Further Clinton Anxiety

I caught Bill Clinton this morning talking about what his role in a Hillary administration would be and my concern about the advisability of this for the health of our country continues.

I just don’t believe it’s good for us to have power pass back and forth between two families.

Bill tried to convince America that it’s not a dynasty, but it feels like that to me.

I’ll vote for her, if it comes to that, but I just don’t like it.

Fat, Fat, Fat

So, Monday is my doctor’s appointment.  I haven’t been to the doctor in about five years–not since the dreadful illness and the gynocologist who told me that god doesn’t want fat women to have babies because they cannot protect their children from angry elephants.

I know.

Anyway, I was sitting at the lawyer’s office earlier in the week with my dad and he’s all “You know, the doctor’s going to tell you that you have to lose weight.  She’ll tell you what I’ve been telling you, that there’s nothing she can do for you if you don’t lose weight.”

Silence for a while.

“Hey, do you hear that?  What’s that noise?”

“What noise?”

“Shh… Oh…”


“It’s you.  How long have you been making that noise when you breathe?”

“I don’t know.  For a while.  Sometimes I snort or make this snoring noise, too.”

“Well, it sounds terrible.  Don’t forget to mention that to the doctor.”

“Yes, Dad.”

I don’t care about losing weight.  I just want to be able to do the things I could do at this time last year–walk the dog around the neighborhood in twenty-five, not forty minutes, sleep through the night instead of waking up every two hours, breathe without being heard in the next room, walk around the park, not fall asleep during the day, etc.  I don’t feel bad, but I feel like it’s been almost a year since I felt really good.  I want to feel good again.

But I dread going because it always becomes about the weight.  I was fat last year and could breathe and move how I wanted.  That’s all I want from life.

Anyway, I thought this post over at Shakesville was very interesting.  It’s a series of pictures of people and their BMIs.


Here’s the thing.  I hate how doctors tell you that you’re fat and that you have to lose weight like you’ve never heard that before, like no one in your family finds it necessary to point out to you every time they see you, like strangers don’t come up to you in a bar and say things like “Look at you eating!” Like somehow, it’s escaped your attention.

See, I haven’t even met this chick and I’m already feeling defensive and hostile.

Ned Williams is My Favorite White Person

America, did you ever read something right before you went to bed and find yourself waking up in the middle of the night by the sound of someone laughing only to realize that, even in your sleep, you’re still tickled?

That happened to me last night.

Witness post A. from Ned Williams in which he bemoans the fact that everyone is picking on poor Bill O’Reilly for being surprised that black people can order ice tea without shouting “motherfucker” (which, come one, everyone knows black people only shout “motherfucker” when ordering sweet tea).  And then he sides with Juan Williams talking about how these black kids today are just embracing that rap music and that ghetto culture and lives of thugginess and crime.

And then post B. in which he bashes liberals for being wrong about how many black men go to prison.  It turns out, I guess (I didn’t check his sources), that more black young men go to college, many more black young men go to college, than go to prison.

So, which is it?  Are black kids being ruined by rap music and lead astray into lives of crime or are black kids going to college?  Or are they sneekily going to college to learn how to become better criminals, because they are smart enough to formulate such a devious plan but too stupid to not get that rap music you hear on the radio is describing a pretend world designed to appeal to and sell to white high school and college age boys?

See, and this is a crucial mistake folks make.  Most of the rap music a non-rap fan is going to encounter is selling a fantasy about black people to white people.  We are not, in spite of what the marketers of said fantasy tell us (i.e. the rappers themselves), hearing a direct pipeline to the mean streets of ghetto America, some documentary of poor black life.

You know why?

Because no one would buy album after album of “I sat around on my grandma’s couch today because it was too hot to move and the air conditioner’s broke” or “Donnie and me walked all over the neighborhood today looking for trouble, but there wasn’t anything going on” or “I went to the grocery store and ran into that girl from down the street.”

Because we white people do that same shit.

We want a fantasy of black people in which they’re all striving criminals who, though they lead cool lives (at least until they’re shot or go to prison), in the end deserve for us to treat them badly.  We want to feel justified in our fear.

That’s why, I think, people are so upset with O’Reilly, because that’s exactly what he does.  He, as much as any white person, is constantly interacting with all kinds of black people, from Juan Williams to Al Sharpton to Condoleeza Rice.  He moves in circles with millionaire black folks.  He works in a city full of all kinds of ordinary folks who are black.

And yet, when he thinks of black people, he’s bitching about Luda, Twista, and Snoop AND THEN turning around and acting surprised that all black people don’t act like those three guys pretend to act in order to sell albums to white people

O’Reilly takes at face value an act that resonates with him (which, I would argue, is at some level specifically designed to resonate with him) and assumes not only that it’s not an act, but that it is not only true of the rappers he’s familiar with, but is true of most black people.

Because he assumes he’s too clever to be played, he cannot see how he’s being played, and thus makes an ass of himself.

Which brings me back to Ned Williams. 

Ned, I’m going to lay some truth on you.  You say, “If we can’t even agree on (or get the Left to acknowledge) the problems . . . how can we expect to come to any solutions?”  You have a long row to hoe if you want to be taken seriously by black people.  White people, especially white men, do not get to decide when a problem concerning black America is a “we” problem and when it’s a “they” problem, BECAUSE WE HAVE NO CREDIBILITY.

No credibility at all.

I mean, Ned, bless your heart, here you are trying to talk about race and how racist liberals are and you use the term “race-baiting.”  Do you know what that says to people?  That you don’t have a clue.

Just try, for a second, to see this from the perspective of a black person. For the whole history of the United States, white people have been performing grand social experiments on black people.  We’ve been breaking up families; we’ve been telling them if they can have children, and, if so, with whom; we’ve been keeping at least some of the population in captivity and using the fear of captivity as a way of terrorizing the rest of the population; we’ve sterilized women without their consent; we’ve made men sick and withheld cures from them; it’s only been within our parents’ lifetimes that we’ve removed the legal barriers to their full participation as citizens in this country.

And Ned, though a small group of white people did that stuff because they were evil, most white people did that stuff and went along with that stuff because they really believed, in their deepest hearts, that they were doing what was best for black people.

Our whole history has been a series of white people doing what they thought was best for black people, what they thought was right, and most of the shit we’ve done has been devistatingly bad (to put it mildly).

So, see what I’m saying?  We have no credibility.  We have no room to turn around and say, “Oh, hey, this time we’ve been looking in on you and watching how you do things and this time we clearly see what the problems are and so this time you have nothing to fear from the steps we’ll take to fix it.”  Because almost every time we step in to fix things, we fuck things up.


Because we make no effort to actually understand real black people.  We don’t search out their voices.  We just assume that what hits us on the tv or the radio or even Time magazine must be the unfiltered truth.

And we’re wrong.

You’re a smart enough guy to get that. 

In Which I Solve the Insurance Crisis

Okay, here’s what we’re going to do about insurance: nobody gets it.  Nope, not even rich people.  No one gets health insurance.

Instead, you buy from me a necklace with ten special beads on it (which will cost you $250).  You rub the beads against the body part that ails you for nine days, while praying to God for you to be healed.

If you are healed, it’s because you’re a good person who God loves very much.

If you are not healed, it’s because you suck and deserve to suffer.  What a shame.  Perhaps another $250 necklace might help.

Sure, it sounds like a cruel scam that serves to benefit only me, but here’s my question, America–can that be any more of a cruel scam than to deny the claim of a woman who has miscarried because you’ve decided that she had an “elective abortion“?

I doubt it.

The Cranes

I have a hard time keeping the Cranes separate in my head.  Both were poets, both died young.  But one was gay and wrote long poems designed to put T.S. Eliot in his place and the other was the son of a Methodist minister and who married a brothel keeper and who wrote short, easy to read poems.  Still, I get them mixed up.

It turns out that Hart Crane is the one who wrote the poems I don’t like, but, courtesy of Jilly Dybka over at the Poetry Hut Blog, I bring you a beautiful, passionate essay about one of this Crane’s poems.

The essayist is a great writer as well and it shows.  If a sentence like this walked by me on the street, I would spend the rest of the day imagining running my fingers across it.

Lovers, he shows us, are all prodigals insofar as they are extravagant, errant wasters of language.

Childbirth Porn

The thing that most disturbs me about the search terms that bring folks here is imagining that there’s somebody out there looking for “tiny girls fucking” or “I want to fuck my nephew” and, as they’re in the midst of that search, they see Tiny Cat Pants and decide that they need to set aside their search for gratification to read something of mine.

Believe me, when I’m looking for Viggo Mortensen naked on the internet, I’m not wasting my time reading what bloggers have to say about his latest movie.  Those are two separate tasks for two separate moments.

But sometimes there will come a phrase that causes you to stop and think about a stranger’s perversion more than you care to.  Take, for instance, the phrase “childbirth porn.”

Do you suppose that person was looking for exceptionally graphic depictions of childbirth, which, for some reason, he finds arousing?  Or do you think that there’s actually a market for images of women in the middle of labor doing…

What, exactly?

Clearly, not vaginal intercourse.  I would think anal sex would be difficult for the same reason.  Oral sex?

And, too, clearly any of this porn would have to be as fake as fake can be.

See, I’ve already given this more thought than it was worth and now I’ve got all heebie jeebies about it.

Oh, Smooches *sigh*

Here, in no particular order, are some of my favorite smooches. 

–I like the smooch where there’s no question it’s going to happen.  The smoocher is standing full on in front of the smoochee with that smooching grin on his/her face.  Bot smoocher and smoochee lean in at the same time and soft lips brush soft lips.  And brush again.  And linger just long enough that a soft tongue slips from one mouth to the next and is met by the other.

–I like the smooch where the smoochee is being a little ridiculous about something that makes the smoochee both exasperating and irrestistable and the smoocher grabs the smoochie’s shoulders, backs him or her up against a wall, and presses him or herself full up against the smoochee, maybe with a hand on the back of the smoochee’s head, and the smoocher kisses the smoochee like that should end the discussion.

–I like the smooches where, afterwards, you stare at youself in the bathroom with that dopey grin on your face, your hair all messed up, and your mouth all red from whisker burn.

–I like the smooch you don’t expect, where you’re just sitting there talking and the smoocher leans over and plants one on you.

Can you tell what a person is like in bed from how they smooch?

Porn star Jack Lawrence says:

You can tell if someone is a good lover or not by how they kiss. . . . Kissing is an art form . . . if it comes from the heart, you can express yourself and understand exactly what a lover wants in bed. . . . It’s all about passion and being able to read a kiss.

I don’t know.  I think I’m a pretty good kisser.  I’m less sure of the rest of my repertoire.

But I found that whole Village Voice article interesting.  I do find kissing to be very intimate and have a hard time with the whole “Hello!” *kiss, kiss* phenomenon.  I wouldn’t run up to Dr. J after not seeing her for months and grab her tit.  In the same way, I wouldn’t run up to her and kiss her, not even on the cheek.  And I don’t mind smooching her!

Anyway, I’m tired of talking about depressing things.  Let’s talk about smooching.  What makes a good smooch?  Who do you like to smooch?  Is there anyone you would stand around smooching for three hours, onlookers be damned? (I mean, of course, aside from me.)

Did You Know Chappy’s is Open For Lunch?

Well, it is.

By the way, if you boys are wondering why we go to the bathroom in groups, it’s so that we can talk about you and so that we can have hot trysts with each other if we have become sure, over the course of dinner, that you guys aren’t going to get it done for us.

Don’t believe me?

Then ask yourself this: Why is this in the bathroom at Chappy’s?


In Defense of Kleinheider

Dear Gwen Kinsey:

With all due respect, you are completely and utterly wrong. So wrong that reading your take on Kleinheider causes me to shudder in fear.  So wrong that it makes me fear that you don’t know how to recognize your assets nor how to correctly value them.

Let’s just start with this little tidbit, which has been floating around the internet ever since it appeared at the Scene

“My idea about blogging is less about people’s individual home lives and more about trying to give transparency to content…and to give people an opportunity to get involved with content in a way they can’t on the air,” Kinsey tells the Scene. “From a news organization’s standpoint, an appropriate use of new media as far as I’m concerned for blogging is to provide an extension and a forum for back-and-forth with viewers. I know that part of the blogosphere locally has been trying to assess whether there’s room for personal blogging with respect to some of what we did before…and, again, I just think that we can do something that has value and that’s additive to our mission as a broadcaster without necessarily getting into the personal and the opinion.” [emphasis mine, of course]

Yes, you can do something that has value and adds to your mission without letting Kleinheider share his opinions.  But it doesn’t have as much value as letting him share his opinions does.

Why is an unfettered Kleinheider more valuable?

1.  Your online audience has told you repeatedly in as many different forums as they can find that they liked Kleinheider’s old approach better.  Listen carefully to me, Kinsey; I’m going to say it again for your benefit: YOUR AUDIENCE HAS TOLD YOU THAT KLEINHEIDER’S OLD APPROACH HAS MORE VALUE TO THEM.

2.  Kleinheider with a platform was a man to be reckoned with.  People knew who he was and paid attention to him because they understood that he shaped discussions.  Lawmakers wanted to shake his hand; reporters and editors wanted to touch base with him.  People around the state read him and associated him with WKRN.  People cared about him–love him or hate him–and thus, by extention, made your station’s website a “must-stop” place.

3.  Kleinheider doesn’t shape discussions now.  He asks essay questions.  Big whoop.  Yes, people comment over at Volunteer Voters, but how many folks come back and write furious posts on their own website that link to him?  How many people are chomping at the bit to see what he has to say every day?  I mean, do you get that you’ve taken a man well-known for pissing everyone off–right and left–and somehow managed to make him mostly irrelevant?

Why would you do that?

If you have someone with power, who is well-read and well-regarded, why on earth would you make him irrelevant?

4.  The beat that Kleinheider covers–politics–is not the kind of information you can just present to people.  It’s complicated and often the ties between people aren’t completely obvious.  Analysis is necessary and, once you have analysis, you’re going to have a person’s opinions.  For you to suggest that you don’t need people’s opinions makes me think you are suggesting that the news doesn’t need analysis.

Do you realize that we just had a mayoral race in which the only place to get any idea, any real idea, of what the candidates stood for was on the internet?  The Tennessean seemed barely to cover it at all.  Your station and other news channels seemed content to just report whenever the candidates were doing something, but your viewers never could really discern from your “reporting” what the candidates issues were.

And you (I’m speaking in terms of the mainstream media, not you specifically) don’t even seem to have the good sense to be embarrassed about that.

And you (and now I mean you specifically) don’t seem to have the good sense to realize that one of the places people could actually go for information and discussion and analysis is sitting right in your building.  You especially don’t seem to realize what an asset that is.

Is a completely unfettered Kleinheider a good idea?  No, I think probably not.  Kleinheider is smart but he’s kind of undisciplined.  On the other hand, he seems to flourish when he has structure, especially when that structure gives him room to play.  So, sure, he could benefit from an editor; who wouldn’t?

But it seems to me that there’s got to be a medium ground that would suit everyone between “Kleinheider the Paleoconservative pundit scares the shit out of the locals” and “Mr. Kleinheider’s On-going Essay Questions from High School Civics.”  The fact that you can’t imagine some middle ground troubles me.

And I’m telling you this as someone Kleinheider irritates the shit out of.  If he worked for me, I’d spend ten minutes every day telling him to stand up straight, fake some confidence, and to eat some god-damn lunch.  Then I’d have to fight with him about how wrong he was about just about everything he writes.

But I’d be thrilled to have someone in my newsroom people were afraid to not take calls from.

Just saying.

Aunt B.

p.s.  Is it true that you’re not paying Steve Gill?!  Pardon my French, but what the fuck is wrong over there?  You’re a business.  If you want people to work for you, you pay them for the work they’re doing for you.  You’ve at least paid the last few bloggers you still owed money to, right?

A Ring for My Finger, but No Bells for My Toes… yet


My grandma sent me one of her mother’s rings, a ring she wore because she thought it matched her eyes and my grandmother thought it would be fitting for me to have it, because it matches my eyes.

Dear readers, what do you know about jewelry?  I know nothing.  So, I took a couple of pictures with my cell phone (the camera is up north) so that you all can take a look at it.

My grandma thinks that, if it’s real, it’s a sapphire.  I think, if it’s real, it’s a blue topaz.  I don’t think the box is the original box.


Troubles and Trials

When they released the recalcitrant brother from jail, it was both the climax of a long day involving travel, bank harrassing, money order buying, marriage suggesting, lawyer meeting, and fine paying and kind of anti-climactic.

He just walked through a door, slighly disheveled, five-days’ growth of beard, and shirt untucked, looking like himself, if slightly tired.  He saw us, came over, threw his arms around my dad’s neck, started to cry, and said, softly, “Thank you for coming.”

My first thought was that I was witnessing something holy, but then I thought, I don’t guess that this has much to do with god, because who knows if this is the right thing to do or the best course of action?

Who knows?

It didn’t feel holy.  It felt like a desperate old man holding onto a desperate young fool.

I’d like to tell you that my dad has hope that the recalcitrant brother will get on his feet or that he has faith that things will work out.

He does not.

There was nothing miraculous about that moment, nothing sacred.  It was like the opposite of sacred–not profane, but achingly ordinary.

It broke my heart. 

The recalcitrant brother swore that he will never go back to jail.


That’s what my dad lacks–belief.

And I suppose that’s what it takes to protect yourself in situations like this.

Georgia Update

Y’all I am just fried.  I can’t really think about anything but this stuff and I kind of can’t bear to think about it.  My dad is going to my nephew’s great grandfather’s funeral with my brother this afternoon.  I’m going to try to find a place to do some work.

Here’s the creepy ex-courthouse peeking over the charming city of Newnan.

My Grandma Puts a Price on My Mom

My mom called to have a good cry about my brother, and to tell me that my nephew’s great grandfather died last night.  Poor oldest nephew.  Damn.

We finally moved on to happier things, such as my mom helping my grandma go through her junk and finding an old receipt for the Palmer House Hotel from December 15, 1945 for $25.  My mom was all, “Why did you keep this?”

And my grandma was like “I think that’s when your dad got discharged.  We spent a weekend at the Palmer House.”

And my mom’s telling me how there’s all these charges for, like, using the radio and stuff.

And then my mom is all “Hey, I was born on September 9, 1946!”

And my grandma was all like, “Well, you didn’t expect me to just shake his hand when he got back, did you?”


Both Amanda and Ampersand are talking about this small study in which sexually active young women and old girls who are in abusive relationships report that their partners also intentionally try to get them pregnant by “manipulating condom use, sabotaging birth control use and making explicit statements about wanting them to become pregnant.”

I keep thinking about this idea that women choose to have sex and, if you’re going to choose to have sex, you should be prepared for the consequences.  If your boyfriend is abusing you and sabatoging birth control, what kind of choice do you really have?

I think we forget how much pressure young girls feel to have a boyfriend and how much pressure they feel to keep said boyfriend once they’ve gotten him.

We really seem to train young people to hurt and be hurt by each other.  We tell this story about how boys will be boys, about how they want sex so much that they will go to any lengths to get it, and how it’s a girl’s job to “preserve” herself, and to control men by controlling their access to sex.

Just think about that for a second: we say “boys will do anything to get sex” and we say “girls can control boys by controlling their access to sex.”  We say that to adolescents, people who are at an age where they don’t want to be controlled and where they are pushing all kinds of societal limits, and where they are seeking to exert control over their environments.

We tell them all kinds of other dumb stuff, too, that girls say “no” when they mean “yes,” and that, if a guy really likes you, he will persistantly pursue you, so that you end up with these weird situations where some girls are saying no because they really, really, don’t want to have sex and some girls are saying no because they think that’s what you do in order to signal to your guy to pursue you AND where some guys push the issue because they think you’ve just said no because that’s what you’re supposed to do and some guys push the issue because they “will do anything to get sex,” even raping a girl.

But I think that just this idea that boys will do anything to get sex and that girls are supposed to deny boys sex results in a lot of sexualized abuse in young relationships.

Over at Pandagon, one of the commenters asked why, when so many young men abandon their responsibilities once they get a girl pregnant, are some young men intentionally trying to knock women up?  One might also ask, if so many abusers kill their pregnant partners, why they bother to get them pregnant in the first place?  (Check here to be depressed.)

But to me, those are all a part of the same impulse–the impulse the abuser has to prove to the abused that the abuser, not the abused, is in control, that there is no boundary (not making you pregnant, not causing you to miscarry, not hitting you while you’re pregnant, not even killing you) he will not cross in order to keep control of you.

One out of five teenage girls reports being physically or sexually abused by a partner.

You know, one of the things that really, really bugs me about the abortion debate is how the rhetoric of abuse gets tied into it without us ever really examining the implications of that.

Abortion: The Ultimate Child Abuse.

But what does it imply when so much of the anti-abortion rhetoric sounds like the rhetoric of abuse?  Women can’t be trusted with important decisions.  She brought this on herself.  She needs to take responsibility for what happens to her.  She’s being hurt for her own good.

I’d like to score oodles of political points by suggesting that it implies that people who want to make abortion illegal are abusive assholes, but I don’t think it’s that easy.  I do think, though, that it has to do with us, as a society, not yet viewing women as adult, whole citizens.

We recognize that it is wrong for a man to say, “Well, I killed my wife and unborn baby because she was an uppity bitch who wouldn’t listen.”  But I’m not sure we completely get what’s wrong about that.  I mean, I think we get that killing women is wrong. I don’t think that we get that asserting yourself as the boss of a particular woman or women in general is wrong.

Not to keep harping on this, but god damn, ten white men standing around signing the partial birth abortion ban and only the feminists think that’s weird.  We can look at that picture and literally not see it for the strange object that it is–men coming together to prevent women from doing something they don’t like.

It’s as if we only know two ways to try to make someone do what we want them to do–convincing and coercing–and we, as a society, have decided that, when it comes to women, it’s still okay to coerce us into doing what you want.


This is what I’ve been thinking a lot about this weekend.  I think that, for a lot of people, it’s having kids that makes them realize that they are the adult generation now, that they’re the ones who are going to have to make decisions and be responsible, even if they feel inadiquate to the task.  For others, it probably happens when a parent dies.

For me, it’s been this experience.  The recalcitrant brother being in jail is not the end of my world.  I love him and he’s a sweetie, but you can only make the choices he’s been making for so long before it catches up to you.

That sucks, but it’s not earth-shattering.

What has just shook me to the core is witnessing the general incompitence and floundering of my parents.  My dad, for instance, spent Thursday and Friday getting the money together to get my brother out of jail, getting the car road-worthy, and discussing the recalcitrant brother’s situation with the recalcitrant brother’s neighbor.

He never thought to call a lawyer or the jail or the courthouse.  He’s getting all his legal advice from my brother’s neighbor.  And he calls me to tell me this stuff and I ask him about calling, you know, folks who would actually know what was going on and it’s completely apparent that he hadn’t thought to do it and that he wouldn’t even know where to start to do it.

So, I did it.

And, just to sidetrack for a second, I can’t tell you how furious it makes me that I spent my whole life hearing him bitch about how bossy I am and yet, clearly, when the chips are down, he wants me to take charge of things.  Gentlemen, remember this, it is fucked up to make your daughter feel like you hate the thing about her you depend most on her for.

But you see how that doesn’t matter?  I mean, don’t get me wrong.  It upsets me and all this stuff gets dragged up whenever it comes to my family.  But it doesn’t matter.

If we’re going to get the recalcitrant brother out of jail, someone’s got to make a plan, make some arrangements, and help everyone else stick to them.

And it doesn’t look like there’s anybody but me to do it.

That kind of scares the shit out of me.

We’ll Just Use Those Guys Standing Around the Parking Lot at Home Depot

Seriously, America, is there anything you won’t ask illegal immigrants to do?

I have this song on my iPod; the chorus goes, “You’ve already put big old tears in my eyes.  Must you throw dirt in my face?”

We’ll let undocumented workers scrub our toilets, clean our houses, raise our kids, plant our fields, harvest our food, butcher our meat, build our highrises, and FIGHT IN OUR WARS, but we don’t think they’re good enough to be U.S. citizens?

We’re trying to send undocumented kids to FIGHT IN OUR WARS.

I about fell over.  If you get kicked by a random brown person today, America, this is probably why.

Terry Frank and I Agree. I Presume Hell Has Frozen Over.

Terry Frank reports on the bizarre lengths our state goes to harrass smokers (I know, I know, that stuff is also in there, but you know riding the illegal immigrant issue is her thing, and yes, I know, she’d be more fun if riding illegal immigrants were her thing).

For those of you who’ve never been to Tennessee or thought much about Tennessee, let me explain.  Our state is so thin that, if I roll out of bed on the north side, I’m in Kentucky.  If my orgies get much larger than thirty people, one of them is going to have to firmly plant a foot in Alabama, just for leverage.  People in Southern Illinois can be in Mississippi in practically three and some change hours.  It is virtually impossible to be in your car longer than an hour and a half headed either due north or due south and remain in the state.

(Oh, oh, oh, but you know where I bet Frank and the Administration could find common ground?  We could erect a giant wall around Tennessee, keeping all of the Tennesseans in where we can insure we spend our tax dollars in the state where we need it, and keeping all of the illegal immigrants and Yankees out!)

So, here’s the thing.  The Administration passes this draconian cigarette tax.  Stay with me here… in a state that’s just three feet thick.  And, “surprisingly,” folks are going out of state to buy cigarettes where the taxes are much lower.

You would think that this would result in the Administration saying, “Shit, that was a stupid tax.  Look how easy it is for folks to get around it, because our state is so easy to get out of.  Okay, let’s repeal it.”

But no, America!

Instead, they’re going to use more of our tax dollars to try to catch Tennesseans smuggling cigarettes into the state.  They’re going to stake out out-of-state cigarette stores.  They’re going to take our cars.

You know what makes this funnier?

One of our official state songs is “Rocky Top.”

I ask you to consider the second verse.

Once two strangers climbed ol’ Rocky Top,
lookin’ for a moonshine still;
Strangers ain’t come down from Rocky Top;
Reckon they never will;
Corn won’t grow at all on Rocky Top;
Dirt’s too rocky by far;
That’s why all the folks on Rocky Top
get their corn from a jar;

What strangers run around the mountains looking for stills? 

Perhaps George Jones can tell us:

well the g-men t-men revenures to
searchin’ for the place were he made his brew
they were lookin’ tryn’ to book him
but my pappy kept on cookin’

Yes, I believe there’s ample evidence to suggest that the second verse of our beloved “Rocky Top” is about the “mysterious disappearance” of tax folks getting too curious about the behavior of Tennesseans.

And yet, who wants to monitor Tennesseans’ behavior to make sure we’re not buying too many smokes?

Tax folks.

Gee, I wonder how that’s going to go over.

Happy Blogoversary to Me!

Today is the end of the third year of Tiny Cat Pants and the beginning of the fourth.  It somehow seems like it’s been longer than that–so much has happened in that time, it’s almost hard to believe.

Of course, none of it would be possible without my awesome kick-ass readers, who are some of the smartest, sweetest, funniest, kindest people on the internet.

In your honor, I’ve decided to hold the first Tiny Cat Pants contest.


The Rules:

You collect the sperm of you or someone you think would make a suitable father for my baby, freeze it, and overnight it to me.  I’ll put all the sperm together in one container and then, once thawed, artificially inseminate myself.  If it takes, after nine months, I will deliver a baby you all can consider yourselves the the fathers of.

Everyone wins!

The Criteria

I need a baby who is dependable, forthright, and decisive.  My baby will have to take on a lot of responsibilities rather quickly so he or she needs to be bright, preferably good at math, able to make a budget and stick to it, and, in a best case scenario, happy to clean and do the dishes.  He or she will need to take responsibility at a young age for a lot of sweet but somewhat aimless and ridiculous people he or she feels tied to by love and blood.

We’re all about improving the gene pool in my family, folks, so carefully consider what kind of sperm you’ll send.

I’ll post pictures and mommy blog incessantly and you all can send $50 a week and presents when the mood strikes you.  I promise to never make any effort to discover the identy of the father so that y’all may feel equally invested in Baby’s future.

The Benefits

I will have have someone to watch out for me and to help me during family crisises.  I’ll also have guaranteed blogging material for the next however many years.  You’d have something to read about and wouldn’t reading about a possible child of yours raise the stakes around here quite a bit?

Think it over. 

I Cannot Do Your Meme

Sometimes, you read to open your soul up to that Something so much larger and older than you, that Something that you feel like you share with everyone else who has ever curled up on a soft seat to read that book, too.

And sometimes you read to escape, to give yourself a break from what’s going on around you.

And sometimes you read for inspiration, to catch a glimpse of the lives that could be yours, if only you were more daring.

I have a hard time reading when I’m unhappy.  Tonight, I have a hard time thinking about books.  I feel cheated by words.

I made my mom cry this afternoon, not me, by my words, just the truth as I knew it.  Not the half truths we tell each other to get through. Not the lies we tell to protect each other.  Just the truth, and it made her cry, imagining her son in jail, unreachable.

I think of Frigg, begging everything on earth to spare her son, knowing, though, that even the gods can’t escape their fates, knowing that her pleading for just one more break had to be hopeless.

When they discovered he was invincible, they made a game of trying to destroy him.

We don’t hear what Frigg thinks of this.  I suppose she could not bear to watch, but that’s just my guess.  I just think she knew it was inevitable.

Maybe she did watch, hoping that it would happen sooner, rather than later, and maybe that guilt was hard for her to live with–a woman powerful enough that her words could keep even the Old Man safe, who couldn’t keep her baby boy out of harm’s way.

I wish we had those stories, too.  I feel a little cheated without them.

My dad and the men in his family can turn any family tribulation into some echo of Biblical tragedy.  It makes them feel that there’s order, meaning to the random, meaningless shit that happens.

It’s hard for me to think of stories at a time like this.  I want to think about books I love, but I’m not sure at the moment that I love books.  I mean, I know there is some girl who lives here who loves them, the feel of the shape of words in her mouth, the smell of fresh ink on wood pulp.  But I feel cut off from her.

Like I have to shut the door on her for a while in order to make it through this next week.

Lady Macbeth, standing on the edge of the world, a mad sea and Vikings as much a threat as her conscience, says, “Unsex me here,” Let me go of the things that make me weak so that I can do what must be done.

I have no desire to kill kings.

I can’t remember what my point was.  Just that I feel cut off from th familiar things I love.  And thinking about books makes me cry.

The Hardest Part of All This

The hardest part of all this is realizing that it’s on me to be the cool, level-headed person who can make phone calls to people with actual information and to process that information and make decisions based on it.

I kind of just want to throw up.

Updated to add:  Argh!  Crying mommas!  No crying mommas.