In Which I Almost Die of a Stroke

So, we’re driving along and the nephew announces, “I see something black!”

“Is it a red door painted black?”

“No, it’s God.”

“God is in the car.”

“No, God’s clothes.”

“God’s a ninja?”

“Yep. Hei-ya!”

The Butcher: “Did you not see me trying to sleep here, man?  Who karate chops a man in his sleep?” I start to giggle, but try not to.  “Let’s see how you like it if someone karate chops you, for the rest of the day.”

I try harder not to laugh, but by now am so afraid of having a stroke, I have to guffaw.  Grandpa Dad tries to claim that it’s not that funny–a grown man karate-chopping a kid–but he starts to laugh.  Then he tells me that I have to stop laughing or he’s going to have an accident.

“Car or pee?”

“I don’t know yet.”

Doo, Doo, Doo, Doo, Breakin’ the Law, Breakin’ the Law

The dog and I got up early and went for a walk and we walked all over a park only at the last minute to see the sign that said “No pets.”


We were up early because I have learned the secret of why Grandma A. got up early.  The earlier you awake is in direct proportion to the number of things in your bed.

If S=spouse

and g=kids under 10 (probably grandkids)

and d=dog

and c=cat

and h=hours of sleep

we could plot out a formula, something like

h=8+s(if “s”=sleeping)-s(if “s” is smiling naughtily at you)-g-d-c

The more things in your bed, the less chance of you getting any sleep.

Ha, I guess that’s a rule as true for libertines as it is for grandmas!

Ha, now the kid is running around the house yelling “I saw Grandma’s butt!” after getting chased out of the bathroom by her saying “I’m trying to take a shower!”

I’m starting to believe that folks have kids just for the amusement factor.

What’s the Word?

I think the Missus’s family has a word for this, so I hope she chimes in if she sees this, but what’s it called when you’ve paused your TiVo so that you let real life (like say a football game) get about a half an hour ahead of you so that you can watch it while fastforwarding through commercials and so you do and then you finally catch up to real life and can’t fast forward through commercials any more?

My parents now have DVR at their new house and I wanted to wow them with the hip lingo, but I can’t remember it.

I did, however, remember that Maggiano’s is not the name of that chocolate place in the Quad Cities, but is instead the name of the Italian restaurant right around the corner from us.

So, that’s kind of sad. Oops.  Oh well.

“What Color Am I?”

My littlest nephew likes nothing more at this stage in his life than calling the dog’s name over and over for no reason, running at me as fast as he can and then leaping onto me (I’m going to have bruises for weeks, I’m sure), and yelling in Applebee’s as loud as he can “What color am I?  Someone tell me right now what color I am.  WHAT COLOR AM I?”

He also informed us that his last name is Mac.

This came as a great surprise to all of us, but he explained that his other dad’s last name is Mackenzie and so his last name is Mac.  I found this amusing, seeing as how his mom and my recalcitrant brother are still married, so even she still has our last name.  (And they probably will be married until the end of time, due to stubborn stupidity on both their parts.)

Oh well, he told us it’s not any big deal; he’s going to have eleven thousand dads by the time he’s my age, so he’ll have lots of last names, but we can just call him by his first name and he will answer.

He also thought that Mrs. Wigglebottom had very tiny balls for a dog her size.  So, I had to explain that they were not her balls, but her labia.

“Grandpa B., I can see the dog’s ladia,” he said, and I decided that women having ladias was kind of fitting.  If men can refer to their penises as their manhoods, we can have some girly bits called our ladias, for sure.

In Fact, I Don’t Have Any On, Right Now!

I have a new theory about pants.  I know many of you are unaware that I had an old theory about pants, but I did, hearkening back to when I was a wee girl, and that was that pants were awesome and it was unfair that I was made to wear sundresses that matched my mom when the boys got to wear jeans, glorious jeans.  A lack of pants became to my young proto-feminist mind, a symbol of patriarchal oppression.

My new theory is that pants were a dreadful misstep by the patriarchy. Who wouldn’t, if not cowed by tradition, want to wear skirts?  When it’s warm, you get a nice breeze where you need it and when it’s cold, you can layer underwear under them in ridiculous amounts in ways you just can’t with pants.

No, I think men thought “Ah, pants, that will prove we’re the ones who can ride horses!  That proves we rule!  Hurray.  Let’s start the patriarchy, now that we have pants.” and then, when they realized how hot and uncomfortable it was to sit around in pants in the summer, they were forced to invent the bathrobe, but they could never give up pants because they’d spent so long trying to invent a piece of clothing that would differentiate them from women in some unmistakable fashion and, for some reason, “We’re the ones who can wear this gourd around” did not catch on in places that get snow.

Anyway, it’s general knowledge that pants suck.  I mean, they don’t suck as bad as, say, getting bit by your own cat, but they suck.  And it’s not like men, in the thralls of the patriarchy, can just say “Ooops, we were wrong.  Hand over the summer cotton smock.”  No, instead, they have to try to make pants seem so awesome and cool and like wearning pants will finally mean equality and justice for everyone.

And then, once every woman in the world finally embraces pants, men will suddenly say “Ha ha, we’re the ones who wear skirts and dresses!  Balls dangling freely in the breeze!” and we’ll spend another five hundred years trying to get back to the point where we can wear skirts.

How Did It Get to Be Four O’Clock Already?

I have accomplished very little of what I need to accomplish to leave the state tomorrow.  But I did eat another one of the french dips from that deli at the corner of McGavock and Riverside, which has a name but apparently I can’t be bothered to learn it.  Probably, it’s taken up with Maggiano’s.  Maggiano’s is a chocolate store in the Quad Cities.  That useless bit of information?  That sticks with me.  The name of a deli I think you all should frequent?

Forget it.

I spent the morning having coffee and chatting with Grandfille’s friends, which I didn’t realize were Grandfille’s friends until like the last possible moment.  We saw the cutest purse and the cutest puppy and decided to mug the woman, take her purse and puppy, thus lowering property values in the neighborhood so that I could move in (and then the crime wave would “mysteriously” stop), but then we got distracted by talking about how awesome it would be if the streetcars made a return and that was the end of that.

In other news, someone got visciously bit by the cat after he was bragging about how he taught the cat to visciously bite on command.  I’m not mentioning any names.  I’ll just say that I thought encouraging a cat who is only barely tolerable when he’s trying to behave to misbehave was a mistake.

And I was right.

Damn You, HGTV!

Oh, my beautiful earthlings, yesterday I walked through a house I could love.  Big front porch, two decorative fireplaces, one of which had that old timey mantle with the mirror.  A dining room, a kitchen with a breakfast nook, a back porch, a basement, an upstairs that could be turned over to the Butcher.  Hardwood floors.  Great big rooms.

I could hardly think rationally about it.

Usually, it’s enough in those situations to channel my inner Mack–there’s only one bathroom, the neighborhood is shitty, those hardwood floors are a mess, there’s no dishwasher, it’s not really a breakfast nook if the washer and dryer are sitting there, is that a yard or a home for very ugly weeds, how are you going to afford to replace all those windows, did I mention that the woman who came to let you in the house was afraid to get out of her car?, how are you going to afford a kitchen remodel?–and so on.

But, my friends, so strong was my love for this house, how right it felt to be walking through the rooms, the convoluted excuses I was making for why we could move in even without any visible means of fixing the millions of things that were wrong with it that I had to channel my inner Sarcastro.  I had to imagine him walking through the house, laughing loudly as he noticed all the things that need fixing.  That was the only way I could walk out of the house knowing I did the right thing by not making an offer.

And, I blame the hours I’ve spent in front of HGTV for this nonsense, where every show is about some intrepid home owner who buys a house with problems and magically transforms it into something wonderful.  It’s like the Beauty and the Beast myth for houses.  You see a monster and your love transforms it.

It’s sometimes hard for me to turn that off when I’m walking through a house, the script that says “Here’s what we could do to fix this.”  I’m not Bob Villa and I don’t have a team of carpenters.

But if I did…


–“Melungeon Mixer.”  Never let it be said that Appalachian folks don’t have a wicked sense of humor.

–Mack, Sarcastro, you think on this, give us some options, and get back to us.  If the rule is that it has to contain Jack or George, I’d like it to be something like this–One drop of Tennessee Whiskey, a heap of Tennessee Moonshine, rounded off with Sun Drop cola.  If that doesn’t scream Tennessee, I don’t know what does.

–Did y’all hear the police bitching about Heller on NPR this morning?  Good lord.  The problem is two-fold as I see it.

One, as the police move away from being community peace-keepers, walking a beat, or driving around, two to a car, getting to know whole neighborhoods, not just trouble makers, towards being militarized rapid responders, they are less able to identify problems long before they reach the point where people are shooting at each other.  So, I have to say, in that regard, I have little sympathy for the police’s argument.  Would it make your jobs easier if only the bad guys had guns, so that you could be certain, when you swooped in in your SWAT gear and your no-knock warrants that anyone who was firing at you deserved to be fired upon?  Sure.  But tough shit.  Get to know your communities, your whole communities, and what’s going on in them.

But SWAT teams are easier, flashier, and seem to cost less money than putting more police on the ground, every day out in communities.

Two, for seventy years we’ve had nothing but increasing gun laws and we have had ever increasing gun violence.

I am, and I have said it before and I will say it again, uncomfortable around guns.  They scare me and I don’t like them.  But more gun laws and a more militarized police force in response to folks breaking those laws has not, by any stretch of the imagination, helped keep people safe from guns.

For seventy years we’ve seen this approach fail and fail miserably.  It’s time to try something else.

That’s What She Said

Every once in a while I must call Mack and ask him a question, like “What does ‘es mucho hombre esta mujer’ mean?” and he pauses like he can’t quite decide if I’m asking him to translate the punchline to an old dirty joke or if I’m asking something serious.

“Um…” he says, trying to buy some time, “I’m going to need some context.”

Sadly, I was not asking him to translate an old dirty joke, but now I wish I knew a joke that had the punchline “es mucho hombre esta mujer.”  Not that I would tell it in public, but you can bet that the next time I got drunk on Cape Cods, I’d be all over whipping out the one dirty joke I knew in Spanish.

I Suck

Y’all, I completely forgot about a giant thing I promised to do for a friend.  And I need to figure out how I can take next week off without my boss being in the country to clear it with.  And neither are things I can do anything about at 2:30 in the morning, but that’s just one of the times I woke up in utter distress about having no idea how to fix things.


But, in other news, at least Christians aren’t exploiting the ways my government has turned my best traits against me in order to finally win a fight we’ve been having for 500 years.  So, there’s that.

I Wish I Had Never Seen You

This is the house we went knocking around in that I loved, a rehab in an up and coming part of town.  It was fun to see it coming together, to see all the nice little touches.

But now, I wish I’d never seen it.

Because, you know, you start to think–okay, I could make do without, say, the den or the dining room, if I could have a nice kitchen like that or a cool back porch like that or…

It doesn’t matter.

I just cannot believe how fucking ridiculous this has gotten.

Ah, well, what can you do?

A Photo of The Moat

If you embiggen it, I think you can get a sense of how it seemed to wrap around the whole house.  The only drawback (aside from it suggesting that there might be a drainage problem on the lot) was that it didn’t have a drawbridge.

In News Funny Only To Me

I have two months of vacation accrued. I need to take a big chunk of it because my work has this policy that you can only accrue two years worth of vacation and then it stops accruing.

This is hilarious to me for two reasons.

1. Two months’ worth of vacation? I could literally not work for two months and get paid. That is so awesome. And silly.

2. At some point, without me noticing, I’ve been here long enough that I get a month of vacation a year.

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.

Edited to add: Even funnier is going in and saying “So, yeah, I’m just going to take two months, starting in July” just to watch the looks on folks’ faces.

I’d Heard, But Never Seen

Kathy and I looked at three houses today.  One was awesome, but too expensive.  So, let’s just ignore that.  The other two houses were… well, one had small trees holding the house up in the basement instead of regular lumber.  Literally with bark on and everything, just sitting down there resting on the basement floor, going up to the ceiling, and holding up the house.

I had heard that basements in Nashville were full of that kind of stuff, but I’d never seen that, until now.

But the other house…


It has a moat.

No, I shit you not.

A moat.

Kathy took pictures.

But we both agreed that it must have been a last strategy for dealing with some terrible water problem.

But the expensive house?

Oh, world, come on.  Someone send me $60,000.  Shoot, with the dollar being what it is, can’t one of you Europeans send me 12 euros?


Well, shoot.

Listen Up, Nashville Scene

Now that Stephen Fotopulos is head of TIRCC, you’ve got an excuse to put him in next year’s swimsuit edition!

Speaking of cuties, I notice you never include any fat, sloppy blogger bitches in your summer guide.  Is it because of some kind of envious fear of the wonderfulness of my boob freckle?

Also, you might consider John Lamb, who is cute in that Roger Abramson sort of way.

Just throwing some stuff out there for the new editor to mull over.

Two More

Kathy and I are going out to look at two more houses this morning (which means I need to go get in the shower right now!) and I am numb about the whole thing.  Still, at this point, I feel like you’ve got to keep moving, like a shark, keep those houses washing over you on the off chance you’ll step into one and say “Yep, this is it.”

Selling Out the Rural Folks

I grew up watching Hee Haw and I know folks have written shit-tons of material about Hee Haw and I’m not going to say anything that other folks haven’t already said. But I liked it. I thought it was subversive. It took the truth and stereotypes and artistry and comedy and mixed them all up until the lines between them were all blurred.

And there was for sure an element of “we’re going to make fun our ourselves before you can make fun of us” to it.

And, sure, yes, in the early days of the Opry, folks who had come to town wearing their Sunday best were encouraged to dress like “hillbillies” and so the line between when are we showing you something everyone knows to be an act? and when are we showing you a stylized version of how things are? has indeed always already been blurred.

But CMT making a reality show where “stars” run an inn in east Tennessee and the conceit of the show is city slicker is out of water among all these hicks?

I don’t know. Yes, Green Acres. Yes, Newhart. I know. Shoot, even Northern Exposure.

But I don’t like it on CMT.

The thing I don’t like about it most is exactly what R. Neal gets at in his post. The inn they’re “running” is a world-class bed and breakfast well-known for being GLBT friendly that is only an hour outside of Knoxville. So, it is exactly not the kind of spot where you are trapped back in the woods with “scary” hillbillies who don’t know any better than to keep their farm animals out of nice places (if such places and people even exist).

So, here’s what I want to know? Is CMT a television station–even if it doesn’t play a whole lot of country music any more–where fans of country music go to watch other stuff that reflects our lives and things that might interest us? Or is something else going on here?

Now, we all know that country radio is geared towards women–that’s the audience stations are trying to deliver to advertisers and, as such, the audience mainstream artists are mostly trying to appeal to–and that these women mostly live in town or at least the suburbs and have all their lives. Country music radio’s main audience is no longer people who live in the country, at least, that’s not the audience they give a shit about. They want the ears and the dollars of suburban women.

My question is “Is that what’s going on at CMT as well?”

I think the evidence points to “Yes.” Look at the popular videos, the shows (like the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader one and the Coyote Ugly one or the repeats of ABC shows about nannies and wife-swapping, even the redneck wedding show), the ditching of the Opry, everything.

So, if we can agree that CMT’s goal is to attract more suburban women, even at the expense of its traditional audience, how then do we understand “Pigeon Inn”?

And this, to me, gets at the heart of why this bothers me. It seems to me that we’re supposed to find amusement, not in our own silliness (which was, to me, one of the basic premises of Hee Haw) but in the silliness of those folks who are not like us, both the stars and the folks from Appalachia.

This, to me, then, says that the “us” of country music is not expanding to also appeal to more urban people but is shifting in ways that could exclude the very people whose music it was in the first place.

I don’t like it.

An Open Letter to You, Mr. Anonymous Internet Searcher

Dear Sir (or Ma’am, but I’m guessing ‘Sir’):

When you search for “‘tiny cat pants’ fat bitch” or “‘tiny cat pants’ sloppy bitch,” and you then click on results that bring you to Tiny Cat Pants, I can see that you’ve been using those search terms.  If, in the future, you’d like to see if anyone else thinks I’m a fat bitch or a sloppy bitch, you have a couple of semi-honorable ways to do that and a couple of sneaky ways.

One, you could email me and ask if you’re the only person who thinks I’m a fat, sloppy bitch.  I would then, of course, know who you were and have your IP address and all your email header information, so maybe that doesn’t appeal to you.  Two, you could leave a comment here asking if you’re the only person who thinks I’m a fat, sloppy bitch.  I would, again, have your IP address, so, if that would lead me to any interesting realizations, perhaps that’s not a good option for you.

Or you could choose to be sneaky.  You could email folks and say “Oh, I heard that someone is running around the internets calling Aunt B. a fat, sloppy bitch.  Who would do such a thing?” and folks might email you back and say “It wasn’t me, but god.  Isn’t she?”

Or, perhaps the most simple, you could just not click on search results that bring you here, because I assure you, other than in this post, there’s no place on Tiny Cat Pants where I’m calling myself or anyone else a fat, sloppy bitch.

But, in case you’re wondering, yes, yes I am.  I am a fat, sloppy bitch.

Worry your pretty little head about it no more.


Aunt B.

p.s.  I know it’s a hard concept, but “Tiny Cat Pants” is the name of this blog.  “Aunt B.” is the nom de plume of this blogger.  Tiny Cat Pants is not a person.  It is a blog and therefore can neither be fat nor sloppy nor a bitch.  It’s a little like you wondering if a piece of paper with some words written on it is a fat, sloppy bitch.  No, see, you want to know if the author is a fat, sloppy bitch, not the medium.

Why Am I Not Surprised?

As you know, paganism isn’t some giant monolythic movement.  I, for instance, prefer to think of myself as a heathenish polytheist, meaning, I believe in most gods but prefer to stick with a loose confederation of germanic gods.  But even among folks who prefer those same gods, there is a wide spectrum of belief and folks call themselves different things and it’s not always easy to say what someone believes based solely on what they call themselves.

I, for instance, tend to think of the term “heathen” as being the broadest of terms, though I would expect, even among that, that you would find disagreements about how much “acknowledging” of other gods is acceptable.  Then, under that umbrella, you have other, overlapping groups–the Asatru, the Odinists, and so on.  Many folks in those groups join together regularly for religious and social purposes and so those terms can mean “I worship these gods” or they can be “I worship these gods in these specific ways and have these specific beliefs and if you don’t, you can’t call yourself what I call myself.”

And for anyone who comes to this set of beliefs (again speaking very broadly), there are usually two questions one has to settle pretty urgently in order to figure out where you’re situated on the heathen spectrum.  Do you believe that the gods are real?  Do you believe that a person’s relationship to the gods is blood-deep and inherited and, if so, does that mean that only white people can be heathens?

I, myself, do believe that the gods are real, as certain as I can be, while also allowing for the possibility that this is where I’m most obviously crazy.  I also do believe that a person’s relationship to the gods is blood-deep and inherited, no, I would say blood-deep and inheritable.  So, no, I don’t think that you have to be white to be tied in with the germanic gods, though, it seems reasonable to me that more white people than not would be heathen because we don’t have that whole “convert the non-believers” mentality and so, if people are going to come to the gods, it’s most likely going to be because of some old blood-deep stirring or because the gods have come to you and said “Hey.”

It’s not my place to question anyone’s claim that the gods have come to them and said “hey.”  If that’s true, I expect I will recognize it as being so.  And I would then expect that their descendents would be more likely to feel that blood-deep stirring.

But, you can bet that there are some folks who believe that the only people who can claim affinity with the germanic gods are germanic people.  This belief is called “folkish.”  And, as you can imagine, the folkish heathens and the racist heathens often overlap.  (Though, there are many folkish heathens who make strong distinctions between believing that their religion is only for white people and believing that that makes white people the best people ever and that all other people aren’t really people.  Each person has to decide for herself how convincing that argument is.)

For a while, it seemed like people wanted to make a broad generalization and say that anyone who said she was “heathen” probably wasn’t racist but anyone who said that she was “Asatru” probably was and then the opposite was true and then the Asatru folks were like “Hold the fuck on.  That’s not true at all.”  And then it seemed as if the Odinists were the racists and then the Odinists were like “What the fuck are you talking about?”

And the whole thing is made even more confusing because racists love heathen things–especially our runes.  I mean, no one sees sowilo tattooed on a dude and thinks “Oh, there’s a guy who can help me understand what the drawbacks to this translation of the Voluspa is” and for good reason.

Couple that with the resurgence of heathenism in the U.S. prison system and you can see all kinds of potential pitfalls.

So, the Indiana prison system was trying to ban group worship for Odinists, on the premise that white power folks might claim to practice Odinism and, I presume, corrections officials would not be able to tell the difference between Odinists practices (which might border on folkish) and racist propeganda being reinforced.  And the federal court just ruled that you can’t ban religious practices in prison based on what problems there might be.  Which is good and as it should be.

But, of course, it’s not as if the corrections officials were without legitimate worry.  The Wotanists do have a large prison outreach and they are openly racist (though I wouldn’t call them heathen, because they don’t seem to believe in the reality of the gods, but instead see them as archetypes).

But, to finally get to the point of this post, from Wikipedia, I bring you the least surprising sentence in the history of Midwest racism.

Wotanist groups include the Gambanreidi Statement, WotansVolk and the Temple of Wotan. WotansVolk and the Temple of Wotan were both founded under the direct influence of David Lane, by his wife Katja Lane (Katuscha Maddox) and Ron McVan, a former high ranking member of the World Church of the Creator.

Oh, Ron McVan, of course you were.

Damned if You Do; Damned if You Don’t

Rachel over at Women’s Health News has a post about the girls who supposedly made a “pregnancy pact” to all get pregnant and raise their babies together.  As you’ll recall, this even made it into Time, where everyone could ooo and aah and faint in shock at the slutty, slutty behavior of those naughty teenagers.

Well, as Rachel reports, it turns out to be untrue, made up by the girls’ principal.  And I think that Rachel is spot-on that this is a major case of slut-shaming.

What’s somewhat weird is that, you’d think that, if we’re such a pro-life country, girls who got pregnant and decided to take the pregnancies to term would be celebrated as heroes.  That girls who got pregnant who decided to band together to make it possible for them to keep and raise their children would be hailed as geniuses.

But, no.  We’re all supposed to sit around and titter about their “shocking” naughty behavior.