Save Loretta!


Loretta Lynn played here Friday night. She was resplendent in a pink princess gown with matching pink sparkly shoes. She looked like a little girl playing dress up. You could tell being pretty was still important to her, even at 75. I like that in a woman.

Most of my students don't know who Loretta is, and if they do, they think she's uncool, an old country fuddy-duddy. Oh, the folly of youth! I pray Loretta won't be lost to the dustbin of history. That would be a tragedy. Because Loretta's important, dammit. She's got something to say and a tough sexy voice to say it with.

And who cares if Loretta forgot the lyrics to a few songs on Friday night? I could sing them for her. Who cares if she had to sit down? We all get tired. And who cares if her son Earl told stupid jokes about Viagra and cats in heat? Actually he was pretty much a tool. But Loretta was the queen. Long live Loretta, feminist icon of the Grand Ole Opry. Long live her iconic songs.
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The South

In Arkansas, MLK day is also known as Robert E Lee Day. Apparently, Alabama and Mississippi do the same.

Official state websites listing what services are closed include both men's names. My first January down here, I received an email from the university announcing the day--and that included both men's names as well. I was shocked and when I mentioned it to my colleagues, they just shrugged.

Southerners claim it's not about racism. It's about honoring history, they say. The glorious past. No one even thinks about it, they claim, because it's all behind us. And I have a good friend, a liberal Democrat from the deep south, who argues as passionately for the Confederate Flag as a symbol of southern pride as he does for the rights of African Americans.

But I'm not buying it. Not for a minute. No wonder the rest of the country believes southerners are racist hicks. No wonder Rush Limbaugh makes racist statements about the tragedy in Haiti--and garners an audience for it.

The fact is Robert E. Lee and Martin Luther King stand for two separate ideologies. Continuing to deny it is racist. There's no other word for it.
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Rock out with your catheter out

Last night I went to see a bunch of bands sponsored by the Oxford American. Sonny Burgess and the Legendary Pacers. True Soul Band. Sleepy Labeef.

And let me tell you: These guys are old. Like born in 1930 old. And let me tell you this: They rocked it.

It's true what they say. Age don't mean a thing, ain't nothing but a number. When True Soul Band played, I shook my money-maker. Hard. I hope I'm like that when I'm 70. Still rockin it.
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Galley arrival


Galley arrived yesterday. We were very happy to finally meet each other.




First thing I did was offer Galley a beer. After the long trip from New York, Galley was thirsty.










We went on a canoe ride. Galley didn't even wear a life vest!



















Galley sat in the swing, taking in the view.












Galley reluctantly agreed to play dress up. Although it is beneath Galley's dignity, I insisted.


















After a busy morning, Galley snuggled up with the cats for an afternoon nap.
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slasher movies



Black Christmas. I'm ashamed to admit I just saw it last night. For years, I've operated under the false assumption that John Carpenter's Halloween was the granddaddy of the modern slasher genre.

I read and loved Men, Women and Chainsaws. The Final Girl and gender politics. The boogeyman killer and his metaphorical phallus penetrating women sadistically. The women who are killed for their transgressions: premarital sex or being sassy or getting drunk. The genre is perfect fodder for me. I can pretend I'm conducting feminist criticism while actually enjoying hardcore violence!

I was wrong about Halloween though. Black Christmas has all the elements--and released in 1974, it had them four years before Carpenter's classic.

Plot: A sorority house during the holidays. A pregnant gal (who is the Final Girl) intent on having an abortion--just one year after Roe vs. Wade. That's edgy social commentary and it adds another layer in the morality tale. A male caller terrorizes the girls with kinky messages and subsequent murders. But wait--red herring!--the caller/killer might be the father of the baby; he is temperamental and insists that abortion is murder! Plus there's a potty-mouthed drunk Margot Kidder as an irascible women's libber. Of course, she's stabbed in the chest with a glass unicorn horn. In the grammar of the slasher, she got what she deserved. Liberated woman needs to be subdued.

The movie was scary, suspenseful and had all of the subtext I look for in a slasher flick. And it completely changed my view of the history of genre. If you haven't seen it, do so immediately!
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Zombies will take over the world!

Zombie predictions for 2010.

They will take over the writing workshop and the publishing industry! Be afraid. Be very afraid.
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Brains on sale now!

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