Ole Miss Game day

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So, we lost the game, but the day was fantastic. I bought blue suede wedges, we ate sumptuous crab cakes, browsed through Square Books, and I was amazed by the Grove.

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The October Crazies

I’ve been good, and quite frankly too busy, this month to fully pay attention to the mid-term election shenanigans. I read Nate Silver’s data, weep a little, and then go on with my day. My willful ignoring of the crazies doesn’t mean, however, that the crazies went away. Oh no, they’re still running amuck. We’ve got Rand Paul and Aqua Buddha, people stomping on people, Christine O’Donnell, and any number of other just plain weird things occurring. I’ve just stopped really caring. Then I read this piece by Brian Beulter in TPM discussing the constitutional amendments that Tea Parties would like to make. (I think he’s purely supposing this fact. No one has in fact proposed these amendments.) Nevertheless, I had to pause when he reported that the Justice Department had to file an amicus brief declaring Islam an actual religion. Yep, some people were trying to say it wasn’t, ostensibly denying the religion and its places of worship First Amendment protection, so a mosque couldn’t be built in Tennessee.  I’m starting to think no one teaches logic fallacies anymore. Or how to use the OED, or indeed, any dictionary or encyclopedia.  The rest of the list is pretty funny, including a movement to repeal the 21st amendment, because life was so much better when alcohol was sold illegally by organized crime and rum-runners.

Song of the Day: Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, “Elvis Presley Blues”

I’m terribly fond of Gillian Welch’s smart blend of bluegrass, pop, spirituals, and Americana. She pulls themes from a wide range of American mythology and rock and roll; hence, the combination of Elvis Presley and John Henry in one song. The album this song comes from, Time, the Relevator, also pulls on the figures of Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr.

I also like the odd juxtaposition of Welch and Rawlings performing this song for a British audience and BBC 4. I’m thinking about transatlantic crossings at the moment as I work on an abstract on Frances Hodgson Burnett’s “Sara Crewe.” I grew up on A Little Princess, the book her three part serial “Sara Crewe” became. It was the first book I bought for myself at the age of nine. It opened up the whole world of London and of story for me. I always assumed the writer was British; Burnett is and isn’t. Like Henry James and T.S. Eliot, Burnett is defined by her own transatlantic journeying. She grew up in Manchester, moved to Knoxville, TN at 16, and spend most of her writing career moving from space to space.  She crossed the Atlantic an amazing 33 times in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Almost all of her work was initially published in American periodicals, yet her most enduring children’s novels are set in England and depict an idealized view of British identity.  The frission is compelling. I’m not sure what I’m making of it yet though.

Commonplace

“There has fallen a splendid tear
From the passion-flower at the gate.
She is coming, my dove, my dear;
She is coming, my life, my fate;
The red rose cries, ‘She is near, she is near;’
And the white rose weeps, ‘She is late;’
The larkspur listens, ‘I hear, I hear;’
And the lily whispers, ‘I wait.'”

~ Alfred Lord Tennyson, “Maud”

Barrel Racing

It shouldn’t surprise me that there is a barrel racing blog. After all, at least 80 billion blogs exist to mock the hipster (as well they should). I have a fondness for rodeos despite having only been to one. In Colorado. (Yep, my Texas girl credentials don’t include the cowboy section; it’s that inner city growing up thing.) I blame my nascent interest in rodeos on the addictiveness of Australian t.v. series McLeod’s Daughters. So when Salon Broadsheet posted about barrel racing, it caught my interest. This video of 8 year old Regan Henning racing at the JR Wenger Congress Barrel Racing Sweepstakes is pretty darn amazing and slightly scary. She apparently did the whole course in under 15 seconds, breaking the record.

Death defying nerves of steel.

So you Want to Get a PhD in the Humanities

This video has pretty much gone viral among my graduate school friends. (I really hate the term cohort, and I refuse to call the people who drank with me, argued with me, had my back, and threw confetti at me when I passed my dissertation anything but friends.) It’s hilarious. Okay, it’s only hilarious now that I have a job I like in academia. In reality, it’s a deeply depressing commentary about the state of the humanities. And I get to do a presentation next week on helping students prepare for graduate school. I may just show this video instead.

* Sorry about having to link to the video. It’s in a format that WordPress doesn’t embed from.