I’m Leaving You for the Gal in the Lavender Dress

Oh, sweet and tender Jesus, I’m running away with Joan Osborne, if she ever asks me to. I fully expect to spend sleepy mornings disentangling our curls. That is all.

Okay, it’s not all. I also wanted to say that this song below came up in my shuffle and it reminded me of just how great that whole album was except for “One of us.” Seriously, you know how you love buying music online because it means you can buy the one good song off an album? In this case, you can buy all of the good songs and skip the bad one. So, yes, Relish. I’ve been thinking about the year they had Neko Case in the Oxford American Southern Music Issue and how I was wishing they’d make even a half-hearted attempt at justifying it. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I am so very ready to lay claim to “Furnace Room Lullaby” in some tangential way, even if it’s just “I live in the South so I’m kind of Southern and this sounds like it should be Southern so it’s mine!”

But I contend that Relish was the perfect Southern album, that everything about it gets at how it feels to live in the South right now. No nostalgia, exactly. Just the kinds of emotions you feel in a place with tall pines and windows open to catch an imaginary breeze.

I’ve long thought this song was about a girl going to find her dad, but when I heard it today, I wondered if it wasn’t about a girl going off in search of her mother’s dad.

Back to the Living

I stink. I have eye gunk on top of eye gunk. But I slept through the night without having to get up and take more medicine and I woke myself up worried about all the crap I have to do at work, so I’m going to try to go in at least for part of the day.

I wish y’all could see the new kitty in her winter coat. She is literally twice her normal size. She’s sitting on top of the couch and she looks just as wide across as the dog, but when you go to pet her, your hand sinks in like four inches of fur. I hope she sheds all that outside in the spring.

Also, did I dream this. Did the Fake Governor take Governor Baby out four-wheeling? Was that actually a story while I was sick or did I just make it up?

A Few More Confederate Thoughts

I’m really glad I read Gender and the Sectional Conflict and Cities of the Dead back to back because they really helped me clarify some of my own thinking on the matter. Two things really stick out. One I did kind of a bad job of articulating last night, but the actual Confederates–white people in the South old enough to have fought in or had spouses in the Civil War did not understand their fighting as “states rights.”

They understood that they were fighting for the right to live in a country where they could own slaves without negative social repercussions. They had, in their minds, been fighting for this since the Revolution and now that they understood that they could not make the U.S. be that country, they would form their own country in which they could own slaves without negative social repercussions.

After the war (or during the war) there was a lot of concern about making sure that white Southerners understood that they were NOT their own country nor were they to try to be–loyalty oaths, banning of wearing military uniforms, the banning of the Confederate flag, the treatment of the bodies of dead Confederates, etc.

And because of this, the Confederate generations had to change in ways that would have made them strangers to the Confederates who died. After all, putting away your uniform, leaving it to the women to agitate for the right to suitably mourn the dead, these behaviors would have seemed bizarre because it was such a shift in how men and women were supposed to behave. The women had to become the more public face of the post-war Confederacy, because all the ways men had to be Confederates were monitored so closely.

But as the Confederates age and the younger generation comes on the scene, like I said last night, you can see this strong swing away from “We wanted our own country which would let us have slaves and feel honorable about it”–which is about slavery, yes, but also contains a demand for how other white people OUGHT to treat them, a way they clearly felt they were not being treated, even before the war–toward “Of course we all have honor, both Confederate and Yankee. It’s those black people who lack it” which was recognized by the U.S. government taking over the grave tending of Confederates at Arlington, which obviously meant that the women weren’t needed for that.

It’s an interesting lesson in how social change can be undone–women who’d had to become more public in order to get their dead buried are moved back off the public stage by the “brothers against brothers” meme–and how racism can be an effective tool for bonding white enemies together.

But I also think that it shows how the Union wasn’t quite good enough for the task in front of it. It’s more complicated than I’m about to make it, of course, but the second the U.S. adopted the “brothers against brothers/ states rights” myth, that was the second we pretty much were like “fuck it, black people. You’re on your own” which went very poorly for our country. When we knew the war was about slavery, we did a better job of cracking down on any white behavior that seemed designed to reconstitute the Confederacy. Once we knew the war was about states rights, behavior that we recognized as possibly seditious became an appropriate display of mourning.

But I also feel like there’s some inherent critique of the Confederacy–which the Confederates got–in the behavior and approach of the young white Southerners, as if they were saying “Oh, how silly that you guys let a stupid little thing like slavery stand in the way of a good relationship with your fellow white men.” And it’s hard to get at it, because it’s all racist and vile as hell, but I do feel it, like the Confederates got that the “states rights” story was the acceptable reason–we’re all just white people having a little disagreement about how to run the country–because “I felt I had the right to sell my own son” was not acceptable and they were kind of pissed and confused that “I felt I had the right to sell my own son” wasn’t acceptable and that, rather than give them space to argue for it, the new white supremacy of “Oh, those troublesome idiot black people, a burden to us all” left no room for the old Confederate viewpoint.

It’s weird, but interesting to see the myth spring to life within the lifetimes of the Confederates and how the myth becomes the accepted version of the truth, even as the Confederates where like “Wait, what? That’s not what we wanted.”

Anyway, good books.

“We Need More; You Have More”

Well, that’s that, then. I think I’m a good lefty. Hell knows that living down here has conditioned me to believe that I’m showering with Marx and Lenin; we’re so close. And I do think that income disparity in this country is an enormous problem. And it pisses me off that CEOs get traded around like ballplayers (except that, in this analogy, they don’t even know what game they’re signing up to play until they get there) and when they run a company into the ground, they stuff millions in their pockets and move on to the next company.

And hell yes it pisses me off that the whole lot of them can run the economy into the ground and there are no repercussions.

But I’m not asking for the gains they’ve made in a rigged system to be taken and redistributed to the rest of us. I’m hoping for an unrigged game.

Hell, just a game in which a CEO says “Wow, I’m really flattered that you’ve offered me $50 million a year to run your company, but my research shows me that your average worker makes less than $50,000 a year and I have some concerns about the financial decisions and practices of your company.” because he kind of gets that there’s not something he could possibly be doing at his company that’s worth that much more than what someone else at the company is doing.

But “we need more, you have more” being some kind of ethical claim on anyone? No. Sorry No. “We don’t have enough to get by and you’re fucking cheating your way out of paying your fair share”? Yes. But “we need more, you have more”? It’s like a parody of the Left, except here we are.

In slightly other news, this is also one reason I don’t think we should cut social services and just leave it to the churches. Yes, people can game the government, but in general, there’s a giant, obnoxious bureaucracy that prevents people from just demanding crap–forms to fill out, lines to stand in. Being a minister’s kid, I saw lots of people who expected to just be able to bully their way into getting what they thought they deserved while people who really needed help were too shy or too proud to ask for it.

Something about “leave it to the churches” is so cute in its belief in the best intentions and behavior of everyone.

“We need more; you have more” is not quite “But you have to give it to me, you’re a church” but it’s close.

Oh Lord, Kids Today. Well, Not Today. Back in the 1870s and 80s.

The worst part about being sick, I contend, is that one is too big and too far away from her mother to curl up in her mom’s lap and have her mom rub her head until she falls asleep. No, instead, I get called and nagged to go to the doctor, because I have the thing that everyone is dying from. Apparently.

I have a cold. A bad cold, but a cold.

But I finished Cities of the Dead this morning and it kind of blew my mind, just because I wasn’t aware that the whole timeline for the invention of “but we were fighting the Civil War for states rights!” was so late nor how blatantly it was tied to “Oh, okay, you’ve proved your point, Yankees. You’re going to let us white folks rule the South again, right?”

But the part that just killed me dead was how the Confederates and the women who were wives and sisters of the Confederates just had to sit back and watch the young “states rights” assholes take over the legacy of the Confederacy. Like “No one wants to hear your slavery talk, old man. We just want to be equal to the white people of the north.”

I have some more intelligent thoughts on it, but I’m in no shape to spell them out now. It just cracked me up.

Also, in weird news, I got a Christmas card from a family in Illinois I don’t know. The Butcher doesn’t recognize them either.

They look happy and nice, though, so I’m displaying it.

How Long ’til My Soul Gets it Right?

I know there are only so many things a person can do in their lifetimes, but I’m still sometimes weirded out to learn thing–like today I learned that I have a great uncle sitting in the national cemetery down in Chattanooga, since that’s where they stuck him after he died of small pox during the Civil War.

But more than that, I learned that Luke’s son, Charles, and his brother-in-law, Edwin Weston (Rhoda’s husband) defended Decatur, Alabama, against General Hood, then at New Market (I’m assuming Alabama) and then they sat in Mufreesboro guarding supplies. After the war, they were stationed in Huntsville for a while and then in Nashville. Charles went home due to epilepsy and Edwin went on down to New Orleans.

It’s weird to think of my uncles knocking around this area a hundred and fifty years ago. Weirder still that we’ve ended up, of all the places we might end up, so near to where they had their wartime adventures.

I can’t remember what else I was going to say about this all. Just that I’m glad to be in contact with distant cousins who can tell me this shit.

The Christmas Cold is Disgusting

One of my eyelids is all puffed up like… I don’t know… something puffy. It hurts to breathe. I keep hacking up things that look like they could cross-breed with slugs. My eyes won’t stop watering. The skin under my eyes is really itchy. Every once in a while my nose just randomly runs. I have to go to the bathroom constantly and I’m hungry like you wouldn’t believe.

I mean, it’s gross, don’t get me wrong. It’s so gross. But in honor of “Bodies doing fucked up body shit” here at Tiny Cat Pants, I have to admit, it’s kind of amazing. Like, whoa, this is just a mild way bodies do fucked up shit, you know? And it’s pretty spectacularly disgusting.

Weirdly, even though I’m clearly in worse physical condition than yesterday, I’m feeling better.

Ha, here’s a way in which things have not turned out well for the dog. So, twice last night she was standing in the kitchen crying and twice last night I got up to let her out and I kind of thought “Oh my god, if the shits are back, I don’t even know, because I am too sick to care.” But it’s not like I could stand around and see what she was doing out there.

And then this morning, I realize, she has no food. Ha ha ha. That will teach her to complain in the middle of the night. Any middle of the night complaints gets you tossed outside. She will have to judge carefully whether complaining to tired, sick apes who can’t understand her is worth it.

The Bone Key

Since this cold sucks, but not sucks-sucks for reasons explained in the previous post, I have been able to read in between bouts of peeing and sneezing and oozing snot out of every pore and so I read Gender and the Sectional Conflict which I liked and The Bone Key which I LOVED. Whoa.  Wow. How come none of you told me about that book?

But if none of you told me about it, how did I come to learn of it?

Oh, ha, right, because she has a story in Apex. So, basically, if you like this story and the main character in it, that’s all The Bone Key is. Monette is really masterful at setting a mood and kind of sustaining a feeling of overall creepiness. I thought some of the stories didn’t quite work as well as the others, but I also felt like, if they’d been earlier in the book, it wouldn’t have been as noticeable. It’s just that she starts with some humdingers.

Anyway, I have to return to sitting around waiting until it’s time for me to take some more medicine. I’m ready to be on the upswing, but I think it’s going to take another day, at least, and I don’t think I’m going to enjoy Danse Macabre or Cities of the Dead as much as I liked Monette’s book.

I’m glad I only get sick like this once or twice a year.

The Christmas Cold Wins

I will say this for the CPAP machine, though. When you are stuffed up and feel like every breath takes every muscle in your chest working overtime to actually draw air in, having something that is working to force air down you is something of a miracle.

The difference between “I can’t really breathe and everything hurts and I’m snotty and miserable” and “I can’t really breathe and everything hurts and I’m snotty and miserable and I’ve had no sleep” is really the difference between being on your own 40 and being in the end zone.

So, if you need me, I’ll be kind of asleep on the couch.

The Christmas Cold Comes Early

Apparently lots of nights of getting up every two hours to either let your dog out or check to see if she needs to be let out while she’s sleeping soundly coupled with the Holiday exposure to lots of friendly people has resulted in my yearly Christmas cold.

I have no cold medicine in the house.

So, fuck, I guess I’ll get up, go to work, get some cold medicine, come home, take it, and try to sleep this fucker off.

I’m trying to read Silber’s Gender and the Sectional Conflict (which is fancy talk for the Civil War) and I can’t. It literally makes me want to punch UNC Press. It’s beautifully designed, but the type is so delicate and my eyes so bad I can’t read it in the evenings. So, that would be an advantage to staying home and being sick all day–daylight may make that type more legible. But I’m scheduled to go to the scary part of the library today and I really, really don’t want to miss that.

Gripe. Complain. Snot. Blah.

Seriously, folks, let’s just write December 2011 off as the month Tiny Cat Pants was devoted solely to ways bodies fuck up. Let’s hope January 2012 is full of smooches or awesome things your cats can do without training.

Am I My Own Evil Twin?

Left-handedness caused by twinning? But I have no twin! Did I eat my twin?? Is that gross or cool? Less exciting is if my mom just absorbed the other me. But I am a tad… I don’t know… something… about the idea of having briefly had a sister.

Hope you get another shot at life, Sis.

Edited to add: I called my mom to tell her how she’d probably absorbed my twin sister and she said, “Or you could have some ossified parts of her stuck in you.” So, now all I can think about is having an eyeball in my brain a la some Stephen King book. Thanks mom. I called to give you the heebie jeebies, not to get them.

Ugh, Not the Nashville Room

I dread going to the Nashville room at the downtown library because you have to cross this space that looks down onto the first floor and I have pretty much lost the ability to do that by myself. So, I have to go and explain to the person at the desk in the kids’ section that I can’t walk to the Nashville room the way they want me to walk to the Nashville room, and so I need them to let me down the side hall. Since it is literally insane that I can walk one way and not another and I’m embarrassed, I try to avoid going there at all.

But the library won’t let you interlibrary loan books they have in their collection, which means that, if I’m going to look at Captain Ed Baxter & His Tennessee Artillerymen, C.S.A., I have to go to the Nashville room. Ugh. But I feel like that book could answer some questions I have–was Metcalf Perkins under his brother-in-law’s command? How do you come home and say “Um, honey, I lost your brother?” Ugh. Might we find the elusive Thomas Hayes, Sue’s first husband, among this bunch?

I think I’ve already said this–I know I went on and on about it to my parents–but the thing I admire about Baxter (and his brother Jere) is that they had every reason to encourage Nashville to turn north only to shoot the bird. They’d served in a war they’d lost in an embarrassing and painful manner. They lost valuable property as it was legally transformed into people. And they were raised in a really racist society to believe they were among the princes of it. It’s easy to see how those fuckers just turn away from the rest of the country, you know?

But the Baxters were like “We have to bring the railroads here.” Not that there weren’t railroads here, but they meant from the north. Nashville needed to be connected to Chicago and New York. If the city was going to move forward, it couldn’t do it without reaching out to the north.

They hit a lot of resistance. A lot. And I think it mattered that it was someone like Ed, whose CSA credentials were impeccable, who never met a dead Confederate he didn’t go orate over for as long as he lived (Seriously, if you’re looking for the ghost of Ed Baxter, I wouldn’t bother to look at his house or at his grave. Go find some Confederate monument, holler out that you need a speaker for your celebration, and then just wait for that fucker to show up. He could not resist.), who was insisting on actually being a part of the U.S.A.

Yes, of course the Baxters were rich and they were railroad lawyers, so railroad growth meant financial growth for them, but still. I’m glad they forced the issue.

I’ve been thinking of turning briefly, narratively, to Sue’s mom. It’s not just the two Nancies. But I have been thinking about the fact that Sarah–who I call Sarah in my book–was called “Bettie” in real life, which means that Sue’s mom had daughters called “Eliza,” “Bettie,” and “Lizzie.” Now the second Nancy got that name after the first Nancy had died, but Eliza, Bettie, and Lizzie were alive at the same time. Sue’s grandmother Perkins was named Eliza, but she wasn’t Lizzie’s grandmother. I think Sue’s mom just had a thing for the name Elizabeth and its derivatives.

I’m trying to respect the monstrousness of them, my characters. I think that, in order for it to work, I have to just let them be monstrous, to do things that seem so bullshitty to us. Otherwise, the kid from our time going back in the past to be their monster doesn’t really have the same impact.

Anyway, I’m also excited because Ed was married to Eliza during the Civil War, so she may have made it into the book, at least in passing.

The Professor Cures Mrs. Wigglebottom from Afar

You know what time of year a gal really can’t afford to take her dog to the vet? The time of year when any extra couple hundred bucks you might be able to scrounge up is supposed to go to getting people presents. And believe me, I didn’t even have that this year, hence the call for “Help me find cool things for less than $20 for these folks!”

So, it’s one thing to look on the internet, see folks saying “if your dog is barfing and has diarrhea for longer than 24 hours, take it to the vet” but what to do when that passes in less than twelve hours and your poor dog is just left with having to poop every couple of hours, even throughout the night? And it seems to be slowly improving but in fits and starts? And over days?

A gal may dream of being able to give her dog a common pink indigestion medication. She may also have looked on the internet and found conflicting information about whether this is okay. She may have even thought to herself “But the ingredient list looks exactly like the ingredient list on this dog medicine,” but she may have hesitated to pull the trigger.

Until her friend, the Professor, calls her up and said “I asked my friends who breed dogs about this. Do it.”

Then this poor gal, the subject of our story, the person who has been valiantly trying to keep her dog from eating her own vomit, from eating the cats’ vomit, from eating poop, from eating random things she found in the yard, from eating stuff that’s not even edible just to see, this gal may measure out half a dose of the pink stuff and put it on a plate in the kitchen.

She may call for the dog and say “Eat that.”

And the dog may look at her like “Oh, no. Please, please, please, no. Don’t make me eat that. No, god, no.”

And our hero may yell, “Oh my god, just eat it. Eat it. Eat it. Eat it!!!!!!”

And the dog may sit there, her big brown eyes growing wider in horror. “No, but it’s yucky! Can’t you see how yucky it is?”

Our hero might try another tactic. “Oh my god, Mrs. Wigglebottom. You are totally right. That is disgusting. That clearly looks like Muppet poop or barf. Yep, stay away. No, no, whatever you do, don’t eat that Muppet poop and/or barf.”

And the dog’s all “Whew, thank god. I thought it was fucking insane that you wanted me to eat that in the first place.”


Luckily, I found some pills in the bathroom closet, so I cut one in half and gave it to her hidden in some cheese and we all slept through the night and no one had to rush outside to go poop first thing in the morning.

Ta da!

Please, let this be the end of the poop narrative here at Tiny Cat Pants.

One Last Thing about Sookie

I read the fourth Sookie Stackhouse book today and, while I did not find the shower scene as hot as most people, I was constantly delighted by the book. I really appreciated that Eric just lost his memory and didn’t revert to some weird childlike state. I’m glad Jason wasn’t raped. And I’m glad we didn’t have to spend that much time with the witches.

I think the show did a great casting job (except for Sookie) and I’m glad they kept Lafayette around.

But the books have a sweetness to them and Sookie a sweetness to her that is completely missing from the show.

It’s a pretty big loss.

But I get the feeling, repeatedly, that Harris understands Sookie far better than Ball.

Isn’t This Both Point-Missing and Kind of Lying?

I’ve been thinking about this story from The Tennessean about how the Southern Baptists have been thinking of changing their name, now fueled in part by the fact that the very people they’re trying to reach out to have such a negative opinion of Southern Baptists.

It seems pretty obvious why Southern Baptists are unpopular among the groups they’re unpopular among–Southern Baptist leaders having secret meetings with state legislators in order to make sure that not only are our laws and social policies shaped by a specific religion–in this case Christianity–that they are shaped by a specific Protestant denomination’s understanding of that religion–in this case Southern Baptist; smugly telling people who disagree with you that you’re going to Hell; and regressive social policies clearly designed to let human mortal men keep power under the guise of being what God wants.

So, here’s the thing. If the Southern Baptist leadership has looked in its heart and decided “Wow, the way we carry on is, well, maybe not right and we need to act to bring ourselves into a better relationship with our congregations and the people we’d like to reach out to,” then all they have to do is change. There’s no need to stop calling yourself Southern Baptist.

But if they want to continue to do exactly what they’re doing right now, but just not have people think poorly of them? Then changing their name is a lie. They would still be exactly the same as they are now, just looking to deceive people into thinking they were different.

How is that okay?

But I actually think that the Southern Baptists need to focus on this problem and not try to hide it behind new veneer. If they believe what they’re doing is right, they should, in fact, continue to do it with their same old name and be content that these are just some lean years and have faith that there will be fat years again. If they think there’s some validity in the criticisms people have of them, then again, there’s no need to hide it with a name change. Open and prayerful change of action is the way in this scenario.

Otherwise, it seems like you’re conceding that there is a problem, but think the solution is to just hide from it more effectively.

Laughed Until He Cried

My brothers and I went down to Joe’s Crab Shack for dinner, where you pay a $15 surcharge for the privilege of eating in your own damn town. Not that it pisses me off or anything, but it does.

Anyway, because we’re all a bunch of uncouth assholes we were sitting at our isolated table talking about the time the Butcher shit his pants while trying to fart on a kid. (If you don’t have brothers, I know this will come as something of a shock. If you do have brothers, you’re thinking, “That’s nothing!”) And my brothers got to laughing so hard that tears were just streaming down their faces.  They’re just sobbing over this in public.

And just when one would calm down, the other would say something like.

“Yeah, I’d love to do that to that guy again. But bare assed. No need to make more laundry.”

“I don’t think he’s going to sit still for that” I interject.

“You know he’s a PI now.”

“So I could totally hire him to track himself down!”


–I wrote this post full of nerdy delight over at Pith all about May Town and who owns what.

–My brother is coming today! The Butcher may take him to a hog killing tomorrow. Once I learned that a hog killing didn’t involve 43 angry Cheatham county residents leaping on the hog and killing it with their bare hands in some kind of gruesome ritual left over from pagan times, I lost interest. Feel free to invite me to the hog eating, though.

–I once again have too many books out from the library. But none of them seem too big. I just also need to get this baby blanket done. So, something’s going to suffer, I’m sure. Ha ha ha.

–The Sue Allen thing goes okay. Poking along. I feel like I’m not exactly doing a good job of getting at just how the racism white people engaged in kept them from fully understanding what was going on in any given situation–like for instance my bad guy thinks that Sue must be the greatest medium ever, because she’s managed to call forth this Thing, and it’s not that she’s not very talented, but she wasn’t working alone and, in fact, she’d not be able to do anything like that again without the help of the woman she was working with. But I also don’t quite think that the bad guy is completely oblivious to this, since he has every intention of using Sue’s talents and passing them off as his own publicly (since she would not be able to). I’m trying to walk this line between “I don’t know what I’m doing” and “I know what I’m doing, but I think it’s the natural order” with this character. And then, also in this part, Sue’s sister has to go get the Macons and they aren’t home, so she brings their neighbor woman, as if you can just swap one person for another. And, yes, on the one hand, it’s totally racist of her. But later, she marries her dead husband’s brother, who is marrying his dead wife’s sister. So, it’s not just a view of black people she has. It just is so obviously egregious in this context.

It’s funny, really. Every step of the way, I’m like “Wow, I wonder all the ways I’m going through life doot-doo-doo missing the whole picture because of my preconceived notions?” Probably a lot. Forgive me, people of the future. I tried to be better than I was, but this is as good as I got. Well, hopefully, this is half as good as I got, but you know what I mean.

Two Things I… No Three Things I Forgot to Mention

1. I was getting dressed when I noticed a crow in the front yard. He had something white in his mouth he was eating out of the yard, but I couldn’t quite tell what it was. I guess if it was white it must be a bone, right? Anyway, I watched him for a couple of minutes and then he came straight toward the window and I said “Hey, Brother Crow” as you do when the crow in your front yard hunches over in a way that makes you think of monks and he flew away. Even though my window was closed.

2. And then, on my way into work, down closer to Briley, a small coyote was trying to cross Clarksville Pike and I glared at him and said “Stay put” because I didn’t want to hit him and he lowered his head and glared at me, but stayed put. Even though, again, my windows were closed.

I can take only one lesson from this–I have the superpower of being audible through glass.

Either that or I’m kind of always babbling to myself.

But I’m sure it’s the superpower thing.

Anyway, I didn’t stress the important part of the Maytown story at lunch because, even though I read it, it didn’t sink in at first. But the important take-away is that they didn’t even own the land they “gave” to TSU. Holy shit.

Forget Me. I’m Boring and My Dog Poops a Lot.

But there’s tons of stuff worth reading on the internet today.

1. What? Even more evidence that people who lie for you with lie to you? I am shocked. Shocked, I say. Honestly, is there anything in U.S. history that starts “I’m sure it will be fine if there are some Indians buried around here” that ends well?

2. Yeah, I get it. Mike Curb has a lot of clout and he might not be a great guy. But I can’t forget that he used that clout to ensure that Belmont straightened up–so to speak–on gay issues.

3. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I think something about Peter Cooper’s writing has really… I don’t know. He’s always been great. But he seems looser and more relaxed lately in a way I really enjoy and I loved this story about “Wagon Wheel.”

4. I thought this whole piece about Stephen Glass was really good, but man, I laughed out loud to see him making almost $200,000 for a book that sold less than 5,000 copies. And it was not a laugh of “Way to go.” It was the nervous laugh of someone who’s really glad to not be anyone involved in that equation.

5. Children’s drawings painted realistically. Amazing.

6. Do you know these brave women from Pearl Harbor? It’s wild how much they look like they could be my friends. They just don’t register as “old fashioned” to me. And yet, if those women are still alive, they’re the age of my grandma–90.

7. It’s weird to me that people can belong to a club, go there I presume regularly, and somehow not notice that there aren’t any black people. Every other part of this story I understand, but how you could be one of the people who wants the club to admit black people and yet not notice that their word that they were admitting black people seems to be false? I do not get it.

8. The Boners this year are good. I’d forgotten a lot of these stories.

9. I actually read this interview with Exene Cervenka a few days ago, but I can’t stop thinking about the last bit of it where she basically says that being a woman artist and being married are incompatible. I think what she’s getting at is kind of two-fold–that being an artist requires a kind of selfishness that is hard for a woman to maintain if she’s married and that straight men, no matter how great, have certain expectations for how women should behave when married that can make being an artist difficult. I don’t know if I wholeheartedly buy either of these things, but I do know I have a lot more time than my married friends to devote to writing and reading and I do think I’ve become… not selfish, exactly, but set in my ways in ways that… I don’t know. It’s hard to talk about. Let me see if I can be vague enough about this to feel comfortable. I’ve spend time with a guy or two who I really adored and who seemed to be wonderfully cool with me and yet, there seems to always come a point where I feel like they’re mad at me because I’m not doing the emotional work they’re used to having done for them by women they’re close to. And it causes problems. And maybe that is selfish of me. I don’t know. Anyway, obviously, it got me thinking.

“They likely don’t have enough money to hold a funeral”

I can’t stop thinking about poor Jacob Rogers. Partially because he’s from around here. I go to Ashland City all the time. Until the new one got built on Dickerson Pike, it was my most convenient Wal-mart. That’s the home of my beloved Tractor Supply. And partially because it’s just so easy to imagine how this happens.

I wen to two high schools and both of them had at least a kid, if not more, who were singled out for terrible abuse for seemingly arbitrary reasons and to whom the administration was pretty non-responsive. And kids at both schools kind of expected that something bad would come of it, but that, in the meantime, nothing would change.

There’s a reason–even though it turned out to not be true–that we all so easily believed the Columbine killers were getting their revenge.

Next year will be my 20th year out of high school. It’s sad we’re still doing so poorly by the kids who most need help.

Things are Not Well With the Dog

I got home and discovered two piles of poop in the kitchen, a small pile in the dining room, and a small pile by the front door. One of the piles was surrounded by an ocean of pee. In my bedroom was a huge pile of vomit, which was mostly dog food.

This was after she was barking hysterically and ran out the second I got home to poop some more. A half an hour ago she had to go out to poop again.

The weird thing is that, other than that, she appears to be fine. She’s in good spirits. She has her usual energy. I did the dehydration test and she’s cool there (you pinch their loose neck skin and if it stays upright, that can be a sign of dehydration). Her abdomen doesn’t feel weird or distended. And the poop, though a little loose, wasn’t diarrhea. No blood anywhere. Her eyes seem a little goopy, but they always seem a little goopy.

I’m at a loss. I guess I’m going to give it overnight to see what happens. Honestly, judging by how much food is in her bowl and how much poop and vomit I cleaned up, there can’t be much left in her system. But if it continues after tonight, I’ll have to get her in to the vet.

I’m hoping she just ate something that disagreed with her, but I don’t know what that would be other than cat poop, since we’ve been stuck in the house because of the rain. And she’s not a big cat poop eater. I hope I didn’t poison her cleaning the stove or something.

Ugh, dogs. I can’t wait until they can tell you what’s wrong with them.

It Goes How You Thought It Would Go

Sandusky’s own grandson may be one of his victims. My dad and I were talking about this over the holiday and I told him how it seems like there’s some level at which these guys just don’t think what they’re doing is wrong and if only they can explain it, you’ll see. And, sure, they may understand that they have to downgrade “putting my dick in a child’s ass” to “horseplay in the showers,” but it’s like they still think there’s some way they can frame it so you’ll understand it as not wrong.

It’s not quite the same thing as trying to hide what they’re doing.

And my dad said, “Yeah, they’re always trying to see what will work.” And it kind of hit me that part of how this whole thing works is that they’re not just grooming the victims to accept it; they’re grooming the people around them to accept it.

Anyway, it hurts my heart to think about it. Say Uncle has a couple of good posts (this new one which links to an old one) about his experience counseling pedophiles and I have to say that I agree. I don’t think that they think there’s anything inherently wrong with what they’re doing.

Honestly, there are people who are in prison for life for killing people I’d be more comfortable having back out on the streets than child molesters. I just don’t believe very many of them can be rehabilitated.

The Dog and I Learn the Effectiveness of Berms

I have to say that having W. out to the house to walk me around the yard and help me really see how things are sloped and why I have water where I do has paid off in making me more attentive to the whole part of my neighborhood that I walk. And today I had the kind of walk where I wished W. was with me in some official capacity because I need someone with some impressive letterhead to write to AT&T.

So, it’s been raining here on and off for a couple of weeks. I live in a low spot, though, and it’s not been raining enough to make my yard useless. The usual parts of the front yard are, but the back yard it still solid. So, off the dog and I go on our morning walk and it is literally a bog behind the AT&T building. I mean, I step on what looks like solid ground and I’m sinking up to the tops of my feet in water. It’s always a little boggy right by the corner where their lot starts, but this is like NOTHING I’ve ever seen back there, not even after the flood. The ground doesn’t get solid again until you get by the big tree.

Now, the AT&T building is in an unfortunate spot. It’s barely noticeable from Lloyd, but Lloyd is going slightly up hill so there’s a good four feet difference in elevation between the stop sign and the far corner of the AT&T lot along Lloyd. We have to climb up to get out of their yard. So, not surprising that there’d be water there.

We decide to walk back along the edge of the AT&T building’s fence (the fence is right up by the building and then their lot, which we normally walk across, extends out a great way) figuring that the AT&T building must be on the highest spot in the lot or they’d be constantly fighting water. In this way, we hoped to avoid the bog. We were mostly successful.

I noticed two interesting things. 1. The people two houses down (not my neighbor’s neighbor, but their neighbor) have a berm in their back yard, that runs along the border of their lot and the AT&T lot. It has trees on it and a flower bed. It looked to be successful in keeping their yard fairly un-waterlogged. 2. How the dog and I walk, we’re going very, very, slightly uphill to the back of our lot and then walking what feels to me to be even through the far far backs of people’s yards into the AT&T yard. But it turns out that the way we walked home reveals that the AT&T yard is in a slight depression and you walk slightly uphill to get into my neighbor’s yard and then down hill back into mine. This very slight rise peters out at the back of his lot, meaning that, ordinarily, that rise is enough to keep the water in the AT&T yard and possibly draining into the creek. But with enough water, that rise acts as a chute to channel water right into my yard as we saw in the flood.

I also see rock in the bottom of the creek where it is now. I can’t tell, since I can’t get close to it, if these a the same kinds of big slabs of rock that are under Dry Fork Creek,but it does look like the creek has a hard bottom before it turns to concrete in my yard. Since I’ve planted trees in my yard and had trees uproot in my yard, I can tell you that I definitely don’t have rock in my yard as shallow as it appears to be in the creek.

So, again, I’m left wondering if the creek isn’t trying to change course. I think it may be trying to make a jump into the AT&T yard and come down the back of our lots (a move of less than six or seven feet) and then come down the north side of my lot instead of the south.

If that’s the case, I think we’re losing.

But I would like for someone to convince AT&T to put some willows in the marshy part of their yard. Hell, they’re less than $30 a pop.

AT&T, I would pay for and plant three willows in your marshy part, if you’d let me. I don’t know if it’d solve our problems, but it would at least help.

Also, that’s me on the security footage with the dog and this post explains why we were so close.