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For a long time, both lancemccord.com and letterstosg.com pointed to the same thing. From now on, only letterstosg.com will be udpated. lancemccord.com will continue to refer to this old version of the site for a few weeks. After that, lancemccord.com will simply be a mirror of the new site. If you have linked to content at lancemccord.com, those links should continue to work.
You were asked yesterday at school not to sing Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies.” From what you told me, you staged a version of the “Single Ladies” video. You said: “the only parts I could remember were the part that goes ‘we’re the single ladies’ and ‘if you liked it you should’ve put a ring on it.’” Eventually, one of the teachers pulled you aside and asked you not to do that any longer. When I asked if you knew why you’d been asked to stop, you quoted the teacher as saying “the kids that don’t know about the Single Ladies will go home and sing it and their moms and dads will say [scolding voice] ‘how do you know about the Single Ladies?’”
I tried not to let this crack me up, but it was difficult. We talked a bit about how different houses can have different rules. I did not point out that most of the kids in your class probably know the song as it was performed by the Chipettes in Alvin & the Chipmunks: the Squeakuel. Nor did I point out that a five-year-old singing a Beyoncé Knowles song could never be as offensive as any human believing that the song belongs to the Chipmunks.
We have a few more years ahead of us before you master modulating your behavior for its audience. And in that time, I expect that you, your mom and I may catch some grief over what is considered age appropriate in our house. We may not always side with you, and sometimes we may take your side without letting you know. And, to be clear, we are totally fine with the teachers telling you to take a powder if they think it will save them some grief from some of the crazier parents. But I think it’s cool that you were trying to organize the other kids to re-create the “Single Ladies” video.
For those of you living under a rock (Mom, Dad), here’s the video in question. As a wise man once said, it is “one of the best videos of all time.”
AT is at a concert tonight with her friends. After picking you up from pre-K today, I did not have any interest in doing anything remotely like work. So we went out for dinner. Conversation was unusual as usual.
Me: Oh, I meant to tell you about that animal you were talking about this morning.
The animal that you dreamed attacked your gymnastics class?
Oh, that one.
It’s called a “basilisk.”
[eyes widening] Is it real?
No, it is not real.
But how do you know its name? Have you ever seen one?
No, but you said it was like the monster in Harry Potter.
Yeah. It was a really big snake, and it was poisonous.
According to legend, the basilisk is a large lizard or snake who can kill with a glance.
The basilisk in my dream could turn people into stone when it looked at them!
That’s why I’m pretty sure it was a basilisk.
But it’s not real?
Definitely not real.
But poison ivy? Is poison ivy real?
Poison ivy is real.
[Note that this is the only time poison ivy has come up in conversation in like, months. And it did not come up again after this tonight. We were sitting at a bar that looked out the restaurant windows to the street. Later….]
You: He looks good. Daddy, that guy looks good.
Me: Sorry, what?
That boy looks good to me. Oh! He’s coming in here! [You watch a guy walk through the door. He is in his mid-20s, in jeans, a gray long-sleeved shirt and a black down vest. He’s sufficiently well-groomed that I would hazard to guess that he is gay or from the northeast.]
I recently got a typed copy of a diary started by Jean Patterson in the final days of 1901. The diary spans about a year. I found it interesting reading, and I thought I’d post it here for posterity.
Jean was 13 years old and living in Gateswood, Alabama when the diary begins. During 1902, her family moved to Muscogee, Florida. The diary contains references to books, parlor entertainments and music. To the extent I am able to learn anything about these sources, I’ll be posting that information here as well. I have started posting chapters from “When Knighthood Was in Flower,” a book Jean finished reading on January 1, 1902. I will also post the little I’ve found on Gateswood and Muscogee. The former appears as a place name on Google Maps, but street view suggests that there isn’t much there any longer. And Wikipedia leads off its discussion of Muscogee by calling it a ghost town.
Jean was my great grandmother, by the way — my father’s paternal grandmother. She went on to marry Guyte P. McCord in 1912 (although it sounds from the diary like 13-year-old Jean may have been crushing on some guy named Sheldon). This is Jean in 1950, seated on the couch next to the Governor of Florida. That’s Guyte in the chair.
Yesterday, you asked me who would win a fight between Batman and Superman. Thanks to that cantankerous coot Frank Miller, I was ready not only with an answer, but the story to back it up. A few days before that, you were surprised to learn that Batman does not have super powers. So I think you were pretty impressed to learn that he was able to hold his own against Superman for several minutes.
Jean Patterson’s Diary
January 1, 1902, Gateswood, Alabama
[ what’s this? ]
Jan. 1, 1902 — Wednesday
The first day of the New Year dawned, sunshiny bright and beautiful. I had to go to school and stood an examination on History of the U.S. Bessie and I both got 100 on it. We stood it in the morning and in the afternoon had our regular lessons — Roman History, Civics and Spelling. After school we came home and I read and finished “When Knighthood Was in Flower.” I liked it very much. That morning when the train came I received two letters — one from Cousin Ella and the other from Miss Lilla. I also got a bottle of perfume from Sheldon Brinson as a New Year present. That night Bessie, Miss Susan and I sat up and watched the old year out and the new year in. We went to bed tho at exactly twelve.