Thursday, June 19, 2003

Volunteer Tailgate Party - Vol. V: The Rocky Top Underground

Welcome ot the 5th Edition of the Volunteer Tailgate Party, representing the best and brightest of the now legendary Rocky Top Brigade. The Rocky Top Brigade is a collection of bloggers with ties to the great state of Tennessee. Representatives from Knoxville, Nashville, Memphis, Johnson City and all over Tennessee as well as points around the United States and even overseas come together to present their opinions on truth, justice, and the search for a good single malt Scotch whiskey for around $20.

This week we're going to do things a little differently. In the spirit of what seemed to be the main topic of discussion lately around the RTB, I wanted to take you on a nice tour. Just a nice, safe little tour where absolutely nothing could possibly go wrong. Relax...don't worry. All the guns are loaded with blanks, and my gully dwarf agents have been instructed not to harm any of you in any way (except maybe a toe stepped on here and there). Comfy? Got your walking shoes on? Well, here we go.

The Rocky Top Underground

Step lively, everyone. We're starting our tour of the Rocky Top Brigade at the home of Sugarfused. Deb serves us some tea as her guest, fellow RTB member Pathetic Earthling, waxes poetic about his covering of the recall effort of the governor of California:

"As one of two California members of the RTB, I've been blogging the Governor Davis recall stuff pretty regularly. I'm an unapologetic Republican -- and I've got no love for the Governor - but I think this stuff spells disaster for the GOP here in California. I don't think the Republican contingent candidate Darrell Issa would be any better at all and, besides, the SOB is a car alarm magnate who sleeps on a bed paid for by my sleeplessness."
SayUncle, who has been wrestling someone for the remote control to switch off "Great Performances" on the TV, rails against the evils of Public Television and Government-controlled media: "All things considered - except the precedent". He sports a nice conservative suit and tie, and a button on his lapel reads "My New Domain - now 30% Bloggier!"

Sugarfused sits at her PC and muses about her online life and the online lives of others in On being connected....

Suddenly, the power zaps her computer, except for an ominous low hum. The lights dim and flicker, and there is the sound of choppers outside with large searchlights moving across the windows.

"They've found us - Quick, this way!" Deb says, ushering myself and the group through a door and downstairs to a dark cellar. As the door closes and locks behind you, you hear scattered gunfire and a scream.

Huddled in the darkness, a naked light bulb is the only illumination. JaNell muses sadly about the art she had just finished the night before, and how she could relate to the ants in the story: Sacrificial Ant Art.

The gunfire soon faded and, our eyes adjusting to the dim illumination, we could make out a small door in the side of the cellar. I lead everyone through it into a tunnel, where we hear some chanting. Hiding behind an outcropping, we see a group of people in a circle around a small lantern. They're of them wearing a torn and tattered baseball hat with the letters "MTSU" on it is relating a tale about his son, "Conversations with Max" (scroll down).

Enboldened, I step out of the shadows and relate my own story of a conversation I had with my one daughter, in what seems like the far-away past..."A Round Dog Day". Some people in the circle tell us of the rumors that an evil Anti-Christian corrupt government has taken over...others says it's a dangerous Fundamentalist State, and it's every man and woman for themselves. They do say the tunnel leads to an old bookstore, and we can find shelter there. Not knowing what rumors might be true, we discuss the situation amongst ourselves...

Some of the folks in my group are sobbing, and we press on as best we can.

Another door leads into a dark, forbidding bookstore - long abandoned, it seems to have been called the Damn Diary. Floating behind the counter is a ghostly apparition, who speaks as we huddle in fright: "The Shaming of Skeletor". The spectre warns us, "Beware the ones who would take away that with which you would defend yourself - look what happened to me...". He motions toward an tome on table, written by a person named Les Jones. A young girl in the group picks it up and reads from it a haunting tale: Gun-Fearing Wussies in California.

Our respite is interrupted as the outer door is flung open and armed troops dressed in black and toting AK-47 Assault Rifles (now banned in all 50 states) capture us and herd us outside. One of their leaders, a forbidding person in a dark helmet, binds the hands of the young girl who read the book and tosses her, crying, into the back of a large truck. She screams for help, but is driven away into the night.

The rest of us are led into a bus and transported across barren, deserted streets. The only other occupant of the bus, a lone gentleman with long scraggly hair and the remains of a T-Shirt with the word "Bubba" on it, claims he is from the future and tells us about how things will be in 2007 in "Blog from the Future".

Our bus arrives at its destination, and we are led out together. Ahead of us stands the forbidding headquarters of the evil Anti-Christian fundamentalist pagan Algore corrupters, and their Regional Kommander steps out to confront us. Suddenly, a mob of godless right-wing environmentalist capitalists step out of the shadows and begin hurling accusations, slander, and dogma. Soldiers move in, brandishing weapons and hurling accusatory comments about Weapons of Mass Destruction, Income Tax, Tom Daschle, and Hillary Clinton. The angry mob is joined by an unruly bunch of domestic terrorist academics from Big Left-Wing Media Elite conglomerates, who cry for the older folks who can't get prescription drugs and call out slogans supporting Orrin Hatch and Jessica Lynch (scroll down). The tornado-chasing environmentalists complain about Bill Clinton speaking engagements, the soldiers scream about mobile weapons labs containing monkeypox created by Bill O'Reilly, the Leftist Right-wingers call the Rightist Left-Wingers "Idiots!!!"...The god-fearing communist Rumsfeldesque rebels call the atheist tax-and-spend warmongers, "Asshats!!!" The pacifistic electoral-college-reforming Ashcroftian revisionist historians tell the tree-hugging tax-cutting gun control advocates, "NO BLOOD FOR H-Y-Y-Y-Y-DROGEN!!!"

I immediately jump up on the hood of a dented Humvee, "STOP THE MADNESS!!" I cry. They all calm down and give me their attention. I shake my head sadly and ask if they can afford The Price of Admission by actually thinking through their differences, and keeping an open mind...

The crowd seems to ponder this, when it's was only a simulation! It's an educational tool! And, hey, nobody got hurt, so what's the problem?

I trudge off alone, emotionally spent as the others all clap each other on the back and head off to Barley's Tap House for a Blogger Bash. "Was it worth it?" I wonder. "Will they ever work together???" "Can people of different philosophies and idealogies ever find common ground??"

The world may never know.