably don’t have the right to barge in on. The other day, his daughter, who found him dead, mentioned that it had been five years, and I look back here at the blog and I see that it has been. Since he died, he missed out on becoming a grandpa.

I think I’ve been unfair to Hugo Schwyzer. Or at least I’m going to have to reconsider it in a month or so. I guess part of it is that I just don’t believe that addicts ever change, that if they’re just rampaging through life, they continue that rampage in one form or another. And I believe that, in part, because to not believe it means that some do get lucky. Just not the ones I love.

Which strikes me as so cruelly unfair that I can barely stand it.

And yet, that’s probably closer to the truth.

And so, there we are.

Some folks do get redeemed. Just not us.

Okay, Tennessee Republicans. It’s Time for Someone to be the Grown-Up Here.

I know, I know. It’s the holidays. You’re busy with family. You’re enjoying the thought of poor people who don’t have jobs struggling under the burden of providing Christmas for their families. Why do I want to so cruelly ruin that by asking you to do right by the State.

Well, I’m sorry. But honestly? This?

“[Campfield] estimated the costs could be kept to ‘only $4 or $5’ by limiting the tests to ‘hardcore illegal drugs’ such as cocaine, heroin and marijuana.”

We’ve suffered through Campfield’s “keeping bitches in line” legislation. We’ve suffered through “Can’t say gay.” And, really, I think the public scorn we’ve earned as a state has been more than enough.

One of you has to educate Campfield about pot. Obviously, it’s not going to be Ron Ramsey, which should be mortifying to Ron Ramsey, but fine. One of the others of you has got to step up. I don’t care how you do it. A phone call in which you explain to him that here in the real world, marijuana isn’t a hardcore drug or you slip him some pot brownies, wait for him to get the munchies, and then ask him if he feels like a social deviant. Whatever.

Just please. Let us not be the state–when the whole rest of the country is moving toward at least a semi-reasonable stance on marijuana use–that becomes known for our “Reefer Madness” levels of naive paranoia.

Honestly, normally I get pissed off at Campfield, but this? This is just sad.

At the least, we now know that all the libertarians who run around “Oh, Campfield’s a good guy. You’d like him if you met him.” don’t actually trust him.

Blue-Left, Green-Right

Holy cow, I completely forgot to tell you the niftiest thing my eye doctor did. So I went to get my yearly contacts and rather than just putting a little dot on the right one, which always washes away in a couple of weeks, she’s now started ordering two different color contacts–a blue one for your left eye, and a green one for your right.

My great fear of sticking the wrong contact in the wrong eye has now been completely nullified. I’ve been trying to see if I thought my right eye were slightly greener, but it appears to make no difference.

Cooter Psychic?

I feel like this not-safe-for-work link proves that I am a cooter psychic. There are so few things about which one needs a cooter psychic, but I will attempt to live up to my gift.

Here are some other psychic cooter predictions!

1. Unless you are in physical discomfort, you do not need surgery to “fix” your labia. They come in all different shapes and sizes, looking different ways.

2. Yes, even your cooter is nifty.

3. The next trend? Cooter birthmarks.

The future is getting fuzzy. That’s all I can see for now.

1867 is Going Swimmingly

Sue has had her first run-in with The Thing. It goes not quite well. Lee Overton’s grouchy ancestor makes another appearance. Sue’s mom gets pissed, lays down the law, and tells Sue a story about their Devil-fucking ancestor. So, yes, the Devil’s in it, briefly. They go to the time-traveling cave. A dog is inadvertently killed in their attempt to figure out how to work the cave and Metcalf is sent in the dead dog’s stead. Probably they should have just sent the dead guy in the first place, but the dog has to die for thematic reasons.

If we consider this book a roller-coaster with two big hills, we have just reached the top of the first hill and shit must start to hit the fan–the thing must get loose. Lee must dispatch his wife and try to abscond with Sue. The thing must then be subdued and Lee must be off to the future. And then 1867 can end.

The second draft is going to suck, but I am having a blast with this first one, let me tell you. It’s all dead babies and charming assholes and weird visions.

Speaking of weird visions, I need for Sue to have had one. But I’ll have to sleep on what that is.

Oh, it’s a weird book. I’m not sure if anyone will love it as much as I do, but I really do.

Never Before Have I Been so Relieved to be Aging Out of the Feminist Blogosphere

This, this, this.

I have lots of thoughts on this crap, but none of it is coherent. I wonder, for instance, not just whether you should quote extensively from people without asking when you’re writing about an instance in which people felt that there was a lot of “borrowing” without asking. I wonder if it’s even “fair use” to use whole blog posts without asking permission. I wonder about that dude’s friend, who seems like he might be being abused by his wife, and his friend sees his weird behavior and ascribes the problem to “women” or “feminists” and not to abuse. And I wonder if I really believe in redemption and I think that I don’t. Or at least, I don’t believe redemption then means you get to put yourself center stage.