Check out this incredible blog about the hurricane: www.operationeden.blogspot.com.


so, tom delay has been indicted. did i spell "indicted" correctly? i've never written the word. here's the deal, though: i'm excited about both the delay news and the sec investigation of billy frist.

Looked at in an objective manner, it makes perfect sense to me that frist would unload his stock in preparation for that soon-to-be presidential bid. And here's the clencher: it makes perfect sense to me that he would sell that stock before it took a nose dive. It's a dishonest move, but if my brother were the ceo of america's largest hospital chain i would expect him to tell me to get outta there when the time was right.

WE ALL KNOW that this is exactly what happened. Frist's family said "Sell now" and he did it. the fact that he says he didn't have any inside information is total crap. c'mon, man. you know you had information! admit it. most of all us would have done the same thing.

the problem is this: it's a matter of scope. If a regular joe were to steal--and let's not even make it a moral thing like feeding the family--but say, a man stole a six pack of beer, he'd go to jail. he'd ride in the back of a police car with his hands cuffed. his fingers would be printed. he would sit in a cold jail cell and wait to get out on bail--if he can afford it. eventually he'd probably wear a little orange suit around, maybe picking up someone else's beer can off the side of the highway. afterward, he'd be lucky to get another job.

now, how much is a six pack of beer worth? mostly, beer thieves aren't the sam adams kinda crowd. they usually go for simnpler fare like falls city or something. so, what? like 6 bucks?

now. how much did Fristy make off with? let me not even blow it out of proportion and just say 50 million dollars.

something's gotta be done...

a second matter:

above i said that "i'd expect my brother to tell me to get out when the time was right." and i would. would i do anything about it? i'm not sure.

recently, when alison and i sold our house, we had an opportunity to make some extra money by doing a slightly dishonest thing. the short version is this: we got a late bid, a higher bid, after we'd told someone else that the house was theirs. no
papers had been signed. it wouldn't have been illegal--just sketchy.

alison and i fretted over this. some of you will remember phone calls asking you what we should do. in the end, we did the right thing. i feel good about that decision. i'm even sorry that we hesitated. The rub is this: something i discovered in that situation is that the morals that govern business are not the morals that govern day to day decisions. when it comes to money folks can get a little squishy. money makes different decisions than the rest of the world.

this is wrong. this is not how things should be. frist's stock was in a "blind trust." he was not to know what was going on there. there is an absolutely fabulous chance that he knew something. if he did know something, and then acted on it, then he is a cheap and weak man. i pity him.


Things That Make Me Cry

A recent post on Kenneth's blog--as well as all the crying The Gridge did at his recent wedding--got me thinking about things that make me cry. Here are some things, in no particular order:
  • The episode of The Simpsons where Homer explains why there are no pictures of Maggie in their house. I get teary just thinking about it.
  • The episode of The Simpsons where Dustin Hoffman plays an inspiring substitute teacher for Lisa.
  • When Earl walked right through that restraining order and put her in intensive care, in "Goodbye Earl."
  • The moment in Garden State when Zach Braff is standing in the rain and he tilts his head back into the rain and shakes his head, hard.
Okay, I'm realizing that these are all things from the media, from pop culture. This is something that happens in Garden State: when Largeman wants to cry at his mother’s funeral, he thinks of the saddest things he can—and they’re all media images. Actually being at his mother’s funeral isn’t the saddest thing he can think of. His life is almost entirely mediated by pop culture images. I don't think this is entirely true for me--I cried a hell of a lot when Franny died, and I cry every time I leave Cookeville, and every time Walter leaves for Massachusetts--but it's making me think.


i'm sure that blogger theorists everywhere have some deep shit to say about the connection between blogging and the state of our collective new millenium psyche. i bring that up as a protection measure for what i'm fixin' to do: fill in some information on my "profile section" of this blog.

you see, i have to admit that i've noticed the number of "profile views" that have taken place on this blog. the other day it was a proud 24. people were looking to see who i was. and now...and now its like 54. wow.

i just can't seem to talk enough about me, you know? it's weak and sad and un-original, but i'm doing it anyway. i'd love to think that i'm clint eastwood in any number of his mid-period westerns, wandering tough and alone, in need of no one's acknowledgement to be fully actualized. that's not the case, though. so...(as i take a deep breath and pinch my nose and make that face a child makes as they dive into deep, unknown waters) here goes...


hi everyone. i apologize about being awol. sorry. hope we haven't lost our audience.

i've been getting busy with school work again--only 9 months to go and i will be finitoed with being schooled, at least in the formal sense. unless, of course, i decide that i need to go back for a phd, and i'm pretty damn sure that that ain't gonna happen.

as some of you may know, my thesis work concerns building small, individual shelters for homeless people. my first one was a bench--a mild-mannered park bench by day, a tiny, warm, dry, safe house by night. current incarnations consist of another tiny house (no dual function to this one) made of recycled futon pieces, a series of waterproofed cardboard fridge shipping boxes with roofs, etc. etc.

anyway, i need y'all's assistance. you see, it appears most people that have asked me about my work have not shied away from giving me their honest opinion about just what they think of this idea. this is an exception to what one usually gets from one's artwork. for example, in the past, when i'm asked what i'm working on i've said: "why, i'm building a really big pipe. it works and everything." the usual response to something like this has been "well, isn't that nice." or occasionally "uhhh..okay." and then we go back to talking about something else like the price of gas or pizza.

lately, though, i've been getting no such nebulous comments. people definately have something to say about the homeless shelters. as a result of this, i've started recording these comments. since i don't want to bias you in any way, i'm not going to tell you what they say. what i do want to do, however, is ask YOU what YOU have to say about this project. don't fear: make suggestions, troubleshoot, write a poem. also, even if you include your name here on your post, i plan to only relay them anonymously when i put them up with the project. awright. that's it. i hope the instructions are clear.

thanks for sharing. keep comin' back.


Meaningless Self-Scrutiny and Complaining

I'm tired of trying to make friends. There are a lot of people here who I think could be friends, so I want to just go ahead and be friends, be intimate and unguarded and real. But I feel like I'm posturing, putting out feelers, trying to be funny (not my strong suit), trying to think of things to say. I keep getting flashbacks to junior high: for example, I wore a 3/4 sleeved shirt tonight, and all the folks I was with were wearing sleeveless shirts, and riding my bike home, I was thinking, "Oh, I should have worn a sleeveless shirt, too--they probably thought I was weird!"

Who is the person thinking these things? I have a Ph.D.! I am a grown-ass woman! I'm not the unpopular kid anymore, I'm not automatically less cool than all the folks around me, I'm not trying to cover lost ground.

It makes it harder that Walter's not here to debrief with. This must have been what it was like for him his first year in grad school, so it's probably good that I'm getting to experience my own version of that now.

What Walter would say in this situation is, "Why don't you assume that everything you did was just fine."


Blogging from Atlanta

I LOVE Hampton Inns. I'm lounging on a bed in a Hampton Inn near the airport in Atlanta after an afternoon business meeting for the Southeastern Women's Studies Association. I'm enjoying the complimentary wireless internet access, and tomorrow morning I'll enjoy the complimentary breakfast before heading back into hurricane-ridden Charleston.

According to Walter there's no hurricane in Charleston yet, but I've been getting well-meaning messages from colleagues in Charleston who want to know how I feel about experiencing my first hurricane, and one colleague on higher ground offered up her apartment in case Rutledge Ave floods, as it sometimes does. So I'll keep you posted.


A Little Bit of Feminism

The news media guy at the C of C (oddly enough, he and his wife are the people we bought this house from--Cookeville's got nothing on Charleston: it is a small town) asked for a quote about the Supreme Court nomination process so that he could disseminate it to the media, so here's what I said. (Those of you who are paying attention will notice a bit of a theme carrying over from my letter to the editor.)

Of course I'd like the President to nominate a woman to replace Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court. Women are 51 percent of our population and ought to be more fully represented in all political bodies, including the Supreme Court. For us to have only one female Supreme Court justice in 2005--and only one non-white justice--seems a bit anachronistic. But what's more important to me is that the President nominate someone who is committed to social justice and the rights of women, people of color, and other disenfranchised people in our society. Woman or man, white or person of color, the next justice needs to be someone who will support women's reproductive rights, Affirmative Action, voting rights, and civil and human rights for gays and lesbians.


My Unbelievably Exciting Life

My mom told me if Walter and I didn't start posting things on our blog that she'd stop reading it, so I thought I'd better write something. Walter's been gone for almost a week now, back in MA for his last year of grad school. I've had a week full of meetings, interviewing student workers, going for lunch and coffee with many different people, etc. We had our first Women's and Gender Studies faculty potluck on Thursday, and this Tuesday we have our first steering committee meeting, which I guess will be my first official meeting as director.

I've now tried yoga at three more studios--Gaea, Satsang, and Serenity Now (which, by the way, is what George Costanza's dad kept saying in that one episode of Seinfeld, so that made me laugh). I've also found a vet for Baxter, who apparently doesn't have some awful anxiety-induced skin infection, as I had feared, but just bad fleas. Oh, and I went with a colleague and her boyfriend this weekend to see The 40-Year-Old Virgin, and it was hysterical. So, as you can see, my life is very full.

In other news, the Charleston Post & Courier still hasn't published my brilliant letter to the editor, so while I'm waiting for them to do so, I'll post it here:

Dear Editor:

I’ve been here a month, and I love Charleston. I’m delighted to be in a city with a privately-owned newspaper (rather than one owned by Gannett), and I appreciate the variety of syndicated columnists, such as Leonard Pitts and David Brooks, in the Commentary section of the paper every day.

I’ve noticed, however, how few women columnists you include in your lineup (since it’s my job to notice these things). For instance, in the last ten days, you’ve published 31 columns by male authors, and only five by women. There’s no shortage of women columnists out there whose work would enhance the Post and Courier. For starters, you could bring Ellen Goodman, Molly Ivins, Maureen Dowd, Deborah Mathis, Barbara Ehrenreich, Sheryl McCarthy, or Cindy Rodriguez into your regular slate of opinion columnists.

Since women make up around 50 percent of the population, and probably 50 percent of your readership, it would make sense to include their opinions in Commentary more than 16 percent of the time.


Alison Piepmeier
Director, Women’s and Gender Studies Program
The College of Charleston