Friday, October 31, 2008

Today's post

My post for today can be found at Sonia Sunshine's ...and the pursuit of happiness as part of her series of guest posts dealing with the upcoming election. Go over to Sunshine's blog, read my stuff, leave a comment even.

Happy Halloween!

UPDATE: Dave makes his case for Obama. Excellent post.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Midweek interlude: "Long Dark Night"

It doesn't matter what the polls say; I can't help it. It could be because I live in one of the most retrograde parts of this country, or maybe it's the guys at work wanting to run the Sarah Palin swimsuit video again and again, but I still have this vague sense of foreboding about the upcoming election. John Fogerty understands this shit as well as anyone.

Come on, lord you’d better run,
Be a long dark night before this thing is done

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A new low for the trailer court Nazis

It was bound to happen:

Two men, one from Tennessee, have been charged with plotting a bizarre, race-based killing rampage that included decapitations and the ultimate goal of assassinating Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee for president, according to a federal complaint unsealed Monday.

Two men described as white supremacists — Daniel Cowart, 20, of Bells, Tenn., and Paul Schlesselman, 18, of West Helena, Ark., — allegedly met over the Internet and hatched a plan to kill dozens of people, including the beheading of 14 black people and the drive-by assassination of Obama, according to the U.S. Department of Justice and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.


The two planned to conclude the plot by attempting to assassinate Obama, presumably at a public appearance, by shooting at him from a car. They planned to carry out the plot while dressed in top hats and white tuxedos.

Because no one would suspect a racist punk in a tuxedo...

Can't we get this election over with before someone gets killed?

(Crossposted at They Gave Us A Republic.)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Random birthday blogservations

Why is it that every time I do something that brings a lot of traffic around here, I don't post anything for a week afterwards?


About once every two or three years, I hit a football parlay card. These cards, if you've never seen them, list a number of the week's college and pro games, along with pointspreads. The more teams you pick, the higher the payoff odds. It's tough to pick two games right, let alone four, five, or more. I only pick college teams; to me most pro games are flip-a-coin propositions, especially if you figure in the pointspread. I went four-for-four this week, picking Miami giving three points to Wake Forest (Miami won 16-10), Penn State giving three to Ohio State (the Nittany Lions got going in the fourth quarter and won 13-7), Arkansas getting four from Mississippi (Ole Miss won 23-21, failing to cover the spread), and Alabama giving seven to the whiny-ass Tennessee Vols (Bama won 29-9, hammering another nail in Fool Fulmer's coffin).

None of the above is meant to imply that Pole Hill Sanitarium condones illegal activity in any manner.

Tonight, the eyes of the nation will be on LP Field as the undefeated(!) Tennessee Titans take on Indianapolis, likely pile-driving Beth's boy Peyton Manning into the turf several times in the process. And yes, Debo, the Cowboys did win yesterday...


Apparently, not all of us Tennesseans are Neanderthals after all. A new poll shows Barack Obama tied with John McCain at 45% apiece in the eight-county metro Nashville region. No cause for celebration yet, as Obama trails McCain by twelve points statewide, mostly because Crazy John is cleaning up in the rural areas - I've heard McCain is expected to get as much as 80% of the vote in some rural counties. Most of the state's Democrats are in Nashville and Memphis, and Tennessee's two biggest cities aren't big enough to counteract that big of a swing in the rural vote, along with traditionally Republican East Tennessee.

In another section of yesterday's paper, the president of the University of Tennessee is looking at making $17 million in budget cuts. That's not counting the $6 million buyout that Fool Fulmer gets if they decide to cut him loose...

While we're on the subject, by all means go over and read Magnetbabe's endorsement of Barack Obama. Her writing is passionate and her reasoning is as sound as that of most of the big-time political bloggers I read. Don't miss this post.


Axl Rose, who should have OD'ed 15 years ago, somehow has managed to keep his shit together long enough to finally release Chinese Democracy, the new Guns 'N' Roses album that's been promised for ages. I don't know who else is in GNR these days, and frankly, I don't care. If the cuts featured on the website are any indication, save your money. (Fifteen years in the making, and it turns out that Axl wanted to be Eminem? Gimme a break.) Better is AC/DC's new track, "Rock 'N' Roll Train". The ghost of Bon Scott may have receded too far into the mists for AC/DC to channel, but The Rolling Stones will always be within reach.

In the middle of the "Delurking for Breast Cancer" thing, and with everything else that's been happening, I regrettably missed the death of Levi Stubbs, one of Motown's all-time great voices. Randy Raley put together an excellent tribute featuring video clips of several of Stubbs' greatest performances, and it's one you shouldn't miss if you're a fan of The Four Tops, Motown, or the great soul music of the 60's in general.


Oh yes, today is my birthday. Forty-eight, if you're keeping score at home. Peggy's birthday was the 30th, which always made this a special time for us. The last birthday I celebrated without her was in 1984, and it's been kind of hard getting through the last few days. That's one reason you haven't heard from me in so long.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Missouri redeems itself

Rednecks are not inherently stupid:

Les Spencer is an atypical Barack Obama supporter. He's a redneck. His buddy Tony Viessman calls himself one, too. Without accessing their inner Jeff Foxworthy, they define redneck as hardworking guys who like to hunt, fish, and maybe pop a beer or two.

"I hunt squirrels, too," Spencer said, in between drags of bummed Pall Malls on Viessman's back porch. "And I like eating turtles."

Spencer and Viessman comprise the sum total of the Rolla, Mo.-born-and-bred "Rednecks for Obama." Unaffiliated with the Obama campaign, it's a home-grown shtick the two retirees invented to address what may be Obama's most serious challenge in becoming commander in chief: winning - or at least not totally losing - the "redneck" vote.

Rural Americans are as hard hit by the weakening economy as anyone. The trick with them is to get past the cultural stuff. As opposed to the campaign strategists who have all but conceded white rural America to the GOP, these two fellows are at least giving it a shot.

Rolla is 100 miles north of West Plains.

(Tip o' the ol' Pole Hill hat to J.)

Thanks, everybody

Thanks to everybody who participated in "Delurking For The Cause" over the weekend! The 66 comments collected set a new Pole Hill record, breaking the old one by 21.

A special thanks goes out to Dave of Rather Than Working fame who volunteered to match my contribution to The National Breast Cancer Foundation. Dave and I are discussing throwing in a little bit extra; I'll update this post when we reach a decision.

UPDATE: Dave and I agreed to donate $100 apiece to The National Breast Cancer Foundation. As I keep saying, I don't have the most readers in the blogosphere, but I know I have the best!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Delurking for the cause

The idea of "Delurking For The Cause" supposedly originated with Mrs. Flinger, who is said to have invented the parts of the Internet that Al Gore forgot about. Sonia Sunshine has used this idea several times in the past, and now I'd like to put some of this overtime I've been making the last few months to good use.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This is important to me as Peggy struggled with breast cancer in her last years, and I also have a few other family members and friends who have had to deal with this disease as well. So in order to spread awareness, and in hopes of one day finding a cure, I will donate to The National Breast Cancer Foundation one Yankee dollar for each individual who leaves a comment on the thread below.

The rules are simple. Comment as much as you like, but only one comment per person will be counted. The thread will be open for comments through Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. At 12:00 AM on Tuesday, October 21, no further comments will be counted and the thread will be closed.

If you're still out there lurking, now's the time to come out. Regular Hillsters and those passing through from my other hangouts are of course encouraged to participate. Also, be sure to continue visiting The Breast Cancer Site and clicking the button there to help fund mammograms for those who cannot afford them.

UPDATE: Dave has offered to match my contribution. Good man.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

More signs of the apocalypse

'Cos it's a real sign, too!

This sign of the times is along US 63 in West Plains, Missouri, over near CDM's and Strannix' part of the world. They can't help their stupid-ass neighbors; we've all got a few. At least they didn't misspell anything.

(H/T: Digby.)

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

I was not invited

As you all undoubtedly know, they're having a big debate in town tonight. It's mostly a closed affair. They didn't invite me, nor anyone else out of the one million residents of the greater Nashville area save for a handful of "uncommitted voters".

The local media is gushing over all the attention being paid to our fair metropolis today, described by the Tennessean as "a town hall style affair at Belmont University". Of course, this media event has about as much to do with town hall meetings as Velveeta has to do with cheese. Townspeople get to attend town hall meetings. This is pure theater, a chance for Barack Obama and John McCain to act presidential, for the Villagers to eat barbecue and party with the country music stars, and for the media to do what it does best, report on itself.

The Kennedy-Nixon debate of 1960 is arguably the point where Presidential candidates became TV stars, but it was the debates in 1976 where the media really discovered the debates' theatrical value. That was the year Gerald Ford announced that "there was no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe", and the resulting furor led the media to invent a new game, "Find The Gaffe". Then in 1980, Ronald Reagan's chiding of Jimmy Carter, "There you go again", was a factor in convincing the news media that audiences preferred to be entertained rather than informed. In 1988, candidates George H. W. Bush and Michael Dukakis secretly agreed to am memorandum of understanding which would dictate the terms of the debate to its sponsors. Understandably, the lead actors in America's drama would want a say in the script. The League Of Women Voters, who had been sponsoring Presidential debates to that point, refused the demands and issued a statement that they would no longer sponsor the debates, as the League had no desire to "help perpetrate a fraud". The Democratic and Republican Parties took over the debates themselves, establishing a Commission on Presidential Debates made up of party members to oversee future debates. With this move, the debates became a captive of the political campaigns they were supposed to inform the public about, and the descent into self-parody soon became complete.

Who benefits from this sham? The Nashville economy, it is being said, is getting a $10 million infusion from the spectacle, the climax of a long party weekend that began with the ESPN GameDay crew witnessing the Vanderbilt football team begin a season with five straight wins for the first time since World War II. The Village operatives were treated with a weekend of music, partying, and mingling with the stars. Monday was a day for rallies and issues symposiums, including the rally for universal healthcare downtown, though I suspect the Villagers were too busy nursing their hangovers to pay much attention. Tonight is of course the Main Event, following which everybody hops the planes back to Washington and New York; if they're lucky, they might be able to get home to hit the bars for a bit before closing time.

The chief beneficiary is Belmont University, a fast-growing Christian institution seeking to escape obscurity and yearning for the respect accorded to Vanderbilt down the street. For years, Belmont was associated with the Tennessee Baptist Convention. Recently, the rapid growth Belmont's trustees seek caused relations between the university's administration and the Baptists to become strained, resulting in the 2007 decision that disaffiliated Belmont from the Baptist Convention. The Curb Event Center, the venue where the debate will be held, is named for Mike Curb, the music mogul, former California lieutenant governor, and GOP operative who has become one of Belmont's major financial benefactors. One almost has to think that Curb played a major role in landing this plum for the small-time Christian institution.

I won't be watching tonight. I don't figure to learn anything I don't already know, and there's better entertainment available. Some may see the debate as a celebration of American democracy; I see it as an example of how divorced our country's political process has become from its people.

(Crossposted at Correntewire and They Gave Us A Republic.)

Friday, October 03, 2008

Friday borrowed catblogging

For the first time in 35 years, I don't have a cat in my life. I borrowed some pictures from Cats For Obama, a fun site for those who like cats and/or Barack Obama.

Because at Pole Hill, cat-hating is a character flaw.

(H/T to Kevin Drum, the original catblogger.)

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Midweek interlude: Mindy Smith

Can't believe I forgot this one when Sonia Sunshine was compiling her playlist for Jesus the other day - it's a heckuva lot better than most of the other suggestions I threw at her. So, with apologies to Mindy Smith, Sunshine, and The Main Man Himself, here's "Come To Jesus":

Mindy Smith originally hails from Long Island, believe it or not, and came to Nashville in 1994 to pursue a career in Americana, alt-country, folk rock, or whatever they want to call it at the moment. She has released two albums to date, One Moment More (from which "Come To Jesus" was taken) and Long Island Shores. According to her website, she's working on a new disc to be released in the near future. One of our town's most criminally overlooked artists because she doesn't fit in any of the standard Nashville pigeonholes.


Blogroll notes: Some of you folks already know Jennylu: her View Thru My Eyes is always interesting and entertaining. Water For The Ages addresses a subject of great interest to me for obvious reasons; it should be important to you as well. The Complaint Department Manager, feeling prolific, has established The Independent Titan as an outlet for his political ranting and raving. And because we shouldn't be afraid of contrary opinions, Righty Blog joins the list of honor.

Also, no sooner than I presumed them to have hung up their keyboards forever, Mixter, Strannix, and Debo Blue have rejoined the game and are all cranking out the good stuff again. Welcome back, y'all. Be sure to patronize each of these fine bloggers.