Department Of Actually, It *Was* You.
Atone and Move On, But Don’t Deny, Minimize, Or Forget.
Re: the recent Fresh Air interview with singer/songwriter Brandi Carlile. I tuned in eagerly, as I’m a fan of both the show and Carlile’s music (and am currently reading her memoir). I’m sure I must have previously heard the BC song “That Wasn’t Me,” but I’d never paid attention to the lyrics until FA host Terry Gross and BC began discussing it.
Carlile had a tumultuous childhood, with a myriad of family challenges, including poverty, coming out as gay as an adolescent (and being publicly refused a baptism because of it), and her father’s alcoholism. Carlile spoke of being influenced by the mindset/jaron of Al-Anon and Alateen in terms of her composing That Wasn’t Me, which is sung from the POV of an addict or “misbehaver” of some kind.
The song is written in sympathy, or at least that’s moiself’s interpretation, as the addict/narrator is not called out for his self-deception which prevents him from full-on owning and/or apologizing for the pain he has caused.
♫ Tell me did I go on a tangent?
Did I lie through my teeth?
Did I cause you to stumble on your feet?
Did I bring shame on my family?
Did it show when I was weak?
Whatever you see, that wasn’t me
That wasn’t me, that wasn’t me ♫
(excerpt from “That Wasn’t Me,” Brandi Carlile)
“That wasn’t me?” I disagree. Ginormously.
A second listen to the lyrics and I was still clenching my jaw.
I assume the song is Carlile’s way of trying to show love/empathy/forgiveness for her father – all laudable emotions and goals. Still, I loathe the way she did it, as in, the lines she gave him. 
Whatever you see, that wasn’t me. Uh, actually, it *was.*
It was you, using drugs or whiskey or whatever, but it was still *you* on drugs or whiskey, not Mel Gibson or anyone else. Not all addicts do the particular, specific things you did; thus, the whatever-it-is-you-did-that-you-feel-the-need-to-mention, it *was* you. It may have been difficult, even-heart-breaking, for the little girl to see you, her daddy, do the things you did, but you did do those things and she saw you do them. It was you; it wasn’t someone or something (“the needle” or “the bottle”) else.
No matter how lyrically or artfully it is phrased, a statement which uses the format of a question for listing the consequences, for others, for your behavior (“did I go on a tangent/lie/cause you to stumble/bring shame on my family…?”) is not an *acknowledgment* of those consequences. Sans acceptance of responsibility, such an anemic non-apology is arguably even more damaging (to the one being addressed) than a denial. Especially, in moiself’s opinion, when such statements are aimed at a girl-childs.
From sexual harassment and abuse, to academic, political and workplace discrimination, to family dysfunction and every dynamic on the planet, girls and women are taught, socialized, and pressured to *not* believe their own eyes and ears, nor to trust their own experiences. “It’s *your* interpretation of what happened that is wrong,” females are told, it’s not that what happened to you is wrong. 
* You’re six years old, and just before another holiday gathering you tell your mother about how the behavior of a certain extended family member creeps you out. But your mother pooh-poohs your request to stay far away from him. “Oh no, that’s just your Uncle Buck! He’s so friendly – Buck loves everybody, and he’s always been a big hugger. Now, don’t be shy or hurt his feelings when he’s around, you know how special he thinks you are….”
Months or years later, Uncle Buck molests you/your sister/cousin/friend, and/or you find out he’s been arrested for child sexual abuse….
* Introverted, awkward, 7th grade you finally gets up the nerve to complain to your teacher and your parents about your classmate Billy. Billy constantly looks for opportunities to tease you in the school hallways; he has “bumped into” you several times, jamming his elbow in your ribs (so hard that it once left a bruise); he even tried to push you/trip you down the stairs the other day. Although you are annoyed by and even growing fearful of Billy, the adults tell you that you should “laugh it off,” and that Billy “…does this because he likes you…and you want boys to like you, right?”
* Your high school guidance counselor tries to discourage you (and another female A-student you know) from applying to a certain university because, he warns you, it is known for being “…a very competitive school, academically rigorous, with all the students vying for pre-professional majors.” Two male friends of yours, who want to apply to the same university, are told by that same counselor that the school would be an excellent choice for them, as it is “…a very competitive school, academically rigorous, with all the students vying for pre-professional majors.” This is despite the fact that both your and that other female student’s GPAs and SAT scores are higher than the same of those two boys.  When you bring this incongruity to the attention of a trusted teacher and/or your parents, you are told that there is no sexist bias, overt or subliminal. “That’s not like him, no way! The counselor was just encouraging students to follow their natural interests….”
* Your colleague keeps claiming credit for your ideas and work, and/or interrupting you during meetings and/or touching you and speaking provocatively/dismissively to you. He never shows such behavior with his male coworkers. When you bring this to your boss’s attention you are told, “That’s not what’s going on; that’s just Jake. He doesn’t mean anything personal; that’s his M.O. Why are you putting that interpretation on things, when no one else has a problem with him?”
* * *
Department Of My Brain Just Does This
Number 949 In A Never-Ending Series
Speaking of Fresh Air, Terry Gross is one of the best interviewers ever. And she says something at least once during every FA interview which never fails to amuse me. After TG announces a pause for the obligatory station identification break, she continues with,
“For those of you just joining us, my guest is Brandi Carlile (or whomever.)”
Immediately, every damn time, my brain does a riff on taking that phrase literally, ala
“And for those of you *not* just joining us, my guest is _______” 
* * *
Department Of What Is The Sound Of Asparagus Screaming?
The Food Editor of the NY Times apparently knows, as per this recent headline:
16 Asparagus Recipes That Positively Scream Spring
I made one of the recipes (“Turmeric Black Pepper Chicken With Asparagus”), “trading”  crumbled tempeh for the chicken.
Moiself heard no positive (or negative) screaming, nor vocalizing of any kind, from the asparagus stalks. The asparagus tips, however, were another matter.
* * *
Department Of The Perfect Shell
- The perfect shell does not exist.
- Even if it does exist, it is unlikely that I will find it.
- There is no third thing.
That said, something about the symmetry and simplicity of the lines and coloring made me think that this shell is close to perfect.
* * *
Department Of Doing My Part For Public Health
What from I’m been seeing on social media, apparently, the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccination approaches 110% if you post a picture of your proof of vaccine card. Not wanting to dis science or anything:
* * *
Department Of Nit-Picking Yet Another Podcast-Related Song
Don’t Ask Tig (“Comedian Tig Notaro doesn’t have all the answers, but that won’t stop her from giving advice on…”). The podcast is bookended with Edie Brickell songs – new songs, apparently written for (and owned by?) the podcast. The theme/opener seems to be “We Got a friend in Tig,” and the closing song, I’m calling, “That’s What Your Heart is For.”  The closing song reminds me of the podcast itself, in that I like a lot of things about it but there are parts of it I want to change.
♫ Ooooh, my sweet child/There’s so much I want you to know
Ooooh, my sweet child/There’s so much I want you to see
I wish that I could give you the answers
I wish that I could make you believe
I wish that I could put you on your path and set you free…
That’s what your heart is for
That’s what your heart is for
That’s what your heart is for
Listen to your heart…. ♫
It’s a sweet tune; a lovely melody, a song about a mother (the sentiments, of course, could be the same for a father) expressing her love and hopes for the life journey her child will be taking. But, when it comes to the chorus I want Brickell to add another line
♫ …That’s what your heart is for
Listen to your heart….
Then check in with your brain. ♫
Listen to your heart is considered by many folks to be classic advice. But unless tempered by your head, listening to your heart can be horrible counsel. The latter because…
Step back and look at your own life and decisions, as well as those of your family and friends. “Follow your heart” is a strategy which *never* leads us astray, does it? We always, consistently, want and crave what is ultimately best for us, right?
It seems every week I run across a news story about how someone, from an average Joe to a Famous Person, needs to take out an order of protection (aka, restraining order) against some other person who is stalking them. this is because Stalker’s heart has told them that their primary mission in life is to be with average Joe/celebrity, even when the object of their obsession vehemently thinks otherwise.
In the case of the Famous Person, oft times the celebrity is being hounded by someone they have never even met. Yet that Someone is absolutely, 150% convinced, “in their heart,” that they and the famous Person are meant to be together.
Lovelorn fanatics aside, there’s also a small but significant number of people whose hearts (and heads) can never (or rarely) be trusted to give them reliable guidance or even feedback, due to mental illness and related disorders.
Perhaps I’m overthinking this. I like the song; still, if you’re gonna listen to your heart, please remember to run whatever your heart is saying past your brain.
* * *
(Visually Assisted) Pun For The Day
From a day last month, actually. I’m just seeing it for the first time.
Backstory: Infectious Disease Epidemiologist Julia Marcus tweeted a picture of a graph (a screenshot from a slide presentation on an FDA website) which showed how the efficacy of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine increased over time. The image, a faint black line amid gray shading, resembled something that the good-humored doctor thought was worth celebrating, as per her caption,
“J&J vaccine is rising to the occasion.”
* * *
May you rise to the occasion and get your COVID vaccination;
May you uncover the beauty and mystery of screaming asparagus;
May your heart always check in with your brain;
…and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
* * *
 Or, perhaps those are the lines he gave himself?
 The following incidences I site as examples, each and every one of them unfortunately common to “the female experience” worldwide. These particular ones were all experienced by girls and women I know personally.
 Which you know because you asked them, after you found out that they were interested in applying to the same school and you asked about their conversation with the guidance counselor, mistakenly assuming that he (the counselor) also tried to discourage them, like he did with you and the other girl.
 Victor Lazlo, or, _____? We who’ve listened from the beginning of the show get someone else.
 Their term, not mine, for substituting other protein sources for the chicken…which we plant-based folks are known to do.
 I’m having a hard time doing a search for the song titles.