Reader Mail

Today, I’ve gotten a letter from a reader of Tiny Cat Pants. It reads as follows (edited to include some less-distressing content. Materials added to the letter are in brackets.):

[Dearest Aunt B.,]

When are you feminists going to start going bonkers over Alito being confirmed to the Supreme Court?

Can you feel your reproductive rights being taken away at this very moment?


A Gentleman Reader

p.s. I think you’re so cute when you’re mad. The thought of your brow furrowing in anger as you read this letter about sends me around the bend. I want to kiss you right now.]

Dear Gentleman Reader,

I’m sorry but there will be no smooches for you. Though I am righteously indignant at the thought that there exists only one Republican senator with the guts to vote against this man, I, like all other feminists, are resigned to the fact that he’s now on the Supreme Court.

Really, it’s another day another politician trying to stick his nose into my vagina (and not in the fun way).

Here’s what will happen. Folks will now rush to get some monumental abortion ruling before the court, the court will then make some decision that, on the surface, keeps Roe in place, but guts it. Abortion will fall back to the states and women in conservative states will lose their right to one.

It remains to be seen what kind of pressure is then brought on folks undergoing fertility treatments, many of which also create embryos which are never brought to term. Will they lose the ability to decide when and if they reproduce? I kind of doubt it. Much of the abortion debate is really about making sure slutty women are punished with children, not about making couples who really want kids miserable.

It’s all very interesting, and I’d love to be more outraged, but I’m busy making popcorn so that when it dawns on Republicans that they’ve thrown their support behind a man who thinks the Presidency is just like being king and what that means in terms of their own civil liberties, I can snack and laugh at the same time.

Really supporting Alito was like watching Republicans route around in a septic tank looking for stuff to throw at us–Alito just happened to be the biggest chunk–and a day will come when they’ll look down and realize that they’re covered in the same shit they tossed our way.

On that day, I will laugh, if I’m still allowed to laugh. (It’s hard to tell how far back women’s rights are going to get rolled.)


Your Dearest Aunt B.

I Smell GOOoood

Bless the Butcher’s heart. He doesn’t pick up after himself or have his own car or ever miss a chance to announce when he thinks he’s going to shit the bed, but the man has mad skills of picking out bath products.

When I buy things, I end up smelling, as I’ve said, like some kind of fuckable funeral arrangement.

When the Butcher buys things, I smell nice and clean and slightly lickable.

The Butcher is, as always, looking for a job.

In the past, I thought he should be an interior decorator, as he could spend all his time taking money from cuckolded rich men from Williamson County. They’d never suspect him as the cuckolder, since the stereotype of interior decorators is that they’re gay.

However, the Butcher hangs pictures too high. Even though he can fit furniture in the best possible configuration for any given room, having to look up to view your art is annoying.

So, now I’m thinking maybe he could be a personal shopper for these lonely Williamson County housewives. He’d make them smell good and he’d still have good cover for his crazy affairs.

Either David Boaz is an Idiot or He Thinks I’m an Idiot

So, I’ve made it up to Chapter Two in Libertarianism: A Primer and I can only conclude that either David Boaz is an idiot or he thinks his readers, of which I am one, are idiots.

Since he’s some bigwig at the Cato Institute* and I am your lowly blogger, I’m going to assume that I’m supposed to be the idiot here.

I’m just at the point where Boaz is claiming that libertarianism is the preferred way of getting along in the world. Preferred by whom?

By God.

Yes, in a real live book about a real live philosophical system, that is supposed to give me enough information to decide whether libertarianism is the right political framework for my thinking, number two on the reasons libertarianism rules (Number one: Because it’s better than socialism.) is “Because God Likes It Best.”

This? This is a reason to pick a philosophical system? Because some god somewhere made some passing reference to not liking kings? Well, shoot, one of my gods says “What does it hurt if a woman has a husband or a lover or both?” Shall I run out and acquire for myself a husband and some lovers just because some god said it wasn’t that big a deal? Even if it bothers my husband or my lover or both? Or shall I continue to assume that what gods do is their business and the arrangements people make between themselves are best left to be worked out among themselves?

Anyway, there’s something deeply, deeply funny about arguing for libertarianism–a political system based on severe individualism and self-determination–by saying “You should do it because God likes it.”

*It doesn’t have anything to do with this post, but this dude is with the Cato Institute as well and I’ve been totally digging on him since I found him. This is libertarianism a girl like me can take to bed in good conscience.

Sex With Someone You Love

Are there things that are off-limits here at Tiny Cat Pants? I guess we’re about to find out.

Because I’d like to touch briefly on female masturbation. Ha, I said “touch briefly.”

Okay, now that that’s out of my system…

I was thinking of how Elias used to have this ‘zine and he asked me to write an article for it and so I wrote this hilarious expose about my experimentations in masturbation. Basically, I got on the internet, found some site offering tips on female masturbation, tried them out, and rated them for his readers.

I wouldn’t bring it up except that I almost died, twice, during the same session while doing the research for said article.

If you’re a woman, you’ve certainly heard of the bathtub method, where you lay down in your bathtub, throw your legs up at a 90 degree angle and scoot way down so that you’re aligned with the faucet, and you let the water flow over your cooter until you orgasm.

If any of you have tried this, you already know the first way I almost died. If you are scooted up so that your cooter is aligned with your faucet, chances are your butt is over the drain, and the bathtub is filling up with water. And, while the sensation of water flowing over your cooter is pleasant, it ended up being a race to see if I’d finish up before the water covered my face.

I lost. That was bad enough. But then I went to sit up and, apparently, my back had made some kind of seal on the tub bottom so that when I sat up, it made this enormous farty groany noise which caused me to start laughing and I hit my head on the side of the tub so hard I thought I would pass out and end up drowning again.

Luckily, I lived.

But my larger point is that girls get a lot of fucked up messages about sex, which causes us to be very fucked up about sex, which is too bad, because it’s fun, but if we’re fucked up, chances are it’s not very fun for the people we’re fucking.

I can recall masturbating as a little girl. I didn’t know that’s what I was doing, because no one in my family ever talked about sex with me, except my grandma, who had an elaborate theory about how the Pope was trying to convert all her grand-daughters to Catholicism, because “Protestant girls have needs and Catholic boys know this and they will bring you right up to the point where you will have to have sex or die and they’ll hop out of the car and refuse to get back in unless you promise to marry them and become Catholic.*”

There was a point where you’d have to have sex or die? And Catholic boys knew how to get you to it? Bring on the Catholic boys!

Anyway, my point being that I was masturbating, but didn’t know what it was (My favorite fantasy? That I was naked and encased in dried mud. No, I don’t understand it either.). Then, I figured out that I was playing with myself and that it was wrong and made me bad and so I stopped.

I got older and wanted to start up again, but I still felt like it was wrong. Then, I read an interview with Sharon Stone, talking about that scene in Sliver where she masturbates in the bathtub (though, wisely, not using the aforementioned method). And she went on at some length about how she cried afterwards and how all of the women on set were also crying because there’s just something so sad about women masturbating**. And so then I was like, well, I don’t want to be one of those sad women who masturbate.

Luckily, I had this kick-ass feminist professor in college who was all the time talking about how she had to masturbate during commencement just to be able to not die of boredom.

“You masturbate?” I asked. I’m embarrassed to tell you what I said next, but for you, I will. “But you have a husband!”



“B., how the fuck is he supposed to know what I like if I don’t know what I like? Plus, sometimes you’ve got to have a little something to get you through a boring-ass day.”

This was like some kind of revelation from the gods. Masturbation was fun and recreational and something one did in addition to propping herself up on the sink the the bathroom of a certain frat house while some dude whose name she can’t even remember now*** told her he loved her until she asked him to stop because it was creeping her out. Ugh, what the fuck?

Anyway, where was I?

Yes, masturbation. More importantly women getting in touch with themselves.

It comes to my attention that there is a portion of the female population who trade sexual favors for chores. Who does this? It’s like me saying “I’m not going to go for ice cream with you unless you take out the garbage.” Why would I risk missing out on ice cream?

Do these women not like sex?

Let’s use a metaphor the boys will understand: you don’t just learn how to catch the ball once summer when you’re fifteen and then make a career of playing baseball. You have to continue to practice the fundamentals, even between games if you want to enjoy playing.

So, it seems to me that these women who use sex as a means to manipulate their partners instead of enjoying it for its own sake might benefit from some alone time.

*In all fairness to my grandma, I should point out that these Papist conspiracy theories didn’t start until after she’d had a few strokes.
** I looked for this article and could not find it. So, I could be misremembering.
*** Are there children reading this blog? If so, I say, respect yourself to wait for someone whose name you’ll remember.

To Answer Your Question

One odd thing about meeting y’all is that some of you seem to be unclear about how much of this is bullshit and how much of it is true. The most common question I get is “So, are you really an aunt?”

For all ye of little faith, here’s the boys.

Can’t I Get a copy of "Libertarianism: A Little More than the Primer"?

So, I’m trying to read Libertarianism: A Primer. It’s not going so well. I can only read until I get irate, which means I’m covering about ten paragraphs at a time.

I’ve scoffed repeatedly, but so far only had to throw the book down in disgust twice–the first being when the author claimed that people have always had property rights and the second being when he claimed that student loans were a symptom of evil government.

His ability to simplify everything the government does as “evil” is annoying the piss out of me. Surely there’s a more nuanced argument to be made for libertarianism. Maybe he’ll get to it. We’ll see.

But I’m intrigued by his choice to use “man” and “he” and “his” throughout the book. The author says right up front that he’s going to do it, use male pronouns to stand for everyone.

And at first I was like “Okay, this is annoying, but I’ll stick with it.”

But on my walk with Mrs. Wigglebottom this morning, I got to thinking about a discussion I had with Sarcastro (which is here someplace at Tiny Cat Pants, but I can’t even begin to find it) about how I said I’m not going to go around spelling it “womyn” because I refuse to concede more ground to this ridiculous notion that “man” means male folks, when really, it’s always been a word that refers to all folks and it’s only the anxiety of the weapon-men about their “weapons” that led them to try to coopt the generic for everyone as referring solely to them.

And then Sarcastro made some crack about how “woman” means basically the trading-men and, oh, ha, ha, I wonder what they had to trade?

Which would be more annoying if it wasn’t true. We have been trading sexual access to our bodies for security for ourselves and our offspring since the rise of property rights.

And we’ve been at the mercy of a free sexual market for all that time.

How’s that worked out for us?

So, you see my suspicion, that if one wants to talk about what successful libertarianism looks like, it’s best that one makes sure to gloss over the ongoing less successful version.

But I was watching a little CNN Headline News last night and caught an interview with the author of Self-Made Man which is about a woman who passes as a man for some length of time in order to find out about the secret lives of men.

One interesting thing she said in the interview was how her experience made her realize just how much power women have over men and that she’s come to respect women less after having to deal with us like men do.

This has actually been something that’s come up repeatedly here–that women have all this power over men, with the implication being how can we bitch about the patriarchy and the ways the system sucks for us when we clearly have the best end of the bargain?

And I haven’t really addressed it because 1. I’m not sure I even begin to understand how men feel powerless in the face of women; 2. “Patriarchy” is not so easily about all men lording over all women, it’s a name for a system of gender relations under which we all suffer. Pointing out my problems doesn’t negate yours; and 3. I think I’m starting to believe that the real work of damaging women is done by other women so that it’s almost invisible to men. It’s done under the guise of being beneficial to men and it does benefit men, but they rarely have to see it.

God. What does any of this have to do with libertarianism?

I don’t know. Maybe nothing. We’ll see.

Blogging by Candle Light

Our power just went out again, for the third time today and it’s pretty damn dark down here at the dead end when there aren’t any lights.

I should have just sat here patiently, but instead I thought I’d walk around banging my shin on things and stepping on the dog.

I now have a candle lit, just in case we go dark one more time before I go to bed.

Oddly enough, the first thing I noticed was that something in our living room smells bad.

Ha, yes, come and visit us, down in the part of town where things smell bad and the power goes out for no discernible reason.

Jim Bob Cooter

Nashville Knucklehead just sent me an email* alerting me to the existence of one Jim Bob Cooter, a football player for Tennessee.

I think it goes without saying that Jim Bob Cooter is now the official football player of Tiny Cat Pants.

Thanks, Knucklehead!

* Okay, honestly, he could have sent this email one million hours ago, for all I’ve been able to get Yahoo to work this weekend. But that’s not important. The important thing is that I have the email now.

Hurray for Not Making Too Big an Ass of Myself while Drunken Blogging!

Before we start, I should just go ahead and admit that I let the dog eat a bunch of spicy queso even though I could see it turning her nose pink and she did that thing when she curled her lips back like it was too hot but she kept licking it anyway, even though I know it means she’s going to drool all over me in about five minutes, because I am a bad dog owner.

So, yes, heh, let’s return to last night’s post of drunken love.

I’d like to say that being around me when I’m drunk is much different, but, except that it lacks my usual trying to get everyone in the back seat of some car to grope me only to discover that, instead of having the hands of three different people rubbing all up on me, I just continually am forcing the Professor to feel me up, what you saw from last night is pretty much how it is (oh, and I didn’t pass out in a ditch someplace).

I get drunk and love everyone.

Anyway, thanks to John H., though he doesn’t know it, I got hooked up with this theater-y person who wants me to help put together this summer program for girls. Last night was a get-together of some of the women involved and we sat around and bonded and brainstormed and watched the performance the girls gave at the end of the program last year.

It was really amazing. I’m going to work on putting together a website on the deal, because I don’t really feel like I can talk about it coherently other than to say “wow” and that I’m really glad and inspired to be a part of it.

I’ll tell you more about it as it progresses, even though it probably means dropping the anonymity a little more than I’m currently comfortable with. (Though, shoot, if Sarcastro’s going to go around telling everyone how to stalk me, I guess it doesn’t matter if you know my name or not.) And, Christ, I tell you guys about my cooter and my boob freckle. I guess if a day comes when you know my name and face, it won’t be the end of the world.

It just won’t be today.

Anyway, I do love you all. I’m just embarrassed you had to find out like this.

Hurray, Drunken Blogging!

Too much wine. But it’s okay, I’m delighted for the first time in ages* because I’ve been so down for so long. You know, when most people drunk blog, they seem more coherent. Not me. Anyway, it doesn’t matter.

Ladies, let me lay one on you. Are you ready?

“I’m glad to be a woman.”

Have you ever said this to yourself?

I’m glad to be a woman.

Frankly, I have not. I’ve been proud to be a woman. For sure or I wouldn’t be a feminist. But glad?

Not “I’m glad I’m not a man.” That’s something entirely different, involving a different kind of post.

But “I’m glad to be a woman.”

That blows my mind. I want to talk about what that might mean, but I’m not even sure.

Have I ever been glad to have this body?

I don’t know.

Probably not glad enough.

But y’all get that, right? That all the talk about my slick warm inviting cooter and my round soft tits topped off by the elusive, yet alluring, boob freckle are not some way of seducing you so much as trying to come up with a way for me to talk about myself that loves me?

No, probably you don’t get that.

That’s okay.

I love you anyway. I love me anyway.

I’m glad to be a woman, anyway, even if you think “slick warm inviting cooter” and ” round soft tits” are for you and not for me.

What do I care? You always misread me. But your sweet kisses, your awkward grins, your shaking hands (what? you think I didn’t see that? I did.) when you’re sitting next to me, it makes your inability to see me for who I am and love me anyway okay.

I delight in you. I delight in you when you delight in me and when you’re put out with me–“Am I in trouble for taking sides?”–and when you think you can do better than me–“I could be with any woman (prettier, smarter, taller, whatever)”–and when you’re afraid that you can’t–“But you’re not like other girls. It doesn’t matter what you want.” I find you delightful anyway.

And I wish you read more Whitman, who loves himself and loves men. And maybe he could reassure you in a way that I can’t that you’re so beautiful and worth loving and worth being good to and worth being good for. You. You should be good because you deserve it.

I’m sorry I don’t know how to convince you of that. But, if I could sit near you and give you soft kisses on your scruffy faces and my lips against your lips until you knew your inherent worth, I would. And not just because it would be fun for me.

Y’all are worth it. Even though you so clearly hate yourselves. Even though you think feminists hate men. Even though you’ve not even heard “hate men” until you’ve been standing by the kitchen door in a house full of anti-feminist women, listening when they think you aren’t. Even though your hating yourself leads to you eviscerating me and my kind, I love you anyway.

I guess that’s why you still read. I guess you know that, that I love you.

Tonight, I sat around a table with three other women and we talked about how to take a handful of girls at an age when I was sitting in a bedroom with the music up loud to drown out my screams slicing a blade against my wrists and then when that failed to do the job, taking hands full of pills only to live and find myself moving to a worse hell than that**, finding a handful of those girls and teaching them that they are sacred and worth being here.

Maybe we are lone individuals at the whim of the free market, but I’d rather not think so.

I’d rather count on you and have you count on me.

I’m dog-loyal to the people I love. Come take from me what you need and I’ll gladly open my house and self to it.

I’d rather live that way than be isolated. Isolation has no mercy.

Y’all, tonight I watched six girls young enough to be my kids dancing around a stage and it made my soul ache. It made me feel brave enough to have girls. It made me feel an obligation to nurture children.

Which made me laugh at the anti-abortionists, who think that they have to cut off all access to abortions to keep women having children. Little do they know that seeing girls thrive can make you want to have thriving children.

So, yes, I’ll sober up and tell you what I’m up to. And some of you will roll your eyes and scoff. But some of you will say, “Hmm, ‘I’m proud to be a woman.’ That sounds like a cool end result of anything.”

*Not counting when the Wayward Boy Scout tries to throw my own words in my face, which delights me on principle, no matter how depressed I am. He’s so clever. Did I tell you that only the Wayward Boy Scout keeps it from being the Gay and Libertarian list–the list of men who will never fuck me–not that I expect him to; I just keep the list limited to gay men and Sarcastro based on my delight at the Wayward Boy Scout continually delighting me with his delightfully misguided ways. Or maybe ? I think there needs to be a ? in there. Anyway, I’m glad to have met him once.
**I guess I’ve never told anyone that before. Surprise. Sorry.

The Laziest Saturday Ever

You guys, I have to be walking out this door in an hour and a half (and back across the scary bridge, but we won’t dwell on that) and I haven’t even gotten in the shower yet.

I’ve done nothing with my afternoon except found a sunny spot in the front room to lay in with the dog. I was too lazy to even nap. I just laid there, listening to her snore and counting the big black spots on the top of her nose.

For all my bitching about having nothing to do and no purpose in life, and for all my feeling trapped and desperate and gloomy, yes, still. No not as bad as last week, but only by sheer determination, not actual better feeling.

Ugh, let’s not dwell on it. Where were we?


For all my complaining, I actually have been invited to do something very cool, which I will tell y’all about when I’m convinced they’re not going to uninvite me once they realize how nerdy I am.

Hey, I think this is the first time I’ve ever tried to build up some suspense on Tiny Cat Pants. It’s kind of exciting.

My Spirit Guide

Last night, as I was sitting around working on Shug’s afghan, I watched “Most Haunted” on the Travel Channel. If you’ve seen this, you know that there’s this crazy psychic guy who wanders through the haunted places talking to the dead folks and getting information from them.

He has a spirit guide named “Sam” who helps facilitate such communications.

Which got me thinking, I need a spirit guide.

So, I pulled out the candles and the incense and sat quietly in the dark waiting for my spirit guide to contact me.

Oddly enough, it turns out that my spirit guide is local celebrity and blogger Rex L. Camino.

Shouldn’t my spirit guide be dead?

Shouldn’t you get your own gimmicks and stop ripping me off?

I’m not ripping you off. It’s an homage.

Don’t use those fancy words on me, Frenchie.

How did you know about my stint in Grease?

I’m Rex L. Camino, Spirit Guide. I know all.

Great, then, put it on me.

And here’s what he told me:

  • Fritz, from TV on the Fritz, though he’ll deny it, secretly longs to make his living as a George Jones impersonator. The only thing preventing this is Fritz’s disturbing “yabba dabba doo, the king is dead and so are you.” It’s George Jones, Fritzy, not Eminem.
  • The reason Kleinheider won’t appear in public is that he has two heads. An even lesser-known fact? One of these heads is Al Sharpton.
  • Sarcastro is actually an elaborate parody of a “divorced white male in his late thirties. Just like every other asshole with a weblog.” perpetrated by two obnoxious Nashville feminists. He doesn’t actually exist. The man in the photos and at the public appearances is really the infamous leftist, Church Secretary.
  • The Super Genius chews tobacco, but only on national holidays.
  • I have my grandpa’s tooth and a raccoon penis bone in a bag by my bed.

Sadly, after these pronouncements, it appears that Camino’s wife demanded he stop talking to himself or at least talk to himself in another room where she didn’t have to hear it and I lost contact with him.

Still, I’m sure that these must all be true.

Why would my spirit guide lie?

If You Go Outside Now, You Can Feel Okay About Spending the Afternoon Drinking Beer

It’s so beautiful out. Mrs. Wigglebottom and I walked over to Centennial Park, looking to see if any old men were using the free wifi in the park.

They were not.

But we did see a number of exciting things.

1. There is this enormous black dog who lives up on the hill by the park. Have any of y’all seen this dog? I swear, it could step over the fence if it wanted. It looks like a terrier in the face and has those kind of ears, but it’s a giant. If you’ve seen it, Mrs. Wigglebottom and I welcome speculation about what kinds of dogs went into its makeup.

2. A tiny girl came around a bush and snuck a picture of Mrs. Wigglebottom peeing. This is the first paparazzi I’ve noticed stalking Mrs. Wigglebottom, but I doubt it will be the last. She asked us one probing question–“Is she eating goose poop?” And yes, it turns out that she was.

3. Mrs. Wigglebottom was complimented twice for being “a good looking dog.”

4. We saw two bassett hounds pulling a lady behind them. Think about that, if you’re familiar with bassett hounds, and revel in the funny.

5. Mrs. Wigglebottom sat at every crosswalk and I only had to push on her butt twice. Ha, I love that she sometimes gives the impression that she’s well-trained.

After we cuted everyone at the park half to death, we walked back up the hill, across the scary bridge, and home.

Pieces Fall into Place

Andrew Sullivan has a post today (er, I guess yesterday) about how we’re apparently kidnapping innocent people in Iraq in order to leverage them against their spouses or relatives. ABCNews has the larger story here.

Think with me back to the Abu Ghraib mess. Not the photos we all saw and the things we all heard, but the rumors of worse being kept from us.

Seymour Hersch talked about it in this interview:

SEYMOUR HERSH: I don’t know what it stands for, but out of Virginia. They just got a huge new contract. These are people who do hundreds of millions of dollars worth of business. They provide interpreters, among other things; that’s part of their business. The private companies were all over Abu Ghraib, and they had local — one of the people, one of the men from the private companies was — did have forcible sex with — there’s women in the prisons, which is also a big contentious problem for the Iraqi population. The women are held in a separate unit, but they have children; and one of the children and one of the women was raped by a boy. There are photographs. There is testimony —
AMY GOODMAN: Was raped by —
SEYMOUR HERSH: One of the guards, rather. And witnessed by Americans taking photographs. There is testimony that has not been made public about this. I know that there’s been statements made in various military proceedings. And the government’s been very chary about writing — putting out any information. People witnessed it. They had cameras, and I believe they were video cameras. They could have been still cameras. There were cameras photographing it, and the boy was screaming. But I don’t have a videotape of it. I haven’t seen a videotape of it. I know that such testimony has been given.

Now, there are some allegations that Hersch changed his story, that he claimed to have seen the video tape of the boy’s rape and that now he’s claiming he only heard about it. But I wondered at the time why there were even kids in the prison.

Were we, as a matter of course, kidnapping and detaining innocent family members of people we want to intimidate?

According to the Red Cross and people in the Army, yes.

The Red Cross also delineated eyewitness testimony of the abuse of these children. Provance, who was stationed at Abu Ghraib, told the media that interrogating officers had gotten their hands on a 15-or-16-year-old girl. Military Police apparently only stopped the interrogation when the girl was half-undressed. A separate incident described a 16-year-old boy being soaked with water, driven through the cold, smeared with mud, and then presented before his weeping father, who was also a prisoner.

We couldn’t get this kid’s dad to talk until we threatened his kid (I know some of you might argue that being soaked in water and driven around all muddy is no worse than some kind of college prank. I would argue that the point of the exercise was to show the kid’s dad that we had no moral hesitation about using his kid to force him to talk. It wasn’t what we did to the kid so much as that we did anything at all to him.).

So, I guess the difference between what we knew after Abu Ghraib and what we know now is that now we have official military documents showing that this was a wide-spread practice and not just the word of witnesses.

“It’s very hard, obviously, from some of these documents to determine what, if anything, actually happened,” says the Pentagon spokesman.

Gee, yes, if we just keep looking at each individual bit of information as having no relevance to other bits of information, it is hard to determine “what, if anything, actually happened.”

But if you step back and look at everything together, the picture becomes pretty damn clear. We kidnap and lock up children, putting them in situations where they might be raped by sadistic guards, as a way to intimidate their families.

If we’re going to do terrible things, let’s at least be honest about the terrible things we’re doing.

It’s Only Drinking Alone if You Don’t Count Keith Olbermann

So, I say to the Butcher “Let’s go do something exciting.”

He says “Like what?”

I say, “I don’t know. You’re the one who always has the car. What do you do when you’re not here?”

He says “Sit around at my friends’ house.”

I say “What are you doing tonight?”

He says “Sitting around at Heather’s house.”

I say “I wish I had an exciting life like yours.”

He says “You do. You just bought your ticket to Puerto Rico. That’s exciting. Your life only seems boring because it’s you living it.”

He walks out. And drives off in my car.

Whew, the recalcitrant brother and the Wayward Boy Scout are Safe

It turns out that the FBI and the DeKalb County Division of Homeland Security have been working overtime to keep the folks in Georgia safe from the imminent terrorist threat of vegans*.

Christ. Wasn’t Dan Savage agitating for a constitutional amendment guaranteeing us a right to privacy? Can’t we get on that shit for real?

Hmm. You know, now that I think about it, if the vegans were peaceably assembling, they already have an amendment that’s supposed to keep the government from interfering.

Well, fuck me. Strange and scary times, folks. Strange and scary times.

*It’s easy enough to mock the ACLU, but someone needs to start throwing lawsuits around about this shit and I’m glad they’re doing it.

The Lunch Blues

I had to go out for lunch because, when I opened my carefully self-packed lunch, it had in it only baby carrots and a Diet Dr Pepper. Since I’m not a coke-fueled country music star, this was, of course, not all I planned on eating.

The other half of my lunch is, presumably, on the floor of my car. I remember the good old days when I could just go out to my car and retrieve anything I’d left there.

Those were some glorious times.

Mrs. Wigglebottom, Menace to Society

No, I’m not going to run out and buy a gun. Yes, I will continue to be ill-at-ease about guns. But, god damn if Say Uncle doesn’t remind me of the importance of… well, fuck me, boys, I don’t even know what you call yourselves… guns-rights-advocates (?) and the necessity of throwing props their way every once in a while.

Why, you may ask, am I moved to cheer for guns-rights-advocates? Because when it comes to the silliness and offensiveness of trying to shame people into “proper” behavior, they get it.

The “proper” behavior in question? Apparently, if you’re a pitbull owner in Commerce City, Colorado, you should be harassed and intimidated into giving up your dog.

Yes, dog owners who are complying with a stupid ordinance are still being singled out by the local paper and their addresses published because Kathy McIntyre, an editor that paper, believes she knows best for the community.

Anyway, one doesn’t have to be a great genius to see the offensiveness of this. So, let’s follow the link that SayUncle gives and take a look at the ordinance that deals with pitbulls in the first place.

If you’ve been reading me for a while, you know my immediate “What the Fuck?” to this ordinance. If you haven’t, here’s the specific problem (I have a far greater general problem with breed-specific legislation and don’t even get me started on how racist it is). It doesn’t define what a pit bull is. How in the world are you supposed to know if the dog you have is one of the forbidden dogs?

As I said in February*:

Much of the confusion about what is a pitbull and what isn’t comes down to this: the word “pitbull” is used to describe a specific breed of dog, a type of dog, and a dog that has a certain, inhumane, job.

The specific breed of dog is the American Pit Bull Terrier, which is not recognized by the AKC (though it was at one point), but is recognized by other kennel clubs. The American Pit Bull Terrier is very closely related to the American Staffordshire Terrier, but there are differences. I’m no expert, but to my eye, the American Pit Bull Terrier often has a lankier appearance and the look of the dog varies a lot more than the look of the AmStaff in terms of acceptable weights and sizes.

The type of dog is any bull dog that lacks the affable charm of the English Bulldog, including the ones recognized by the AKC–the AmStaff, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the Bull Terrier, and sometimes the Bull Mastiff–and ones that aren’t, like the American Bulldog and the American Pit Bull Terrier. All of these dogs come under the umbrella term “pitbull,” though they vary greatly in size and appearance. That’s why both the dog in the Target commercials and the Our Gang shorts are called pitbulls, even though they don’t look a thing alike.

Then there’s the dog that has the terrible job

I’ve seen a few of these dogs and, to me, they look very different than Mrs. Wigglebottom (though this site suggests I’m imagining the differences). In fact, I’ve had a number of people familiar with fighting dogs who insist that Mrs. Wigglebottom must be part boxer because she’s much too big to be a pitbull. In general, my experience is that fighting dogs are smaller than she is. Their faces more resemble the Staffordshire Terrier than her. They often don’t have ears at all. Also, if you look at them face on, their necks seem situated lower on their chests than Mrs. Wigglebottom, and their chests aren’t as deep. This gives them the appearance of having longer legs in proportion to their bodies.

But fighting dogs aren’t a breed of dog the way the AKC thinks of it. If someone wanted a fighting dog that was a little bigger, he’d find an AmStaff and breed it into his dogs for size. If he found a really vicious Lab (if there is such a dog), he’s use that as breeding stock. The dog fighter isn’t as interested in “breed standards” as he is in dogs that can win. He’s actually a lot like those folks on Animal Planet, in that, he knows a fighting dog when he sees it.

So any kind of breed specific legislation that isn’t actually specific about which breed you can own or not own is not only a gross-overstepping of government into the private lives of citizens, but also incredibly stupid.

*Is it pompous-jackass-y to link to one’s self? Probably. Well, what can you do?

Not So Funny Now, Is It?

Poor John Spragens is trying to have an intelligent conversation about Joel Stein’s piece in the LA Times on Tuesday over at Pith in the Wind. It quickly devolved into the usual “I can read liberals’ minds”, “I’d read conservatives’ minds but they don’t have any” bullshit that happens when you don’t keep the well-being of the community in mind (But shout-out to my buddy Jon for being the funniest motherfucker ever).

Which is too bad because it’s actually a thought-provoking piece. Stein is clearly trying to be funny, to make some kind of humorous commentary on all the “support the troops” bullshit. And the people you’d expect to be outraged are properly outraged.

But I haven’t seen anyone ask the question I’m about to ask, which is, is this funny?

I think I have a pretty broad sense of humor. I love “South Park” and am probably the only person who snickers at “Drawn Together” and I laughed all the way through The Devil’s Rejects. So, I’m not immune to outrageous humor.

But I didn’t find this funny at all. I can’t decide if it’s not funny because the whole situation is too raw or if it’s just not funny because it’s not well-written.

But I think it’s not funny because it’s too trite. The whole problem most liberals have with this war is that the world is a complex place and that this administration is and has been waging this war as if “close enough” is the same as certainty. And so to see someone who opposes the war in Iraq casting blame for the war so casually, as if holding whoever he can accountable–in this case the troops–is the same as actually holding the administration accountable, reeks of hypocrisy to me.

Troubling Revelations about Elvis Costello

[Let me just say up-front that this post deals tangentially with Sarcastro. I know some of you–Sarcastro especially–live for my posts about him, so here we go.]

First, you must know that I have a high tolerance for convivial bullshit. I like good-natured teasing and stories told with a hint of “maybe it didn’t happen quite like this.” And probably anyone who knows me knows that there’s always an air of good-hearted dissimulation. In other words, if it doesn’t really matter and it’s easy enough to fake my way through it, I’m faking my way through it.

Second, Sarcastro and I have a friendship based on mutual admiration and the belief that we’re smarter than the other. I mean, Sarcastro thinks he’s just a tiny bit smarter than me and I think I’m just a tiny bit smarter than him, and on such pompousness and charity, our friendship is built.

Third, Sarcastro is obtuse. I can’t think of any specific examples of his obtuseness, but, in many ways, hanging out with Sarcastro is like boating on the Mississippi above Alton. You’re going along just fine down the middle of what you think is a deep and wide river, when all of a sudden, you’ve run aground. It’s one of the most startling things about him, because, he’s 95% of the time so astute that you just take for granted that the other times he must clearly get what’s going on.

And, you know, I’m not perfect. Since I was kept in a hermetically sealed tube for most of my life, lacking basic necessities like cable and access to a big city and good radio stations, there’s a lot of pop culture shit that I just don’t know–books I haven’t read, movies I haven’t seen, music I haven’t heard.

So, the other day, Sarcastro lends me Elvis Costello and the Imposters – Club Date – Live in Memphis, because he’s got this idea for a book that came to him while he was watching the extras on this DVD. And he sells it like this “Listen, I have this great idea for a book. Elvis Costello writes about Delta blues places…” and I’m totally like “Well, hmm, that sounds like a good idea but…” totally trying play it off like “Does Elvis Costello even want to write a book?”

But really, I’m thinking, Elvis Costello? Isn’t he the dude in the hat?

Yes, that was the extent of my Elvis Costello knowledge–he’s some dude in a hat. But I take the DVD anyway, because I’m not about to admit to Sarcastro that I wouldn’t know Elvis Costello if he were sitting across the table from me.

It turns out he’s British. And that he sings some songs that sound vaguely familiar. And he’s good, so that was a nice treat. But from watching the extras, it turns out that dude’s in his fifties.

How do I totally miss out on a long musical career like that? Are there other things I’m missing out on and don’t know it? The whole incident troubles me.

Little Bits of This and That

1. I started a post about ten things about the Butcher that crack me up. I could only come up with eight, though. Once you get past the fire breathing and the wire men he leaves all over the house as tiny sight gags, there’s not much more to say. He’s just a funny guy. You can’t really break it out into individual pieces.

2. I believe I’m the only person who can set off her fire alarm merely by boiling water.

3. Our favorite Boy Scout is putting a new floor in his living room. Because I have the maturity of a 14 year old, it’s all I can do to keep from sending him an email that says “Heh, you said ‘hard wood.'”

4. Huck is fixing for a fight, for those of you who are also looking to do battle. Right now he’s busy baiting libertarians.

5. Every so often, Flea does these mailbags, and I read them faithfully, hoping that one of her readers will ask if she has any instructional videos about how to shoot ping pong balls out of her cooter and if that’s even a good idea to try. No one has, as of yet, which means I’m going to have to break down and do it. Unless she reads this. So, everyone, you must click on the link, causing her to check her stats and wonder what’s going on over here. She’ll come look, see my question, and answer it. And that way, I won’t have to figure out how to word the email.

Mad With Power!

Grandefille thinks I should be Queen of the World. I can’t say that I disagree. My first official act would be to get a horse-drawn carriage and ride slowly past construction workers hooting and hollering at them. Okay, my first official act would be to buy some beer to drink while I was riding around in my horse-drawn carriage, but then it’d be a day of riding around town harassing construction workers and drinking beer.

Then I would require Trace Atkins and David Banner to call me up and say “Well, now B., darling*, I ain’t wearing nothing but my boxer drawers.”

Then I would demand that my political enemies trim Mrs. Wigglebottom’s toenails. Except for George Bush. I have plans for George.

Then I would endow a chair at a cushy university and install the Professor as Supreme Professor for Life of All Departments and Larry Summers would be her footstool.

Then I would go to bed, at 9:30, as usual. And anyone who laughed or mocked me for turning in early would be stuck in my dungeon**.

Anyway, it’s not just the Queen of the World nomination that’s got me giddy. Somehow, Tiny Cat Pants has been nominated for a Koufax Award for Blog Most Deserving of Wider Recognition. I suspect Kleinheider may have something to do with this. If so, he gets out of dog-toenail-trimming.

Lindsey from Theology & Geometry seems to be the only other Tennessee blog and one of her readers already made the Koufax joke I wanted to make. J.R., I don’t know who you are, but when I’m Queen of the World, you’ll be required to wait some set amount of time to see if I want to make your funny first.

Still, it’s very cool to see Tiny Cat Pants in the same category as Theology & Geometry (which is full of well-thought-out good stuff) and I Blame the Patriarchy (which is full of patriarchy blaming good stuff and the song “[You’ve Got the] Second-Biggest Dick [I’ve Ever Seen]”. Citizens of Earth, if you don’t love patriarchy-blaming and good mock rock, I don’t even know why you bother.).

I Blame the Patriarchy should totally win, but I’m tickled to be nominated. I won’t forget this honor, Koufax Awards, when I’m Queen of the World.

[Edited to add: Of course Fritz finds the other Tennessee blogs. When I am Queen, Fritz will be my liaison to the media. In what fashion he might choose to liaise with Anderson Cooper is not my business.]

*If men only knew the power of a well-spoken “darling,” all hopes for undermining the patriarchy would rest solely with our lesbian sisters. It’s very hard to undermine anything except yourself when you’re giggling and blushing. As your Queen, I’ll require there be one woman with me at all times who can say “Darling” so sweet and sexy that it causes me to blush to mitigate the power of the patriarchy.
**People with fancy endowed chairs would do well to remember this.

Pandering Democrats Can Suck My Butt

Okay, y’all (and by “y’all” I mean the Democratic party leadership), right now you need to decide that you’re going to support gay rights. Not as some after-thought, not as some bone you throw the base to keep them in line, but as a deep and heartfelt conviction.


Because Republicans can change their minds*.

Mark Seda can stand in front of his colleagues and his community and say:

Like many other people around the world, I’ve been learning a great deal recently about the issue of Domestic Partner rights that has placed Ocean County front and center on the world’s stage through the incredibly courageous story of Ocean County’s own hometown hero, Lt. Laurel Hester of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office.

From what I can see, I’m only one of millions who’s been touched in a very big way by Lt. Hester’s story. If it weren’t for Lt Hester’s heart-wrenching story, I would probably not have paid much attention to this issue. Her dignity and the incredible bravery she’s displayed at the end of her life in wanting to change the world has inspired me to realize that as an elected official I should be standing by her side.

I’ve been approached by a lot of people in Jackson and elsewhere about this issue. I was very pleased to learn that the overwhelming majority of them agree with me that this is an important civil rights issue; an issue that as Americans we all have to address. To me, it seems like it’s nothing other than a very simple matter of fundamental fairness and Equal Rights for All Americans. If it weren’t for Lt Hester’s heart-wrenching story, I would probably not have paid much attention to this issue. But now I have, and I’m alarmed to learn of the loop holes New Jersey law dealing with Domestic Partnership Rights. I’ve found there are a lot of gaps in existing state laws that have been created in recent years and quite frankly in my estimation need to be closed.

And the committee then UNANIMOUSLY votes to extend domestic partnership benefits to the township’s employees. Do you see what I’m saying?

The change is coming. In some segments of the population (especially among young people) it’s already here. Most people in America do not give a shit that people are gay and they support extending legal protections to gay couples.

Here’s a Republican talking about gay people and civil rights and HOW GAY PEOPLE NEED THOSE CIVIL RIGHTS.

Democrats, if I could blast a siren right now to get your attention, I would. Because here’s what’s happening, right now, in the country you seem determined to continue to grow irrelevant in, Republicans are coming around. Folks like Seda realize that people they care about and admire are gay and want to act in a caring and loving manner towards them.

That’s trouble enough for you.

But now Republicans who want to do right by gays aren’t ashamed to say so. Not only that, they’re meeting no resistance.

If you can’t scare gays into staying in the party for fear of being forced back in the closet, you’d damn well better start caring about them more than the Republicans do.

You’re pandering to a middle that doesn’t exist. Stop it.

*If this link does not make you cry, you have no soul.

A Guide to Illinois

Illinoisans have two pastimes–building towns right next to each other, even though there’s plenty of room to spread out* and experiencing odd things.

We’ll get to the odd things in a second, but let’s dwell on the twin cities phenomenon. Now, anyone who’s ever looked at a road atlas can easily discern that the farther east you go in the Midwest, the more accommodating and easy to get along with people are. Ohio? Who doesn’t get along with people from Ohio? Indiana? Yes, it’s disconcerting that their Amish people drive trucks** and that everyone knows either Axl Rose or John Mellencamp or both, but, over all, okay place. Then you have Illinois, where we get a little grouchier–downstate*** hates Chicago, Chicago hates downstate; everyone who didn’t go to the University of Illinois hates the University of Illinois and the University of Illinois hates them; coal miners hate the farmers; people of northern Italian descent egg the houses of people of southern Italian descent; people whose families came over from Germany 250 years ago still refuse to speak English; and so on, but as long as everyone stays in their designated area, there’s very little overt hostility. Then there’s Iowa, where it seems nice and peaceful, but only because there’s no one in the state who’s still talking to each other.

So, the twin town thing in Illinois is peculiar, but I suspect it’s born out of our inherent grouchy tolerance. You can almost imagine how it happened in, say, Bloomington/Normal. The settlers were like “We need a name that will let people know that this is a happening place. Things are busting out–this is a booming town. No, that implies industry. We don’t want industry. Let’s call it a blooming town. Yes, that’s it. Bloomington.” “Industry? You jackasses don’t want any industry? What kind of freaks don’t want any jobs in their town? Fine. You do things your way. We’ll be here on our side of this creek in ‘Normal people’s town.’ You can call it Normal for short.”

And the towns, separated more by ideology than inches, soon grow intertwined until you can’t tell where one town starts and the other stops.

But, if you’re going to basically tolerate the people you don’t like who live near you–thus ruling out a great deal of ethnic and religious violence****–you end up with not a whole lot to do.

Which is, I suppose, how some lucky towns end up with some strange thing, like the Watseka Wonder or the Mad Gasser of Mattoon. Or they end up implementing really strange community improvement ideas.

Take for instance, Aledo, Illinois (home of Suzy Bogguss). Even though the town has, maybe, 3,000 people in it, they decided to rename all of the streets to make it easier for folks to find their way around town. Only two streets were left with actual street names–College Avenue and Main Street. All the other streets were given numbers–with streets being east-west roads and avenues being north-south roads.

You’re still not seeing the lunacy, I know, but bear with me. Each street or avenue was numbered, starting with 2nd, from either College or Main. So, there was a North 2nd Street and a South 2nd Street and a West 2nd Avenue and an East 2nd Avenue. Which means that, in a town small enough you can walk across it and still meet friends for lunch up at the Garden Family Restaurant, you can stand at the corner of 2nd and 2nd at four different places in town.

Really, you almost must see it to believe it.

*See Urbana/Champaign, Bloomington/Normal, LaSalle/Peru, Rock Island/Davenport/Moline/East Moline/Bettendorf/Milan (better known as the Quad Cities. Yes, everyone knows there are six cities. Don’t be petulant.), etc.
**It’s a little known fact that most traffic accidents in rural Indiana are caused by Illinois drivers going “What the fuck? Is that an Amish dude driving that truck behind me?” and turning around to take a look and ending up in a culvert.
***”Downstate” constituting anything south of I-80 or west of Aurora, thus leading to the peculiarness of Galena somehow being downstate of Chicago.
****Though it’d surely be something to watch the Lutherans and the Methodists take on those young upstart Assemblies of God.

Did I Ever Tell Y’all About the Tarantula?


That was his name. Though, considering how large he was and how long he lived, I venture that Eddie was not a he but a she. No matter.

Eddie belonged to one of the most delicious looking farm boys you ever saw. Those of you from the Midwest probably already have a mental image, kind of tall, kind of lanky, hair the color of dry corn, green John Deere hat sitting on the top of his head like he’d just lifted the bill to wipe some sweat and not bothered to set it back down. Brown Carhartt coat, gun rack in the back window of his pickup truck.

He was a freshman at the U of I. And poor Eddie was being subjected, frequently, to freshman boys filling his tank full of pot smoke. Not to mention that the U of I will let you stick your hand in a cow’s stomach* long enough to figure out how to wiggle in such a way to cause said cow to fart on the Man from GM as he walks by but it won’t let you keep a tarantula in your dorm room.

I already had a snake, so I guess it seemed logical that I could also then take the tarantula. Which was fine, because except for the rare occasions when he would pull out all his butt hair and then crack open his butt skin and wiggle out of his exoskeleton, thus leaving a perfectly hollow shell of a spider you had to fish out of the tank** and the few times when you might actually catch him eating a cricket, he didn’t do much.

Well, not much that we saw.

For one day, Eddie chewed his way through the nylon screen at the top of the tank and escaped. On the one hand, this sucked as the cute farm boy no longer had any reason to come over. On the other hand, once word of the escape got out, no church busybodies came over either.

We all presumed that Eddie died. After all, the house was a crappy dangerous place. My mom repeatedly fell through the porch and above the TV dangled some weird mold stalactites. And tarantulas aren’t native to Illinois. How long could he last?

A year, America, a whole year. When my parents moved from the house, while I was away in college, they found Eddie under the entertainment center in the living room, fat, happy, and alive.

Mom swears that she thinks he was living under there eating mice. It could be.

Sadly, after all that freedom, he never readjusted to life in the tank, and shortly died, probably of boredom.

*via a hole they had cut in the side of the cow and kept open with some kind of plastic plug.
**It occurs to me that this may explain why the tiny cat pulls her butt hair out. Perhaps she’s trying to molt.