1887 Needs Your Help

I’m a little behind where I want to be, but I’m about to take the 20 year leap in the first draft. I have needs, though. If you can help, leave resources in the comments, please. In return, I will be eternally grateful.

1. I’d like a good reference book about different kinds of familial transportation in the post-bellum south. Obviously, rich people would have had carriages, but how did you cart twelve kids around? Would you have had more than one carriage? In addition to a carriage, would you have had some kind of work vehicle that could double as personal transportation in a pinch? How did that change between 1867 and 1887? Is there such a book?

2. The books I’ve read on the spiritualist movement in the 1800s have been incredibly helpful, as you can imagine. But I wonder if there’s a similar handful of books on mesmerism? Am I wrong in seeing mesmerism as gendered male in the same way spiritualism was gendered female at the beginning?

3. Is there a good “firearms for dummies” book?

4. I’m also dying to get a good idea of the interior layout of Ben and Sue Allen’s house. But I’ve only found one exterior shot of it. Is there a way I can get a good idea of what the interior layout may have been like?

5. When did they start attaching kitchens to houses? And when would a kitchen in the house become standard in new building?

Ha, it’s weird. I feel completely confident telling you all about how people 150 years ago would have contacted their dead people, but I am completely shaky on how they literally prepared their food. But since people are practicing magic, too, it turns out there’s a lot of trips to the kitchen for supplies.

When It’s Someone You Love

I wrote a little about “tolerance” at Pith today. But I do just want to reiterate that, if you believe your personal beliefs or your religious beliefs compel you to hurt me or people I love, to lie about me and people I love, to dismiss my pain and the pain of people I love–in other words, if you believe you need to be able to harm me in order to satisfy your God or your conscience–I cannot tolerate you.

There is no “no harm, no foul” area in which we can agree to disagree. You believe you should be able to harm me and I believe you absolutely should not.

I think the mistake I keep seeing people on the other side of this issue making is that, rhetorically, they’re acting like this is just a difference of opinion and people like me are being assholes because we won’t “tolerate” a difference of opinion. But all along the way, Campfield is acting on his opinions. He drafts legislation based on his opinion that men should be in control of women and that women should not be able to do things with our bodies without male sanction. He drafts legislation based on his opinion that homosexuality is a lifestyle that must be kept hidden from children. And, based on his belief that no regular guy is going to get HIV from a regular girl (with all the bullshit packed into “regular” there), he gets up repeatedly in front of microphones and on his blog and tells his audience that they, “regular” people, don’t have to worry about HIV. It’s only for the deserving.

It takes seconds to put on a condom. You don’t have to play the odds or guess whether the person in front of you is “regular” or if she might have fucked an African or shot up in her wilder days or whatever.

It takes no effort to say “Hey, everyone can benefit from practicing safe sex.” Or, if you can’t say that because of your religious beliefs, you can say “I’d just like to remind everyone not to have sex until you’re married and to get tested and make sure that your fiancee is tested before you do.”

But notice that Stacey Campfield, who demands the right to hurt gay people because of his religion, isn’t fervently insisting that nobody have sex until they’re married.

Funny that.

Anyway, I’m getting off track. My point is that, even if Campfield’s religious beliefs are such that he thinks homosexuality is wrong and that straight people are very unlikely to get HIV, there are ways of making that point that don’t endanger straight men. That don’t dismiss the suffering of families who’ve lost “regular” people to AIDS. But, even within his own framework, he doesn’t not hurt people.

So, I think it’s clear why someone like me–a freak who loves freaks–would be grossed out by Campfield and would find the idea that I should tolerate someone who’s actively trying to hurt me and the people I love to be hilariously evil. But I wonder if it’s starting to dawn (or what it would take to get it to start to dawn) on people who are ostensibly on his side that he is fine with their suffering, too.

I wonder if it starts with lying to people about something that could get them very sick.

Regular Man, Regular Woman

From WBIR:

10News sat down with the senator where he confirmed his statements, but said it was taken out of context. He said that he acknowledges that heterosexuals can contract the virus. He meant that certain groups are at much higher risk for AIDS.

“A lot of people trying to gloss over and say it’s an every person disease but really it’s just those high risk people that are most likely to contract or spread that disease The odds of a regular man getting it from a regular woman are very low,” he said.

We asked, “What do you mean by ‘regular?'”

He said, “someone who is not from Africa, someone who is not a homosexual, someone who is not an IV drug user, someone who is not sleeping with someone who is one of those things.”

Africans aren’t regular people? People who sleep with Africans aren’t regular people?! This jackass wanted to join the Black Caucus and he doesn’t think people from Africa are regular people?

I am floored. It’s not that I can’t believe he thinks this. I truly do.

I can’t believe that it’s this incident that finally makes him just bald-face say what those of us who’ve been following his political career have long said is obvious subtext.

But here it is.

History Things

–Ugh, this point about our belief in medical explanations vs. witchcraft explanations and the future having other explanations just hits me right in the gut. Good stuff, though.

We’re discussing the outbuildings at Sevier Park in the comments at Pith. My new opinion is that, if you can’t get a home made out of stone, make it out of a log cabin, because those fuckers last. If that was indeed used by the French, I guess that means the French population of Nashville (or pre-Nashville) was larger than Timothy Demonbreun, huh? Also, that Granny White Pike is a fucking old road.

Casting My Daguerreotype Boyfriend. I like this because it’s so easy to look at pictures of people in the past and think they just look so foreign. Seeing examples of how they look like people now helps deflate that difference.

Braisted on Campfield Action

The owner of a Knoxville restaurant kicked Stacey Campfield out of her establishment last night for being a destructive bigot. Sean Braisted gets to the core of the matter.

Knoxvillains who wish to eat out have a whole host of different options from which to choose from.  But Tennesseans who want equal representation and rights have only one legislature to look to.  While there are many representatives, theirs, Stacey Campfield has made it a mission in his life to make life harder for those who don’t fit his own personal view of ‘normal’.

It’s hard, when society is set up to make it s easy to just ignore that you are benefiting from bigots–and thus reaffirming to them that their ideas are “normal” and “mainstream”–and to just let a politician like Campfield eat in your restaurant. In a way, it reminds me of the stand Nirvana took–“if any of you in any way hate homosexuals, people of different color, or women, please do this one favor for us-leave us the fuck alone! Don’t come to our shows and don’t buy our records.”

And people were kind of pissed that some group would be hostile to their liking them, just because they “had different views.” After all, where was this famous liberal tolerance? But tolerance that means letting Campfield glide through life while the people he hurts just shut up and take it isn’t really tolerance. Like Braisted is getting at–tolerance is what two people of equal social stature do when they have opposing views that can’t be reconciled. If you have to keep your head down to keep the bully from picking on you, that’s not tolerating the bully. That’s staying off his radar.

But so often, “tolerate” and “stay off his radar” are treated like the same thing.

Edited to add: Braisted continues to say brilliant things about this.

The Masks of Living People

Late last night, I caught the premier of this show on HGTV. Let me just say two things.

1. If you’re ever wondering if there’s anything about Nashville I don’t like, it’s these people, who permeate a whole strata of Nashville society and are recognizable by their accents which are all the same, but unlike anyone else’s who live here and the way they smile with terrified eyes, as if they are not, at any moment, sure why anyone else is smiling, but are faking it until they make it, hoping no one important will ask them what they’re smiling about. The thing I like best about Nashville is that it takes no effort to organize your life to hardly ever run into folks like this.

2. Why is “let’s make your house look like a hotel” a design strategy? I could even understand it in terms of furniture, but I would stab a person who wanted to put art on my walls that had no personal meaning to me. Ha, obviously, I have strong feelings about interior design. Who knew?

Okay, now on to the observation I have upon watching LeAnn Rimes for 22 minutes. And I want to make this observation in a way that isn’t body-snarking or, well, only body snarking. But LeAnn Rimes looks terrible. It’s not how skinny she is, though I guess that’s a concern people have. It’s that her face looks like a mask.

It’s like this. You know when you see an actor in a fat suit and you see a fat person and you can see, in their faces, that one person is actually in that face and the other person is somehow behind their face? Like you can just see that it’s not their real face, no matter how good the makeup is, because they just look like they’re wearing a mask, somehow.

That is what LeAnn Rimes looks like–like she’s wearing a mask, except that it obviously looks like it’s made out of skin, so the effect is that she looks like she’s wearing a mask made from the corpse face of LeAnn Rimes. And it’s not just her. There’s a whole group of Hollywood women with so much plastic surgery that they appear to me to be more wearing flesh masks instead of their actual faces. But usually, like Joan Rivers, they all kind of start to look the same, that weird old cat-person look. But Rimes’s face looks fine, except for something I can’t quite put my finger on.

I mean, yes, I know I said it looks terrible, and now I’m saying that it looks fine, but I think, weirdly, that it is sliding into the uncanny valley for me. It’s not that she doesn’t look human. She does. But her face does not give my brain the visual cues I need to recognize her as alive.

And that got me thinking about this bizarre beauty standard our society has. I was telling the Professor this afternoon that I feel like we’ve gotten pretty good at recognizing that fat people are supposed to be thin, but not too thin, but “too thin” isn’t a health-judgment but a value-judgment made by other people (so you can be in this fucked up space where you are too thin for your health, but not thin enough to suit other people). And we do an okay job of talking about how thin women feel pressure to be thin in the right ways–still have boobs, have a butt, don’t be too muscular, etc.

But hiding behind “for your health” and “look like the women in the magazines” (even though they don’t look like that in real life) is this emerging, weird “look like you are not really alive” standard. I’m sure we’re supposed to be striving to look like dolls, but honestly, to me, it’s like we’re being encouraged to look like corpses. You know what I mean? When someone dies, you stand there at their casket loking at them and you know whatever animating force that was them is gone. Something in their face just looks not quite right, not quite human any more. And what worries me about the current Hollywood fashion for these mostly frozen faces, is that it seems to mask their animating force as well.

Maybe that’s the point, though.

I don’t know.


I Finished It

I am so bummed to be done. I’m glad the Butcher took the dog to the park, both so I had the time to finish Life on the Mississippi and so there was no one home to annoy when I laughed out loud a number of times.

My favorite part is when he is preparing you for reading “The Undying Head” and describes it thusly, “‘The Undying Head’ is a rather long tale, but it makes up in weird conceits, fairy-tale prodigies, variety of incident, and energy of movement, for what it lacks in brevity.” Weird conceits, fairy-tale prodigies, variety of incident, and energy of movement are my favorite things in a story.

But my second favorite part is where the Indian maiden–and I think to really get how funny this is you have to understand that you literally cannot take five steps in the Midwest without encountering a spot where an Indian maiden supposedly committed suicide. Honestly, the suicide rate of ancient Indian maidens is such in Midwestern lore that it’s a wonder there were any Indians left there when our great-grandparents emerged out of the earth, wholly formed. Possibly this is why no Illinoisan asks where the Illini went. Obviously, the maidens all committed suicide and the men died of broken hearts and old age. Possibly this is also why Michiganders are so surprised when one of the local tribes wants to put up a casino. “Oh, you’re still here? Really? But I thought…”–anyway, the Indian maiden is distraught about having to marry a guy other than the one she loves so she goes up to the top of the highest rock, casts herself down and lands on her parents, killing them, and thus, after she recovers from the fall, goes on to marry her beloved.

Twain says, “there is a startling kind of dramatic surprise about it which I was not looking for. It is a distinct improvement upon the threadbare form of Indian legend. There are fifty Lover’s Leaps along the Mississippi from whose summit disappointed Indian girls have jumped, but this is the only jump in the lot that turned out in the right and satisfactory way.”

I am not embarrassed to admit that I howled when I read that. And then he goes on to complain about a blanket. Well, about a story about a blanket.

Honestly writers in the United States. What are we aiming for when we sit down to write that Twain hasn’t already hit?

I think this is my favorite book, ever. Ever, ever. I love it so much.

Medium Rare?

I sometimes catch The Dead Files on the Travel Channel. I don’t really like it. But I watch it anyway, because the stories are right up my alley. The premise is that this cop and this medium go around investigating people’s troubled haunted houses, but that the cop and the medium don’t compare notes until after the investigation is done. This is supposed to show you how good the medium is, based on how close she comes to the evidence the cop discovers.

Last night they had a case down in Key West where a guy had been tarred and feathered by the Klan for having a mixed-race girlfriend and he then shot and killed the leader of the Klan in retaliation and then was lynched by the Klan. His girlfriend then put a voodoo curse on all of the Klan and the police officers involved and they all died mysterious, gruesome deaths.

You can see why I like the stories.

Two things bugged me. One is that the medium was all like “I sense there was a gang of all same raced people wearing weird, funny hats, somehow part of a larger organization a long time ago” but she never came up with the Klan. Was she born yesterday? I mean, even if she’d said something like “they were either in the Klan or a group like it” it would have been a bet-hedging I could have accepted. But any adult who can say “a bunch of same-raced people” “gang” and “funny hats” and not come up with “Klan”? I don’t believe it.

The other is that the medium had this kind of “oh, she shouldn’t have been doing that” look on her face both about the chick laying voodoo curses and the chick who owned the house who was a reiki practitioner who helped dying cancer kids, because, I guess, both things can “open a door to the other side.” And I guess, unless you’re someone who’s taken on the special mantle of “medium,” you should never open a door to the other side.

I call bullshit. On so many levels.

One, someone who is as an accomplished a voodoo practitioner as you’d have to be to lay a curse that kills multiple people doesn’t need your concern trolling about the dangers of opening a door to the other side. To me, it smacks almost of religious bigotry. Would you talk smack about the dangers of praying the rosary because it puts Catholics in touch with mysterious powers they barely comprehend? Not on national television, because you’d look like an ignorant asshole, judging the religious practices and the spiritual capability of someone based on that religion.

They do this crap on Ghost Adventures all the time–everything that’s not straight-up recognizable bland Christianity is treated like it’s Satanic. Travel Channel, two shows makes it start to look like a habit.

But second, I don’t for a second buy that doing healing energy work on dying children (which, regardless of whether we think it’s valid or not, I think we can all say comes from a place of intense well-meaning) is opening yourself up to negative energy in your own home that you otherwise might not have attracted. What a shitty thing to say.

If mediumship and interactions with “the other side” are real, they are incredibly common. Just at the level of “have you ever felt like a dead person was present and interacting with you and/or the environment you were in.” Not necessarily “I see dead people” but just “do you sometimes think you can tell the soul of a dead person is hanging around?” For as long as there have been human beings, we have tended our dead, venerated our ancestors, and accounted in some way for the feeling that the dead are with us (even if that accounting is that “no, there’s no such thing as ghosts, that’s a jinn or your imagination or whatever.”).

Just as some members of your family are more people-persons than others, I don’t think it’d be weird if other members of your family were more dead-people-persons. Which is not to say that any member of your family couldn’t, you know, go out and make a friend.

But something about the vibe of this medium just seems repeatedly to be “these idiots have done something stupid to open themselves up to stuff they have no business being open to, because that’s my business.”

It’s like saying no one can paint there own room because there are such a thing as house painters.

There are lots of reasons, in a lot of religious and philosophical traditions, about why you might not want to mess around with the dead or whatever else is lingering.

But frankly, “you don’t know what you’re doing” just isn’t a good enough one.

How do you learn what to do if you never start out a fool?

Oh, I See. “You” Doesn’t Include Women.

Tom Humphrey has talked with Campfield further about his strange beliefs about straight people and HIV. I would just like to point you to this section:

Campfield said Friday that his point in the radio show is valid in that, within the United States, heterosexual encounters almost never result in AIDs “unless you’re having sex with someone from Africa or an IV drug user.”

“The odds of men catching it from women are very, very, very low,” he said.

To quote myself when I was providing a statistic Rachel helped me with this morning, “In the United States, heterosexual transmission accounts for how 65 percent of white women and 74 percent of black women acquired the infection. ”

I can’t help but wonder if this is Campfield’s mistake or Humphrey’s. But seriously. The only way heterosexual encounters “almost never result” in HIV/AIDS is if women don’t count.

And, frankly, though Humphrey is not the only one to do this, he’s drawing my ire because I’m linking to him, this is something that can easily be fact-checked. It is a provable matter of fact. Do straight people having sex “almost never” get HIV/AIDS unless they’re fucking Africans or IV drug users? Any reporter can do five seconds of internet research or call the health department. It’s not a matter of “some experts say” and “other experts say.” There isn’t unsettled territory.

So, why can’t reporters report the facts? This is a matter of people’s health. Don’t they have the right to know the truth?

The Great American Novel

People, I honestly don’t know how any writer in the United States who didn’t start writing before reading Life on the Mississippi dares put words to page after reading it. It may not be the “great American novel” but I honestly don’t think there’s a more perfect book about the United States. At least, he’d have to really fuck up the last 150 pages here for me to feel otherwise.

I’m just at the point where he admits to being born in the South (and has been making fun of Southern male authors for being too prone to flowerly language when women are nearby), but I must say that I’ve always thought of Twain as a Midwestern writer. And nothing about the section in which he says he was born in the South makes me feel otherwise, because the national pastime of the Midwest after not telling each other things and then being mad or hurt when we don’t know them and having potlucks in our church basements is indeed wondering what the hell is up with Southerners. If you could combine all those things–a bunch of passive aggressive Midwesterners eating casseroles while talking hilarious smack about their Southern cousins (or the Southern cousins of their friends)–you’d have the quintessential Midwestern experience.

Twain doesn’t mention eating casseroles, but I think we have to assume he was. Ha ha ha.

I’ve been trying to decide what it is about him that makes me lump him more into “Midwestern” than “Southern.” But I don’t know if those are legitimate differences or just based on stereotypes I have. I think Midwestern literature is more prone to a skeptical eye toward organized religion (even as people are predominately religious) because of a mistrust of it being a kind of busybodying, whereas I think Southern literature is soaked in religion and religious belief. I wasn’t surprised when Twain’s brother just showed up out of nowhere to die off. That seems right to me, that a Midwesterner would just assume that we’d all know he had a family and not be alarmed by a brother magically appearing. Whereas, in Southern writing, family relationships are central. Even the way he’s nostalgic strikes me as different from Southern writers, since he’s so keen to be clear that the times and places he misses had their problems back in the past.

But I don’t know. I feel like I have a good idea what constitutes Southern literature, but it’s hard for me to put my finger on what I think Midwestern literature would be.

But, he had a brother named Orion. Granted, I don’t know how it was pronounced. Oh-rye-un, fine. The Clemenses could be Southern. Ore-eee-un and there’s no doubting that they’re Midwestern.

Setting the Record “Straight” on How Heterosexual People Can Prevent HIV/AIDS

You’ll be unsurprised to learn that it’s pretty much the same things gay and bisexual people can do.

I find it a little annoying that the government is all “just don’t have sex with that many people, okay?” since there are enough non-sexual ways to contract HIV and rape is common enough that concern trolling over slutty behavior just doesn’t seem that constructive to me. After all, if you have sex with 50,000 people who don’t have HIV, you’re never going to get it from sexual contact. But if you have sex only once with one person who is also a virgin but got it from being stabbed with an infected needle when he reached into a garbage can to rescue a kitten, you are at great risk. Plus, not everyone can control who fucks them or how, sadly.

Anyway, don’t miss Campfield in the comments of Meador’s post passing off twenty-five year old information as definitive. I don’t know about you, but I use 1988 as my guide for everything. That’s why I’m afraid of the Soviet Union and think the Taliban are our friends.

An Evening with My History Boyfriend, Mark Twain

As I said on Twitter, in black and white, Twain’s hair looks disheveled and old-man-y. In color, it looks like bedhead.

Anyway, the back end of the book is apparently just Twain snarking on everything, including the Atheneaum in Columbia. I love his description of the mule race and wish we could have one here in town. Or, shoot, Columbia, once you forgive him for making mean comments about the Atheneaum, you could have mule races I would attend.

Yes, Those Monkey-Screwing Airline Pilots. I Hate Those Guys.

What we can learn from this Metro Pulse post.

1. Stacey Campfield has some strange ideas about what airline pilots get up to in their free time.

2. While I don’t believe you should fuck Stacey Campfield just out of general principle, you should for sure now not fuck Stacey Campfield, because he doesn’t understand how sexually transmitted diseases are transmitted. And he is a grown up. With internet access. And he doesn’t think straight people can get AIDS. And he’s an elected official. In charge of making the laws that govern us. People, he’s MY AGE!!!!

3. He’s not ashamed to be out in public spouting his monkey-fucking airline pilot giving gay people AIDS which heterosexual people cannot get from heterosexual sex conspiracy theories.

My mind continues to be boggled by this nincompoop.

I Now Kind of Get Why People Live in Giant Houses

I wanted to spend the evening with my new history boyfriend, Mark Twain, but the Butcher wanted to watch TV, so I got sucked into watching TV with the Butcher. Which is a fine way to spend an evening, don’t get me wrong. I love trying to guess in the first five minutes what the plot will be.

But I dreamed about Mark Twain all night. In my sleep. Which I had! Solid and uninterrupted.

I don’t want to get too excited because lord knows I thought this cold was going away last Friday and here it is almost Friday again, but I slept through the night.

It’s the small victories, people.

Anyway, if we lived in a mansion, I’d have just gone into the library and read Mark Twain.

Of course then I’d be complaining that the Butcher and I never spend time together.

So, there you go. Nothing makes me happy, except the possibility of finally not being sick.

Metro Pulse! I Love You!

I have just been enjoying the crap out of Knoxville’s Metro Pulse lately. Check out this story about Karen Dalton, which manages to talk about Dalton in historical context, compare her with other artists, and give you a hint of what makes her special (and limits her legacy) as an artist without the normal “Oh, there’s this girl. She’s wacky/strange/beautiful and her singing is surprising/heartfelt/eccentric. Did I tell you all about her hair/eyes/bedroom yet?” crap.

Well, This Is Sad

Richard Floyd and David Fowler are confused about why their violent, vile bigoted rhetoric is being met with hostility. Fowler actually says, “The unfortunate thing in our culture is that we’re getting to the point where oftentimes we can’t say anything without it becoming uncivil and getting off the merits of the discussion.”

Fowler, everything you say is uncivil and little of it has any merit.

It’s high time everyone just treated you like this was so, rather than playing nice hoping that you’d treat them nicely in return.

Honestly, it’s Floyd and Fowler who make you realize just how revolutionary something like “Treat others as you’d like to be treated” is. These dumb jackasses are literally braying in alarm that they’re actually being treated how they treat everyone else.

Did they think that Jesus just issued that dictate for fun?

Hint: No.

It’s basically a law of human nature that people will treat you how they see you can be treated. And one of the ways they learn how you think you can be treated is to see how you treat others. Run around talking shit about everyone you think you’re better than and eventually the people who think they’re better than you are going to talk some shit about you.


Crouching Mama, Hidden Daddy

Those of you who were around yesterday may remember that I linked to the past, which is creepy. Well, our very own Beth found such a creepy picture of her own ancestors. The hidden parent is pretty well hidden at first. But once you spot the fingers, it doesn’t take long to make out the top of a head and a shoe.

What the fuck? Did they just sit around being all “Well, we don’t have tv. What can we do to entertain ourselves? Let’s creep the fuck out of the future!” and, seriously, why are we not sitting around thinking of ways to creep out the future?

One Last Bit about Twain and Napoleon

He’s full of shit, right? He must have known all along that Napoleon was gone–a town that took up that much mental space for him on a river that took up that much mental space for him.

But the thing I find incredible is that, while Life on the Mississippi is supposed to be an autobiography of sorts, he’s doing novel-type shit with the book.

I mean, all along the way he has repeatedly mentioned Napoleon, repeatedly mentioned how people easily reroute the river in ways that dick other people over, and repeatedly developed these themes of loss and change. So, no, he doesn’t have to spell out what happened to Napoleon (though it’s possible his initial readers would have been more familiar with it than I was), but he tells you, over and over, before he tells you that the town is gone.

It’s a remarkable bit of writing, carried out over the course of almost three hundred pages. I’m curious about what’s going to happen in the back half of the book.

I am just enjoying the shit out of it. Possibly more than I’ve enjoyed a book in a long time.

Ill-Fated Napoleon, Arkansas

Holy shit. So here is how Napoleon, Arkansas was lost. Napoleon stood at the confluence of the Mississippi and the Arkansas rivers. Before the Mississippi reached the Arkansas, it took a drunken turn toward Beulah, Mississippi, and spooned the fat curve of its belly along her main street. Where the river’s belly swung back west to meet up with the Arkansas is where Napoleon sat.

There was a war. And the Confederates sat out in the Beulah bend, just east of Napoleon, firing their artillery at the union forces on the north side of the bend, waiting for them to skirt past Beulah, and then firing the same guns at them again on the south side. In March of 1863, Lieutenant Commander Thomas O. Selfridge of the Union Army had his men dig a channel in the soft earth, using the force of the river to aid in its creation. The Mississippi’s beer belly became Lake Beulah and the river, when it was done stretching to its full size in the new channel, ran right up to the front steps of Napoleon and a flood in 1874 wiped Napoleon off the maps.

I’m honestly surprised no mischief makers have tried this just north of Tiptonville, though I suppose these days that would get you sent to prison for a good long time.

But still, the amount of rerouting of the river done by folks who aren’t the Corps is a real eye-opener to me.

More Granju Stuff

I should be shocked to learn this, but honestly, I am not. I mean, I’m surprised to learn she was under indictment, but on the other hand, it explains why she didn’t call the authorities when she should have. She weighed going to prison against a kid’s life and Henry lost.

But I am not shocked that there is even more evidence that this whole “investigation” was hinky. When a kid ends up dead after being at the house of most people, those people get hassled. The fact that there was so little hassle has never sat well with me. This is just more evidence of how strange the absence of hassle is.

And I sincerely hope the TBI is investigating, since the social circles of relatively comfortable white people who all abuse the same kinds of drugs in Knoxville has got to be pretty small. I think one answer the whole state deserves is whether Henry’s death was “investigated” how it was in order to shield the judge or other high-ranking Knoxvillians from discovery.

If it’s just a shitty investigation, fine. That sucks for Henry’s family, but fine.

But folks, I just don’t feel like this is incompetence, you know?

Oh! Harcourt Makes a Move

Amazon has a publishing arm, a legitimate publishing arm, which has been in the news for handing out wonderfully high royalties and for the animosity traditional bookstores have expressed toward Amazon’s publishing venture.

You could publish with Amazon, but you weren’t going to find your book in Barnes & Noble.

Except that now Amazon has signed a deal with Harcourt for distribution. Amazon’s books will appear to be Harcourt books. Now, bookstores could just refuse to carry Harcourt books, but that’s a little harder to accomplish than just cutting off Amazon. So, it appears for now that a work-around had been found.

I’m curious to see how the industry responds to this.