Fine, obviously no one wants to talk about what it means to be a man and I neglected to give you my grand list of what I’m looking for in a mate** so let’s just call this morning’s post a bust.

But look at this instead:

I find it so easy, always, always, to fall in love with the utter impossible romanticism of the whole Beat experience, and found myself looking longingly at the photos of North Beach in the fifties, thinking, I was born too late.

Isn’t that nice?

And here’s where the hopscotching comes in. I read Sarcastro (in case you haven’t noticed), who reads this dude, who linked to the chick who wrote those words.

It must be like the thrill some folks get out of shopping–flipping through rack after rack of not quite right things only to finally find something that makes you gasp–the feeling I have when I’m following blog trails and stumble across something written by someone I don’t know and won’t ever know that makes me go “Ah, yes, that’s just right.”

*Yes, it is a Cortazar reference! Suck my butt, you experimental fiction haters. I’ll read what I want, or in this case, intend to someday read it and never get around to it but still reference it anyway.
**I was thinking about this at lunch and I think my requirements are–1. funny 2. smart 3. self-assured and cantankerous without being too obnoxious 4. adores me 5. makes me feel safe 6. sweet 7. calls me on my bullshit 8. loves my dog 9. loyal 10. will accompany me to boring-ass crap so that I have someone to snark with 11. tolerates my family.

When Did It Go Wrong for Men?

Before we start, can I just say how weird it is to be thinking about Carl Sandburg while walking Mrs. Wigglebottom only to come in and find that Ryan wrote about Carl Sandburg last night? Am I reading his mind? Is he reading mine? If so, poor Ryan. I give the impression that my mind is constantly racing with kinky things, but really, it’s a lot about whether the cats have food and if I remembered to turn the stove off.

Anyway, I was thinking about men this morning. Actually, I was thinking about an offhanded comment that Exador made a long time ago* about me being one of those women who can’t make up their minds about what they want in terms of men.

I don’t think this is true, only because I’ve never sat down and articulated for myself what I wanted in a man, so I’m not sure one could then fairly say I’ve changed my mind.

But I was watching some show on MTV2 this weekend about the crisis of black masculinity and how all these black entertainers grew up without positive male role models, especially fathers.

I’m not going to argue with that or dispute it; I don’t want to get off track. But it seems to me that the problem is larger than that–that it’s not clear for anyone what it means to be a man and how to transmit those values to young boys. Instead, we have, I think, what Snoop accurately observed, boys teaching boys how to be men.

When did it go wrong for men? I know some of you have your fingers hovering right above the “f” key, ready as soon as I’m done to blame the feminists for the muddle that is trying to figure out what being a man means and how to be it.

But I was thinking about the men in my family and what that must have been like for my great grandfather to be raising his family in an old house that was also a chicken coop and barn on the land of some other man.

That’s what got me thinking of Carl Sandburg–“Under the terrible burden of destiny laughing as a young man laughs.” There was a moment when being a man meant being Midwestern, or like a Midwesterner.

And for a generation of men, sandwiched between the Wars, being Midwestern meant failing–that you would do everything you could, work from sun up to sun down, and there wouldn’t be enough money or the crops would fail or the bank would close anyway.

We’ve never had to face this head on, because the story we tell is that we “fixed” the Depression by saving the world and coming home and having a bunch of babies and throwing our energy into fighting communism.

But I think that knowledge is still there, itching at the back of our brains, that you can do everything a man is supposed to do and you can still have to pack up your 12 year old son’s meager belongings and send him out to fend for himself because you can’t feed him.

I mean, I think that implicit in the definition of “man” is a guy who provides for the people he cares about. The Depression made that impossible for a lot of American men. But the story we tell never acknowledges that. And I think that remains a large problem.

So, I guess this is a long way around to asking what do you think makes a man? And how do you learn those things? And what do you do when those things don’t work?

*I do this–you say stuff to me you don’t mean for me to take too seriously, and I do. Nashville Knucklehead said to me the other day “Why do you feel so guilty?” In context, it made sense. But something struck me about it in a larger sense, too. I don’t have an answer, but I’m chewing on it.

It’s Not a Mess, It’s the Butcher’s Studio

I got home from work and the house was just as messy as it always is, with the addition of the aforementioned mail. I asked the Butcher what he did all day and he claims he slept and worked on his art.

I think it’s been a while since I’ve told you guys about the Butcher’s art, so allow me to refresh your memories. He does a lot of work where he melts crayons onto canvases in interesting, trippy patterns. And he makes these wire figures. Lately, he’s been covering the wire figures in melted crayons.

And documenting it on film.

Some of you may recall that he took a class in how to put on your own cable-access show this summer, which I thought, might lead to something interesting.

Of course, seeing as it’s the Butcher, it has. Now, a part of our living room is designated the Butcher’s “studio.” And set up in one corner is a camera. And right next to it?

A tiny spotlight.

It is to this tiny spotlight that I’d like to turn our attention. This spotlight started out life as one of those cheesy candles over-zealous, but fire-safe Christians put in the windows at Christmas–a molded piece of plastic in the shape of a candle and its holder, with a wire running up the middle of it to provide electricity to a small 15 watt bulb.

The Butcher has made two slight modifications. There’s a toilet paper tube around the candle which, as far as I can tell, serves no purpose other than decoration. And then, there’s a more elaborate modification on top. He’s lined a toilet paper tube with aluminum foil, cut a hole in the bottom, and set the whole thing on top of the light, to focus the… Waves? Particles that somewhat act like waves? Photons? Rays? Beam? Whatever.

Which means that whenever he sits down to work on his art, there’s this elaborate ritual of adjusting the light and staring through the camera and adjusting the light again which must take place.

I’m still not sure why he has to tape his creative process, because, from the outside, it doesn’t look that exciting, and he doesn’t seem prone to forgetting how he’s done it in the past.

So, I suspect these little crayon covered creatures are the impetus. I imagine, when I’m at work, the Butcher concocts elaborate soap operas starring his wire things. And the taping of his art production is just a cover so that I’ll never bother to watch the videos to see what’s really on them.

Of course, I can’t even work the MP3 player, so, in real life, the chances of me figuring out how to look at whatever he’s taped on the camera are slim to none, which is why I have to make up stories about what he’s doing in the corner of the living room with all those crayons and the tiny spot light in the first place.

The Shill Makes Me Cry

The Butcher finally retrieved the mail for the month and I was sorting through it looking for bills to pay, when I came across a gift card from the Shill and the Legal Eagle, I presume.

She says it’s from those of you that love me.

Could I be any more spoiled?


Phantom IHOP

They have treatments for phantom limbs, but nowhere can I find an answer for what to do when you feel the pain of an IHOP no longer there.

The IHOP at the corner of Broadway and 21st has been gone for years, and yet today, I thought, I’m going to treat the Butcher to lunch and we will sit in one of the big sunny booths and watch the traffic go by just like we did when we first moved here.

Then, I remembered that it’s not there anymore. But today, I can see that old map of the stars’ homes that used to hang in the vestibule and hear the kitchen noises in my head as clear as day.

I’ve come to think of my memory like a vast bog and every day, I go to the edge of it and throw my valuable thoughts into it, to appease whatever lurks there. Some things end up gone forever. But often other things come to the surface, like the Tollund Man, looking so freshly dead, that I can’t believe how long ago they happened.

The Butcher teases me about having no memory. And, in some way, that’s true. He’s got the bear-trap mind and can recall names and dates and faces and roads to places I never, ever want to go again. I don’t bother to hold onto those things. As soon as I have them in my hand, I toss them away, so that no one can ask me to turn them over, to explain my relationship to them.

But sometimes, memories just erupt. I don’t know how else to explain it. It feels almost violent and I sometimes have to grab hold of my chair to keep me grounded in the present, they come bubbling out from that bog there inside me and, like a bubble bursting, whatever kept me from recalling those instances–whatever spell normally keeps my past safely shrouded from me–is gone and there those memories are. Forever afterwards accessible to me, behaving just like normal memories do, I imagine.

It’s weird, too, because they aren’t ever really memorable moments. It’s not like I lost the moment of the Butcher’s birth, only to find it later. No, they’re just ordinary moments, like a sunny day in a long-gone restaurant wasting a lunch hour with your little brother.

Puke-Associated Things I Cleaned Today

1. The sink.
2. The front of the sink.
3. The floor in front of the sink.
4. My pajamas.
5. The shower curtain.
6. The glass of water I meant to drink, but instead dumped all over me and the bed when I passed out fell asleep Friday night.
7. The dog. In all fairness, she was not puke-associated, but since I was cleaning the tub anyway, she did have some previous ketchup stains I wanted to get after.
8. A shot glass.

Also, I should say that many of these things were already cleaned once by the Butcher yesterday (Thanks, Butcher), but you know how sometimes you’re just convinced you can still smell it? I was convinced I could still smell it. But I bleached the shit out of everything, so nothing organic can possibly have survived.

Cleaning the shot glass, though, alerted me to another problem. I now have half a bottle of Gentleman Jack that cannot possibly be opened in our house without causing me to gag.

I thought about having a contest and the winner would get the rest of the whiskey. But then I thought about how I probably should just give it to the man who had to “enjoy” the first half of the bottle as it ran around his house making an ass of itself Friday night.

And so, that is what I shall do, as soon as I can bring myself to look at it again.

The Books Meme

Sarcastro tags me to play this little game and, since I’m grateful to learn that he’s still speaking to me after Friday night*, I will oblige him.

[1] Name 5 of your favorite books

The Poetic Edda. What can I say about this book that I haven’t said before? It’s the little-acknowledged reason for every nerdy Saturday night spent across this great world playing Dungeons & Dragons. It’s the spiritual ancestor to The Lord of the Rings and it’s full of magic, sex, adventure, and wisdom. Except for the part where most everyone dies, even the gods you love, it’s a wonderful gift from our ancestors**.

Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman. Everyone should take the time to read “Song of Myself” out loud, once. I think you can love it seeing it on the page, but hearing it out loud? Good god damn. Whitman is bold and crazy and his sentences meander across the page like long rivers he’s traveling down, coaxing you with him. Whitman knows America, sees us in our Sunday best and sees us in our dirty underwear and loves us at both moments equally.

Plus, there’s a barbaric yawp at the end. I’ve never told anyone this before, but it’s a secret dream of mine to have the libertarians read that stanza to me (I don’t know under what circumstances that might transpire, but I guess you never know) and to watch them barbarically yawp. That would delight me. Do libertarians read poetry outloud? I don’t recall there being any rule against it in Libertarianism: A Primer.

Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino. This may be my favorite book ever. I can’t find my copy, which makes me heartsick. But here’s the premise: Marco Polo is in the court of Ghengis Khan, telling him stories about all of the cities he’s seen. If you aren’t familiar with Calvino, he’s incredible. He writes this experimental fiction that, unlike most experimental fiction, is light and playful and beautiful and dream-like. I don’t know that Invisible Cities is his best work, but it’s my favorite.

The Wake Forest Book of Irish Women’s Poetry. I quote from this all the time, so I think my love for it is already apparent. It’s just full of good stuff.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. It’s a good thing most writers are idiots, because if they weren’t, they couldn’t read this book and still set out to write “The Great American Novel.” Here is it, America. Here it is. What more can you say about how wonderful this country is and how deeply, deeply fucked up the ways we treat each other are? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the fact that we’re still, 150 years later, missing the central bitter joke of this book–that Nigger Jim, a piece of property, is the only real man Huck knows–just proves that Twain knows us better than we care to admit. Yes, the ending sucks. Is that a “problem?” I guess only if you think that the answers to our problems are easy and within reach–Twain knows better than that. That’s the second central bitter joke of the book.

[2] What was the last book you bought?

Shoot, I haven’t bought a book in so long… I think it was Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, a book I just adored.

[3] What was the last book you read?

Libertarianism: A Primer as you well know.

[4] Name five books that have particularly meaningful for you.

The Redneck Manifesto by Jim Goad most recently. Sarcastro lent this to me and it blew my mind. Yes, I think his anger is scatter-shot in ways that dilute his point, but his point–that it serves a particular group’s purpose to make sure that poor people are unaware of their own history–is really important.

Things Invisible to See by Nancy Willard. If any book could have kept me Christian, it’s this one. God, baseball, the Midwest, and World War II. At the end, when the baseball players throw the game for the women, I cry and cry every time I read it.

The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf. Wolf is a nut and she’s got some issues. But she makes this point in this book that haunts me–that we women talk about ourselves and our relationship to food in religious terms and we rarely think about what that implies. When we have dessert, we’re being “bad.” Foods are “sinfully” delicious. When we lose weight, we’re being good. So, how we look is not just an aesthetic issue, but has become deeply tied into whether or not we feel we’re worth-while at a soul level.

Nine Worlds of Seid-Magic: Ecstasy and Neo-Shamanism in North European Paganism by Jenny Blain. I’m sure many cultures are tired of white folks showing up to study them and participating in their rituals and bothering their dead folks. Blain bothers her own dead folks and talks in a scholarly way about how she does it.

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. I read this book in middle school and felt like a whole world opened up to me. I had no idea that people like me could write books and that they could write them about ordinary folks. Then I read this book and decided I was going to be a famous author before I was 20. Oops.

[5] Three books you are dying to read but just haven’t yet.

Love and Theft by Eric Lott. Yes, in part, because it shares a name with the Bob Dylan album.

Race, Rock, & Elvis by Michael Bertrand. I have a huge intellectual crush on Bertrand’s chapter on Elvis in A Boy Named Sue so I’m dying to see what he says about him in this much space.

A History of Pagan Europe by Prudence Jones.

[6] Tag five people to go through this same ordeal.

Whoever wants to do it, feel free to claim to be tagged by me. I’ll never say any different.

*Though I’m not sure the Boy Scout or Sarcastro’s Sugar Momma are…
**Christianity gets blamed, rightly, for a lot. But, in this case, as in the case of Beowulf, I’m glad some literate person at least put this shit on paper.

How It Went

I wasn’t nervous, probably because I was just so relieved to not feel sick. The Butcher had asked me earlier if he was going to have to put on a dress and pretend to be me and go out there and read my lines. For most of the day, I was afraid that might be the case.

Here’s the thing, folks–in real life, I’m awkward. I feel awkward. And the women who were in The Vagina Monologues are extraordinary. And I kept feeling like the coolest stuff, for me, was happening behind the scenes, just getting to hang out with these women who kick so much ass.

I just had two small parts, a happy cooter fact and a sad cooter fact, but these women were getting up on stage and telling long cooter stories, and then coming back stage and laughing and talking in hushed voices and everyone was constantly hugging each other and smiling and I just felt incredibly honored to be there with them.

Any one of them could have read my two cooter facts and no one would have missed me. And so that made me feel deeply honored, too, that they would give me a little room on the stage.

Even so, it didn’t really hit me until I stepped out on the stage to give my happy cooter fact and there I was, bathed in light, and I couldn’t see anyone else. Just darkness and a spot of light to stand in and a microphone with that waffle of silver wire over the head.

And that’s when I was awe-struck.

Here I was, your lowly blogger, on the stage at the Belcourt Theater, once the home of the Grand Ole Opry*, where Miss J. and I saw Gillian Welch, and, according to the sign on the dressing room door, Raul Malo had been recently. It seemed pretty silly, frankly.

Not in a bad way, but just in one of those “Wow, how the fuck did this happen?” ways. Weird things constantly happen to me, but it’s been a long time since something really pleasantly strange has.

And it felt good. I am all for the return of some happy fortuities around here, let me tell you. So, shoot, you want to throw me out on a stage used to bearing the weight of people I admire, and if that audience wants to laugh at and with me**, I’m not going to say no. It was amazing. And I feel very lucky.

Then, afterwards, I was standing in front of the stage and I heard a familiar voice shrieking “B.! B.!***” and The Big E and the Butcher came running over to give me hugs.

Then, I went back stage to get my stuff and I came out and said good-bye to folks and hugged everyone I could find and looked around and there was the Butcher standing in the back of the house, wearing his big brown leather coat, with a big smile on his face, and he lifted his hand to wave at me, and I walked up to him and he said, “No, that was really good.” And I said, “I’m really glad you came.” And he said, “I liked it.”

And I felt lucky to have him, too. I can’t help it, y’all. Even when he drives me crazy, I feel like my brother is one of the best happy fortuities in my life.

*Though, in all fairness, before the Opry settled at the Ryman, it seems to have made its home for a short time in just about every place in town.
**Though, to the person who whooped when I mentioned that having your clitoris cut off can lead to death… Did you not get that that was a “not-so-happy fact”?
***Well, actually, she was shrieking my whole name, which most of you now know, but you know, in the beginning I was “Aunt B.” and all of my readers knew who I was and it became a funny little joke after a while. And so, I reckon it’s still a joke, just now everyone is in on it. It’s probably better that way.

Yes, I’ve Been Drinking, So, Yes, It’s a Mushy Post

Let’s hope this is the last we have to speak of the recent unpleasantness*. But I just wanted to take a minute and say thanks to all y’all.

I think the last time I talked to Coble, our exchange went something like “Suck my butt,” “You’d like that, wouldn’t you?” “Do you even read what I say?” “I don’t have to. You never say anything new.” “You stink.” “So do you.” And yet, who called me up at lunch to check on me? Coble.

Kleinheider is my exact opposite. We’re actually forbidden by a little-known law of physics from meeting, because it would be like matter and anti-matter colliding. Scientists right now are studying how to bring us close enough together to generate an endless supply of energy without destroying either of us. Do most of Kleinheider’s readers agree with me? I doubt it. And yet, one of them called him to let him know what was going on so he could take appropriate steps.

Up at Pith in the Wind, they deleted comments as fast as they went up.

And you know Brittney, Sarcastro, Nashville Knucklehead, and the Wayward Boy Scout totally had my back.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Tiny Cat Pants might be good because of me, but it’s great because of you guys. I learn so much from you all the time, not only because of what you say, but how you live in the world. I feel very lucky.

So, again, to all you guys, thanks a lot.

It’s strange, but as much as it sucked and probably will continue to suck for a bit, y’all made me feel taken care of.

*My Southern readers will pause momentarily to wonder if I’m talking about the Civil War.

Sorry About That

It’s going to be slightly annoying around here for a little bit. I’ve turned the comments moderation on. Not forever. Lord knows having to wait for me to okay everything is going to ruin the rhythm of conversations.

But for a little bit.

As you all know, there aren’t a lot of rules around here. Just please don’t personally attack each other and, if at all possible, please don’t take others’ comments as personal attacks.

In the whole time I’ve had Tiny Cat Pants, I’ve only deleted a couple of comments–the ones that I felt were insulting attacks on the Butcher. And then the one from last night, which disclosed all of my personal information.

I thought about leaving it, because, obviously, most of you know who I am and the ones that don’t could always just ask. It’s not a big secret. But some of the information is wrong and, if there are any loonies out there who, for whatever reason, want to hunt me down, it seemed unethical of me to point them to folks who have no idea who I am and thus no responsibility for what I do or say.

So, down it came.

Still, once something’s out there on the internet, it’s out there forever. So, I have to ask, if you’re going to start stalking me, please, beware of the dog.

The Mickey Mouse Paper

I’m terrible at math, still. Not the accoutrements of math. I can get an Excel spreadsheet to work and I can usually figure out how to turn all my budgetary issues into elaborate story problems.

I just cannot work numbers. I still have to think for many seconds about what 7+4 equals. I have a hard time multiplying by 8. When I was in fifth grade, we had to memorize our multiplication tables and then we’d take these tests where we had a minute to answer thirty multiplication problems. If we didn’t a certain amount of them correctly, we had to stay in for recess. I could get them right if I had enough time.

I just always ran out of time.

See, the way I learned to memorize the multiplication tables was by singing a little song and committing it to memory. One times one is one. One times two is two… eight times eight is sixty-four, etc. So, if I wanted to answer, say, what 8×7 was, I had to sing the whole set of eights to myself.

I missed out on a lot of lunchtime recesses and so I began to hate math, both because I was failing to pass these quizzes and because I was missing prime socializing time.

So, finally, one day, my dad brought me into the living room and opened the second drawer on the desk, which, up until that point, we were forbidden from touching at all. And there, in a package, was some notebook paper with Mickey Mouse in the corner.

Now, it would be fun to do math! I could do my math assignments on the Mickey Mouse paper. I could write my math teacher elaborate stories in the margins of my homework, because there, in the margins already, was Mickey.

It’s stupid, but it worked. I looked forward to doing my homework so that I could use the Mickey Mouse paper. Doing my homework lead me to improving my math skills–not to genius levels, but to “get to finally go outside for recess levels.” And that was good enough for me.

So, a little while? Six hours

I’m over at Kleinheider’s making an ass of myself about abortion. I would have thought someone would have called me on the unfairness of claiming personal insult, but so far no one has.

My best line?

As for your hysterical outrage about linking abortion, gay rights, and racial discrimination, I can barely bother to reply. If you can’t see how those are all issues of bodily autonomy and self-determination, I can’t help you.

But really, we both know, you don’t want my help. You want to win one for your side by putting an uppity liberal woman in her place.

I only hope you’ll begin to speak in your weird right-wing language like you did in this thread before this winds down. Once you start in with the “Californi-cating” and the “lezbo couples” and the “Helen Degenerate” (Is that a jab at both Ellen Degeneres and Helen Thomas?), it’s a bit like watching a possessed man spewing forth in some foreign language.

So, go check it out, if you’re bored this afternoon.

[Edited to add that you should go check out Exador’s comment. Or, shoot, I’ll just reproduce it here:

Doesn’t that show that just about everybody can agree that abortion is not a first choice for even the most pro-choicer?

Can we agree that it’s a difficult decision for any woman?

This, my friends, is why I think it’s impossible to write off the libertarians. Sure, they swagger around all he-man like, and burb, and drink beer, and shoot things, but sometimes they just say things in a simple, elegant, and beautiful way and it makes me think that they’re not as easily discountable as we’d like to believe (and that’s not just because I agree with him).]

Silver Linings

Okay, so asking me to be in The Vagina Monologues is apparently the equivalent of asking a garlic farmer to host a party for vampires.

That doesn’t mean there isn’t a bright side.

1. The Butcher doesn’t know that Miss J. isn’t coming, and so he’s at home cleaning as we speak.

2. I bought the most awesome necklaces for the show to wear in a big pile, but I’ve been having fun wearing them all week.

3. And at least now I know that, if any of you are stalking me, you’re the shittiest stalkers in the world.

Both Funny Ha Ha and Funny Ouch

Well, I just got off the phone with Miss J. who is sick with the flu and so is not coming down to see my fabulous theatrical reading of cooter facts, both good and bad.

This brings the sum total of people I know who are coming to see me in The Vagina Monologues to 0.

Yes, zero.

It’s kind of funny in a really pathetic way.

Okay, no. It’s very funny.

I mean, it’s not so funny for The Vagina Monologues, which is a fund-raiser for an actual good and helpful charity and so, you know, could use the ticket sales.

But funny for me in a humbling way. Even with promises of cooter talk and my good bra, I could not talk one person who knows me in real life into spending a fabulous evening at the theater.

Yep. I suck.

Well, shit. Maybe if I buy a ticket for the Butcher, he’ll come. I mean, he’s got to be over on that side of town anyway, because he’ll have to give me a ride home.

And yes, that would be really funny, too, if it weren’t happening to me.

I’m Done for a Little While

I think I’m done arguing about abortion for a little while. And it’s really because I can’t argue about it with people who think it should be illegal and still respect them.

There’s two reasons for this. One is that I don’t understand how anyone can go through childbirth or witness childbirth and not be pro-choice. When you see a woman who wants a baby crying and screaming and bleeding and there’s shit and piss and she’s calling out for her grandma or her god and crying some more and tearing apart and she’s begging for anyone who can to stop the pain and this goes on for hours, sometimes days… when you see that how can you feel okay about compelling women who don’t want babies to go through it?

Do you just block this part out? Do you justify it to yourself in your head by saying that that’s just how it is? Or that it’s not so bad? Or that women are built to handle it? How do you watch a woman giving birth and not see it for the tremendous gift that it is? Who do you think you are to compel someone to give a gift that costs that much?

The other reason is that I’m tired of being polite. I was telling Exador yesterday that I wish there was a way for abortion providers to play hardball like the militant gay-rights folks. We all know that anti-abortionists themselves have abortions and hide behind doctor-patient confidentiality and we let them. They do this right now. They did it when abortions were illegal.

Sure, it’s fine and dandy to force me to carry a pregnancy to term, because I’m just a whore who deserves to be punished. But when it’s your daughter, Deacon, who’s looking at either going to college in August or having a baby in August; or your mistress, Senator, who says “We have to find a way to take care of this or I’m going to tell your wife.”; or your sister who’s been a stay-at-home mom to her three kids who shows up at your door because her husband’s leaving her and the kids out of the blue and she’s never worked outside the home in her whole life and she needs a job now because she’s got mouths to feed, but, oops, she’s pregnant; or your girlfriend who was raped; or your wife and the doctor says “There’s something wrong with the baby and it won’t live outside the womb, but if she carries the pregnancy any farther, delivering it will probably kill her.”; or you…

When it affects you, “make abortions illegal” crowd, then a lot of you have no qualms about availing yourself of them. And if you have enough money, when most women who need them can’t get them, it won’t matter to you if they’re illegal. Do you honestly think there’s a single rich person in South Dakota or anyone in the legislature who’s at all worried that they’re going to make abortions illegal? No, because the laws won’t apply to them. When it comes to abortion, it rarely does. They’ll travel or have “emergency appendectomies” or whatever.

And I’m tired of knowing that and still fighting with you. I know it’s not all of the “abortion should be outlawed” crowd, but it’s enough of you that I’m starting to feel like it’s pointless to continue the debate. No reason I ever give will be good enough to justify why I might have an abortion. And any reason you give for why you or your loved one needed one is supposed to be excused as a tragic necessity.

Two Things

1. The new peanut butter Hershey’s Kisses. I like them, I guess, but not as much as the Kisses with Almonds.

2. Y’all, I am such a doofus. Having Kleinheider and Knucklehead devote posts to me yesterday and our Wayward Boy Scout also threatening to slap my ass… well, it tickled me. In a girly way. Today, I wore eyeliner and, I can’t even tell you, it’s so ridiculous, a necklace. Shoot. What next? Lipstick? What the fuck?

The Port Thing

America, if you don’t find this hilarious, I just don’t know how to talk to you.

For the last five years, this administration has argued that we can do whatever the fuck we want, world opinion be damned–torture people, make them disappear into secret prisons never to be heard from again, listen in on the phone conversations of US citizens without warrants, etc.–as long as it keeps America safe, or, frankly, gives the appearance of keeping America safe.

Then, yesterday, the President was all like “Well, we can’t just be running around telling the United Arab Emirates that they can’t run our ports just because it’s an Arab country. It wouldn’t look right. What kind of message would that be sending the rest of the world?”

And then he threatened to veto any legislation that Congress might approve that halted the deal. Yes, the “Tough on Terror” President is going to side with an Arab country against the US Congress. You can almost hear the Democratic leadership wetting itself with glee.

Time and time again the Democrats have been handed political gold only to turn it into lead. But finally, here comes a political opportunity so easy that even they cannot fuck this up, because Republicans are also on-board.

And all this veto talk that was so important yesterday? Well, it doesn’t take a seasoned journalist to interpret what this headline means: Bush Didn’t Know About Ports Deal. He’s going to try to back away from all that tough talk to save some political face.

Still, it’s pretty funny that something that was so important yesterday that he was going to veto any effort to derail it, is so unimportant today that the President didn’t even know about it.

Why I Will Never Be a Libertarian–Reason 2

I feel I owe Sarcastro. I think you do, too.

You don’t just send folks off to shoot at people and get shot at and to defend our country or liberate whoever needs liberating or tell them to do something and then blame them for doing it and then bring them home and set them loose to fend for themselves.

If Sarcastro goes crazy or ends up with long-term effects from exposure to oil fires or whatever, because of what we asked him to do, then we owe it to him to take care of him once he’s home.

He doesn’t want to be taken care of. But really, tough shit.

He’s free to barricade himself in his house and refuse all help, but that doesn’t mean we’re not obliged to make it available.

Why I Will Never Be a Libertarian–Reason 1

My nephew regularly shows up at my parents’ house with weird rashes and burns and scrapes. He’s four. A lot of times, this shit just happens. Hell, I have a big bruise on my arm right now and I don’t know where it came from. I’m just an easily bruised person.

But when he comes into my dad’s room late at night and pats my dad’s arm and says, “It’s okay, Grandpa, sometimes mommies don’t come home.” it makes me want to drive over to North Carolina and run my sister-in-law over.

I don’t, because all I have are my suspicions and a four year old nephew who doesn’t think there’s anything weird about the way that he lives and who has no interest in explaining where every strange bump and scrape on his body came from.

If you’ve known me longer than five minutes, though, you know that I’m terrified for him.

What do I want for him more than anything? I want him to live until August. I want him to get enrolled in kindergarten, because the law says he has to be, and I want him to go to a public school, because that’s all his mom can afford to send him to, and I want him to be so cute and charming to a tax-payer funded teacher that when he starts showing up late or not at all, because his mom can’t be bothered, I want a Department of Family Services to swoop in there and rescue him.

I can’t do this. I have a job and just one car. I don’t have unlimited wealth to hire a private detective to follow him around and make sure he’s okay. No one in my family has enough money to quit their jobs and move to North Carolina to keep their eye on things and intervene if need be.

Plus, she moved to North Carolina, in part, to keep my family out of her hair.

I need for there to be someone with the weight of the government behind him or her who can force her to do right by my nephew.

He deserves that, even if we aren’t rich enough to provide it for him.

Mrs. Wigglebottom Does Not Have a Head Wound

I got home from work and saw that Mrs. Wigglebottom had crusty red crap on her head and around her eye. Of course, my immediate thought was that she’d suffered some dreadful wound at the claws of the cats and had been wandering around the house bleeding all day.

I hugged her to me and started to ask “Oh, Mrs. Wigglebottom! What happened to you?” when I smelled a slight tomato-y, vinegar-y smell.

Someone–I won’t point fingers–did throw the pickles from her quarter-pounder with cheese at the dog yesterday and one did land on her head and one did cling to her eye. And yes, that same person did today think that the dog had been hurt. And so, yes, that very same person may be a bit of a moron.

Sorry, Mrs. Wigglebottom.

Hmm, Will Knucklehead Fight Kleinheider?

Nashville Knucklehead also tries to sweet-talk me today.

Gentlemen! I swear, if I had known that blogging about marriage would get your attention like this, I would have started blogging about marriage 15 years ago. I would have invented blogging just to have grouchy cantankerous men tell me a thing or two about the way things are between men and women.

While I try to devote this forum to funny tales of crazy chicks and blow jobs of yesteryear, Auntee B got to me the other day when she posted a long and eloquent argument (as only she can do, 3 or 4 times a day) about how straight men should not stand for the messages sent by society that we are all pigs. I told her that we didn’t hear such messages, then made a witty and charming remark about eating my own poop for lunch. She responded as though we were an old married couple. She ignored what I said and asked if maybe I actually heard the messages and subconsciously internalized them. She didn’t like my answer, so she asked the question a different way. Well, the answer is still no, I don’t hear the messages in society about how men are pigs, and now I’m here to tell you why.

An old married couple? That tickles me. I can’t even tell you.

And Aunt B., if you need someone to reach into you clogged disposer, just let me know, you cute little ol’ feminist. /* virtual smack on the ass*/

I can unclog my own garbage disposal, thanks, but I could use somebody to come over and change my oil. Let me know if that’s in your skill-set, Knucklehead.

Kleinheider Appeals to My Baser Nature

Kleinheider lectures me on the benefits of marriage.

Women and marriage make males better men. Does this mean men are somehow weak, wicked or incompetent? You damn skippy. What of it?

And then he sweet-talks me some.

Women left to their own devices and without structure can be just as scandalous as men. Depraved, despicable, and disagreeable, the female is. Just like men. Well, not just like men. Obviously, female failings manifest differently and thus the benefits derived from marriage are different but the ladies need us just as much as we need them. Believe.

And then he throws in a Shakespeare reference.

Us humans, we are people who need people — in the proper context and with the proper structure in place. Does marriage “domesticate” men? No doubt. Properly configured, though, marriage tames that shrew as well.

And what can I say?

He’s wrong, but I totally [heart] Kleinheider anyway.

Miss J. is Coming!

My darling friend, Miss J. is officially coming down to see me in The Vagina Monologues on Saturday! How excited am I?

Buy your tickets now, folks, and you can try to talk her into sitting by you and telling you how much fun it is to smooch me. Unless, of course, you’ve smooched me yourself, in which case, you can sit by her and commiserate.

Anyway, hurray!

My mom called me last night to say that she will be there in spirit. If you are a cute man and feel your ass mysteriously pinched while you are in the Belcourt, it’s her.