Thursday, June 30, 2005

Speaking of Breasts

It got me thinking of going bra shopping with the Shill when we were in college. Now, neither the Shill nor I are what you'd call flat chested. And so buying bras is not very much fun. If you want a bra that fits right, you have to get something that looks like your grandma would wear it and if you want something cute, you have to just accept that it's going to be uncomfortable. For instance, I used to have the cutest bra once, lacy and frilly and white, and one day I was standing in front of the big windows at work and I heard this "pow" and felt this terrible pain in my rib cage right under my left tit and I thought, "holy shit, I've been shot! How fucking weird is that?" and I reached under my shirt to feel for a bullet hole only to discover that I was not bleeding as much as someone who's been shot ought to. Instead, it was just a little trickle of blood brought on by a snapped underwire jutting into my skin. So, when we were in college, Victoria's Secret was really pushing the Wonder Bra and the Shill and I decided that we would go see what the fuss was about. So, we went into the store and each grabbed a bra in our size and headed off to the dressing room. Now, the point of the Wonder Bra is to take everything you've got and hoist it up where everyone can appreciate it (or use it as a place to rest their appetizer tray, depending on your breastly needs). But if you have a lot to hoist, the cups aren't designed deep enough to give you room to come both up and out. No, everything just moves up. Fine for folks who aren't moving that much up. But if you are... Well, I put it on, looked in the mirror and was immediately reminded of a chicken. My boobs appeared to be coming out of my collar bone and making a soft, shallow couple of hills down the front of my chest. I started to snicker. And then I heard snickering from the dressing room next to me. And the Shill and I opened our dressing room doors, looked across at each other and started guffawing. And you know what? They asked us to leave! Apparently, they don't like it when you laugh at the miracles rendered by the Wonder Bra.

The Joy of Fretting

I love to fret. God knows why, because it makes me miserable, but I spend a great deal of time doing it, so I must love it. Anyway, I've got a large all-consuming fret going on right now in anticipation of my weekend, full of new things. How do you recognize when I'm fretting?
  1. I'm distracted.
  2. I'm burping regularly.
  3. I'm getting some kind of rash on my face (so, egad, ignore my last post, folks. Stare at my boobs! Don't stare at the rash!).
  4. I'm wandering aimlessly around the neighborhood.
  5. I'm babbling.

Dear Sir:

When you are sitting in a chair and I am standing and you talk so softly that I have to bend over to hear what you're saying, I know that you're just being a jackass so that you can look down my shirt. I've talked to you many times before and I know you aren't a quiet person. I really, really don't appreciate that and if you weren't a big wig and I weren't a lowly person and if your wife weren't the sweetest person in the room, I'd make a big, embarrassing scene. But, I'm sure you know that and that's why you did it to me and not, say, my boss. If I want you to see my tits, I will take my shirt off in front of you or, more likely, I will bend down seductively over the seven layer bars and twist my torso ever so slightly so that I'm sure you get a good view of that cute freckle on the right one as you look up from the carrots. But rest assured, that day, for you, dear jackass, will never come.

The Butcher's Cult

Well, one vodka and cranberry on a hot evening and I become all forgetful, and hence, I forgot to tell you guys the funniest thing that happened yesterday. Some cult tried (or is still trying) to recruit the Butcher! How hilarious is that? I mean, he doesn't even have any earthly goods to give up. He'll have to give up mine or borrow some from the neighbors. And, and, they want him to read through this book which will show him the path to enlightenment, and so you know I was flipping through that fucker while I was taking a shit this morning. It appears to be the ramblings of some acid-head yoga-rific quasi-Buddhist, who wants the world to know such things as "The caterpillar does not un-caterpillar. It just is the butterfly in its heart space." Also, apparently, I must be prepared for a journey into outer space. I will die when I reach the Allen Belt, but if I propel myself hard enough, some core of me will survive. Yep. Their cult is going to send me into outer space on a suicide mission. See, this is why so many religions don't write stuff down. That way when someone says, "Well, Odin says you should always have your sword with you when you're working in the field" and someone else says "How am I supposed to carry a big heavy sword and plow my field? Can I leave my sword over by the tree and just run to it if I need it?" and the first person says, "Shit, I don't know. I thought it was symbolic. Let's ask Sven." and Sven is like "Dudes, I'm trying to get laid here, can you fuck off?" And the religions that do write stuff down attribute all the nonsense to their god(s) or some long dead religious leader. That way when someone says "Thou shall not take Lord's name in vain" and someone else asks "Does that mean I can say 'God damn it' if I really do want God to damn it?" the first person can say "It says what it says, jackass, I don't make the rules." But when it's just some old hippy who used to be named Phil and who is now Swami Rama Lama Ding Dong, it's just a lot harder to excuse the confusion as a matter of sloppy translation.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Weird Soap

The Butcher has bought this weird new Irish Spring soap that has little rough bits in it, like Lava Soap, but softer. It foams up so nicely. But it smells so manly that I feel a little self-conscious. Tonight the Professor and I were at a bigwig shindig and I was afraid I smelled like a linebacker. A clean linebacker, but a linebacker nevertheless.

Something Really Gross

I had something in my eye. I went to the bathroom to dig it out. I saw a piece of fuzz on my eyelid. I pulled at it and it was attached to a big, like six inch long, hair that was coiled around my eyeball! It was so nasty, but at least it's gone now.

The Kindly Satanist

One summer I worked at a packaging plant in Moline and our little corner of one of the warehouses was devoted to packaging Caterpillar parts--from tiny nuts by the hundreds to great big breakdrums. As far as jobs go, it sucked, as you can imagine. But since I was just there for the summer, the pay was good and when we were working 60 hour weeks, the time and a half was very, very nice. The place had three groups of people working there. The students, like me, who were just looking for some quick cash. We made the most, because we had no benefits. Then there were folks who'd been working there for years. One woman, who made us call her Granny, had emerged from her bedroom one late evening just in time to see her husband's brains escape out the back of his head onto the wall. He had waited until one of the planes that shook their house was overhead, so that she wouldn't be disturbed by the noise from the gun. After work, she took her paychecks down to the river and threw them away at the casinos. There were Mexicans who were there illegally, who were making even less than the fulltimers. In the Quad Cities (ADM, supermarket to the world, I'm looking at you) there were a lot of industries that would hire illegal workers and then, when the workers started to pick up English or when the unions would finally get someone in there who was bilingual, the industries would throw up their hands in mock surprise at all the undocumented workers they'd "accidentally" employed and make a big show on the news about having them shipped back to Mexico. One of the Mexican women I worked with told me that it wasn't that big a deal, that a lot of families had money socked away to get folks back up here in such circumstances. Another contended that the planes never actually left Illinois and after the cameras left, everyone was let off the plane and told to look for work someplace else. Obviously, I don't know if either of those things were true, and if they were, I don't know if they still are. But my favorite person working there was a guy I'll call the Kindly Satanist. He was about my age at the time, twenty, and was a kind of scrawny, gangly dude, with straight, stringy black hair parted severely down the middle, and he had these beautiful long nails that were always painted black or purple or silver, which would slow him down considerably when he had to separate a big box of washers down into 300 small boxes of washers, because that's not a job that keeps your nails in one piece. And he had all these Mexican death magazines--I'm sure they must have a name, but I don't know it--which were filled with pictures of murder victims and suicides and car accidents and other grisly things you hoped he wouldn't be looking at when you were eating lunch. And, of course, he'd talk all the time about his dark lord, Satan. Now, if you know anything about Satanists, you know that they fall into a few types and that very few of those types actually worship Satan. Most of them owe at least a little to Alistair Crowley, who said, "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law" and are less concerned with whether there's a Satan and more concerned about challenging religious and social conventions. But folks who actually worship Satan, and not just as part of their rock & roll theatrics? Those are rarer than hen's teeth. But that was this dude. So, he was very excited to be paired up with the minister's daughter, and then disappointed when I wasn't shocked or appalled or outraged by him. And so, after a few weeks of trying and failing to cause me to faint from shock, he confessed to me that his greatest disappointment in life was that he was a terrible Satanist. He wanted to be outrageously evil, but it was a lot of work and he just couldn't keep up with it all and work at this place and go to college. He also regularly drove Granny home.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Okay, Now Really...

Fuck the Butcher. He's in the shower right now because "Sam" has an extra ticket to Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson. I will be sitting on my ass in front of the TV seething with jealousy and praying for rain. Seriously, I'm about to die of envy.

The Liberal Media is Me!

Brittney has asked me to guest blog over at Nashville is Talking this weekend. Of course, I said, "hell yes." It won't be that big a deal for y'all because I check sitemeter and I know no one comes here on the weekends anyway. But for Nashville, I'm sure it will be very traumatic. I'm trying to make sure I have all my man-hating, witch-crafty, communist, feminist, liberal media bullshit in order. I've already scheduled a frivolous abortion for tomorrow afternoon and two on Friday. I'm also working on forging some documents that will 'prove' that George Bush is actually a very intelligent kumquat put into a position of power by a secretive group of jugglers led by Karl Rove. I'm going to ask that any of my middle Tennessee readers who are planning on doing something daring or illegal hold off until this weekend, so that I have something to write about. Anyone who tips me off to their own outrageous antics ahead of time will have one owed to them by me. Otherwise, it'll be the same old same old over here and more Nashville and news oriented nonsense over there.

Ancestor Worship

I actually was laying some groundwork in my post yesterday for something that's been nagging at me for a long time, namely how can I venerate my ancestors when clearly, many of my ancestors, as well as my living family, are pretty shitty? None of you have asked me this question, but it's one I often ask myself. ***** Yesterday I saw something that I briefly thought was the most brilliant comment on the whole Confederate flag problem: a swastika surrounded by the infamous "Heritage, Not Hate" slogan. Dwell with me for a moment in the possibility that this is snarky (it's not, but we'll get to that in a second). Through a slight exaggeration, it draws into sharp focus the ridiculousness of asking people to overlook recent history in order to let you continue to venerate a symbol you find historically meaningful. And, as far as symbols go, the swastika has thousands of years of positive meaning to cultures across the globe, whereas the Confederate battle flag obviously didn't even exist until there was, briefly, a Confederacy to fight under it. But that's the thing, you can't have it both ways. You can't claim a symbol has historic meaning--thus its importance to you--at the same time you try to insist that you can redefine it to mean something that isn't negative. Either things have their whole histories or they don't have any history at all. In the U.S., we place strong emphasis on the myth of the individual, the rugged man (usually) with no ties to anyone or anything who goes around conquering the West or space or wherever. So, we tend not to believe that things have much of a history at all and we have acted as if stripping people and things of their history is just one more necessary act for the expansion of the country. But things are slowly changing, I think, as one, among many, positive consequences of the rise of multiculturalism. The past, good and bad, and our complicated relationship to it, is something we can now start to come to terms with. But we can only do that if we acknowledge whole histories. Wanting to only keep the good stuff, though a perfectly human response, doesn't put us in right relation with the past. The past is no better than the present. People who lived in the past did not have it easier than we do. They were not better than us. And, most importantly, the things they did continue to affect us. Trying to reclaim the Confederate battle flag or the swastika is a grave insult to the past in that such an attempt denies the agency and experiences of those past people. You may say that those people who acted evilly under the banners of those symbols did so out of ignorance of what those symbols stood for, to which I say, exactly, and that's a shame, but exactly. Those actions are now intimately tied to those symbols. To oversimplify it for the sake of clarity, those symbols have an almost insurmountable amount of bad luck tied to them (using luck to mean a mixture of fortune and obligations), which you cannot insist folks not recognize. ***** One of the things the Professor and I keep coming back to over and over is the concept of Whiteness. It's been important for a lot of scholars to argue that there is no such thing as a positive concept of whiteness, because the concept is so loaded with racist, sexist, and classist assumptions. And I don't blame people for being tired and frustrated when talking about whiteness, because so much of it is about unacknowledged privilege. But the truth is that white people do conceive of themselves as white and that, right now, if the academy isn't actively defining whiteness, the white power movement sure as hell is. Get this straight, my scholarly friends, just because you aren't doing something, doesn't mean it isn't being done. Whiteness is right now being defined by the racist fucktards. Right now, there is an active and dynamic conversation being held about what it means to be white and, because we're all busy being unsure and uncertain about how to talk about it, the sure and certain voice of the racists is the one being heard. ***** I think that sureness and certainty are dangerous. Folks who are sure and certain never question what they're doing. They don't check their assumptions against the lessons of the past or their present circumstances. And that's what I want from my family--a large group of people, living and dead, with similar luck and obligations to me, against whose experiences I can check myself. It doesn't mean that I think they always made the right choices. In fact, it would be little use to me if they had. "Venerate,"then, is the wrong word. No one, living or dead, is better than me and I, in return, am not intrinsically more valuable than anyone else. I do the best I can with the privileges, luck, and obligations I have, and am mindful of my own worth. I try not to dishonor my ancestors by forgetting that they are also human, prone to good and evil the same as anyone else. I don't dishonor them by linking their value to their race(s) instead of their actions, as if the right things they did were due to a fluke of genetics and not tough choices. But I also don't venerate them. I adore the family members I adore, try to understand the ones I don't, and am casually mindful of the ones I don't know. I am, however, as certain of them as I can be in a family full of story tellers (I don't have any reason to believe that anyone has been made up out of whole cloth, but it wouldn't surprise me to learn it). And as much as I value uncertainty, it's nice to have something to count on.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Can Merchandising Be Far Behind?

After finding this lying around on the Butcher's friend's website, I realized that I'm coming ever closer to a moment when I'm wandering through a flea market in California and digging around the t-shirts that are three for ten dollars, and I find, among the Mickey Mouse and Big Johnson t-shirts, some Tiny Cat Pants clothing.

I can't decide if that disturbs me or thrills me.

Humane Society Stained by Santorum

PETA is insane, so whatever, but that the Humane Society is giving Rick Santorum such good press really galls me. PETA says:
"He's a man with a heart, and he doesn't think it's any more acceptable to treat animals cruelly than humans," said Mary Beth Sweetland, director of research and investigations for the Norfolk, Va.-based PETA.
The Humane Society says:
"We support elected officials who have a proven record of leadership on animal welfare issues and Rick Santorum fits that characteristic precisely," said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society and a Humane USA board member.
Rick Santorum says:
"In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That's not to pick on homosexuality. It's not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be. It is one thing. And when you destroy that you have a dramatic impact on the quality." --Rick Santorum, AP interview
Is that what qualifies as pro-animal? Protecting marriage from the dog fuckers? I guess his on-going cruelty to consenting homosexual adults and his continued assault on the privacy of all adults don't have to be taken into consideration defining humane behavior? Seriously, if Rick Santorum is the best friend animals have, animals are in big trouble.

The Least Surprising Post Ever

Today, the white dog I hate got hit by a truck. Kudos to the truck driver who slammed on his brakes as hard as he could and also didn't succumb to the temptation to swerve or he would have sent another truck careening into us. As much as I've fantasized about watching that little fucker die, I'm glad to report both that it didn't get hit that hard and thus ran off as its owner called "Rhonda" or "Bronson" after it and that I shouted, no, no, and screamed, so there's still some humanity in this heart after all. That dog... Is it surprising that it didn't listen to its owner as she called it away from us? No, it's the least well-trained dog on the planet, and I say that owning a dog whose only trick is 'sit.' Is it surprising that the owner watched that dog get hit and didn't even flinch or run over to it? No, considering how fucked up that dog is, I would have guessed it didn't really have someone to spoil it. I hate that dog, but I feel bad for it. And I'm pretty sure that I heard the owner smacking it when she finally caught up to it. To which I say "thanks, you heartless motherfucker, for teaching your dog to associate our appearance with it getting beat. I'm sure that will make our trips by your house even more pleasant."

Sunday, June 26, 2005

"That Kid is So Weird"

Since we moved every couple of years, on average, I never really thought that I belonged to any place we ever lived. The consistent house I loved was my Grandma A.'s house. That's where I felt most at home. It's funny because I dream about that house all the time and the dream basically has to do with me feeling threatened by something (last night it was a serial killer dancer) and running to the house and trying to lock all the doors only to find that the threatening thing is already in the house with me. Anyway, I loved to go to my grandma's house when I was little and a couple of times, I even stayed up there by myself for a week. Boy did I think I was the shit then. It was great to visit because so many of my cousins lived in that same town and growing up, I was very close to one particular cousin, who I can't think of a good nickname for. But when we were growing up, I thought she was so cool. We'd spend long afternoons playing Barbies. Usually we'd play Adam and Eve Barbie where all the Barbies would take their clothes off and hang out by the pool and she'd take a few of them and show me what she's learned about sex from watching soap operas. I always looked up to her and thought that she was the coolest person ever and that no matter how bumpkin-y I was, if I had her to guide me, I'd be all urban sophisticate in no time. So, one day, when we were both at my grandma's house, she was in with my grandpa and I was out wandering around the yard talking to the trees. I don't know why. I was a weird child. Still, my parents knew I was a weird child, just like they knew the recalcitrant brother could charm the dollars out of Scrooge's pocket, just like they knew that the Butcher ought not to be left alone with cake, and they never said anything about it. I was allowed to flourish in my weirdness. But after spending a nice afternoon talking to the trees, my cousin came out and said "Grandpa and I were on the porch. We saw you talking to yourself. And you know what Grandpa said? 'That kid is so weird.'" That really hurt my feelings. I mean, my grandpa was a grouch and he used to beat the shit out of my dad and so what the fuck did I care if he thought I was weird? But I did, of course. A little. What I cared more about was how my cousin said it, like his pronouncement had solidified some irrefutable truth. That hurt me to the core, the way she smirked when she said it. This is one thing way fucked up families play out. People scramble to ally themselves with the most dangerous person, playing this game where they believe that their alliance with that person gives them value and assures them safety, and that to keep that position, you have to pick on the people on the outs. This is one of the reasons my parents moved to Illinois: if they were going to be on the outs, they were going to be out far enough that they didn't have to be around for the scapegoating. When we were in college, I went to visit my cousin at her school. She got very drunk and hauled some guy home from the bar and did her thing with him so loudly that I couldn't sleep. Then, she got up in the morning and told me tearfully about how she was helping to have the Wesley Foundation chaplain removed because he was advocating for the Foundation to accept homosexuals and how she just could not believe someone she liked could embrace something so evil. This was the second time I knew that she was a stranger to me, that even though we'd grown up together, I wasn't around enough to not be blindsided by that. At my grandma's funeral, she and her husband were carrying around a cooler for most of the proceedings. At only one point did they leave it unguarded, later at my living uncle's home. My cousin A., who had been sitting next to me most of the day, ran over, opened it up, and turning her back to most everybody, looked over at me, and held up a huge, now mostly empty bottle of Wild Turkey. She put it back, came over, and said, "Well, I guess we now know it takes a lot of liquid courage to work up the ability to think you're that much better than everyone else."* Which caused me to start laughing, hard, and not just because I was relishing being on the inside, even if that inside were just A. and I, but also because of all the cousins, I thought A. and I had the least in common, and yet, there we were, thinking the exact same thing. Before my grandma died, I crocheted her an afghan in her favorite colors--dark lavender, light lavender, and off white. At the time, I knew she was frail, but I don't think I thought she was dying. I crocheted it for her and thought about all those nights I slept next to her when we went to visit and about how much I loved to watch her get dressed and make breakfast and talk about how glad she was to have things like microwaves. When my grandma died, she was lying under my afghan, which my aunt gave back to me. Before Grandma died, the cousin under discussion slept huddled next to her one more time while I was here in Nashville begging every night for her to have a painless death, for her to slip off in her sleep. And she did. What was my point? I don't know. I guess I was just thinking about the other Reverend's kid and how he said something about not having any idea what it was like to have cousins. And I've been thinking about all thirteen of us on our dad's side and how we don't really know each other all that well anymore. And yet, there are still ways I see us all repeating similar patterns, as if the world thrives on slight variation. But none of us are that close and, since my grandparents are dead, there's not a strong enough personality to keep bringing us all back together. So, after this, even though the patterns will go on, this piece of it will fad. No one from the next generation will get how we all felt so fiercely loyal to the people we loved, who were also the people that hurt the people we loved. I used to think that we all felt implicated and that feeling of being the cause of a problem that existed before you were born was what tied us together. But now I think all that tied us together was our adoration of our grandma. Other than that, we had nothing good in common. That's not to say that we don't all have our good things, but just that there's not a lot of common good between us. * The Wild Turkey is even funnier if one stops to make a guess about how many of us were actually not on any kind of drug the day of my grandma's funeral. I'm going to say me, the youngest cousin, and probably A., but I wouldn't bet on anyone else. One cousin's drug dealer showed up at the visitation, hoping to get the money he was owed.

The Butcher's Art

Here's an example of the Butcher's art. This is a great piece, I think. It reminds me of those pictures of galaxies. Our place is decorated in all kinds of pieces like this, in various states of done. Right now, he's working on one and video taping it as he's doing it. It'd be pretty cool if he could then speed it up so that you didn't have to watch it for hours and hours. Anyway, I talk so much about what he does, I thought you'd be curious to see it.

Quick Update

The dog and I went for a walk. There was only mild limping. Hurray!

Saturday, June 25, 2005

My Fantasy Tanya Tucker Album

At 11:30 this morning, when I finally decided to take a shower, I climbed into the tub and started singing "Delta Dawn," which, I believe, I was also singing at some point last night. When I was a little kid, I used to sing this song over and over and over again and sometimes my dad would play the guitar and other times he'd beg me to pick another song. All this got me thinking about my previous post and about how much I'd love to hear Tanya Tucker do a cover of "I'm Going to Hire a Wino (to Decorate Our Home)." And you know what? Tanya Tucker should do an album of covers called "Let Me Show You How It's Done." I'm trying to come up with ten songs I think she could just annihilate, just for fun. So far I've got four. 1. "I'm Going to Hire a Wino (to Decorate Our Home)." Every time I hear that song I think it could benefit from her delivery. It's too slick right now and it's sung by a man, which blunts the edge of the song. But she could record the definitive version of that song, no problem. 2. "Mississippi Girl." I'd love for her to take that song and fix it. I don't know how it can be fixed, but, if it can, she can do it. She's got the right sense of bravado and good humor to pull it off. 3. Any JoDee Messina song, just to remind the world that Messina's just a poor imitation of the master. Pick one of her big hits, Tanya, and put her in her place. 4. "Wrong Road Again." Crystal Gayle did this as a kind of straight forward smooth country song, but it would make an excellent bluegrass song if someone sped it up and put some twang to it. I'm going to mull this over a bit more and see if I can't think of some other songs that would benefit noticeably from her rendition.

Things That Don't Quite Work

1. The dog. Egad. She is still limping around and it's breaking my heart. So, I'm going to keep her off her leg as best I can today. It seems to be a lot better than yesterday, but obviously still tender. So, we'll take it easy. But you know what this means?! No walking the dog at the park on Saturday morning! America, what is this world coming to when a girl can't go to the park with her dog? I guess I could drive her around the park, but somehow I just don't think it'd be the same. 2. Tucker Carlson's new show. It's set up like Pardon the Interruption, which I love, and so I don't think the format is the problem. It's just that one of the reasons PTI works so well is that you know that those guys know shit-tons about sports and could and would fill a whole hour talking about whether Michael Jordon or Michael Andretti would make a better hockey team manager. The format then kind of serves to help them whittle down their sizeable knowledge and opinions into negotiable chunks. But Tucker Carlson, bless his heart, just don't have the depth of knowledge or the breadth of interests to pull this off in some kind of "smashing success" fashion. It's like he reads the headlines and the first paragraphs of the top news stories and then tries to speak from an informed position. And his lackeys never call him on it (which, please, if someone on PTI was not being sharp enough, he'd get nailed on it). So, like yesterday, the reports that psychiatrists at Guantanemo were helping interrogators figure out how best to get the prisoners to open up came out. And, as they were talking about on Dan Abrams (ah, Dan Abrams), if this is true, it's a big deal because doctors are not supposed to harm the people in their care--not physically and not psychologically--even if those people are evil. This is why doctors don't administer the death penalty (I don't know if that's true; that's just what they were saying on Dan Abrams). It violates their professional ethics. So, the topic came up on Tucker Carlson, and he said, "Well, I just don't see what the problem is. So what if doctors help us figure out how to break these guys?" To which I responded, "Jesus Christ, Carlson, don't you watch your own fucking network? In the face of Dan Abrams, who is on two hours before you, discussing the ethical quagmire, you can't think of any reason, any reason at all, why psychiatrists helping interrogators figure out how to fuck with the people they're supposed to be taking care of is not a problem? Are you a moron?" And the people who are supposed to be his antagonists just sat there like "What vague, meaningless, consensus can we reach?" Seriously, can't MSNBC insist that anyone who's going to talk about the news have some knowledge of the news? Especially when that knowledge could be gleaned from watching their own station? I think the format of the show is a really good idea and could work well, if the right people were doing it, but Carlson's got to do something more than just sit there looking like the kind of guy your grandma wishes you'd date. 3. President Bush. How I love you! Okay, how I love to watch you squirm. How I love to watch Republican congress-folks demanding something from you we all know you'd be stupid to give. How I love that finally you speak the truth to the American people and we fickle nitwits who voted you in based on our love for your stupidity turn on you when you finally say something smart. Of course we can't give a timeline for pulling out of Iraq. We can't say that we'll have the forces in Iraq reduced by half by, say, August 15th or the insurgents certainly will just hang back and wait until August 16th to launch some kind of major offensive. Bush, you've gotten us in this mess, knowing that, if we didn't see it through, it'd be worse for our safety than if we hadn't done it at all. And you lied to us about why we needed to be in there. And now, now that people know you lied about the weapons of mass destruction, now that they know you have no interest, really, in catching Bin Laden, now that they know the war is going to cost and cost and cost, the one time you're telling us the truth--that we can't set a 'leave-by' date--even your fellow Republicans unofficially start their reelection campaigns by demanding that you must. Ah, sucks to be you this week. 4. But not as much as it sucks to be Bill 'The Kitten Killer' Frist, who is trying to run for president on the "I'm a Strong and Sure Leader, with Close Ties to the Christian Right" platform, and who keeps having the 'strong and sure leader' part of the platform collapse beneath him. 5. Faith Hill's new song 'Mississippi Girl.' This song starts off bad, but is almost redeemed by the chorus. But the chorus really needs to go some place--it needs an extra 'oomph', maybe a great bridge that it seems to be missing--but instead, you feel like the song is building up to something and just when the music builds to a point where you think it's just going to break wide open into a song you can like, she just starts repeating the chorus and fading into "la, la, la"s. Women, I think you know what I mean. If this song were sex, you'd be going "Oh, oh, oh" and then you'd be kind of squeezing your legs around someone's back, and then you'd be holding your breath just a little and thinking of Aragon or Aretha Franklin (or maybe Jerry Orbach. I don't know why, but thinking of Lenny Briscoe is a sure fire lift for me. Laugh if you want. I don't care), and just when the fireworks ought to be going off, it kind of fizzles. And you can't put your finger on what went wrong, but it was like you just couldn't get over that hump. Whatever needed to happen just didn't. Well, that's this song. Almost everything you need for an enjoyable song is there, but the wild abandon. Hey, maybe that's what this song needs. It needs one of those old fashioned Tanya Tucker moments where the audience is all clapping along and the musicians stop playing and everyone is singing "If I die, I may not go to Heaven. I don't know if they let cowboys in. So, if I die, then let me go to Texas, because Texas is as close as I'll get." and then the band kicks back in. Yep, that's it. This song needs some moment where it's just Faith and her fans and some hand-clapping and some singing along. It needs that moment where Faith and her fans know this whole thing is all about the special relationship between her and them. And it doesn't have that, so it doesn't quite work.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Tante B. Tells You What Makes Her Happy Today!

  1. Someone hung a string of stars over my office door.
  2. The book I have been waiting on has finally arrived and, surprise, another book arrived as well. Yes, I sniffed them. No, I'm not ashamed of it. If you don't like that new book smell, you have no soul.
  3. I have invented a new book dance. I danced said dance.
  4. The Professor took me to lunch.
  5. No other good reasons. Just glad it's Friday and that the world needs nothing more from me today.

57 Lovers and Nothing On

So, as you all know, the Professor has like 57 lovers. Until very recently, it's been impossible to keep them all straight, but a few days ago, I realized that all her lovers have vaguely foreign sounding names: not Tom, but To-mas; not Jane, but Ja-ney; not Richard, but Ricardo, etc. And so this made me happy because now, if she starts talking about someone and I can't quite figure out if it's a fellow philosopher or a lover, I just wait to hear what his or her name is and if it's Fred, it must be a philosopher, but if it's Frederiche, it's a lover. It's very handy. But I've started to wonder, do they develop vaguely foreign sounding names in response to their time with her, or is she deliberately picking them out based on how much fun it is to say their names? So, for fun and as an experiment, I think we should all start introducing ourselves to the Professor with foreign variants of our names and see where it goes. I'll be introducing myself as Tante B. the next time I see her.

The Son of the Other Reverend

Rather by surprise, the oldest son of the other Reverend stopped by yesterday on his way down to Alabama. I hadn't seen him in years, but he still looked the same, but older. It was really good to see him and Mrs. Wigglebottom loved him and he loved her and so it was all dog wrestling and tug of war all evening and I think she pulled something because today she's walking with a limp. Ah well, I'm certain that after a hard day of sleeping, she'll feel better. It was really good to see him, but hard. Usually, when I talk about what it means to have grown up as a minister's kid, I can see that most people just don't get it--unless they're military brats, in which case, we have common ground--and so I talk about it in only superficial ways. But with another minister's kid, someone who I've known for 31 years, you just skip right to the ways you still feel fucked up. In part, I think, because it's such a relief to know that you are finally talking to someone who gets it. But wow. And, I think the hardest part was that his dad has really done him and his brother wrong in ways our dad--who, of course, isn't perfect--just never did. Our dad was there at dinner. Our dad didn't leave anyone in another town to finish up high school so that he could take a better church. Our dad would come and get us at school when we were sick and let us sleep on the couch in his office if he couldn't take the day off work. And I felt a little sorry to tell him that, because I think he'd just thought that all ministers' kids were being done wrong the way he and his brother were. So, it could always be worse. Sadly.

Open Letter to Young United Methodist Ministers

Dear Young United Methodist Ministers, Last night I was sitting around with my oldest friend on the planet--the person I have known since I was born, which was, incidentally, when he was four months old--and my brother and being there in a room full of United Methodist Ministers' kids, it occurred to me that you guys could use some advice. So listen up. Look at your family right now. See them? This will not survive your ministry. Maybe your spouse will leave you. Maybe you'll take up with the church treasurer. Maybe your kids will deal drugs or get pregnant or become Wiccans--whatever it is, they're going to be pissed. You might become addicted to booze or sex or drugs. Some things are going to happen that means that this brave little party embarking with you on your crusade is not going to pull through it. The good news is that it's okay. A lot of marriages fail. A lot of kids don't turn out like their parents hoped. Everyone clings too tightly to things that are bad for them in order to feel like they can make it through. You are no different, not more special than anyone else in the world. You cannot escape the shitty things in life. Your vocation does not protect you. You, however, can take some steps to protect your loved ones. Here's the most important thing you can do. Choose your family. Put your family first. If it's a choice between getting your hospital rounds done today instead of tomorrow and going to your wife's softball game, go to the game. If you really should write your sermon today and not tomorrow, but your kids need someone to go on the school field trip, put your sermon off. If one of your parishioners is going to the hospital, but your kid had a bad day at school, your parishioner and her family can wait until tomorrow to see you. Oh, I know what you're thinking. You have to be there for your church. You have to put them first. "You might be the only face of Jesus some folks ever see." Go ahead, say that again to yourself. I know how good it makes you feel: "You might be the only face of Jesus some folks ever see." Now, buster, listen up. If you, United Methodist Minister, believe that to be true about yourself, you are either egomaniacal and should quit the ministry now, before you set up some kind of cult and do some real damage to people OR you are a shitty, shitty minister. It is not your job to be the only face of Jesus some folks ever see. It is your job to help the people in your congregation be Jesus' face and arms and feet and heart in the world. If Parishioner Joe is thinking about hitting the bottle again and Parishioner Ed knows it but doesn't feel it's his job to help--because he thinks it's only the Pastor's job to help--then you are failing at your job. Do you get what I'm saying? If it's just you doing all the work, you are not doing your job. You're supposed to be training and motivating the folks you face every Sunday to help--to help each other, to help their communities, to do the hard things for each other they've been afraid to do until now. Choose your family first. When your parishioners call you about your kids--and they will, because, frankly, we ARE sneaking out during the service and sitting on the roof of the church smoking pot, or sneaking out to the lake to make out with the druggies, or fucking whoever we can just to spite you--it's a test. It's a way of seeing what's more important to you, your family or the church. Choose your family. That doesn't mean that you should let us off the hook. But it does mean that you should realize that everyone is checking to see where your loyalties lay and some folks are checking to see how far they can push you, how much control over everyone you care about you are willing to cede to your parishioners. If you choose your parishioners over your family at this crucial moment, if you show everyone that you will fix things how the complainers want just because they have the balls to suggest how you should run your life, your life will be a living hell from here on out. And so will your kids lives be. You may read back over that paragraph and be unsure who I'm recommending you give into--your parishioners or your kids. I'm recommending that you be a parent to your children. In order to be a good parent to your children, you don't let outside people dictate the how and why of your interactions with your kids or your spouse. The funny thing is that, if you don't follow my advice, if you always put your church first and do whatever it is you think is necessary to keep your district superintendent happy and your parishioners fulfilled, you're going to succeed. You're going to get bigger churches and have nicer houses. But dear United Methodist Minister, what does it profit a man that he should gain the whole world but lose his soul? Love, Aunt B.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

"Men are weak & need to be taken care of"

As you may have gathered, the Butcher fancies himself an artist. For a long while, he was making tiny wire people (he made me this awesome witch) but now he mostly does these abstract thingies out of melted crayon. I have a beautiful one in my office that looks like molten copper and has pennies stuck in it. The Professor has one that looks like fire that I see at her apartment all the time and think, wow, how cool is that? before I remember that it's one of the Butcher's pieces. The Butcher's friend, the red-headed kid once said, "I'm going to have to use self-promotion to promote myself" and, alas, friends, that's a lesson the Butcher has not learned. He should make up a bunch of pieces, get his artsy friends to put some pieces together, and have a show and let cool people show other cool people how cool they are by buying their art. Anyway, yesterday, as I was worrying outloud about whether the Butcher would find another job before he quit this one, another woman was complaining about some scheduling she had to do for her husband, and a woman overheard us and said "I'm really struck by how often women get together to complain about the men in their lives. But it's so true. We all know that men are weak and need to be taken care of." And I thought, "Holy shit. Do I think that? Is that what people think I'm saying when I talk about the Butcher?" Because, if I do and if that is what I'm saying, that's pretty fucking terrible. Think back to grade school and how we used to throw the word 'retarded' around and how there were always those kids you called 'retards' or just 'tards' until the teacher caught you and tried to shame you into stopping. But remember that feeling? The kind of glee you had at saying something hateful that embodied every anxiety about yourself--that you were stupid and powerless and could be and ought to be hurt--and putting it on someone in worse shape than yourself? Here is what really scares me for all of us. That's the tone of voice I hear when I hear some folks talking about the other gender. You don't have to be a great feminist theorist to think of the ways this plays out against women. But I'm alarmed to hear it so casually spoken about men as well, as if it's not a hateful thing to say, but just a known fact. Because, Christ, how are we ever supposed to fix things between us if we're all just sitting around thinking "My god, they're so fucking retarded."? But on the other hand, I have to say, it's kind of an effective coping mechanism for when you're faced with the bullshit. It's really easier to believe that men are just 'retarded' than it is to believe that someone really wishes you ill. Let's take Brittney as an example, because here's a woman in a visible position who can also contribute to the conversation (plus, I'm pretty sure that every blog eventually succumbs to all things meta- and now's as good a time for Tiny Cat Pants to as any). In her write-up of our interview, she said about me, "She is also very funny and one of those danged femi-nazis." Now, if there's any somewhat liberal woman in America who has not been accused of being or asked if she was a feminazi, it must just be because she hasn't left the house in 15 years. I'm not particularly militant and I've been asked a handful of times if I was one of those damned feminazis just because I said something like "I probably won't change my last name if I get married."--which is especially funny because right now someone is reading me saying "Probably? Of course you shouldn't." and/or "Married? Why would you ever?" Okay, while we're talking about what women think of men, here's another one. It's very frustrating when y'all show up to a conversation and immediately feel like you have to prove that you are the smartest, most knowledgeable person in the room. I know it's not all y'all, but some of you. So, for some of you: Why do you do that? Are you afraid that if any amount of time goes by where the world is not aware of your brilliance that it will somehow diminish? Anyway, some of us call that pulling out your dick. The worst situation is when a number of men who feel the need to prove how important they are and they all pull out their dicks and start comparing. In those situations, I often wish I had a big purple dildo in my purse that I could whip out and slap on the table and get heard. So, back to the point, Brittney writes this thing about me. She's often mentioned Tiny Cat Pants over at Nashville is Talking and no one bothers to comment. But something about this post--and I guess I should be proud--causes "John Galt" to have to come over, whip out his dick, and point out how stupid Brittney is for not knowing the correct meaning of feminazi. Heavens forefend! In all these years of people calling us feminazis, it never occurred to us to somehow figure out who the seven feminazis are and use that as our snappy retort. How stupid we are! We should have never been angry or scared when some red-faced man shouted that word at us, because we should have just intrinsically known that he didn't really mean us, or if he did, he was just too stupid for us to take seriously as an asshole. I mean, really. Anyway, my point is that it was really startling and strange yesterday to be involved in two conversations that were, at the gist, about how stupid some member(s) of the other gender were. Strange, startling, and sad.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Seeing Stars

When I first moved down here, Miss J.'s parents still lived just south of here and so I would go down there whenever I could, whenever Miss J and the Divine Ms. B were in town. They had a friend who had a pool out in the country and we would get drunk and [...]* and float around naked in the pool, gazing up at the stars. Ha, I bet their friend's husband was glad about that! Anyway, it was so beautiful, all those stars, and it made me happy to be floating around with my friends. Once when I went to visit Miss J up at school, way before she got married, we got drunk and decided to get tattoos: constellations that were important to us. For me, Orion and for her, Cassiopeia. Now, we weren't going to get the images folks imagine when looking at the stars; we were just going to get a series of properly aligned black dots. I know, it's brilliant! Alas, by the time we'd formulated our plan and made sure that both constellations were visible for the tattoo artist to view, we couldn't find an open tattoo parlor. So, we both remain, as far as I know, constellation-free. *This portion redacted to protect folks from the tax collecting arm of the Tennessee government.

My Day Improves

Brittney's written up our lunch and made me sound all grown-up and well thought-out. On a day filled with nagging self-doubts, a girl could do a lot worse than to read something like this about herself. Thanks, Brittney!

The Butcher Blues

Nothing makes blogging harder-with the exception of having your fingers broken--than being sure that you are, yet again, about to embark on another two or three months of being the only income in your household. The feeling in the pit of my stomach is like that moment when the roller coaster starts to move and you know in your head that it's going to come back to the station, but at that second, you don't quite believe it. Sometimes, not very often, I take to my bed. It's the one really indulgent self-pitying thing I do whenever the Butcher quits his job. I go upstairs and lay down and just succumb to every fear I have and then fall asleep and get up and go to work and figure, well, I'm not dead yet. The Butcher has not, as far as I know, quit his job, but the day is still young and he has it in his head that that's what he's going to do. I am sad, folks, that I don't have enough money to not care whether or not he has a job.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Hire the Butcher!

Also, I should mention that the Butcher is looking for another job. He's not left this one yet--thank god for small favors--but he's on his way out. I have lots of mixed feelings about the whole thing. He deserves a job he'd actually like, for instance, and I want him to be happy. On the other hand, he just must keep this job, even though he hates it, until he finds another one. There can be no other way. And yet... And yet the thing that most irritates me about the Butcher is that he doesn't plan long-term or even medium term. He does whatever it takes to avoid being uncomfortable and to immediately rectify any discomfort he's currently feeling. I don't know how one convinces another that a little discomfort in the short-term prevents a lot of discomfort later on. I don't think you can. God, I hope he doesn't quit this job.

Self Portrait

Okay, except that my arms are not that short, and have five, not three fingers on them, this is a pretty accurate drawing of me on a unruly hair day.

The Most Awesome Cat

So, the crazy Christian neighbors now have an orange cat, just like our orange cat, but a little thinner and with a white tip on his tail. This doesn't prevent some folks from chasing him around the neighborhood when drunk trying to convince him to come home--the differences are that subtle. This cat, though, is more awesome than any cat we own, because the crazy Christian cat is fearless. It'll come up to our dog. It'll stand down cars. And best of all, it follows that karate-chopping kid around like a dog. It's such an awesome cat that I'm rethinking my caution around the crazy Christian kid.

Straight Men and Gay Women, Come to My Aid!

Straight men and gay women, I don't believe I've ever asked anything of you. I've enlisted your gay male friends and straight women folk to reconsider supporting the Butcher, but you, straight men and gay women, I've not, before now, called on you for help. Today, I need that help. I must ask you, do you think I've gotten exponentially hotter in the past week? I think I'm fine looking. People aren't throwing up or pointing and laughing and though I might be somewhat plain, I'm funny and that makes up for a lot. But today, for the second time since Friday, I was oogled, ogled... see, it happens so infrequently to me that I don't even know how to spell it. The UPS guy looked me up and down and gave me a salacious grin. Well, straight men and gay women, salace away! Oogle me. Ogle me. Do like the tall lanky old man in Walgreens on Saturday and waltz me once around the floor. Go ahead and hug me and tickle me like the other guy on Saturday night. See me standing at a restaurant waiting for a friend and smile broadly at me until I look over. I don't know what the deal is, especially considering that I have a weird patch of dry skin on my eyelid, but I'll take it.

Want to Read Something Gross?

I'm not the kind of person who goes around making political comments on other websites. I have two reasons. One is that politics enrages me and when I start to talk about it, it's hard for me to remain rational. The other is that I have a hard time believing that, beyond voting, there's much that I can do to change things directly. I can try to appeal to the better judgment of the people in power, but the whole system seems to me to be set up to keep the rich and powerful rich and powerful and the rest of us not. So, they're going to do what they're going to do, for better or for worse, and we're going to have to live with it. Our ways of making change have to be much more subversive. So, the state of Tennessee has this problem. We have this program called TennCare which provides health insurance to a good portion of Tennesseans and when I mean a good portion, I mean like one in four or one in three. It provides better coverage than any federal government program. And, so, as you can imagine, it is the main expense in the state's budget and it keeps getting more and more costly to the citizens of Tennessee. Something must be done. But what? I don't know. What's happening right now is that they're kicking a quarter of a million people off of TennCare and some enrollees who will loose their coverage have occupied the governor's office. What will come of it? I don't know that either. Probably not what the protestors want. But here's the thing, if most of these folks don't have TennCare, they won't have any insurance. And some of them will die. This, to me, means that this ought to be a very solemn decision. Whatever we have to do, this is a grave situation. There's nothing to indicate that this isn't weighing heavily on the governor's mind, but, if you'd like to read some really gross stuff, I recommend you head over to Pith in the Wind. Here you'll find such nuggets as:
So yeah, from an intellectual standpoint those people "kicked off" TennCare will either (a) find alternate forms of coverage; (b) pay for it out of their own pockets; or (c) forgo treatment, and, like all of us, eventually die. Too bad. So sad. But that's life. The cliche that there are no free lunches simply has now come home to roost for this population.
To laud a group's convictions when their whole purpose is to take value created by someone else rather than actually add any value is quite telling indeed. I think in nature we call them parasites.
Why are all the leftist activists (and, boy, this is a left wing bunch) not at work? I'll bet they are graduate students, TA's, gov'mint workers, you know the crowd, all on someone elses' dime. Lot of 21st avenue slackers, I would guess
I disagree with the premise that wealth redistribution is the solution for poverty, crime, and public health. It simply rewards indolent behavior at the expense of the producers thus contributing to a smaller economic pie upon which we all depend. Sure there are differences in income...but there were differences in behavior as well; and even our lowest earners enjoy a standard of living in the top 10% in the world. Would I be crying the blues if I was still living in my two bedroom trailer with two in diapers and scraping by on $900 a month? Well, maybe so; but that's what night school, student loans and a work history of busting your ass. I agree with a basic safety net but a quarter of the population on a Cadillac insurance plan that even the highest earners can afford-- one that includes no inducements not to over-consume and drive the costs through the roof for all of us? Guys, come back down to earth--your ivory tower is just an echo chamber for your flawed premises.
So, to sum up, the general argument by the conservatives over there seems to be "Well, tough shit if you die. You brought it on yourself by being poor."* I honestly don't understand what conception of government these folks have. I think I have a series of obligations to folks. Some obligations are stronger than others. I have deep and grave obligations to my family, deep obligations to my friends, important, but not as important obligations to my acquaintances and colleagues, and lesser, but still vital, obligations to my community and country and world, etc. My efforts or lack thereof to meet those obligations affects the health of the whole group and meeting those obligations or not has far reaching implications. One doesn't have to be a psychologist to see that my great grandmother's failure to meet her obligation to raise her family in a loving, non-fearful, non-violent environment still echoes down even to both of my nephews who don't have a stable home. This doesn't mean that my brother is off the hook. He has even greater obligations to those children and his inability to meet those obligations has far reaching consequences. But that doesn't mean that leaving the initial failure unaddressed doesn't have continuing consequences as well. And there are consequences for y'all too. I mean, think of poor Lavender Howse. I don't know what obligations to him were not met, but the failure of his family and his community to meet them means that he now has done something so terrible that he can never make it right and indebted himself to the family of that man in ways they'd rather he hadn't. His fate and the fate of his family is now tied to the fate of that family. His life or death now means something to people who preferred they never even knew him. It's the continuing insult after the initial crime. We're not a nation of individuals whose actions have no affect on others. We're groups of people tied to each other through things as important as love and thing as slight as proximity. Your actions affect me and mine affect you. One thing I hope the government would do is provide a means for us to meet our obligations to each other in ways we can't do alone. Does this mean that we can continue to provide health insurance to people who desperately need it? I don't know. Personally, I wish we could. To me, having watched enough people I love desperately die, if another few pennies every time I bought a can of pop would help, I'm all for it. But maybe we can't. If that's so, that's not something to gloat about. We created an obligation to those people when we said that we'd provide them health insurance in the first place and now we're going back on that. We're going to fail to meet our obligations to them. That's going to have consequences and the gloating going on about it, as if they've won the lottery of life and know it, and fuck everyone else not lucky enough, really sickens me. *The only reason I can figure that these types of conservatives are anti-abortion is that they resent that they're denied the chance to actually watch the "kids" die.

Monday, June 20, 2005

The Importance of Having a Good Name

I don't mean to downplay the seriousness of the crimes committed by Mr. Howse; he's been in and out of trouble with the law for a lot of his teenage life. But sometimes you can understand what might make a kid that deeply troubled. Imagine if your name were Lavender. It just doesn't even matter if they pronounce it Lah-vin-der, you're still the kid named "Light Purple." That's gonna fuck with a kid. A name like Lavender is basically assurance that you're going to be violently mal-adjusted.

Small Reviews

"I Ain't No Quitter" by Shania Twain. Obviously, her giant "fuck you" to all the critics who still claim she's not country, with the fiddles. And a subtle "fuck you" to everyone in town her called her a glorified pole dancer, with the boob squeeze. And it's a catchy song. I give it five stars. Mike Jones, rap artist. He gives out his cell phone number so that his fans can get a hold of him. His song, "Back Then" cracks me up. And I saw an interview with him on MTV where he made no sense when he was answering their questions, but then would answer his phone and be perfectly easy to understand, so points for playing them. I give him five stars, as well. The weird dry patches on my right elbow and right eye lid. What the fuck? Are you trying to rebel? Go ahead and secede. I have the heart, a lung, an ovary, a kidney, and I'm left handed. What do you have? Most of the liver? So what? What are you going to do with a liver without a heart to get blood to it? 1/2 star. The Professor's Apartment Building. It used to be this dirty mustard color but now they've painted it gray. I don't really like it, but maybe they'll paint some big colorful shapes on it. 1 star.

Important Question

In order to make it through my first day of work, I was forced to eat Fritos and a Snickers at lunch. Wouldn't it be healthier for me to just start taking a two-martini lunch? I mean, if we have to pretend like the 50s were so great, can't we bring back the actual, useful social habits?

The Super Genius Uncovers A Great Truth

The Super Genius just sent me an email in which she announces that she has discovered that God and Santa Claus are roommates. Are they perhaps "roommates" in the old fashioned sense of the word? Will Opus Dei or the Shriners be the first to find the Super Genius and erase all traces of her from history now that she dares speak the of love that dare not speak its name between these two white-beared old men?

Blue Monday

I'm going back to work. I used to think that, if I won the lottery, I'd still work, just for something to do. Bullshit. I might not immediately move, because lord do I hate moving, but I'd give notice and just sit around all day. But, I did not win the lottery, so my vacation is at an end and the world is picking itself up, dusting itself off, and continuing about its business as normal. Dan Abrams is my TV boyfriend once again. I've put my bra back on. And soon I'll return to grouching about the shitty dog owners in my neighborhood. Ah, well, it was fun while it lasted.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Is It Just Me?

Everyone in the house is asleep but me, which means, if you could tune out the noise of the TV, you'd hear the soft snores of man and beast. There's something very happy in having a pile of sleeping beings on the couch. Still, the dog is lucky there are other folks trying to sleep, or I'd be standing right next to her yelling, "Hey, hey! What's that noise? Is that the sun? Shouldn't you get up right now?" because not everyone in the world likes to be woken up at 6:30 on a Sunday morning and damn it, I want revenge. We went to the first showing of the new Batman movie, which is just as good as you've already heard, so I'll spare you yet another amateur review. Still, there's something going on with the women in these superhero movies that I just don't like and I don't quite know how to talk about it because there's not just one thing that I point to and use it to show you what the problem is. It's just that I came out of this movie with the same thought nagging me that I had when I walked out of the Spidermans: I hate... that might be too strong a word... I strongly dislike the lead female characters. When we were talking about the Batman movie, I asked the Butcher, is it just me or is Katie Holmes's character kind of a bitch? And he said it was just me, that I was being distracted by her real-world craziness. But no, I don't think so. Okay, in part, what bugs me is that the women in these movies are so sure that they know the whole truth about the main character that they feel free to criticize actions they don't fully understand. In other words, they think they're providing the voice of reason, the moral check-point the main character really needs, when we know that they don't have enough information, especially the crucial information, to make those judgments. And then, when it becomes obvious to them that the main character can't be the person the female character constructed in her head and has been goading the male character to be, she withdraws. It's not just that she pulls away because he's not the person she thought he was; she pulls away because he can't be the person she thought he was without endangering the rest of the city. In other words, she seems to kind of punish him for choosing the city over her, even though there's no indication that that's the choice he has to make. And it bothers me that she's made to seem inadvertently bitchy and non-understanding. And you know me, it's not like I think that women have some obligation to be overly understanding, but my god, you'd think these superhero movie women would consider for a second that they don't know everything there is to know. So, I'm bothered that they're characterized as bossy and slightly sanctimonious and that, of course, their sanctimony is utterly misguided. I mean, why is it always "of course." Why are the women always misguided? Is this a kind of object lesson in not worrying our pretty little heads because we don't know as much as the big strong man? Hmm. I don't know if that's quite it. But there's something going on that I'm sure in twenty or thirty years we'll look at all these superhero movies and feminist theorists will be able to say really smart things about what's going on with the portrayal of women, but for now, I don't even quite know how to articulate what bothers me, just that there's something hinkey.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

The End of My Vacation

So, my vacation is winding down and it's with mixed emotions that I face going back to work on Monday. On the one hand, I'm finally kind of bored, but on the other hand, I was really hoping for quite a few days of mind-numbing boredom so that I'd be very glad to get back to work. Ah well. I didn't find any ghosts at Fisk or even anybody to let me into the art gallery, but I did find John Work's house and when I get the photos developed, I will post them here (though I may have to ask Peg for help on how to put more than one photo in a post). Today the Southern Baptists came by to ask me some questions about church. They seemed very nice and I answered them as best I could in their paradigm, because who has time to fight with total strangers who mean well at your own house? I don't need that kind of negative energy. Anyway, this morning the dog and I went to the park and meandered around. It's funny. On Thursday, when I was supposed to meet the Professor for lunch, we flew around that loop in 40 minutes--two shits, a trail of pee, up and down the big hill--record time for us (and still I was a little late for lunch). Today I had no plans and I don't own anybody anything until much later this evening and so we just strolled around the park, sniffing and staring at things, and thinking our own thoughts. I know you all know this, but god, I love that park. Green in the summer, brown in the winter, the trees twisting slowly sky-wards, like they're spelling out some great truth in an alphabet you feel intrinsically like you should know, but have forgotten, how to read. As we were walking, I was thinking about my grandpa Bob and my great-grandpa Harry. I was just thinking that this, being out in the park with nothing to do but see what there was to see, seemed like the kind of thing I might have liked to do with them, if I knew them now. I'm so jealous of people who know there are ghosts, who are visited by their ancestors. I hope and I go places that are said to be haunted and I listen and I feel and I remain uncertain, unconvinced, and lonesome about it. The past is a deep well, full of important things, hidden and revealed, and the present is just that surface of the water. Everything we are is constructed from the flotsam and jetsam of the the past. I guess that's what makes me sad about cosmetic surgery. I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm as fucked up about my body as anyone, and have fantasies of somehow waking up thin and pretty and hairless--like some Aphrodite emerging from the foam of the real woman I am--and able to navigate with grace and without fear through our world. But this body looks like the bodies my grandmas had and this hair looks like my mom's and the Butcher's, and these eyes look like my grandpas' and my uncles' and these freckles on my face are like my grandma's freckles and the freckles on my arms look like my dad's. I look like my family. I look like a midwesterner, too, the generic germanic branch of that particular strain of people. And the thing that freaks me out about cosmetic surgery is that it can (not that it always does) make you not look like yourself any more, not resemble your family, but instead resemble everyone else who's had noticeable cosmetic surgery. This is not some anti-cosmetic surgery screed. Lots of people have nose-jobs or tummy tucks or breast implants and that's their business. I don't give a shit. I'm talking about that next step, beyond that, in which the surgeon seems to erase any distinction from you and molds you into someone who looks like someone who's had a lot of cosmetic surgery. That's what I don't understand. You want to make some minor changes--more power to you. You want to cut away everything that makes you unique and replace it with parts that closely resemble others who've had a lot of cosmetic surgery? That's weird to me. Your body tells a story about who you are and where you come from. Why would you try to give the impression that you're tied to these other folks you don't even know? ******** Obviously, one might choose to have cosmetic surgery to no longer resemble people he no longer wants to be tied to. I have a much easier time understanding this than I do the striving towards the generic look of the overly-operated on.

Friday, June 17, 2005


Talking to Brittney has inspired me to make some changes. First of all, I want to point out two new blogs I added to the right: Not on Wednesday, which is written by a guy I keep meeting a parties, but don't really know. He looks just like a regular guy, except that he has these amazing eyes. Or maybe he's got amazing powers of hypnosis. Hmm. Either way, I get a kick out of reading it because I only kind of know him. I feel like I'm totally peeping in on his life. Rex L. Camino's Blog of Doom. This blog is so funny that Rex is now my new TV boyfriend. Yes, it's so good that I've demoted Dan Abrams, promoted Rex, and am now working on getting him Tucker Carlson's spot on MSNBC, because a TV boyfriend needs to actually be on TV and we all know that, soon enough, MSNBC is going to be looking to fill Tucker's spot. If you've got a blog and I've overlooked it, drop me an email and I'll get that fixed. I'm not doing it intentionally, I'm just sloppy. Another change I made, in direct response to one of Brittney's comments, is to add a cast of characters on the side. These are the folks I keep talking about and I thought it might be nice for you to have a handy guide. If there's anyone I've left off, again, let me know. Also, let me know if you find it more stupid than useful. Okay, I think that's everything.

Lunch with Brittney

Lunch was awesome. I was very nervous, but did not fidgit with my bra at all, which is my stupidest nervous habit. Brittney is awesome, funny, thoughtful, smart, and she had great questions. I asked her my questions--well, except for whether I was her (I'm clearly not, since the waiter brought two plates of food and didn't see anything strange in that), and whether she was Jon Jackson, because I'm fairly sure she's not. It turns out that the Nashville bloggers have gotten together a couple of times. She didn't say whether Mr. Roboto was hot, but I'm going to take her silence on the matter as a "very." As for my question about who would win in a fight, Pith in the Wind or Brad About You and his army of publicists, Brittney totally thought that Bruce Barry and Roger Abramson would make an unstoppable tag team. I mentioned the possibility that Abramson would turn on Barry--as often happens in well-established tag teams--but she thought not. So, yes, I was totally stupid for being worried. And I'm glad I did it.

Ready for Lunch

Okay, I have on a skirt and eyeliner and even shaved my legs. My hair is not as cute as it's capable of, but at least it hasn't chosen today to go all Phil Spector on me. I am as ready as I'm ever going to be to meet Brittney. I have been practicing being witty, which resulted in the Butcher asking if I didn't just want him to go and pretend to be me instead. No matter how bad things go, I have one thing going for me: I've never been to rehab, which means, I can rush crying over to Cafe CoCo afterwards and at least one person will be unnaturally attracted to me. Okay, I'm going to pee one more time, then I'm getting out of here.

Pit Bull Bans

So, Denver has renewed its pit bull ban. Georgia and New Mexico want to ban the breed statewide. I'm not going to rehash all the obvious problems, but I will say two things. 1. Again, a pit bull is both a specific breed and a job title. Banning the specific breed does not guarantee that all dogs with that job title will be eliminated. 2. Assholes use dogs for entertainment and to guard their meth labs and to represent and embody their masculinity. There's nothing to stop them from deciding, if pit bulls are outlawed, that they won't just switch to German Shepherds or Rottwilers or packs of angry coon hounds. (You think fighting off a pit bull or two is impossible? Imagine trying to fight off a pack of dogs trained to attack. For all their drawbacks, pit bulls don't work well with other dogs. But dogs who will work together to take down their prey? With us as the prey? Perhaps we should outlaw large hounds as well, just to be safe.) Still, I don't mean to belittle people's real concerns about pit bulls, but Christ Jesus, the problem is only partially the dogs. It's also owners who deliberately mistreat their dogs or ask their dogs to do terrible things or who just don't bother to take the time to socialize dogs they don't really understand. Banning the dogs doesn't do anything to solve the behavior of the owners.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Blog Aesthetics

When Miss J. was down here and took me to lunch for my birthday, we were talking about how cool it might be to teach a class on blogs, being as she is on her way to being the world's most awesome English professor. (It just occurred to me, when she gets her PhD, I will be able to call her Dr. J. How awesome is that?!) Of course, I think it would be--both to call my dear friend Dr. J. and to have a class on blog aesthetics. I'd love to publish a book of blog theory. Sadly, I'm sure Johns Hopkins or MIT or Minnesota will be the first to do so. Still, I can't wait and I hope some of you academics are already on this. Meanwhile, I'd like to talk about the aesthetics of one of my favorite blogs. Unfortunately, I promised the author I wouldn't. Fortunately, he's not around at the moment to hunt me down and kick my ass. But still, in an effort to maintain the frith between us, I'm not going to name names or cite particularities from his blog. Instead, I want to talk about the work humor does and the kinds of work I think the unnamed blog does. Here at Tiny Cat Pants, one of the important, revolutionary things I'm doing is not at all for any of you; it is just for me. Growing up as I did, a lot of emphasis was put on not putting yourself out there, not writing things down for fear that they would come back and bite you in the butt, and not being too unpleasant or loud or obnoxious or bossy. Some of this had to do with the peculiarities of our situation and some of this just had to do with "proper" behavior for women. There's a way that, in order to be a good woman, you feel like you have to always put your best face forward, that you have to smooth things over and nurture everyone and not upset anyone. I've got that deeply ingrained in me. I'm really, often, afraid that being open and honest about my pride and joy and successes and my fears and failures and insecurities will cause you all to not like me. I don't mean specifically you particular people. I mean, the whole world. One really interesting and empowering thing that happens for me as a writer is that I'll write something, say about my family, and I'll think "No, I can't say that. That's not proper. That's not something I can talk about in public. Shit, this will be the thing that finally shows people what a needy, terrible freak I am and this, this will be the thing that causes them not to like me." But it doesn't. What I learn, continually, is that being open and thoughtful and honest, even if it means being vulnerable and uncertain and afraid and letting others see that vulnerability, uncertainty, and fear, is good, at least, good for me. That there is nothing about my honest attempts at engaging with the world that would cause other good people to shun me. Still, in order to really get what's going on at Tiny Cat Pants, you probably should be aware that part of what I'm doing is searching for that line. How far in can I let you and still feel comfortable and okay and safe, even if writing it and putting it out there is terrifying? How close can I let you get and have you still recognize our shared experience as humans? The thing that I think is really genius about the other blog is that I think that author is trying to find the far boundary. How far can I push you away and have you still recognize our shared experiences as humans? What can I say to both put you off and knock you off-guard? What can I say that is so outrageous that you're alarmed by both what I say and the shock of recognizing that you've almost said it (or have said it) as well? So, then, the question for the hypothetical blog theorists is "To what end?" What purpose does that kind of blogging serve? Take for instance, our recent discussion about Egalia's mess. The comments go on for a while very seriously and then someone says, "Oh just shut-up, and take your top off." I laughed so hard the first time I read this, but I've been thinking about it, and it's hard for me to articulate why it works. Why is it so funny to me? It's two-fold. One is that extreme risk the commenter takes in even making the comment. He knows he's saying the very thing almost everyone reading those comments least wants to or expects to read (but is afraid will come up). He's also got to know that a great many people aren't going to know that he's trying to be funny or they're going to get that he's trying to be funny, but not find it funny at all. The risk he takes thrills me as a reader. Then there's the unknown element. Is he parodying the very attitudes we've been complaining about? Is he mocking the men who would make them seriously? Or is he mocking us? Or is he trying to diffuse the tension? Or what? Well, okay, maybe it's three-fold. It's also funny because, of all the things I listed about ways discussions about feminism go, I accidentally left out "being reduced to and dismissed because of one's sex organs," even though the whole post centered around the controversy over the term "breasted Clinton." The commenter shows that he's clearly aware of that strategy of dismissiveness, but instead of just saying "you forgot the 'show us your tits' contingent," he enacts it. I find that incredibly brave and hilarious, because, wow, could that go wrong. Anyway, one of the most interesting things that goes on over on the blog that shall not be named is the complex set-up of some of the posts. It's supposed to be funny (I think, maybe he's just really an asshole) and so there's the opening shocking thing, the buildup and the pithy resolution. But always, I find that the thing that sticks with me, the real nugget of true or funny or outrageous is elsewhere in the post. It's just a moment where something really genuine transcends the jerky, off-putting persona. Hmm. Let's get at this from another angle. (Cindy, if you mind, let me know.) Take Cindy St. Onge and her post on vaginal teeth. The whole thing is shocking and thought-provoking and outrageous and very, very funny. But just when you least expect it, she cuts right through all that and smacks you right in the heart: "May every wild thing of this earth bare fierce teeth." You can see what I mean when you read it, that you're going along all funny and political and then she really gets you. It's like you start from the position of considering something along side her, your position as reader is equal to hers as writer; she's just telling you something interesting that you're both going to be outraged but laughing about, and then she turns right towards you, dear reader, and points a lupine finger right in your chest and says "My freedom needs to be protected, violently, if necessary." She is the wolf in grandma's clothing*, ready to eat old women and mothers who send their precious young girls into the woods alone and the snotty girl in the red cape and the woodsman out destroying her habitat if she has to. And, wow, it's an incredible moment, precisely because it's so sharp. The unnamed blogger goes about this from the other direction. As a reader, you stand in direct opposition to him. He's the man in wolf's skin (which is important to get, that his whole persona is about pretending to be everything we fear ordinary white men are) spouting off at the mouth. So, when that moment comes, where you see the man in the wolf's suit, it's pretty shocking--you as reader come colliding into him. You don't just stand next to him in those moments, you're practically perched on his shoulder. Do you like the view? What does that mean if you do? *This is a metaphor. It implies nothing about Cindy's age or style of dressing. It has to do with her manipulation of archetypes, or is intended to, at least.

Question for the Dog Owners

Mrs. Wigglebottom is, right now, barking in her sleep. She's sound asleep, not opening her mouth, but she's over there "mffmffmff," silence, "mffmffmff." Have you ever heard of such a thing? I would love to know what she's dreaming of when she's barking in her sleep. Also, she's cut her paw. It's not very deep, but she was being all funky about it at the park, until I looked at it, and then she seemed to be just fine. Is it possible she just wanted some sympathy? Hmm. I really need a pet psychic to start reading Tiny Cat Pants. Start networking, people! Oh, she's awake now and looking over at me and licking her lips. I hope the barking dream isn't about eating me.

The Fucker With the SS Tattoo on His Neck

So, I was on my way out to Cumberland Furnace yesterday with a Unitarian. I don't want to make broad generalizations, but I will say that it has been my experience that, if you want to have really thought-provoking conversations, stick yourself in the car with a UU. And, I was trying to figure out what would make someone get a tattoo of the SS insignia on his neck. Is he so sure of his bad-ass-ness that he assumes this will never lead him to trouble? I mean, you'd think that one lone guy with an SS tattoo on his neck would also be covered in fresh and faded bruises. But this guy seemed in relatively good health. And then something very troubling occurred to me. Maybe kids today can have SS tattoos on their necks because other kids don't know what it means. See, I was thinking about when I moved to the town where I first met the Man from GM. Before that I lived in a town with a school system subsidized by the nuclear power industry. It wasn't the greatest school system in the world--the Professor often tells me stories of this strange thing called an "orchestra" in which young folks can play instruments like the "viola" and "French horn" and though I try to say that we had that, too, and called it a band, I'm still not sure we're talking about the same thing--and we didn't have AP courses or anything, but by my sophomore year, I'd had half a year of French and a semester of Spanish and driver's ed and lots of math and English classes. When I moved to the Man from GM's hometown, even though I utterly suck at math, I tested out of almost every math class they could offer me. I got an A+ in geometry, folks, and I can't even correctly use a compass. When our English teacher was out sick, she left me in charge of the class. Our Physics class was so bad that we had an elaborate system of cheating. The Man from GM was taking Physics up at a junior college and he'd come back and show us his answers and we'd all struggle to get to them. Which brings me to my first point. That school system was so bad that the Man from GM had to take classes up at the junior college throughout high school in order to get the education he and his parents thought they needed. Think about that. There are no private schools in that town (of course). There's nowhere else to send your kids. So, what if they aren't smart enough to be taking junior college courses their sophomore year? What if they are, but you don't have the money or extra car or the flexible work schedule to drive 40 minutes one way to take them to an additional school? Our history class my junior year was American history. Most of it was spent watching Ken Burns's civil war documentary. I don't remember taking any history classes my senior year. For me, academically, those two years were an utter waste. Everything I learned, I learned from reading on my own or from the Man from GM (which, indirectly, makes it his fault that I can't balance my checkbook. Thanks for nothing, Man from GM.). The Professor once told me that she thought that almost everyone she graduated with went to college. Out of the 47 of us, seven of us went. Of those seven, only one moved back. Ha, see, here's a truth about ruralness and poverty. Your best chance of escaping is a 4-year college education, so everything is set up to keep you from getting that. The public schools are shitty and you have no other options, so you're, for the most part, completely unprepared for college life. Because so much depends on you not leaving. The towns and farms and factories need smart people to run them, but having an education rapidly reduces the chances that you'll come back to do so. Far better to keep you smart but under educated, so that they can keep you there. I'm saying that I get that it's not just about black sharecroppers and Mexican migrant workers. It really is about a whole system that depends on poor, desperate people. And one of the most ingenious ways to keep people poor and desperate is to cut the children of those people, regardless of color, off from good, meaningful educations. I don't begrudge parents of inner-city schools wanting vouchers. I understand the Democrat's position that we need to fix urban schools, not yank kids out of them. But god damn, schools need to work now and to ask another generation of poor people to wait around for schools to get better makes no sense. It's like someone comes to you with his arm sliced wide open and he says "I cut myself on that broken glass, please help me." and we're saying "Oh, well, I'll see if I can find someone to sweep that up." My mom, as you may have discerned, is a teacher. She spent most of her career teaching science and French to rural children. Once the meth problem got so bad that she feared for her safety in the classroom, she went back to school and got certified to teach reading to elementary school children. Right now, she and another woman run this remedial reading program. Almost half of her students aren't actually "slow learners;" they just come from Spanish-speaking homes and are attempting to learn another language and learn to read all at the same time. The other half is just behind where they should be, for a variety of reasons. When I was home, I asked her about "No Child Left Behind." It took her a long time to formulate her answer and what she told me obviously disturbed her and me as well. Here is the gist of what she said: On the one hand, she doesn't like it. She feels like it does encourage just teaching to the test and that she's not sure that gives teachers the flexibility they need with kids. She also doesn't like that it means that the kids are taking tests so often, because it really fucks with the school calendar. Plus it's unfunded. Plus all the reasons you've already heard about why it sucks. But (ha, you knew that was coming), in the second grade at her school, there are two teachers who refuse to teach to the test and two who've set up their whole curriculum around getting their kids ready for those tests. And here's what gives my mom great pause about No Child Left Behind--the kids in the classrooms focused only on the test are doing better. They're reading better and behaving better. She says that she doesn't think it's because No Child Left Behind is some cure-all for the ills of public schools, but because it can force teachers to actually aim for something. And maybe this isn't a problem at schools full of good teachers, but a lot of us kids out in the countryside aren't going to schools full of good teachers. Wow, this went a long way from the fucker with the SS tattoo on his neck. Anyway, I'm torn between feeling sorry for his stupid, ignorant ass and hoping that someone sticks a fork right in that tattoo. I think I feel both things.

I Stayed in Mississippi a Day too Long

There were two things I saw in Mississippi that made me go "What the fuck, America?" Those were not the incredibly awesome farm machinery driver who so gracefully maneuvered his rig off the road so that we could get by nor the young fucker with the SS tattoo on his neck, though both of those things were things I never considered were possible. No, here's what I saw: 1. An old man sitting on the porch of his one room tar paper shack on the Stovall farm land. He had his overalls on and a cane. His was not the only one room shack we saw, and in all fairness, we saw some two or three room shacks, as well, but he was the only person we saw who looked like he'd probably been there his whole life and worked side by side with McKinley Morganfield. 2. Half sheets of paper stacked on the counter of the Stovall plantation store with directions, in Spanish, for how the farm workers could make themselves understood and how they should behave at lunch time with the store workers, who did not speak or understand Spanish. America, here's the deal. If someone has a full-time job, if they are spending 40 hours or more a week doing anything, I don't care what--tending rice paddies, sweeping Walmart store rooms, collecting garbage, cleaning houses--it is FUCKED UP if they only have one room to live in. We are supposed to be a land of prosperity and opportunity. No one who lives in a tourist destination, especially--people coming for the blues and the casinos--should be living in a one-room tar paper shack. And it is fucked up that we've just made room in those tiny shacks for desperate Mexican laborers. It's not even "meet the new boss, same as the old boss," it's "meet the new farm hands, same as the old farm hands." It really blew my mind when Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton got so mad at Mexico's president for saying that Mexicans do work in the U.S. that even Blacks won't do. Instead of accusing him of racism and accepting his apologies, as if that was the be-all and end-all of the problem, you'd have thought that one of them would have said, "See, you fuckers, this is what we've been saying. It's so obvious that the U.S. considers African Americans to still be the poor laboring class, that doesn't have to be paid what he or she is worth, that even the president of Mexico can see it." I mean, unless there's more to the story than we saw on the news, I really can't understand why Jackson and Sharpton were so pissed at Fox. He didn't seem to be saying that he thought it was right or natural or fine with him that so many black people have to take shit jobs and live in shit housing. He was just pointing out the truth obvious to anyone who opens her eyes. We're still a nation dependent on desperate poor people with few options and fewer legal protections--to clean our houses and work our farms and run our factories--and those desperate, unprotected people used to be primarily African American, but increasingly, those people are also Mexican. Could President Fox have said it with a little more finesse? Sure. But it's really fucked up that we're letting ourselves be distracted from the real importance of what he's saying--that we depend on certain groups of people we don't have to pay shit or give a shit about in order for our country to function--by the clumsy way in which he said it. Well, it's fucked up, but it's not surprising. It's hard to even see, let alone admit, how our country is so dependent on people who will work for nothing or next to nothing, who lack basic legal protections (either because of how the law was/is written or because of how the law is carried out), and who carry the weight of the blame for all of society's ills. We like to think that we're beyond that.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

In Which I Admit a Deep, Dark Secret

So, I'm supposed to have lunch with Brittney from Nashville is Talking on Friday and I'm nervous as hell. I've never met someone who only knows me through Tiny Cat Pants. The Shill does my stunts--she ran my half-marathon and she met Peg. The Shill is funny and charming and hot; she is welcome to continue to be my public presence. I am awkward and unbalanced and probably have a booger hanging out my nose, right now, that I haven't noticed. All I have going for me is that my hair smells very good. Yes, it's ridiculous to be nervous. I have lunch with people for a living. None of them have ever run screaming from the table. But also, none of them had an image of me that they developed from reading me. I just don't want Brittney to meet me and have lunch and go back to the office and say, "Channel 2, Aunt B. is so not as cool as I thought she was. In fact, I'm pretty sure children run screaming from her. Plus, I think she had some Milky Way stuck to her ass." In order to feel less nervous about the meeting, I've been working on a series of questions to ask her. Here's what I've got so far. 1. I get the impression that most Nashville bloggers know each other. Is this accurate? Are you having get-togethers and not inviting me? Is that because you like to sit around and make fun of me? Are these meetings at Mr. Roboto's place? Is he hot? 2. You give me a lot of good press. Someone (cough, cough...Jon Jackson) has suggested that this may be because you are me. For the record, are you me? 3. I noticed that, until recently, you never mentioned Jackson's blog, Crap & Drivel. Is this an effort to keep people from reading "his" blog and discovering the truth? In other words, are you, Brittney, also Jon Jackson? 4. In an actual physical fight between Pith in the Wind and Brad About You, who do you think would win? I know Pith in the Wind has a lot of contributors, but I think Brad could call on a shit-load of publicists in town to help him, so it'd be pretty even, numbers-wise. So, that's what I've got so far. I'm open to more suggestions, though, and I'll let you know what I find out.

The Butcher Makes Me Smell Pretty

Straight women and gay men, I cannot believe you have not yet snapped up the Butcher. Okay, so he has some attributes that might have, initially, made you cross him off the list of possibilities: he's not gay, he has little ambition, he sometimes farts and then gets a weird look on his face and says, "I hope I didn't just shit myself" but he doesn't bother to go check, he has, allegedly, in the past, when we lived in another state, participated in activities that can be heavily taxed in this state as another tool for an oppressive government to butt into our business (What next, Tennessee? Will you raid the Nashville zoo and sic the revenue service on the tripping leopards?), and he'll eat all the Oreos you have in the house--1 pound, 20 pounds, it makes no difference. But, folks, right now I smell so good that, if I hadn't made afternoon plans, I'd just sit here in front of the computer sniffing my hair. I don't know what it is, but that boy has this uncanny ability to buy the best smelling bath products, not too stinky, but not too ordinary. So, if you're out to Cumberland Furnace and an ordinary woman passes by and her delectable-smelling hair makes you want to grab her and give her smooches, that's me.