Pop-culture: June 2006 Archives

I caught this post yesterday on one of the blogs I read and later caught the news piece on KMOV. (Just to say - when I really want to know what's going on in St. Louis neighborhoods, I read Steve Patterson. Also, you know that blogging has arrived when the networks get info for their top story from a blogger.)

Normally I'm all kids, boobs, and poop over here, but this issue strikes close to home as a) Chris is co-heading a much-publicized rehab that qualifies as "gentrification," plus, we're also preparing to move back to the city into a rehabbed area. I want to move back into the city for the diversity and to escape the lily-white hicks who live and die by "Freebird." However, I want to move back into an area where the buildings don't look decrepit, where homeowners take care of their property; a neighborhood that's safe in which my kids can play.

I'm enraged by people like this ("Good for them?" Are you JOKING?), excellently described in Patterson's comments as:
"... represents an anti-gentrification zealot usually no more than ex-suburbanite turned 'bourgeoisie radicals' who took one too many social science classes at university, and now feel compelled to appoint themselves as a guardian of what they perceive as a victimized class, by making victims of another."
FYI - the market determines the price of those "over-priced condos," you butthat.

It's amazing that there are people who think that you must stifle growth in order to maintain diversity. I say "SOCIAL!" you say "IST!" "SOCIAL!" "IST!" "SOCIAL!" "IST!" Yes! Say "no" to an increase in your tax base! Say "no" to more tax dollars for schools and public works thereby condemning yourself to increased property taxes to shoulder the ever-increasing burden! (While whining about the rising taxes.) Dude, that's redneck reasoning.

That mindset truly doesn't understand the city and is determined to ruin it. That, THAT is the real threat.

During the last day of our trip Dave and Bonnie took us to the Edgar Allan Poe house and his grave site. I've been a fan of Poe since my early days as an angst-laden teenager who listened to Joy Division on her headphones while stretching for a track meet and scowling at cheerleaders. I loved his use of meter and the hollow, aching loneliness he conveyed through his words because sometimes I felt it, too. I practically ate everything the man wrote and now all he's ever written sits on our bookshelves.
To visit his grave site, for me, is like visiting Graceland.

Except that Poe's house isn't a tacky, real-life metaphor of what exploitation and excess can do via celebrity; in fact, his legend survives much as Poe himself did in life. The Poe House, his museum, sits in the ghetto across the street from the half-burnt shell of a house. All of the buildings on the block have thick iron bars in the windows. The museum is a sad, weensy house with barely the room to stand upright inside; Poe lived there for several years. His chair, college lap desk, telescope, bits of his hair, old clippings, and a copy of his wife's death portrait - the odd, 19th century custom of dressing up your dead loved ones for a pre-Glamour Shots sitting - are all on exhibit. Poe's real story, not the obfuscation of him as a drunkard and doper, the story taught in high school by those who never read past his popular work, is told. The story of a man whose jealous rivals attempted to rip him to shreds in the papers, rivals who lied about him, blacklisted him, and tried to snuff out his legend. Their lack of literary skill, when compared to his, drove them to the desperate and pathetic measures exclusive to hacks.

The literature on visiting the grave was unsettling ("Beware of beggars, they may try to steal your money!") but the cemetery itself, serenely situated at Westminster Church, was beautiful. It could qualify as a Tim Burton set. Poe's current grave lies at the cemetery's entrance, marked by a large monumental tombstone; his original resting place is located down the twisting path through the catacombs.
I took some shots of the tombstones (rubbings were prohibited) because they were old, beautiful, and just plain cool-looking.

Click for all Poe shots.

Two years


Of everything I've done in the past two years of Mamalogues.com, I'm most proud of this distinction: #1 in a Google search for "nicknames for country grandpa's."

I spent a good portion of yesterday all teary from the e-mails and comments. I feel a bit like Lorne Michaels when he asked Rudy Giuliani "Can we be funny?" on the 2001 season premiere of SNL. I watched the dramatization documentary, became infuriated and got all teary at the end again.
A new day. Another five years.

So I switched up the mast and changed some colors.
This month also marks the second anniversary of spilling my trials, triumphs, and misadventures on this website. I blogged for a year prior on a different Blogger site before changing things up, so three years of blogging in total. The purpose of my blog has changed somewhat to suit my needs over the past two years. I began blogging initially as a way to keep writing after I left the office and came home to freelance and care for Liam. Blogging kept me on the bicycle. It began to make me money, which we needed, despite the women who wrote in after my SAHM piece and insinuated that I must be rich to stay home HOW NICE FOR ME that I'm rich. Being rich would erase some of life's problems, but no, not rich! The money I make pays for our health insurance, Liam's asthma meds, and other bills. She works hard for the money.

This month also marks a year since I had Mamalogues trademarked - as it's paying bills and such, I need to protect my bass. Which is why I got a weensy bit angry when I discovered that some yuppie Beverly Hills boutique was trying to pass off my site name as their property and making cash off of it - which is why I made a call to get all ghetto cease-and-desist-y on said yuppie boutique after they ignored my previous polite requests to stop using my name. And I was so polite! I'm normally very polite, very straightforward, but so polite! However, I can get really, really white trash, BRING IT pushy.

I love sharing my experiences with you all and I've met some truly awesome people through my website. I'm astounded at the number of old friends that have found me through it. I'm astounded further by the number of kindred spirits out there who read daily. So many of you write in to share your own experiences, offer well-meaning advice; a few of you regulars (Jen S., LeAnn, MN, Sarah W., others) send me links to things you'd think I'd find interesting. Jen S. once sent me a photo of a classic mulleted redneck (saving for a future post) that caused me to choke on a gulp of orange juice. That so many of you take the time out to drop me a line and put a name with one of the thousands who read each week, that's pretty remarkable. I feel like I'm connecting. I appreciate it.
Thanks. Warm fuzzies, AWWW.

Also thanks to Craig who helped beat my site design into submission. Last but not least, a MAMMOTH thanks to my host and friend, X (and his luuurvely wife, my friend Nicky), who lets me park my site on his server and totally bailed me out with the move to MT. I couldn't do what I do without him. And without you all, I'd just be droning on to nobody.

**ADDENDUM: LeAnn has informed me that I am also #1 in a Google search for Darth Vader is lots of awesome. I want that on my epitaph.

Reality bites


For the third time in the past couple of months I've been contacted by a casting producer wanting me to participate in a network reality series. The latest contact comes from ABC's "Wife Swap," the show I know only for the gi-normo woman who, at the last minute, decided that she was a "GOD WARRIOR!" and went on a red-faced diatribe. And she was sober.

That's the big reason I said no.

My kids, my family isn't a social experiment and I'm uncomfortable with allowing people I don't know in a position to influence my kids. Family is sacred. Except for this morning. Or the times that Ewan throws a tantrum and stamps around the house smacking his big fat head on things in a self-righteous rage. Or when Liam whines, how the unnerving decibel of that whine is pitched high enough to kill kittens.

"Plus, there's no other woman on earth who could take your role, do everything that you do, and deal with me," Chris snickered. That's right. Especially this morning.

Despite spilling my entire life out online, I'm a very private person offline. I'm a situational extrovert; though I generally prefer to keep to myself. The thought of a frillion television cameras poking around my house freaks me out, especially since I think that regardless of how people truly are, they're always edited to be more "appealing" with some kind of overblown drama.

And we all know that there's MORE than enough drama to go around right here.


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