Monday, October 31, 2005
Demonization and Domestication
Conservatives, Make Ready Your Fainting Couches
I Reject Constructive Criticism
Sunday, October 30, 2005
A New and Better Afghan
Dinner with the Socialists
Saturday, October 29, 2005
Red Lobster Concluded
Friday, October 28, 2005
The Big Nashville Blogger Meet-Up
One of Bush's aids is briefing him on the events of the last twenty-four hours and he's going down the list of casualties and he said, "...and, Sir, four Brazilian soldiers were also killed." And, startlingly, the President starts to cry. The aid is kind of taken aback, but goes over to comfort him. The President looks up at him woefully and asks "My god, how many is a brazilian?"
Which, I guess, is funny. Unless you're the girl trying to come up with two dollars in change to pay her bar tab who finally has to be like, "Well, fuck, that looks like a dollar, but I'd better have Sarcastro count it." Already, I owe Sarcastro approximately eleventy-seven dollars, or whatever that equals in U.S. money. And, at this rate, by tomorrow, I'll owe him eleventy-eight. I don't find jokes about unfamiliarity with numbers funny, because they hit too close to home.
Anyway, there was another big blogger meetup last night and I went and had an awesome time. Paul Chenoweth is very cool to talk to and I got to hear all about his plans for taking over the world, one computer literate teacher at a time.
That Monroe dude from The Monroe Doctrine had the funniest line of the night when, upon realizing who I was, blurted out, basically "My god, you don't seem like misguided psycho bitch,"* and then got all embarrassed and apologized profusely.
Blake and I talked a little bit about having a blogger meet-up involving guns. Blake seems to think this would be a good idea, even though I will be there.
And, there's a guy in Nashville with an ultimate fighting blog and he was so nice and answered all of my questions about ultimate fighting and, I think, he's a dude that could teach a girl how to kick someone in the face. So, that's cool. I'm going to have to track down his blog and link to it, the next time I do a big update.
Bob Krumm was there briefly and, my god, he's hot in a kind of Republicanny way. Bob, redo your blog photo. Don't rest solely on your conservative ideas; rise to power on the strength of your personal charm and good looks. It worked for Clinton. But you've got to start with a blog photo that conveys said assets.
Mr. Roboto was our host, I think**. At least, he was doing all of the host-y things. Perhaps, Mr. Krumm, you need to keep Mr. Roboto in your back pocket to organize all your political gatherings, because, as a host as well as a person, Roboto rocks.
Brittney was there and looking very birthday girly, as well as Tim Morgan--the man responsible for identifying my remains, should I die while walking the dog and wearing his t-shirt.
Chris and Amanda were there and I told them that, should group marriage ever become legal, they are my first choice for spouses... spouse-couple... whatever the term will be.
I got to meet Pink Kitty, who looked familiar, but I forgot to ask her if we knew each other in some other life. And I was a little star-struck by meeting the famous Busy Mom.
And the Rug Designer was there, with her husband. I really regret not talking to her more. She and her husband came in the room like Hera and Zeus*** all regal and self-possessed. I have made a mental note to invite the Rug Designer to lunch and now, I'm making a real note, right here.
But the most awesome surprise of the evening was that Huck was there! And he was nice and funny and smart and, unlike almost every other guy in the room, not conservative and not a little put out with me for lumping them in with true fucktards. Hurray for Huck. I also got to meet his wife and his... three? eight? ... some amount of sleeping children.
So, everyone else was nice and charming and fun and I love them all, in a purely blogtonic way.
How was I?
Me: Sarcastro, I'm totally going to fight you.
Sarcastro: You'll lose.
Me: Well, duh, I don't care. I'm totally going to fight you.
Sarcastro: Great. If I win, I look like a jackass for beating up a girl. If I lose, I look like a pussy.
Me: I'm just a genius that way.
Some random Nashville blogger: Hi, I'm so and so.
Me: I'm totally going to fight Sarcastro.
Some random Nashville blogger: Not Roger Abramson?
Me: Oh, yeah, him too.
Sarcastro, from across the room: My god, woman, are you still talking about fighting me?
So, you know, I was my same old self--amusing to me, probably not so much to the rest of the world.
[Edited to add: Hey, Sarcastro has pictures! Go check his site for the illustrated version of the night's events.]
*This was not it exactly, obviously, but along those lines.
** Isn't that how it worked? Roboto was the host and Rex Hammock was the bankroll? I think so, and so, I say, thanks to both of you.
*** Well, you know, if Hera and Zeus got along.
Thursday, October 27, 2005
wow...how'd you link to Tiny Cat Pants? Do you know [B.] or just found it through internet randomness? (I don't actually know [B.], but I've met the butcher on several occasions) [emphasis mine]Okay, god damn it. Is there anyone the Butcher doesn't know? Now he's meeting my readers and his fame is spreading to LiveJournal?! I ask you all to think very carefully and answer me honestly. Do I have even one reader who has not met the Butcher? He's the guy in the "Hugs, Not Drugs" t-shirt befriending everyone in Middle Tennessee, apparently. Also Overheard on the Internet Pandagon is reporting that Radar is reporting (It's like Telephone, but on the Internet) that Karl Rove's mistress is dumping him for someone named Rhett Hard. The only thing that could be better than the mere existence of Rhett Hard is if ole Kleinheider got him to guest blog over at Hard Right. Okay, maybe that's only funny to me. Regrets, I've Had a Few Yes, it's true. A bunch of folks felt that my accusation of fucktardary was directed specifically at them. And yes, it's true, I'm going to eat dinner this very evening with some of those folks. And the folks who aren't looking to kick my ass? I promised them I'd whisper naughty words in their ears. If everyone holds me to my overblown rhetoric, it's going to be an interesting evening.
The Butcher Dodges a Bullet
The Butcher's Brilliant Pick for the Supreme Court
Short Notes to Various Folks
The Oxford American Music Issue
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Suicide Saves Us Money (or I read Salon so you don't have to)
a letter from the V.A. saying that his file was one of those in its review. He said the letter left him shocked, angry and afraid. The letter warns that "confirmation" of his mental wounds "had not been established" and that his file at the V.A. "does not establish that the event described by you occurred nor does the evidence in the file establish that you were present when a stressful event occurred." (The V.A. recently determined, again, that Nesler's claims are legitimate.)Nesler then correctly predicted "It is my educated opinion that [the V.A.] will kill some people with this. They will either kill themselves or die from stroke." And look here:
On Oct. 8, Greg Morris, 57, was found by his wife, Ginger, in their home in Chama, N.M., an old mining town of 1,250 in the Rocky Mountains. Lying at Morris' side were a gun and his Purple Heart medal. For years, Morris had been receiving monthly V.A. benefits in compensation for post-traumatic stress disorder. Next to his gun and Purple Heart was a folder of information on how the V.A. planned to review veterans who received PTSD checks to make sure those veterans really deserved the money.Really, it's just like that liberal hell-hole, Salon.com, to not see this for the genius it is. Reviewing people's claims of PTSD costs money. A lot of money. And if it turns out that Barack Obama is right and the problem is not that there are too many fakers, but too few legitimately disturbed people receiving the benefits they were promised, that's going to cost us more money, money we can ill-afford when there are places like Syria to invade. But, if the VA sends out 72,000 letters at a good bulk mail rate, that are worded sternly enough to really scare the bejeezus out of the most mentally disturbed of the group, chances are that some of them, the very veterans most likely to need full benefits, will kill themselves, thus saving the taxpayers and all of society from a great burden. Who can argue with that?
Nashville is Talking Utter Lunacy
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
My Proudest Moment
Is "fuck" really so offensive? Or is it offensive because such a sweet ole girl like me hurls it like a baseball player spits sunflower seeds? I'm easy to find. Why wouldn't "BoSox" just come over here and scold me for my potty mouth? Aw, BoSox, sorry I'm not easily shamed. But you just lean in and I promise, I'll whisper "fuck" so sweetly and softly in your ear that you'll forget all your objections to my garbage.
Shep is gay?? Gee, who's next.... Ellen? Elton? Etheridge? Surprised? ...NO Care? ...NO I find it more offensive that the F-bomb needlessly be mentioned over and over and over in that post. PLEASE spare me that garbage. Thanks. Posted by: BoSox at October 24, 2005 07:33 PM
Monday, October 24, 2005
Sunday, October 23, 2005
Fox News: Home of Immorality
People who live in DC and New York and travel around the country are almost never "cultural conservatives." This is the essential disconnect between true conservatives and those professional pundit conservatives who claim to lead and speak for them. Quite often they just ain't the same type of people.As with most of my problems with Kleinheider, considering how closely our worldviews line up until the last possible second at which point they diverge so sharply that I often get intellectual whiplash reading his blog, my problems with this paragraph are complex. Yes, on the surface, it's true that there does seem to be an enormous disconnect between "true" conservatives and the professional pundit conservatives of Fox News and the like. It's true that the professional pundit conservatives usually lead lives much different than the lifestyles the people who view them pretend to promote. Is this because the professional pundit conservatives are just not "the same type of people" as regular conservatives? On the one hand, it's certainly easier to be promiscuous or gay in urban areas where fewer people give a shit. On the other hand, one certainly doesn't have to be a social scientist to look at divorce rates in southern states--6.4 per thousand here in the state of churches and church headquarters--coupled with Kleinheider's own insight that most divorces end because of infidelity to realize that even regular conservative people aren't "behaving" themselves. So, if it's not that there's some great divide between the open sanctimonious hypocrisy of the political pundit conservatives and the closeted sanctimonious hypocrisy of regular conservatives, what explains folks like Smith and O'Reilly and Coulter? America, as hard as it is to believe, Smith, O'Reilly, and Coulter are human beings. Human beings get drunk and make asses of themselves. They have sex with each other when they get the chance. And people are gay, even conservatives, even people on Fox news. I mean, please. It's not just homosexuals who are, again, quoting Kleinheider, "sex-obsessed deviants." Being a sex-obsessed deviant is part of being human. This brings us to an interesting issue. Shepard Smith did not come out. He propositioned the managing editor of the Washington Blade--a gay publication that doesn't usually out folks--and the editor wrote about it. I say, "Kevin Naff, good for you." Listen, being ashamed of being gay is about the stupidest thing in the world. And allowing people to stay closeted contributes to a culture of shame. Do I think there should be giant witch-hunts and some Big Ole List of Gay people so that everyone can know who's lusting after members of the same sex? No, I don't. But on the other hand, people are curious about who people like and why they like them and who they want to get into bed with. We freely speculate about which straight folks are fucking and which ones want to be. We should freely speculate about all folks. I mean, is Kenny Chesney fucking Payton Manning? That's a yes or no question. It's true, it might not be my business, but only because it's not my business, not because there's something inherently gross about wanting to fuck Payton Manning. He's a cutie. And the truth is that there are gay people all over the U.S., even in the red states, even in conservative households. There have always been gay people***, but back when you married so that you could acquire some property with a vagina to have some kids for you, who you were sexually attracted to was less firmly coupled to who you partnered with. I mean, seriously, Conservative America, people have been fucking people of the same sex forever. Christianity has been on a 2000 year long crusade to abolish such practice and it's made NO difference. Homosexuality is not some recent invention of Hollywood designed to make you uncomfortable and keep you out of San Francisco. It's just an expression of the diversity of human experience. People coming out or being outted, being ashamed of who they are or not, going through ex-gay programs or sitting in bathhouses, none of that makes gayness more or less likely. I mean, Shepard Smith is not gay as an affront to Fox Viewers. He ought not stay in the closet as a concession to them. *Though, Sharon, let me know if MSNBC rents out their evening line-up. I've got a big bed and I don't think there's much that could make me happier than looking around, seeing Dan, Keith, Joe (I know, but what can you do? The vagina wants what the vagina wants.), and Rita naked and grinning and little Tucker curled up way down at the end crying. **Kleinheider remains the smartest, most insightful person I read who is regularly utterly wrong. ***Yes, I know it's more complex than that.
Saturday, October 22, 2005
The Narrows of the Harpeth
To the Man in the Truck
Let's Let Mike Jones Take Care of Syria
Friday, October 21, 2005
The Good, The Bad, The Weird
Music, Conversation, and Me in Heels
Maybe Boys are Just Stupid
"We think there's value in having equal numbers," says Jim Bock, admissions dean at Pennsylvania's Swarthmore College. Last year, the school admitted more women than men, but it admitted a greater percentage of the male applicants than female. The student body's male/female breakdown is about 48/52. [emphasis mine]See what Bock is saying? There's a smaller pool of men from which to draw. Not admitting well-qualified women so that you can admit the right number of men does nothing to address the underlying problem--that there aren't enough well-qualified men. Where Are All The Well-Qualified Men? Well, I suppose we could just stick our heads up our butts a la Larry Summers and suggest that more women go to college than men because women are just biologically smarter than men. Problem solved. Men don't go to college in large numbers because men are just inherently stupid. Maybe we ought to study some of the ways that stupidity expresses itself--excessive violence, crappy taste in music, high crime rates, etc.,--and then we can feel really smug about things. The Real Problem But the real problem has little to do with women, as a group. The real problem is that we, as a whole society--men and women--have really fucked boys over. How have we done boys wrong? Here are my votes, in no particular order: 1. Championing a soul-corrupting version of manhood that prizes accumulation of things and the degradation of women--see Hollywood, the glorification of the pimp, much popular music, and video games--without any real attractive alternative versions of manhood. 2. Shrinking recesses*. All kids, but especially boys, need to run around and wrestle and climb things and kick things and burn off energy and come up with shit to do on their own. Shortening recess periods means kids are restless in class. 3. Education, especially elementary education, is still an intellectual ghetto on most university campuses. Can't hack biology? Flunking out of French? Switch to education. I had a lot of friends who were Education majors who were continually grossed out by the morons in their classes. Well, those morons go on to teach at perpetually shitty schools. To make a broad generalization, boys--like all kids--respond well to challenges. If teachers cannot challenge boys, boys will lose interest. Boys pay a high price for shitty teachers. 4. We drug them up. This is a tough subject to talk about, and I'm guessing some of you already have your angry comments ready to go. Hear me out. I'm not an idiot. I'm not denying that ADD and ADHD are real disorders and I know for a fact that Ritalin and other drugs help people who really have these disorders. I also know that it doesn't take much to get your kid on these drugs. Having two brothers, I've seen it work both ways. One brother had a battery of physical and psychological tests and saw a team of doctors and psychiatrists before he was prescribed Ritalin. The other got it after his pediatrician said, "eh, his brother needs it, can't hurt him."** Of course people should get the medicine they need to help them, but how is it possible that we went from almost no one needing these drugs to, in some schools, almost everyone needing them? Listen, social scientists, I know proximity does not necessarily indicated causality, but isn't it interesting that when I went to college very few kids were on ADD drugs and the ratio of men to women in college was pretty close to 50/50? And isn't it curious that, as these drugs became more widely prescribed to boys--as evidenced by the two stages of ease of drug procurement represented by my brothers--the number of boys going to college plummets? Why might that be? Let's go to Huck for the first-hand account:
Did it help me? Depends... It is all a matter of perspective. It improved my ability to code tenfold, and gave me the focal power of a zombie at a Neurology conference. Now I can sit here and code until either the cows come home or the drug wears off. So yes, it helped my ability to do my job, but it destroyed my creativity. My brain could no longer surge from topic to topic at the light-speed pace needed to write something interesting. It is a total 1 to 1 trade off of personalities. I either keep taking the drug and keep my job, and thereby, keep my family healthy and warm, or stop, and throw everything I've built for the past 9 years into the trash and be me.Let's look at this carefully--not only because it tells us something about how we fuck up boys, but also because it tells us something about what might guide us as we try to decide if drugging someone is appropriate. In Flea's case, Ritalin seems to have been the answer. Her son is doing better and is happier on it. In Huck's case, though, the result is not so clear. Huck clearly enjoys the way his mind works--leaping from idea to idea at lightning speed, drawing connections where others don't. And for him, the trade-off of being able to concentrate on something he doesn't like doesn't always feel particularly worth it***. Why should we expect other boys to feel any different? If they already feel ambivalent about school, prescribing them a drug that they don't like the feel of in order to make it possible for them to sit through school is no way to convince them to go further in their education. It doesn't take a genius to see that, if you have to take a drug you don't like to go to school, you might not have to take that drug if you don't continue to go to school. Problem or Symptom? The real hard question comes down to whether the declining numbers of boys in college is the problem or if it's an indication of a larger problem. I think it's actually a symptom of two larger problems. 1. Things suck. Hello. Rich getting richer. Poor getting poorer. Jobs going overseas. Doom. Misery. Etc. We can debate all day whether things are as bad as they seem, but, America, things seem very bad to a lot of people. And it doesn't seem like they're going to get better. Is it any surprise that our societal anxiety has manifested itself in the despair of boys? I think not. 2. You sleep in the bed you made****. How long have I been saying that crappy ass attitudes towards women hurt men? As long as any of you have known me. And some of you even have kind of humored me. Well, here you go. You spend all a boy's life telling him, "Don't be a pussy." "Don't be a bitch." "Don't do that girly shit." and what does he learn? That his opposite is whatever is female and that he must avoid doing anything that might be perceived as feminine because "being a man" is both the most important thing in the world and, apparently, so very weak and fragile. And now that girls are doing well in school and going on to college and excelling in even traditionally male-dominated fields, y'all are in quite quandary. You pretty much need to go to college in order to succeed in life, but girls go to college. Only pussies like and do well in school. We tell boys over and over to not be pussies. Surprise. They don't want to do girly shit like learn. I'd laugh if your bull-headed insistence on never being associated with any of my attributes wasn't so fucking sad and obviously harmful to yourselves. * It's not just recess, but recess kind of stands for something larger about the fact that we don't really let kids have time to just fuck around any more. ** I should say that both of them sold their Ritalin for pot money, so I can't really judge which way was "better," since the end result was the same. *** Again, my opinion. Hopefully Huck will come by and clarify if I'm misreading him. **** It was really all I could do to keep from calling this section "Stewing in your own 'Don't be a pussy' juices." I hope you appreciate my restraint.
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Topics of Conversation at Lunch
- The (in)advisability of naming sex toys after real people
- My continued (!) inability to properly indicate where body parts are
- Doogie Howser
- Appropriate circumstances under which to dance
- How some things look good on women in rap videos but not on the woman sitting right in your line of vision
- The Butcher's half-assed attempts to find another job
Here's what we ate:
Me: Pesto calzone. It was okay, not great, but cheesy and bready and I won't care that there's no food in the house when I get home.
Co-worker: Some other kind of calzone with spinach! Spinach. I wish I'd have thought to get a spinach and onion calzone. That would have been delicious.
The Professor: Jerk Chicken sandwich. Also delicious. I'm totally going for that next time.
I'm already ready for a nap.
The Butcher and Mrs. Wigglebottom
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
If I Told Them To You, They Wouldn't Be Secrets
I have to be candid right now, for posterity, before I think better of it: I have not been honest with you. There are so many things I have not said, so many yarns I have not spun, so much that is essential to the story that I have left out on purpose, to be polite, to keep some things private, to not air shared secrets for the world. But in the process, I have omitted so much of the story -- so much of myself -- that is essential to make sense of everything else.I've been thinking a lot about that, the stuff I haven't told you and how I decide what doesn't get said. It's kind of funny, I guess, because I think one gets a sense from reading Tiny Cat Pants that you're getting a good look at a whole person--the bad along with the good. And yet, in the end, this is a kind of performance, and, as such, editorial decisions are made for the benefit of the audience, even if that audience is just me. Some of you get that. I've met people who were surprised to find out that the Butcher is real or that I really am an aunt. And I think all y'all are aware that sometimes the truth gets stretched for the sake of characterization or the story or whatever. I leave out the boring stuff. I don't really talk about work. I try not to tell unflattering stories about my friends. I try to be honest about the reasons for telling unflattering stories about the people I love, including myself. But I sometimes wonder what the fuck I'm doing. What is the ultimate purpose behind this giant love letter to you, America? I guess it's so that you can feel invested in me, so that when I tell you things, they matter to you. Do you feel cheated that I leave things out? Or is only as much as I choose to share enough for you? What exactly are the contours of this thing? Is there something I owe you? Is there something you owe me? I'm not sure. But I assume we'll find out.