Thursday, July 31, 2008

Terrifying... Good or Bad?

Never sweat again! Finally:

Exercise in Pill Form

Unless you're diabetic or have some medical condition that could be greatly eased with this, I hope they don't open it up to the general public. If and when.

In related news, I just bought a new pair of running shoes. Gonna test them out now.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Boot, A Tiny Whittled Rocking Chair, and Jewelry Made of Hair

Yes! I finally made Dr. Mudd's house, a stop on the famed escape route that John Wilkes Booth made on the night he murdered President Lincoln. Dr Mudd served less than five years of a life sentence off the coast of Florida for aiding the assassin, who he claimed was too well disguised in a fake mustache to recognize the night he cut his boot off to set his broken leg at his house. (Oh, those wily confederate sympathizers! Always with the uber-convincing mustaches!)

Sarah Vowell's Assassination Vacation understated just how fascinating it is to visit a museum run entirely by various descendents of the subject, rummaging (at one point stumbling) through a century's worth of dusty, ill-preserved antiques (sad, really) and to constantly try to read a framed text only to be interrupted because the framer cut off the important part. What drives a family to do this? The evidence clearing Dr. Mudd's name is scant--it's generally confirmed he was a conspirator or a confederate sympathizer of conspiracy. So where is the motivation? If Dr. Mudd, confederate sympathizer, conspirator to aid Lincoln assassins, were your great great great grand-uncle, as he is to some docent(s), what would be your gain to display how much stuff your family had? Wouldn't you be tempted to chalk him up to a humiliating bad egg? To forget him? It gives a sense of identity, and a common struggle, I guess, to unite around a house full of stuff and photos that people pay $5 to see.

I want to make fun of old stuff, like the dusty couch Booth sat on that still sits up in the drawing room in the house, or the jewelry made out of braided hair that someone in the 19th century Mudd family tree made, but something is stopping me. Maybe it's that I'm realizing that in the whole county down there only one person voted for Lincoln, and only around 13 in the whole state--exactly what that means. That people in the state where I'm from tried four times to kidnap and/or assassinate him, and all to maintain a really f-ed up situation that made some of them rich and others of them just steeped in racial hatred and poverty. It stops being funny at weird moments, and then starts being funny when I think of the tiny wooden rocking chair that one of the conspirators whittled is in a glass case in the house. Not funny, just sad. Confusing. Funny. And so I return to wondering about the descendents and why they're doing this.

So conspirators like Ed Spangler are seen as people, too?

Whittlers of rocking chairs? I wonder.
Look at him, and then, next to assassination conspirator, think, whittler. of _tiny_ rocking chairs.

I'm glad that the Dr Mudd house is there. It's conflicted, disgusting at times, effusively materialistic, and definitely a place I wouldn't feel comfortable alone. They don't sell Sarah Vowell's book in their store, but the Surratt Tavern 30 minutes away stocks two copies, and I am glad for that.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Lovin' Tha Carter III

For lines like this:

"swagger tighter than a yeast infection
fly, go hard like geese erections"

Also, the shout-out he gives to Blue Bayou.

Back To School Discussion: What Lil Wayne Says About Mariah Carey

"I have never done nothing with Mariah Carey, and I would like to, because I love older women."

Reactions? Feelings? Pictures of Mariah being a rebound badass? How would one go about planning a theme party around BET music awards?

Social Hour: Meet 4th Graders

Ways teaching summer camp to 4th Graders in D.C. is like Living in Baton Rouge

1. you should leave your sarcasm at home unless you are a glutton for frustration
1.5 ditto deadpan monotone mimicry
2. you need to say things emphatically and smile
3. you should always bring extra water to drink
4. nothing really is surprising; anyone can come up to you at any time and tell you that their mom grows potatoes or has a rooster as a pet
5. clapping rhythmically, wearing brightly colored clothes and holding hands all "grease the wheels" so to speak, in your effort to get things done, like getting people to sit down, be quiet, or give you an extra key to your office in allen hall
6. an appreciation for the fact that just about anything can be called a "celebration"

ways d.c. is like baton rouge:

1. khaki pants
2. pastel shirts
3. sweat mist

Friday, July 18, 2008

Social Hour - the Watsons

Please meet Betty and Bob Watson.

Bob Watson was one of the founding editors of The Greensboro Review. He also helped to start the MFA program at UNC-G. Here is one of his poetry books from LSU Press. Here is a poetry contest in his name and on this page are some poems of his when he was featured on the NC Arts Council page.

Betty is a painter. She has painted and shown her paintings all over the country for five decades, most recently the Green Hill gallery in Greensboro where she lives. She painted a portrait of Randall Jarrell that is in the RJ special collection at the UNC-G library, and several dramatic portraits of LSU Press poet Kelly Cherry. She has also done an exquisite series of aerial paintings.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Things to Bring to Baton Rouge...

...when you move down for the first time.

1) Baby powder. No one is proud of swamp balls.
2) Umbrella, waterproof shoes/boots. Save yourself some winter misery.
3) Season tickets. Football Saturdays are something to remember/piece together the next day.
4) A healthy appreciation for Miller High Life. One dollar bottles at the Happy Note ease the pre-payday strain.
5) If you have a cat, all its claws. Stray cats, packs of wild dogs, foot-long cockroaches. Some neighborhoods are better than others. Those wild dogs do tour a pretty wide area though.
6) Flea medicine (not Frontline) for pets. Fuzzy animals WILL get fleas, especially in Spanish Town, where you can count the stray cats in regiments.
7) Road patience/tactical driving skills. At rush hours, the 110/10/12 is a curdled, flash-frozen mess. In the summer heat, when everyone's IQ/concern for humanity on the roads dwindle to nil, people may choose to run you over the railing and into neighborhood/lake/restaurants beneath said highways rather than let you merge from the on-ramp. Jet pack would be the preferred way to travel.
8) White undershirts as outerwear. Everyone sweats. It just feels better not seeing your pitstains creeping down to your hip bones.
9) Bell's beer for Soyka. To befriend the beast, you must feed the beast. Bell's.