An Open Letter to Millennials

Dear Millennial Generation,

I’ve noticed that everyone is writing letters to you guys lately–the general gist of which is that you’re ungrateful and don’t know what the fuck you’re doing. So, I thought I’d get on on the letter-writing action.

First off, no one knows what the fuck they’re doing. We all want to pretend like, if only we can figure out which ass to kiss, all will be well and we will still have jobs in industries that continue to exist. But no one wants to be an ass-kisser. So, we sit around bemoaning the fact, not that we have to do it on order to meet the requirements of the superstition we think is keeping us safe, but that you’re not participating in our superstition with us.

I mean, what the fuck do we have to tell you?

Honestly. We’re the generation who made “Woodstock” synonymous with “massive rape fest.” Woodstock. In a related note, we made Fred Durst rich. Our credibility is shot. Any time you wonder “Does Gen X know what it’s doing?” just gaze upon Fred Durst and wonder no more.

The biggest disappointment of my middle age is that we, the slackers who floundered so much in our early adulthood, are now sitting around sneering down our noses like there’s something wrong with floundering when done by you.

There are no sure-footed paths anymore. If there ever were. The other day, I was watching this vile reality show about a guy who owns a car dealership in Texas. He’s probably my age or a little older and he was drilling into his young employees, who are your age, that “only losers fail.”

Bullshit. Everyone fails. You’re going to fail like it’s the motherfucking 1870s around here, because things are messes. Your failure might sometimes have to do with you. It might sometimes be beyond your control. Either way, failure doesn’t make you a loser. It makes you a person alive right now.

I don’t know what the fuck is going on. I know less than I did when I was in my twenties. The older I get, the more I’m like “Yep, that’s more confusing than I knew. No idea what to do about that.” And, honestly, I don’t think anyone my age knows what’s going on or what to do.

Which brings us to the truth–we, Gen X, are having a continuing crisis of faith. It may be the defining characteristic of our generation. We smoked a lot of pot, wore combat boots, and named our kids “Ava” and “Francis” in order to see if that made us feel better. And, by and large, it didn’t. So, now, while we’re still fucking messes, we’re demanding you kiss our asses, like, maybe we can’t do things that make us feel like things aren’t going to shit, but maybe you can make us feel like we know what the fuck is going on.

It’s ridiculous. Gen X has a midlife crisis and wants the Millennials to make us feel like we’re valuable. Next thing you know, we’ll all be wearing toupees and acting like we, of course, listened to Mud Honey back in the day and we don’t even know anyone who listened to Guns & Roses. It must have been those Baby Boomers.

Anyway, that’s what I know–nothing. You’re doing fine. Yes, you probably are fucking up, right this second. Me, too. All of us, too.



Free Advice to the TNDP

From here on out, just let Sean Braisted speak to the media and, when he speaks to the media, go ahead and let him do that chagrined laugh of his and say, honestly, “It’s a clusterfuck, isn’t it?”

Because this?

Well, Tennessee has a very low threshold of 25 signatures to get on the ballot. So it’s not difficult to offer yourself as a candidate. We have a very small window of five days after candidate paperwork is filed and there are 99 House seats, 33 Senate seats, nine congressional seats. So we have five days to withdraw or not allow a Democratic candidate to be placed on a ballot. And it’s also a slippery slope to keep a candidate off the ballot.

This is terrible. And guess what? There isn’t a slippery slope from “You can’t run as a Democrat and belong to a hate group” and anywhere else. It’s not slippery. There is no slope.  There’s just looking at who your constituents are and then not letting the people who are actively working for their elimination run as fucking Democrats. That is a flat, smooth, safe surface for a motherfucking party to walk on. I mean, why would we be embarrassed to be dismissive of people who want to get rid of our constituencies?

And then this?

Well, I certainly spent a lot of time and the staff spent a lot of time talking to prospective candidates. It is difficult when the Republican has a $10 million war chest and a personal checkbook that is in excess of that, to recruit a candidate against that kind of campaign war chest is difficult.

We did not get involved in the primary, we don’t get involved in primaries, so we had a number of candidates that filed and it’s a difficult mountain for us to climb when your Republican opponent has that kind of financial resource.

This is so hilarious I can’t even be mad. “We’d have kept the dude from the hate group off the ballot as a Democrat if we’d had more money, like those fancypants Republicans”? So, it’s your donors’ fault now?

That sentiment doesn’t really make people want to open their wallets, I’d guess.

Like I said, send Braisted. Let him cuss. But don’t bullshit.

An Open Letter to My Mom

Hello, Mother,

So, there we are watching Conan the Barbarian–me (also crocheting a baby blanket for, weirdly, a baby who hasn’t been born yet), the Butcher, and the Red-Headed Kid. We’re just at the point where it’s gotten so unintentionally hilarious that we’re laughing through the sex scene. (Honestly, I thought it’d be worse. The commercials made it look like the kid who played Conan would be terrible, but I thought he did a fine job.) The phone rings. It’s Dad.

“So, your brother is coming to visit you for his birthday?”


“Coming up on Thursday?”


That’s what your mother tells me.


“Did you put that on Facebook and I missed it?”

“No, maybe [my brother] did.”

“I didn’t see it.”

“Hmm, maybe she’s psychic?”


(Oh, lord, people, you know in my family when someone says “perhaps” that there’s some Sherlock Holmes shit going down in their brain. I totally should have answered “Perhaps, indeed.”)

But I had already narrowed down the possibilities of how you, Mom, discovered this to two ways. 1.) You’re following me on Twitter. I find this unlikely since you are not not a scantily clad young woman with a name like WKN1039 who is lonely and wants me to click a link that will infect my computer with some terrible virus (unless you’re spending your retirement as an evil internet troublemaker?).  2.) You’re reading Tiny Cat Pants even though I asked you and Dad not to.

You can guess toward which explanation I am leaning.

Sadly for you, Mom, it’s all poop here all the time lately, which is exactly the same kind of stuff I talk to you and Dad about on the phone. The only reason I didn’t tell you my brother was coming here for his birthday is that I assumed he already had.

So here’s the thing: is there anything here at Tiny Cat Pants I really don’t want my parents to see? Eh, you know, I wouldn’t put it on the internet if I didn’t expect some busybody might send you a link to it sometime.

Maybe we can make some kind of Clinton-esque move. (No, not blowjobs in the White House.) What I’m saying is that we could move from “It’s forbidden” to “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” I don’t care if you’re reading Tiny Cat Pants, Mom (and I totally know you are, which means you’ve ruined your own Christmans present, which is totally your own fault), but I don’t want to know about it.

So, get sneakier.



Paul Stanely Continues to be a Creepster

Dear Paul,

You seem to be floundering with how best to explain your decision to fuck a girl who worked for you. You keep saying things like “I think [the gal you continue to blame for your wrongdoing] is too – to a certain extent – a very troubled young lady.” Really, you think a girl whose boss knew “The moment I laid eyes on her” that he was going to fuck her might end up being troubled?

I have to say that, yes, young women whose bosses lay eyes on them for the first time and think “Yep, I’m going to fuck that one” tend to be troubled by the experience. This is one of the reasons bosses don’t fuck their young employees.

I’m going to continue, for the moment, to assume that you’re just a moron trying to make a story in which you behaved like a total douchebag at every step of the way into a story in which you were some suave lothario victimized by an unscrupulous harlot.

But a bit of advice–much like you should stop telling stories that make it sound like you had other affairs, you should stop telling stories in which the “troubled” young woman you had an affair with seems not to have had a real opportunity to consent to your relationship. I had been thinking that you were just a fool who didn’t see that anyone willing to help a man betray his wife would also be happy to betray him, but now I’m wondering what you deciding the moment you saw her that you were going to fuck her felt like to her–whether she felt like she had any choice in the matter. You know, Paul, it makes me wonder if she felt her boyfriend was getting even with you for the shitty thing you were doing to her. That seems to me like something you don’t want people wondering.


p.s. It is beyond tacky to continue to bring this woman up. I know that your whole new life is predicated on a book in which you committed this terrible “sin” with this woman. But I ask you, sincerely, at what point are you going to stop harming her? Because, it seems to me that, from the moment you laid eyes on her until this latest round of publicity for your book, you’ve done nothing but screw her, one way or another. I’m no expert on sinning, but I’m pretty sure that, before you can be forgiven, you have to, you know, actually stop what you’re doing wrong.

An Open Letter to Jack McElroy

Dear Jack,

You are wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrongity, wrong, wrong, wrong. And someday one of your reporters may need you to take the State of Tennessee to school, so you need to get right on this.

But so what if Meador was a reporter? The First Amendment protects press freedom, but it doesn’t grant journalists any rights beyond those of other citizens. In fact, in this day of blogs and cellphone cameras, it’s hard to say what actually constitutes a reporter. An employee of an established media outlet may carry a press card and ID badge, but that shouldn’t make him or her any more legitimate in the eyes of the law than a self-published scribe.

Here’s the “so what” you’re missing. Meador was, in fact, cited for being drunk, so drunk that he “appeared to be intoxicated and unable to care for himself.” And that’s when he produced the video he took of his arrest in which no officer makes any mention of his alleged drunkeness. In fact, they’re discussing charging him with resisting arrest. How one resists arrest by falling when knocked to the ground by the THP, I surely don’t know.

But the issue, the important issue, here is not just that he identified himself as a member of the media–which I say is still an important and meaningful thing and that the THP ought not to be arresting reporters who are trying to cover a story the State is making efforts to literally hide in the middle of the night–but that not only did they appear to decide to make up a charge of resisting arrest, they made up that he “appeared to be intoxicated and unable to care for himself.” (Again, the State’s words, not mine).

Jack, they did this after they knew he was a reporter. After they knew he was a reporter, they made up things to charge him with and then falsely accused him of being so drunk that he couldn’t care for himself in order to discredit him. That wasn’t just about trying to jack Meador up as a person, though that would certainly be wrong. That was about trying to discredit Meador as a journalist–accusing him of being so drunk on the job that he needed to be arrested. Certainly, that was about not only trying to discredit anything he might say about his arrest as a citizen, but also anything he might report about his and others’ arrests as a journalist.

If you think the issue is just that they arrested a journalist, you are wrong. It’s that they arrested a journalist AND then, once they knew he was a journalist, they seem to have deliberately set out to fuck him over.

That should give you great pause.



An Open Letter to Ron “Gun-Jumper” Ramsey

Dear Gun-Jumper,

1. Aren’t we having to petition to be exempted from NCLB this year? And isn’t the election next year? Maybe you should wait until you can show that Republican policies have improved education before bragging.

2. Teacher are in unions. So… how can you be pro-teacher and anti-union? Can I be pro-Ron Ramsey and anti-Christian? Could you be pro-B. but anti-boob freckle? I think not.

3. The way you stroke that chip on your shoulder is starting to seem a little… well… you know. Like stroking stroking. It’s starting to make me uncomfortable. If you can be the Lt. Governor of a state and still be that insecure, it’s probably time to talk to your pastor or a therapist about that.

4. YOU WON. You’ve defeated the big liberal boogie-man. If you don’t know how to govern without having a liberal strawman dragon you need to slay–if you can’t offer the people of Tennessee actual leadership, just “we’re not like those lying snobs,” you’re going to run this state into the ground. So, get 3. taken care of, get your insecurities in check, and lead. Actually lead.

Writing editorials about who you hate and how you’re going to punish them? That’s not leadership. That’s more of the “pew pew” finger gun nonsense we all saw while you were campaigning for governor.

It doesn’t make people think you’re telling them the truth. It makes them think you’re off your rocker.



p.s. Most people in Memphis are black. Most teachers are women. Believe me, we all know “you’re one of the good ones, not like those ones who are the real problem” is not actually a compliment.

I Think I’ve Lost My Sense of Humor in Regards to Ron Ramsey

Dear Ron Ramsey,

The next time you think it’s so fucking cool to brag about how you break the laws you write, perhaps you should open your wallet and pay back some of the people who’ve been fined for the very behavior you are joking about.

That would make this bullshit a hair more palatable.

It still leaves a bad taste, though. No matter what. Don’t make laws you won’t live by, asshole.


An Open Letter to Jonathan Franzen

Dear Jonathan Franzen,

Sure, I would like to read your New York Times piece all about the hollow emptiness of today’s consumer culture. I mean, if I don’t read it, how will I ever know if it contains any awkward mentions of David Foster Wallace? How will I see whether you try to carry this fairytale about commerce stealing weddings away from love all the way through your piece? I wanted to sip on my Diet Coke and laugh at your big man brain pretending like marriage has a long history of being about love that this darned old modern age stole from us.

But alas, I cannot, because the New York Times is attempting to commodify your writing about your feelings about love. I hope you write a long article about that in which you overlook that the New York Times has always been about the commodification of writing about people’s feelings on a lot of things.

That will be deeply funny to me.



An Open Letter to Stacey Campfield

Dear Stacey Campfield,

You know I think you’re a giant douchebag of historic proportion. You know I think you never met a “fuck you, bitches” bill you wouldn’t champion because I think you hate women. And you know I think your a massive creep.

But this is painful to watch, even for me, who thinks the outcome we ended up with is lovely.

So, let me hop the fence just a second and make sure you’re clear on something.

When Ramsey and Harwell say, “The confusion surrounding the language in the budget regarding Planned Parenthood has been unfortunate. The Office of Legal Services advised House and Senate leadership that it is unconstitutional to amend general law through the appropriations bill (Article II, Section 17), an interpretation which would have put the entire budget document in jeopardy,” they are admitting they knew that second amendment was going in the budget. Do you get this? Because that subtext could barely be called subtext.

So, if they knew that language was going in the budget and have a reason why it had to go in the budget and undo what you’ve done, they KNOW WHO DID IT. In fact, I would interpret those sentences as meaning they worked with that person to make it happen.

Posting a list of all of the people who told you it wasn’t them? All it does is make a nice list of all of the people who might have lied to you. You can’t honestly believe it means anything other than that.

As for what anti-choice folks they might be working with, IT DOESN’T MATTER. If it’s not the guys who are working with you, that’s because the guys who are working with you can’t swing an election. Their endorsement didn’t get Cobb elected in District 62, so everyone now knows the bag has a cat, not a pig, even without the poke being opened. They don’t need to work with the Tennessee Right to Life until the Tennessee Right to Life’s giving or withholding of an endorsement hurts Republicans. And they’re probably relieved about that, because those guys are total jerks.

The Tennessee Right to Life needs you, not because you’re some great champion of the unborn, but because you’re the fool with the biggest platform who will still pretend (or believe) that they decide elections.

Bless your heart. If I liked you, I’d advise you to get a little more cynical about shit and then maybe you won’t be blindsided by this stuff.


Edited to add: While we’re speaking frankly, let me add that most Republicans don’t actually want to end abortion, some of them because it’s a perennial drum to beat on at election time, and some of them because if their wives or daughters were raped or if their mistresses got pregnant, they’d be sitting at Planned Parenthood next to them quicker than you can say ‘Jack Robinson.’ They are fine with it being inconvenient and expensive and dangerous for the rest of us, but believe me, they will always want abortions for their women, and they won’t let you stop that.

An Open Letter to Paul Stanley

Dear Ex-Senator Stanley,

I admit, I find your desire to dwell on the circumstances that got you kicked out of office to be baffling. What, exactly, is it you say to yourself that makes you think, “If only people really got _________, they would see that, though I have some responsibility for my present circumstances, others also share the blame, perhaps even nefarious others?” Do you think there’s going to be some fact that undoes the truth that you fucked a gal you were not married to knowing that your wife thought you’d promised her you wouldn’t fuck other people?

Do you think that, if we all learn that a gal willing to run around with someone else’s husband is also willing to extort said husband, we’ll see how she’s to blame? Dude, guess what? A gal willing to run around with someone else’s husband? Someone old enough to be her dad? No one is surprised to learn she has ulterior motives. You found out the girl willing to help you do a very not-nice thing to your wife was capable of doing a very not-nice thing to you?

Not a surprise.

And yet, you still seem baffled–like it’s some unfair injustice that, when you started doing no-good things, you found no-good people to do them with.

You, sir, you fucked up. You knew you were married. You knew your wife didn’t know you had decided to change from monogamy to polyamory. And you, one of the most powerful men in the state was too stupid or egocentric to even consider that the person you might get up to nefarious things with might herself be nefarious.

And until I see some post from you that’s willing to look that dead in the face and come to terms with it, I’m going to assume that you continue to be a self-destructive idiot.

Case in point:

People ask me lots of questions about the issue, one of the most common being, “Do you believe you were set up?” Even my former spouse feels she knows the answer to this question. We talked about it as recently as last weekend. Until now I have only discussed the issue with close friends and family. In one sense it does not matter because the outcome is still the same.

I have to ask: why are you even putting this out there? Even dropping it into the world that you think there’s a chance you were set up?

Let me be very clear, in order for you to be set up, someone would have to know that you have a weakness. How would they know that? How would Morrison and Watts know, if they plotted to do this from before you started fucking her, that you’d be unable to resist a cute young thing, someone young enough to be your daughter, who put herself in your way?

You see what I’m getting at? How would they know that you wouldn’t bother to resist her?

Right now, people are just wondering how you could be so dumb as to make this one mistake. You really want people wondering if you’re angry because one of your mistakes got out of hand?

Dude, come on!



And Yet Another Open Letter to Ron Ramsey

Dear Ron,

Man, you did a good job picking a communications guy, because I don’t remember hearing from you half this much when you were, oh, running for governor. Now, I know, we already discussed how you have put that unfortunate business out of your mind, but let’s just sum it up by saying that you were the scary crazy guy who grew more coherent the longer you talked, there was another scary crazy guy who grew less coherent the longer he talked, and Dana Carvey, all lining up to take on a Democrat who seemed perpetually disconcerted and tired after waking from being put on ice 50 years ago. (“Wait, Democrats like gay people now?”). You didn’t win.

But, I’m writing not to pick on you. Well, okay, not solely to pick on you.

I’m writing to commend you on standing up against the Governor’s “Let’s just let some appointed smart guys tell us what to do about meth” plan. You’re scary and often incoherent and I’m not sure you’ve actually thought through a lot of what you say, but you are an elected official in a representative democracy. And you get that. It is your job and the jobs of your colleagues, all of whom are accountable to whoever bothers to vote, to craft the laws the govern us.

Letting a commission make laws?

It’s not just, as you say, that the proposal “abrogates our authority to those commissioners and I have a little problem with that,” it’s that the proposal abrogates the authority of the voters, removing lawmaking from the realm of public debate and accountability.

I’m sure it’s easier to run a benevolent dictatorship than an unruly republic, but Haslam didn’t get voted in to run a benevolent dictatorship.

I don’t know if he quite gets that.

So, I am grateful for your efforts to remind him.



Yet Another Open Letter to Ron Ramsey

Dear Ron,

By now, I can call you “Ron,” right? I mean, in my head, when I see your name, I make little “pew, pew” noises, but “Dear Pew, Pew” doesn’t really have the tone I’d like to set. I’m writing today to note that you now seem to be saying that you are ready to defy the will of the governor and the State House.

So, I’m writing to ask–You do know you didn’t win the Republican nomination for governor, right? Remember last year, when you were busy acting like a lunatic? That was while you were losing the Republican nomination. You were running around acting like the kind of guy who would make guns with his fingers and go “Pew, Pew” at people, calling major religions “cults,” seeming barely coherent at debates? Remember the debates?

It’s pretty much how you spent last year–not being elected governor–so I’m baffled that you seem to believe that you’ve been elected to the highest office in the state. But, and this is important, I also find it hilarious.

Carry on.



An Open Letter to Tom Humphrey

Dear Tom,

This is completely uncalled-for and disrespectful bullshit:

Remarkably, one can find, for example, a blogger who emphasizes being pro-choice on abortion declaring she sees no difference between McWherter, who is pro-choice, and Haslam, who is pro-life – although neither candidate is zealous about espousing his position. She was upset that McWherter had shown some sympathy for people opposing construction of a mosque in Murfreesboro.

Who? Who is this “remarkable” blogger? How would this remarkable blogger defend herself against you if you won’t name her? I could say I think it’s me, get all pissed off at what total bullshit is is for you to not have the courage to name me, and then you could be all “Oh, I meant… um… Southern Beale.” Or Beale could be all “Well, no, you have misrepresented my feelings on the matter,” and you can say, “Oh, no, not you, I meant… um… some blogger you guys don’t know.”

And then you put this in your column? Again, without naming this person you’re taking to task?

It’s not cool to make an actual person in this state your bogeyman, especially without identifying her so that she can respond.

Shape up.

And, in the future, you need to get over this idea that women are one-issue voters and that, if you know a woman is pro-choice, that she’s somehow “remarkable” if that’s not the only factor that influences her political decisions.

You know voters are more complicated than that. Write like it.


Aunt B.

Edited to add: I’m glad to see that nonsense didn’t make it into the print version.

Brief Note to TNDP

When you go to a blog, especially when you comment, we can see where you’re commenting from. So, using a made-up name is a bit like sticking your head in the sand and assuming people can’t see you.

If you don’t want people to know that you’re commenting on a site from the TNDP, I suggest you head to Panera or over to the Legislative Plaza and use their router instead.



Tennessee Satanists, Your Fellow Citizens Need You!

Dear Local Satanists,

I don’t know if you saw this, but the state legislature has become a hot-bed of proselytizing. Clearly, this violates the spirit of the separation of church and state and spits in the eye of all non-Christian Tennesseans.

But here’s the thing–with the exception of you guys and us pagans–you know that they’d nod along respectfully and roll their eyes if other folks came in to pray. And you know us pagans; unless we could get some real hardcore polytheist, we’d try to smooth things over and make polytheism seem like universalism, make it more palatable.

No, in order to put an end to this nonsense, we need you. You have to go in there and hail Satan and pray for every politician to find an intern or lobbyist to fuck, pray for debauchery and licentiousness to descend upon the state, pray for daily Twinkies for all eight year olds, I don’t know. Just go in there, make like Deicide levels of theatrics, and make those assholes so uncomfortable that they’re afraid to have anything approaching this level of ridiculousness ever again.

Please, you’re our only hope.


An Open Letter to a Person Who Needs It

Dear Lawbreaker,

So, let’s say a person, in this case you, breaks the law. Maybe she steals a cookie. She is arrested, but the baker feels bad. Maybe the thief didn’t mean it. Maybe the thief thought she had permission to steal the cookie. Maybe the thief was starving. Who knows? Whatever it was, there were mitigating circumstances and the Court told the thief that, if she kept her nose clean and paid a fine, her record would be expunged.

As long as no one found out about it, it would be as if she never stole the cookie.

I think this is probably a fair adjudication of the matter.

As long as this really is the first and only time the thief ever stole a cookie.

But I’ve been thinking about that–that the thief can make it seem like she isn’t a cookie thief. If she gets caught stealing a cookie again in a year, it will seem like the first time she ever stole a cookie. She could go back to Court and tell a different judge all about how she thought she had permission to take the cookie or how she was starving. Maybe she could even get the baker to testify as to how totally out of character this was for the cookie thief.

Depending on where she was stealing cookies, she could do this AND GET CAUGHT a few times with every time appearing to be the first.

I believe this is truly your first time, dear lawbreaker.  But if this happens again, even if it looks like another first time, some of us know it’s not.

So shape the fuck up, you asshole.


An Open Letter to H.K. Edgerton

Dear Mr. Edgerton,

I, too, think that Dave Chappelle’s “Clayton Bigsby” skit is one of the most brilliant things I’ve ever seen. And I, too, still feel bummed that Chappelle has moved on from The Chappelle Show.

But I just have to believe that turning that skit into a piece of performance art is going to go right over the heads of most of your audience.  I mean, when they hear you say stuff like, “The most discriminated against person in America is the Christian Southern white man,” I’m not sure they’re going to get that you’re an artist.

You are a performance artist, right?

All Due Respect,

Aunt B.

An Open Letter to the Tennessee General Assembly in Regards to Donna Rowland

Dear State Legislators,

I don’t need a show of hands, but I want to ask: how many of you have never fucked someone you’re not married to?  Because I, as an outsider, hear all kinds of tales about what so-and-so did with this lobbyist or why so-and-so had to marry that intern or how so-and-so’s wife knows all about what he does when he comes to Nashville, but she puts up with it because he’s a good dad.  And it’s not like I go around hoping to hear gossip about state legislators.  It’s just that you morons are so indiscreet and this town isn’t nearly as large as you pretend it is.

And yet, it seems that you guys are given free reign to behave like your annual Nashville jaunt is an episode of “Tennessee Lawmakers Gone Wild.”  At least until some other scandal catches up with you.

I mention all this because I’m very, very uneasy, as a feminist, with the Official Panty Sniff you’re doing to Donna Rowland.  It reeks of hypocrisy, like it’s fine for you to behave in all kinds of lurid ways, but god forbid some female state legislator has a sex life.

It’s not your business that Donna Rowland has a boyfriend at whose house she spends the night sometimes.  If her neighbors see her at her house and if there’s furniture there and if she’s in there turning the lights on and off regularly and if she’s paying her mortgage or rent, it starts to feel a little purient that y’all are now going to sit down and try to pass judgement about where Rowland “lives,” since that will, in part, be based on how many nights she spends at her boyfriend’s house.

I just cannot believe that y’all want to set a precident that there should be investigations into who’s sleeping where, with whom, and for how long.

But, hey, if that is the direction you’re going in, can we have those hearings in public, because the word on the street is that some of you are up to some really interesting stuff, and I am, at heart, too nosey for my own good.

Aunt B.

An Open Note to My Dad

Dear Dad,

I love, love, love that you’ve been now driving around imagining what words we’d have to get rid of if we took this English-only stuff to its natural conclusion.  That tickles me so much.  So, I have not forgotten your wondering about the word “rent” and, yes, it appears it would have to go.  It’s French.  From the 12th century.  It seems to have always been used to mean an item of revenue or income and originally comes from the word “render” which, at the time, had the sense of meaning “repeat giving.”

Please take your big red marker to the “for rent” signs in you neighborhood.

In silly solidarity,


An Open Letter to Newscoma

Dear Newscoma,

The economy is in the shitter.  People are losing their jobs and homes left and right.  I have a homeless Republican sleeping on my couch right now*, which is depressing on a couple of levels.  Our State Legislature is trying to figure out how to deprive people of their liberty and are filled with people too chicken-shit to even face the people whose lives they are ruining.

Every time I open my browser or turn on the TV, it’s more bad news.

In times like these, you have practically a moral obligation to continue to post photos of your puppies.  Every time I look at them, I think, well, you know, things are bad, but there are puppies.

I really benefit from that.

So, please, don’t apologize for posting pictures of puppies and please, don’t stop.


Aunt B.

*That’s right.  A Republican!  And people say I’m partisan.

An Open Letter to Kenny Chesney

Dear Kenny Chesney,

A lot of gay men our age have slept with women, even a lot of women.  Claiming that you cannot possibly be gay because you have slept with over a hundred women is like claiming that you cannot possibly like chocolate ice cream because you have had over one hundred bowls of vanilla.

I don’t give a shit if you’re gay or not.  What I do give a shit about is that, as usual, country musicians keep making ’00s country music look like ’70s rock, but in a sad, tattered, generic way.  It’s like country music is ’70s rock for folks who still find ’70s rock a little scandalous.

I mean, seriously.  100?  You’re one of the biggest country stars alive.  You were married once, briefly, and the best you could do is 100 women?  Come the fuck on.  That’s nothing to brag about.  Shoot, in his day, I’m sure Gene Simmons fucked 100 women between lunch and dinner.  I think Def Leppard fucked 100 women a week.  Led Zepplin had 100 groupies following them from hotel to hotel just watching them have sex with 100 women. A hundred women is just getting started for ’70s rockers.  I inadvertently fucked a hundred women just in the time it’s taken me to write this post.

Bragging about how many women you’ve slept with is kind of a douch move.  But, good lord, man, once you’ve committed to being a douche, at least really commit to it!  Don’t say a hundred.  Shoot, any damn fool who puts his mind to it can sleep with 100 people.  Give us the rock star fantasy.  Give us a number to aspire to.  A thousand, five thousand, ten thousand!  Start a rumor that every baby named Kenny in the southeast is secretly yours.  Something noteable, man.

But a hundred?  I’m sorry, but considering what you do for a living and how popular you are, a hundred makes it sound like you just weren’t trying very hard.

And that could lead a girl to wonder why.

Suddenly exhaustedly yours,


Don’t Get in a Butt-Fight With a Swedish Woman, S-Town Mike

Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike.

Where to start?

Okay, I guess we’ll start with the simple stuff.

1.  I wasn’t offering or withholding sympathy to/from you.  Are you a person who moved into a $500,000 condo downtown?  No you are not.  If you were, you would be called Downtown Mike or D-town Mike, and you are not.  Ipso facto, you don’t live downtown; I was not talking to you specifically.

2.  I was using the term “urban pioneer” in a joking fashion.  People live downtown.  They’ve always lived downtown. Maybe not a shit-ton of folks, but there have always been folks there.  There’s nothing to “pioneer.”  If we wanted to sit around and discuss the racist implications of the phrase “urban pioneer,” that would be fine.  But even using the term with its racist implications in full bloom wouldn’t cover you because, though the areas of Germantown, Salemtown, and Old Buena Vista are predominately black, they have never been completely black.  There have always been some white people there.

3.  It’s disgusting and considered bad form to use rape metaphors for the fact that you just moved to a dangerous part of town when talking with a feminist, or, really, any woman.  You say “I also did not demand your sympathy when I moved into a high crime neighborhood and chose to help start a crime watch rather than roll over and enjoy the violation.”  So, fine, on your end of the see-saw of that metaphor, you’re the brave one able to fight off the attacker, instead of the other option of just rolling over and “enjoying it.”  On the other end of the see-saw of your metaphor, you’ve just insinuated that an actual rape victim has but two choices, fight back or roll over and enjoy it.

I know that’s not what you meant, but if you want to have productive conversations with people whose own history of sexual assault you are unfamiliar with, perhaps you shouldn’t make light of it.

4.  You miss an important distinction–folks littering, stealing things, vomiting on your stoop, providing inadequate schooling–these things are all illegal.  We are talking about something, playing loud music, that is not illegal.

Let me remind you–you’re arguing that it should be grouped in with things like littering, theft, barfing on others, and providing shitty schooling for kids.  I’m arguing that it should not be.  You are, of course, free to act, when making your argument, as if all those things are of a kind, BUT THEY ARE NOT YET.

So, accusing me of being soft on actual crime, because I think it’s silly to lump loud music in as an actual crime is, at best, disingenuous and, at worse, ill-thought-out.

Of course you should rail against actual crime.  Come on.  Please.

That has nothing to do with why and whether one would want to make loud music into a crime.

5.  I have the same mayor as you, so don’t be trying to lump me in with suburbanites.  And even if I didn’t have the same mayor as you, I lived in the city proper until three and a half weeks ago.  I think I can remember what it’s like.

6.  I was not the one who linked stripping and loud music.  If you recall, it was right there in the first paragraph of Tobia’s piece.  I was merely reminded, by that paragraph, of how stupid the stripper rule is and, yes, how much many of these ordinances seem to be about regulating the fun of others.

7.  Foucault?  Ha ha ha ha ha.  Are we having some kind of philosopher show-down?

Listen, arguing that there’s nothing wrong with having a “reasonable” noise ordinance misses the point.  Do we need a reasonable noise ordinance?  What clubs and honky-tonks are too loud?  In what ways have they been unresponsive to residents’ complaints?  How will such an ordinance affect outdoor music downtown?  What about fireworks after games?  Or on the 4th of July?

That appears completely unclear to me.

And it’s on your side to more clearly explain yourself and get people to buy in.  Arguing “Oh, it’s just what Austin does,” is not going to cut it.  You’ve got to make a case for why we need it.

But I save the best for last.

You say

You would probably lose the donut bet that this bill has anything to do with the Adelicia or any other place in Midtown. On the one hand, the old law that governed the noise violations in Midtown (which is not Downtown, although it may seem that way to some surburbanites) restricted amplified music to 50 decibels (unless otherwise zoned). On the other hand, a new law was passed a few weeks ago that now covers neighborhoods like Midtown; that ordinance maintains that any noise that is “plainly audible” from the adjoining property line is prohibited. Sound meters are no longer needed outside of Downtown proper. So, Downtown’s proposed ordinance is exponentially more liberal (as I expect it should be) than Midtown’s and has absolutely nothing to do with the drama over at South Street. [Emphasis mine]

And yet let us look at the wording of the proposed ordinance, shall we?

F. Outdoor entertainment events within the downtown area.
1. No person shall operate an outdoor music and/or entertainment event that produces amplified sound which registers more than eighty-five Db(A), as measured from any point within the boundary line of the nearest residentially occupied property at the street level.
2. The provisions of this subsection shall only apply to (a) properties lying with an area zoned CC district and properties zoned CF district that are contiguous to those zoned CC district; (b) properties lying within an area bounded by properties fronting Music Square West and 17th Avenue South from Division Street to Edgehill Avenue; (c) properties along the north portion of Edgehill Avenue between 17th Avenue South and 16th Avenue South; (d) properties fronting 16th Avenue South and Music Square East between Edgehill Avenue and Division Street; (e) properties lying within an area fronting on the east side of 21st Avenue South from Scarritt Place to Edgehill Avenue; and (f) the properties fronting on the north side Edgehill Avenue to 17th Avenue South.

Hmm.  I wonder what could possibly be within those boundaries…

In case you’re wondering, I prefer my Krispy Kreme glazed.


Aunt B.