Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Mrs. Wigglebottom and the Case of the Missing Pizza

So, you may set down a box half full of cold pizza and you may grab yourself out a slice and you may decide that it's the grossest pizza you've ever eaten cold and you may half-heartedly eat on that one piece as you're furiously blogging about, say, libertarianism. And you then may finally be like "God damn, Domino's. This Steak Fanatic pizza is disgusting" and go to put the half-eaten piece back in the box, which was resting just at dog-head-height. You may then notice that all of the rest of the pizza is missing. And, though the dog must have snuck off and eaten the pizza someplace where you couldn't hear her, she'll gladly come back and throw it all up right at your feet. Thanks, Mrs. Wigglebottom. That was pretty damn gross. But, at least we are in agreement about the quality of the pizza.

"Of the people, by the people, for the people"

I spent much of today thinking about Andrew Leonard, Katherine Coble, the government, and whether or not I'm slowly converting to libertarianism*. Leonard (as part of my ongoing series--"I read so you don't have to") is talking about some jackass on his plane who repeatedly complained to the flight crew because he didn't like the shirt that some other jackass was wearing. Leonard reflects on the incident:
But as I sat and seethed my way through a six-and-a-half-hour flight, it seemed to me that Mr. 23D was a symbol of everything I hate about a specific strain of cultural censoriousness that courses through our society. Your behavior offends me, so you must be punished. How dare you breast-feed in public, or believe in evolution, or love disco music? Your sexual practices, weird religious beliefs, choice of shirts -- whatever it is, the fact that you are doing it bothers me, so it must be stopped! Especially if there's any chance that the "children" might be harmed.[emphasis mine]
In this, Mr. Leonard and I are in complete agreement. People seem to think that they have a right not to be bothered, which is just utter bullshit. You have no right to never be offended, but, in return, there's nothing that says that you can't let the people who offend you know you find them offensive. It's just jackassy and weird to bring in the authorities when you've not been really injured and you're not going to be. And I don't believe that it's the government's roll to involve itself in outlawing behavior that offends people but doesn't actually harm them. In fact, I find that offensive (so, you know, maybe I should petition Bill "The Kitten Killer" Frist to sponsor a bill outlawing legislation designed solely to protect people from offensive behavior, since I find such legislation offensive). And, as previously covered today, I think government is inherently corrupt and corrupting. So, in some respects, I suppose I'm for smaller government, kind of**. I'm definitely for less policing of my personal behavior. But here are the questions I keep meaning to ask the libertarians--and I know I'm usually snarky about things I disagree with, but this one time, hand to heart, I actually am really curious and promise to listen respectfully (But don't go telling me to read someone. I want to know what you think, how you make sense of it.) Coble says "These things that are the bailiwick of the individual--caring for the sick and needy--are now being handled by our drunken Uncle Sam." And I think this, for me is a really dense sentence, so I want to handle it in two parts. 1. When y'all talk, I see a lot of emphasis on individual responsibility, especially a strong emphasis on individuals taking care of each other either through individual action or charitable donation. Correct? 1a. Let's say that little Timmy needs a bone marrow transplant and his parents don't have the money. So, they turn to charities and they host car washes and put their little coffee cans with poor Timmy's photocopied image taped to the side in all the local gas stations and, all told, they come up with $10,000. That's a shitload of money for a lot of poor people, but it's a drop in the bucket towards the cost of saving Timmy's life. Under your system, would Timmy just be out of luck? 1b. I'm on the board of a local non-profit agency that, in part, raises money for community health initiatives (to be sufficiently vague). One of the problems we have is that, after 9/11, though the healthcare needs of the people in the communities we serve have not changed, the country's charitable dollars have gone elsewhere. We predict that, because of the hurricanes, we'll continue to see depressed funding of our programs because, when things happen, people don't give in addition to what they usually give, they just move their giving to the places that catch their eye. Under your system, how would you foster sustained giving, such that these programs (and more like them, if there aren't any government agencies) could continue to function from year to year? Or are they also just out of luck when the fancy of givers flies to something else? 2. Coble says, "And we've elected to allow our money to be taken from us by force," and makes reference to how our "drunken Uncle Sam" now has our money. So, it seems like you guys make a clear distinction between the government and the governed. Does that mean you think Lincoln was full of shit? That this is not a "government of the people, by the people, for the people"? Because, corrupting nature of politics aside, isn't the government "us," too? It's not really "they" who are stealing "our" hard-earned money and using it to provide poor people with luxuries like food or heat. Isn't that we who are "stealing" our hard-earned money? Doesn't it make sense to have a mechanism in place to pool the resources of the people in order to take care of the worst-off of us in ways that individuals just can't? Do you really believe that, other than not infringing on their rights, you really have no obligations to your fellow Americans? If you do have obligations to your fellow countrymen, why not use the government to meet those obligations? Anyway, I'm just wondering and I'm curious to hear from you. *I'm not. **Sorry, this blog lacks smelling salts. Maybe in the next upgrade.

Scattered Things

1. My dad writes a humorous Christmas letter every year and every year he calls me at work to read it to me. Yesterday afternoon, I got to hear this one. The part about me is devoted to the extraordinarily large afghan I'm making. I wish someone--maybe even me--had thought through the problem with having an afghan over five and a half feet wide back when it was only, say, an inch and a half tall. But now? Now that it's close to five feet tall? I don't need the constructive criticism. 2. So, I finally gave up and switched everything over to the blue coat. And in the process, I found my walking hat, and, stuffed inside the walking hat? Mrs. Wigglebottom's jaunty walking scarf. See, it's finally almost dark again in the mornings when we walk and since I've traded bright orange for dark blue and she's mostly a deep dark brown, I wear a bright orange hat and she wears a bright orange scarf. I think she likes it. Or at least, she doesn't seem to mind. 3. Barista brings us the disturbing story of the suicide of professor from West Point. Bill Hobbs posts about this idiotic idea to wear red on Fridays in support of our troops. No word on how the troops in Iraq will know we're wearing red. Perhaps they will use their psychic abilities. How are these two things related? In this way: Honorable soldiers deserve honorable leaders and they deserve honorable missions. Uncritically supporting whatever this group of dishonorable madmen send our soldiers out to do is not actually supporting our troops. Wearing red, as if to say, "Well, you know, whatever's going on over there is all right with us, because you're doing it and we support you," is asinine. You want to support our troops? Insist that they have honorable leadership. 4. Yes, I know I regularly argue that corruption is just an inescapable byproduct of government. And, yes, I'm regularly baffled by people who seem surprised and outraged by it. I've had this fight very recently with the Butcher. I argue that we can't be surprised by corruption in government because government is, to some extent, immoral and, therefore, the people who govern well cannot help but be tainted, to some extent, by immorality. I'm not saying we have to accept that. Or revel in it. But, my god, we have to stop being surprised by it. And we especially have to stop with this "Well, the President is a good man." Is that man the president? Is government immoral? Then he is not a good man. At least not without a vigilant populous to insist on honorable behavior. 5. Is there a giant bra/purse conspiracy? You know how it is when you are searching for a new purse (or even how it is that you must be out searching for a new purse)? You can't ever get a purse that's exactly right. It's either a little too big or a little too small or it's in a color that you love, but that you know is going right out of style the minute you turn your back. And is it not like that with bras? Are you not out constantly searching for the perfect bra that's going to lift you up and support you and make you feel marvelous (in this way, a good bra resembles a good gospel choir, I think)? And when you find one, do you not buy three? Which, in theory, seems wise. But then, when you wear them for long enough and you begin to realize the flaws in the design, now you have three bras that aren't quite right. The Professor always has very nice looking tits. They sit right up where they should and fabulously peek out of her shirts like flirty movie stars. If this is not a testament to a woman who knows how to bra shop, I just don't know what is. Little does she know, but I'm hauling her ass out to do just that this weekend. I have nice tits. They deserve a bra that makes them look amazing in button-down shirts.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Hot Apple Cider

Whew, it was cold out there on my walk home! On days like today back when I lived in the little house on Polo Road with Miss J., she would get out a big pot and line the bottom of it with Red Hots and fill it up with apple cider and put it on the stove to simmer and melt the Red Hots. I'd be in my room writing and she'd be in her room writing and we'd tell ourselves that we'd work for an hour, have some cider, and then go back to work. Usually, we'd actually do that. But sometimes, we'd sit around holding the warm cups in our hands, talking about literary theory or boys or the crazy antics of our friends. I used to walk to the little house on Polo Road, too, with about as much enthusiasm as I do to this place, which is to say, not much. But I'd come up the back yard and see the warm glow of the light in the kitchen and Miss J. at the sink or the stove, and it would make me glad to be home. Here, when I get home, the house is dark and I unlock the door to the smell of an unclean litter box. But as I stumble in and search for the light, I hear the dull, quick thuds of a tail smacking against some piece of furniture someplace in the darkness, and then, there, in the middle of the room, blocking my path, is a girl happy to see me. She doesn't make me warm cider, because she lacks opposable thumbs, but she makes me glad to be home, just the same.

Just What Kind of Feminist Are You?

Yeah, so I'm still irritated about this piece of business over at Kleinheider's*. Feminism is not some monolithic well-articulated philosophy hell-bent on ruining the lives of men**. (That's just a happy side-effect***.) For me, feminism is about promoting a belief that women have worth, that our experiences are valuable, and that we should have opportunities to make the most out of our lives. I don't believe that there should be any places that are off-limits to women; I think we should have the right to self-determination; and a right to free self-expression, especially sexually. I don't believe that feminism is a moral position and I get irritated with people who do. Feminism ought to mean that we are recognized as fully human, as capable of evil as the next person. But at heart, I'm selfish, and there's certainly a way in which much of my feminism is not about changing your mind: do what you want; just don't get in my way. So, obviously, if I want folks to get out of the way of me doing the things I want, it does sometimes become about changing your behavior. There are a lot of ways that y'all--men and women--are fucked up, and it gets in my way****. I don't want to be a man or be like men, because I don't think men are better than women. I don't think how y'all are is something I should aspire to. I also don't think it's something I should shirk from. I'm not in competition with you. I don't want the things you have because I think you've had them for too long and now is my turn. I want the things that would make my life easier. I just want space to be myself, fully. But at heart, I'm a feminist because it makes me happy*****. And, the more I talk to some of you, the more I think I've waited too long to articulate that. Being a feminist makes me happy. It makes me happy to believe that I have inherent worth and that I ought to be able to do what I want when I want with whom I want and, as long as I'm not hurting anyone, I shouldn't be punished for it. I like knowing that I can support myself and sometimes splurge on my friends. I like having roll models who resemble me. I appreciate efforts to see facets of the sacred as feminine because I feel that being a woman has facets of the sacred inherent to it. I like being able to read and write and vote and drive and go to school and speak openly in public. It's true that things are different than the used to be and that negotiating relationships is tricky. But isn't that kind of cool? Here we are, kind of freshly birthed into this new paradigm, and we get to try together to figure out what it means. I think that's cool and, though at times painful, bound to be fun. I think feminism is inherently optimistic, advocating, as it does, for the belief that there are people of value everywhere. *And not just because, if it's true that we feminists are singlehandedly responsible for ruining marriage, I'm getting cheated out of my exciting social life full of leading poor married people astray. If you are a married person who needs to be led astray by a feminist, I guess drop me a line. I'm not sure how we schedule this crap and to whom we report my success at ruining your life, but let's have fun first and figure out the bureaucratic nightmare later. **Many of us feminists are hoping that our Marxist tax structure will ruin the lives of rich people and since most rich people are men... Voila! Two oppressive birds with one stone. ***I'm kidding, obviously. ****To return to Kleinheider, I'd like to have a discussion with him about the ways in which both feminists and anti-feminists trade on this notion of the moral superiority of women and how that's detrimental to men, especially when it comes to deciding who gets kids, but the piece he quotes has such a fun-house mirror definition of feminism that I feel defensive from the get-go. If Kleinheider would stop endorsing idiots without comment, we could have an intelligent exchange of ideas, but instead, I'm loathe to admit the ways in which I might agree with him, because I don't want folks to mistakenly believe I endorse all that nonsense. *****This must be very shocking to the folks who believe that Maureen Dowd is the epitome of feminism. Take a moment to recover. [Edited to add: I love you, Fritz. You are totally my internet boyfriend. Or son. How old are you again?]

Monday, November 28, 2005

A Crossroads Like No Other

As everyone is well-aware, Kanye West and 50 Cent are having a big feud over President Bush. West, as we remember, famously declared that "George Bush doesn't care about black people." Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson then countered that he had no idea what West was talking about, that the hurricane was just God's way of getting his message across. 50 Cent then went on to praise the president and bemoan the fact that he could not vote for Bush, because Jackson is a felon*. This got me thinking about CMT's Crossroads. As you know, this show takes artists from across genres who are, presumably, fans of each other's music, and puts them onstage together. But, as is so obvious that I'm loathe to get into it, country music and rap have tons in common--violence, love of guns, bad-ass masculinity, big concerns about authenticity, name-checking fellow artists in songs, promoting a lifestyle presumably looked down on by the dominant culture, love of booze, emphasis on the importance of the role of the producer, etc. etc.--and yet there's been no real rap/country Crossroads**. Now, Tim McGraw did do that duet with Nelly, but, let's face it, it sucked. It was a ring tone in search of some phones and nothing more. And I'm not seeing too many other rappers admitting a love of country music or visa versa. But what if we could put folks together by politics? Imagine 50 Cent on stage with Darryl Worley. It might be enough to rescue both of them from their equally bizarre and mediocre careers or, and we can only hope, it would ruin both of them forever. *Thus proving how little Jackson understands about how politics work in predominately Democratic places like NYC and Chicago, but that's neither here nor there. **No, Bob and Bocephus don't count.

The Bay Area Is Not Talking

Okay, when something monumental happens, you can sometimes understand why the mainstream media overlooks it, but you expect bloggers to uncover all the important stories. Well, I checked The Bay Area is Talking (sister blog to our lovely Nashville is Talking) and I checked Bruce's site and it appears I'm going to be the first blogger in either Nashville or the Bay Area to bring this amazing and yet disturbing story to your attention. Please click on this link. And then answer for me the following questions: Why would anyone do this? Why would 60,000 people want to develop this skill? Is "Iron Crotch" the best or worst name for a martial art? I can't decide.

The International Harvester Dude

As you may recall, when I graduated from college, I went back to my parents and laid on the couch watching repeats of "In the Heat of the Night" for a month until my mom made it clear that I could not spend the rest of my life dreaming about Bubba Skinner and hoping that none of my college friends knew what a failure I was. So, I got a job at the local newspaper. One of the most fun things about working at the newspaper is that the police scanner was always on. And, since the town was tiny, not much happened. Here are the two things I remember: 1. There were three city police men, not counting the Chief. One night, one of the police men got on the scanner looking for the Chief, because he had caught the other two police men taking pictures of teenage girls wearing nothing but police hats and holsters while posing on the hood of one of the police cars. Nothing says, "Do what you want, folks" like a town having to replace half its police force at once. 2. One night, the police went to break up a party out in the country. They hollered for the kids to come out of the woods and get their asses home, but the kids wouldn't come. And so they called all the kids' parents and reported that their cars had been found abandoned out in the country and so if the parents wouldn't come get them right then, at two in the morning, the cars would be towed. Anyway, one of the weirder people I encountered that year was the son of the owner of the International Harvester dealership in town. He was my age, or maybe a little older--the son, not the owner--and he was surprisingly bland looking. I don't know if you've ever seen any people like this, but it's like there's nothing distinguishing about them. They aren't ugly or too good looking or tall or short and they don't have dimples or a kind of grin that makes you feel like they might be up for some no good. And, seriously, the minute they leave your sight, you can't remember what they even looked like. That was this guy. And at least once a week, he would call me at work and ask, "When are we going to go out?" and I would say, at the encouragement of the ad department, "As soon as you ask me." and he never did. Which was fine with me. But (and because), the mind-blowing part was that he was fucking both his fiancee and his fiancee's mother and everyone in town knew it. I still think back on how bland he was and marvel. Maybe liking non-descript men runs in families and he was just lucky enough to find such a family. But it makes no sense, when the hottest man in town, who worked for the city and thus could take him some "long lunches," would fuck anyone who asked. The other woman in my department and I had a grand old time driving around in the afternoons, me leaning way out the window, her leaning over me, hollering at him and his crew as they leaned against their shovels, shirts open or off, dirt caked on brown ropey arms, late sun sparkling on their sweaty shoulders... Mmm. Anyway, the International Harvester dude. There was one more weird thing. Even though he was incredibly forward with me on the phone--"I'm just sitting here on my boat, out on the river, thinking about fucking you"--whenever he came into the office, if I was out front, he'd get all red and stare at his shoes*. And yet, he got two women, two related women, to sleep with his shameful ass. That must have been one fucked up family dynamic. *Let me just offer you this bit of advice, gentlemen, women will put up with a lot of uncouth behavior if it seems like you can back it up. But, if, after calling someone at work to talk about her cooter, you can't even meet her eyes when you see her in person, she's never going to fuck you unless she herself is very fucked up.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

The Butcher is an Idiot

Some drunk chick rear-ended the Butcher on his way home from work. The Butcher, as you may recall, is driving our only car--my car. My car. The Butcher was fucking magnanimous to that drunk idiot. Yes, when she asked him if they just couldn't take care of it between them, and he smelled the booze on her, he said "Just give me your insurance information." Yes, it's very easy to be magnanimous in your sister's car. It's fine. The back bumper is a little dented. But it's fine. I'm just tired of feeling like the only god damned person in this house who is holding things together. I mean, no, it's not his fault she hit him, but god damn, we have one car. We can't lose it. Shit like this just cannot happen. Worse shit than this cannot happen. But you know, we're pretty powerless to stop it from happening. What if something happens to the Butcher? You know, what if I'm all alone here with the cats and the dog and the killer hobos? You think this is a fucked up place now, imagine if I had no one to count on. And yet, the person I count on most is a twenty-five year old idiot who thinks he can coast through life sticking it to the Man by depriving the Man of the Butcher's talents. Tonight, the recalcitrant brother called me to talk again about the Butcher. "You know, I don't want to stick it to the Man, I want to be the Man. I want to be that lazy fucker who sits behind the desk all day while other people bust their asses," says the recalcitrant brother. "The Butcher needs to get his act together. What would he do if you died?" This is disjointed, I know. I fret because it feels like if I worry about all the small things, I can distract myself from the utter terror I feel when I think about how many mammals depend on me, and what a shitty, shitty job I do providing for them. And I just can't do it alone. I desperately need to believe that there's some one watching out for us, that luck, even a little bit, is on our side. Because, if it's just me who's in charge of providing everything for the folks in this household, we're really screwed. And I wish that the Butcher got that, how afraid I am every day that I'm on the verge of failing him, that I'll fuck something up and we won't have money to pay our bills or we'll lose our lease or the car or whatever. I don't want him to want better for himself just because I want more money coming into the household. I want him to want better for himself because, right now, he's depending on me, and I'm not someone you can depend on. I'm not responsible. I don't understand finances. I don't keep house. No one goes to the vet or the doctor as often as they should. The recalcitrant brother wants me to talk to the Butcher about seeing a shrink or going back to school, as if I've got my shit together. As if I'm the grownup. Everything's fine. I know everything will be okay. It's just a little dent and he's not hurt. He's even gone to Walmart to buy more yarn, so I can continue to distract myself from the knowledge that it's just me here, and the fear that sooner or later, my luck will run out.

Mrs. Wigglebottom Saves the Day

There's no need to do chores when Mrs. Wigglebottom is more than happy to go on a walk. And so, instead of doing the dishes, we went out to see what was going on in the neighborhood. Nothing much. We have a peppering of birds in the sky and someone is being lifeflighted to Vanderbilt, judging from the helicopter. When we do our usual walk, we make a giant P, with us living at the foot of said P. When we got back to the point we turned right at, Mrs. Wigglebottom and I wasted a good half hour playing three of our favorite games. Mrs. Wigglebottom's favorite game: Stick (or Ball). She finds a stick she thinks must be irresistible to me. I pretend to want it and she delights in keeping it from me. I'm sure Mrs. Wigglebottom would enjoy more traditional games like "Fetch," if only she could understand the concept of letting go, but it's safe to say, Mrs. Wigglebottom lets go of nothing.* My favorite game: Jump (which may be combined with Stick, if one can get the stick from her). I find a stick I think must be irresistible to her and I hold it up at about shoulder height and she flings herself into the air and tries to get it. The other game we both like: Smack your bottom. In this game, you just say "Smack your bottom! Smack your bottom!" while hitting the dog on the butt repeatedly. Fuck if I know why she likes this, but she does. Of all the games we play, this is the one I most hope no one notices. I also caught myself singing while we were walking. It's weird, because I was thinking how much I like Audioslave, but I was singing "Worked all the summer, worked all the fall, had to take Christmas in my overalls. But now she's gone and I don't worry. I'm sitting on top of the world," which has to be the saddest happy song I know**. I mean, my god, if your heart doesn't break for a man who works so hard that he's even working on Christmas (and what a nice phrase "take Christmas"), it must break when you realize that, once his woman left, he was all out of things to fret about. If you aren't a fretter, you might not understand just how low it is to have nothing left to worry about, but, let me tell you, it's pretty far down. You'd think there'd be more blues songs written about dogs, but I don't know of any off the top of my head. Here, though, is a bit of dog blues written millennia ago by Homer***:
While he spoke an old hound, lying near, pricked up his ears and lifted up his muzzle. This was Argos, trained as a puppy by Odysseus, but never taken on a hunt before his master sailed for Troy. The young men, afterward, hunted wild goats with him, and hare, and deer, but he had grown old in his master's absence. Treated as rubbish now, he lay at last upon a mass of dung before the gates-- manure of mules and cows, piled there until fieldhands could spread it on the king's estate. Abandoned there, and half destroyed with flies, Old Argos lay. But when he knew he heard Odysseus' voice nearby, he did his best to wag his tail, nose down, with flattened ears, having no strength to move nearer his master. And the man looked away, wiping a salt tear from his cheek
Shoot, if old dying, loyal Argos doesn't bring a salt tear to your eye, you're just lacking a heart. Ugh. Let's not leave this post on such a sad note. Homer, give us something we can dwell on this evening:
That was the scar the old nurse recognized; she traced it under her spread hands, then let go, and into the basin fell the lower leg making the bronze clang, sloshing water out. Then joy and anguish seized her heart; her eyes filled up with tears; her throat closed, and she whispered, with hand held out to touch his chin: "Oh, yes! You are Odysseus! Ah, dear child! I could not see you until now--not till I knew my master's very body with my hands!"
Tee hee. *Those of you who want to make smart-ass comments about the ways I resemble my dog may do so at this point. **As opposed to the happiest sad song ever--"You are My Sunshine." ***Fitzgerald's translation.


I told the Butcher to take the car so that I would be forced to clean the bathroom and do the dishes and do some shit for work. So, I've called the Professor and tried to call the Man from GM and I've read all the blogs I can think to read and I've watched a shitload of rap videos and now I'm listening to classic country and I was working on the afghan, but it's apparent that I've both misjudged how wide the thing should have been* and how much yarn I'd need to make something that wide long enough. So, now working on it just depresses me because I'm going to run out of yarn before it's done. And I don't have the car, so I can't go to Walmart, which is too bad, because I'd even rather go to Walmart than face what awaits me this afternoon. I'm really going to have to go upstairs and scrub that tub unless the phone rings right now. Okay, now. Well, fuck me. Thanks for nothing, citizens of Earth. *I imagine all of Duluth, Georgia will be able to wrap itself comfortably in this fucker. I considered unraveling it, but decided that was just madness and procrastination talking, and will just forge ahead.

Bitching About the Bitchin' Camaro

If I could have one thing back, I'd want my first car--that gold 77 Caprice Classic--the car we called The Beast. I drove The Beast, most of the boys had Camaros*, except the jackass who had a Grand Am, and the guy who had an old two-toned F150, Shug's cousin drove a minivan, the snotty girl drove a little S10, and so when we'd play cat and mouse out in the country, The Beast was the best chance at escaping the Camaros, for the same reason I could always beat them drag racing, if I got to pick the quarter mile--I never had to slow down for gravel. Just a minute ago, it sounded like rain (though it doesn't look like it's raining, so I suspect it's just an audio trick of the interstate traffic against the retaining wall--a river of cars sometimes sounds like water) and that got me thinking of driving The Beast around in the dark through the corns and the beans listening to Jim Morrison sing "My Wild Love," which, like all Doors songs, I suspect, in real life sucks, but I love it. On my way back from Georgia, I heard "People are Strange" on the radio and I was kind of brought up short. It's so hard to hear songs you love with fresh ears, but sometimes circumstances align and you can hear what you heard that first time when you realized you were hearing something new and strange and that you must hear it again. I'd love to see if a girl can slide behind the wheel of a car she still dreams of, and feel something new and strange that she must drive again. *GM discontinued the Camaro** because they thought it was a car for trailer trash and they felt that it was bad for their image (Ha, ha, I bet you wish you had something to compete with the Mustang now that you need the money). After that, I didn't feel too bad about buying a non-GM car, jackasses. I'm glad the Corvette is the car of old rich men overcompensating for their lack of self-esteem and that driving one doesn't say "bad ass" so much as "rich fucker." (Except the Stingray, which I love.) I've reveled in your marketing problems since the day you sold us rural kids out. Don't believe me? I'll put you on the phone with one of your engineers, who can attest to my weekly mocking of your crappy commercials. **HOLY SHIT!!! I had to footnote this footnote to point out that this will be the topic of conversation with the Man from GM today. I bitch about this all the time and he's been totally silent. Fucker. But that is beautiful.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Thanksgiving in the Alternate Universe

Y'all, this was really the nicest Thanksgiving I've had since the recalcitrant brother got drunk and passed out in the bathtub. Nobody fought. No one cried. No one quietly prayed for death. We sat around and watched a lot of football and ate and just hung out. It was really nice. Maybe this is how normal families do it: they get together and enjoy each other's company and they use things like holidays as a way to come together and check in with each other and make sure everyone's okay. And then they just hang out and watch some football. So, of course, now that we've seen what a nice time together might be like, this is the year they aren't coming down for Christmas. Dad says it's because he has to do two services Christmas Eve and two Christmas day and then I'm gone, as usual, the 26th through the 31st, and the Butcher is working and the recalcitrant brother is working and so they're just going to stay home and send packages. While I was at Kroger with Mom last night, she told me that the truth is that they've put so much money into my brothers recently they can't afford to both come down here and buy everyone Christmas presents, but my dad is too proud to admit that. At some point we may find ways to be open and honest with each other, instead of using our time in the soft drink aisle at Kroger as family therapy time, but until then, I'm going to just go ahead and pretend that it's about church and not money. That can be my little gift to him.

"Why Did You Let Them Talk to the Parent with No Memory?"

So, if you've been following the gripping tale of Sarcastro's Thanksgiving, either at his place or at the Boy Scout's, you might be thinking of the Professor's comments from the other day--"How's it go? Alcohol just heightens whatever emotion(s) you are already experiencing." Well, America, if this is true, we can discern a few things about our favorite truck-driving libertarians. 1. Sarcastro will argue with anyone, even the girls in Playboy. He incredulously refused to believe that Miss December had a dog that weighs 150 pounds. Yes, folks, Sarcastro reads Playboy. I'm shocked, too. 2. Though I'm still not exactly sure what he was getting at, I think the Boy Scout was offering to do my laundry. At least, he really wanted me to mail him my laundry. If I may take a moment to address him directly-- Darling Boy Scout, it's very kind of you to offer to do that particular chore, but really, if you want to help out around my house, I'd much prefer you offer to do my dishes. 3. The women in my family must just love obnoxious men, because my mom was totally loving talking to them on the phone. I tried to bribe her with a cookie into giving me the phone back, which, folks, has never failed before, and she just smiled and turned her back on me and cooed, "Well, I just don't know. Let me think for a minute if there's anything B. would rather you not know about. Tee hee hee." Once she got off the phone, my dad was all "If they want to know stories about you, they should have asked me. Your mother doesn't remember things; I do. Plus, I had the people in the church calling me all the time keeping me updated." "Yes, and that would be exactly why I didn't put you on the phone." "Well, B., you know I like to talk to the guys who put up with you, just to thank them." "They suggested going out to lunch with you and Mom some time, so the opportunity is not lost." "Well, we could hang out here until lunch tomorrow." "Then, thank god they're sitting in Georgia." Anyway, boy-oriented folks, I tried to convince them to make out and send me the video so that I could share it with y'all, but they didn't seem interested. Our loss, I guess.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Brilliant Ideas, Not Mine

The recalcitrant brother had this brilliant idea that a person could create some kind of garbage disposal for showers, that would somehow chop hair into non-clumping bits. The other brilliant idea came up over dinner the other night when I was over at the Professor's eating meatloaf with some of her 57 lovers. There was her cute boy and her philosopher and awesome sweet potato fries. And wine, lots of wine. Anyway, we were talking about how a philosopher might publish a book that would actually make money and her philosopher had this brilliant idea of doing a series of books explaining what various famous philosophers would think of sex toys--"Wittgenstein on Sex Toys," "Heidegger on Sex Toys," etc. And then the Professor suggested that there might be a series of sex toys that went with the books, so that one could buy a dildo shaped like, say, Nietzsche or Dewey. Sadly, I was unable to fully participate in the conversation, because I was distracted by the thought of a vibrator shaped like Einstein. Yes, even then, I knew he wasn't a philosopher, and so I said nothing, but sat there quietly imagining. Her cute boy gave me a ride home, which I thought was very nice. I'm starting to think that, as nice as having 57 lovers would be just in terms of feeling fabulous, the best side-effect has to be the fact that you always have a bunch of folks who can chauffeur you around. I was feeling grouchy and antagonistic, though, so I don't think I was very good company. Anyway, going to the zoo seemed like a good idea, but it was so cold that we went to the Science Center instead. That was my personal hell. All these kids and bright flashing lights and noise and my parents yelling at the recalcitrant brother who was yelling at his kids who were just yelling about everything, I guess to be heard over the other kids who were also yelling. It was chaos. I tried to hide upstairs, but my mom found me and piled all the coats on me. I guess that part, hot and tired, hidden under coats, wasn't too bad.

Hmm, We Might Be Bad Hosts

By the end of the evening, the family was split into three camps who were all very tired of each other: the parents, the kids, and the grandkids. Somehow, the recalcitrant brother convinced my parents to take his kids back to the hotel and the recalcitrant brother stayed here. This was good fun, just the three of us hanging out, bitching about Bush* and reminiscing about baseball games of yore. We all agreed that it was something to have gotten to see Dawson play, but my brothers preferred seeing the Sox. This lead to the realization that my uncle was taking the boys to baseball games all the time and I was sneaking into Cubs games only because I knew somebody who knew somebody who was fucking someone who worked for the organization. Fine. I might not have gotten family bonding time, but I bet I had better seats**. Anyway, yesterday, we turned off the heat because, with so many bodies in the house and the oven going all day, it was a balmy one million degrees in here. Men were taking their shirts off to sit around and watch college football. But I come downstairs today and not only is the house freezing, there's the recalcitrant brother on the big green couch and does he have any sheets or blankets? No, the poor man is covered in a big yellow afghan*** and a bath towel. Yes, the Butcher thought that a bath towel (and not even one of the big ones from upstairs) was appropriate covering for a man who had to sleep on a couch in a house now hovering around 60 degrees. I've now turned on the heat for him. Still, all three of us thought that this was one of the better thanksgivings we've had. No one got upset. The cutting criticisms were reserved for the turkey preparations. The dog was laid back even in the face of my littlest nephew continually trying to climb on her. There was plenty of football to watch, which kept the men occupied, and plenty of Playstation to play, which kept the boys occupied (you haven't lived until you've seen the littlest nephew running around singing "I am evil Homer" from the Simpsons game) and Mom had a blast making cookies and eating all the coconut thingies when she thought no one was looking, and I worked on the afghan. We even formulated a plan for today: to go to the zoo. My dad is worried that it's too cold, but I figure the kids will run around and be fine and wear themselves out. Can you imagine? We sat around and discussed what we might do, like civilized adults, before hand and now we're going to execute said plan without anyone being like "Well, you live here, what is there to do with kids under 10?" I'm a little disconcerted, honestly. Is this what it's like to have a nice visit with them? I guess there's still time for bullshit, but we made it through the meal in one piece and no one snuck off at any point, so I think we all made it through the meal in one piece sober. And so I'm pretty happy. *Yes, I can hear you laughing. **I would argue that there really aren't great seats at Wrigley. The best seats we ever had, right in with the players' families, something smelly and wet dripped on me from the upper deck the whole game. Had we not been so close to Mark Grace, I would have moved. ***But what a good afghan it is!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

What I Cooked for Thanksgiving

One 18 pound turkey stuffed with an apple, an orange, some bay leaves, some poultry seasoning. Would have been delicious if Dad hadn't insisted that he would not eat it unless we let it cook for another hour after the button popped. Green beans with mushroom soup and fried onion bits. Turned out fine. Sweet potatoes with marshmallows. Yum. Mashed potatoes. Lumpy, just like I like them. No one dared complain. Gravy. Woo-boy, did the gravy suck. Too thick and tasteless. Those coconut, chocolate and butterscotch chip bars. The littlest nephew helped me. That was good fun. Dinner conversation included the following: "B. has a blog." "What?" "You know how those idiots--including your sister--put all their thoughts on the internet for everyone to read for free? That thing." "Thanks, Dad." "My sister's a blogger. You're the reason everyone hates the president."

The Detroit Lions Rule!

We're "watching" the game. The Butcher is watching and about dying of outrage over the officiating, but seems resigned to watching his favorite team lose. I'm working on the current afghan. I'm a little concerned that I may be remembering the recipient of said afghan as being a little broader in the shoulders than humanly possible, as it seems very wide. But, and here's the happy part, Mom is snoring, Dad is snoring, and the dog is snoring. So, yes, they got here this morning at 9 and the men proceeded to camp out on the couch and bark orders into the kitchen at my mom. I tried to insist that the Butcher cook the turkey, but Mom wouldn't hear of it. Unfortunately, Mom seemed content to leave all of the plastic parts in the turkey and so I did have to step in to make sure we were going to have an edible bird. My dad was outraged that we hadn't already started the turkey. He thought we were going to eat at noon. I asked him if he'd ever met the recalcitrant brother, because that dude never gets anywhere in a timely manner. I predict he'll be here by two and we'll eat at four. I only wish the Lions were a good enough team to tie Atlanta and send this game into overtime. The longer we can keep everyone asleep, the happier I'll be.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

The Super Genius has one of the most ingenious ideas (hence the name, I suppose) for Thanksgiving, of taking a moment to say something you are not thankful for, just to be contrary. I am not thankful that my parents don't drink. Not only don't they drink, they've managed to foster some kind of atmosphere where the three of us kids also feel compelled to not drink in their presence. Since my family is bat-shit crazy, this tends to make family get-togethers a gruelling exercise in terribleness. But I always assumed everyone was miserable. Recently, I found out that the recalcitrant brother and the Butcher were frequently sneaking outside to smoke up during these occasions. And have been since high school. Oh, fuck you, my dear brothers, who found an escape and did not share! I am ungrateful to you, you bastards. But I am grateful that the five of us can mark yet another year of getting on each other's nerves. I hold out hope that this may be the holiday that we all get along and enjoy each other's company. I'm looking forward to seeing the nephews and I'm excited to watch the Butcher prepare the meal. However it turns out, I'll let you know. In the meantime, be safe and have a happy holiday.

My Liberal Agenda

Honestly, I suspected that any discussion of liberal men would circle back around to Walt Whitman, but instead, we've arrived at Mark Twain.
Sometimes we'd have that whole river all to ourselves for the longest time. Yonder was the banks and the islands, across the water; and maybe a spark -- which was a candle in a cabin window; and sometimes on the water you could see a spark or two -- on a raft or a scow, you know; and maybe you could hear a fiddle or a song coming over from one of them crafts. It's lovely to live on a raft. We had the sky up there, all speckled with stars, and we used to lay on our backs and look up at them, and discuss about whether they was made or only just happened. Jim he allowed they was made, but I allowed they happened; I judged it would have took too long to make so many. Jim said the moon could a laid them; well, that looked kind of reasonable, so I didn't say nothing against it, because I've seen a frog lay most as many, so of course it could be done. We used to watch the stars that fell, too, and see them streak down. Jim allowed they'd got spoiled and was hove out of the nest.
America, I know you. You skimmed through that and skipped until right here to see what I was going to say about it. So, just keep this one sentence with you--the most beautiful sentence in the American novel, if you must keep anything: "We had the sky up there, all speckled with stars, and we used to lay on our backs and look up at them, and discuss about whether they was made or only just happened." I don't know if you can get the weight of that sentence from the paragraph. But here are these two beings who aren't men--one because he's just a boy and the other because he's fugitive property--talking philosophy and theology. Do you get that? Do you see how stupid it is for people to object to Huckleberry Finn, as if it's racist because of the word nigger, when Twain is continually insisting that we recognize that Jim, a piece of property, has a life of the mind, when Twain is insisting over and over again that Jim, who isn't considered a man at all, is the only true man that Huck knows, the only man who truly gives a damn about this poor kid? Do we miss the gift for the fucking wrapping paper every damn time, America, or what? Anyway, Huck the blogger wrote me an email about the whole liberal man discussion (which is what got me thinking of Twain). I'm going to share it with you:
Oh, it pains me so to see you pitching fuel into the conservative bon-fires. I know you're offering food for thought, but to add my 2 cents, we liberal males aren't all tweed-wearin', pipe-smokin', organic gardenin', candyasses. Some of us are crazed, gun-totin', cat-kickin', carnivorous anarchists. 3 words: Hunter S. Thompson Some of us are against gun control. Some of us view PETA's and abortion clinic picketer's tactics as cut from the same annoying cloth. Some of us hunt and kill animals for sport. Some of us enjoy red meat, black gas station coffee, cornbread, gravy, Milwaukee's Best, death metal, and pussy. For me, to be liberal is to allow people to be free from fundamentalist and government oppressions. To despise the powerful elite and empathize with the common people. To avoid the slippery slopes that open easy-access routes for fascist controls. It's not whining about sports team names or cigarette ads. That kinda crap gives liberals a bad name. It's about fighting against the government's filthy habit of consuming our personal freedoms. In other words, you can't discount the freaks like me, the liberal libertarians. Sure, we may be nice guys, even "creepy" nice guys, but one thing is for sure. We sure as blackest hell ain't a bunch of sensitive kumbaya-singin' wussies.
Again, in case you missed the most important part, here it is: "For me, to be liberal is to allow people to be free from fundamentalist and government oppressions. To despise the powerful elite and empathize with the common people." (Though, to be fair, I also loved--"Some of us enjoy red meat, black gas station coffee, cornbread, gravy, Milwaukee's Best, death metal, and pussy.") Okay, I do have a point, which we are going to get to in a second, but let's talk about the libertarians I know--The Contrarian, sitting over there on the coast bitching about how the conservatives in South Carolina are too in love with Jesus to be of any use to him; Sarcastro... well, I get your emails, I know you've already formulated your opinions; and the Boy Scout, whose dog has a Bill Clinton chew toy. Why do I put up with such nonsense? Because each of them is ferociously engaged with life in a way that about knocks me over. There's a large contingent of conservativeness that is about establishing and preserving order. Not for these yahoos. They seem to thrive on confronting the chaos*, on challenging themselves and the people around them. I mean, is there anything off-limit to Sarcastro? If so, I haven't seen it. I've been trampled under foot a few times, but, my god, how can I not respect a man who never met a boundary he didn't want to cross? Which brings us back to Huck and to a strain of liberal men I adore, the fierce ones (see Huck, Chris Wage, Steve Pick, etc.) who not only have never met a boundary they didn't want to cross**, they really get that those boundaries are kind of arbitrary bullshit anyway. And, my god, when you read Huck talking about despising the powerful elite and empathizing with the common people, how can you not be reminded of that other Huck? How can you not be in love with this crazy idea that all the best, most interesting shit is happening among and with the regular, everyday folks? If there is some liberal agenda, Huck's totally got the first part and Donnell Alexander's got him covered with the second crucial point. So, here it is, my liberal agenda spelled out in the words of the crazy liberal men I love:
"For me, to be liberal is to allow people to be free from fundamentalist and government oppressions. To despise the powerful elite and empathize with the common people. To avoid the slippery slopes that open easy-access routes for fascist controls." (Huck) "It's about completing the task of living with enough spontaneity to splurge some of it on bystanders, to share with others working through their own travails a little of your bonus life." (Alexander)
Amen, my friends, amen. *With, of course, guns blazing. **Which brings us, of course, to why the libertarians are convinced they can convert me. In this regard, our world-views compliment each other enormously.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Some Cool Stuff About Mrs. Wigglebottom

  • When she's afraid, she hides in the tub.
  • She once had a tick on her belly and I didn't have any rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover* and so I thought that vodka might do the trick. So, the poor girl laid there on her back in the bathroom while I yanked at a big bloody tick and then poured vodka over the wound and she didn't even flinch.
  • She barks at red lights.
  • When I leave her in the car, she sits in the driver's seat until I get back.
  • She hates parades.
  • She once jumped into a tree at my mom's and got stuck a good eight feet up in the tree. I had no idea how I was going to get her out of the tree, but she eventually fell. Luckily, she landed in a good sized Illinois snow drift.
  • When I first got her, she'd stand upright at the edge of my bed watching me sleep.
  • When she's happy she has this kind of frolicking gate.
  • When she's really happy, she gets down very low to the ground and kind of crouches like a frog and scoots sideways very quickly, back and forth, while snorting. This happens very rarely, but when it does, it's hilarious.
  • She loves the cats and it hurts her feelings that they don't like her. Every day she tries to play with them and every day they turn up their noses at her and pretend they're too good for her, and then she has to come up on the couch and cuddle until she feels better.
  • Still, every once in a while, I find long cat hairs on her belly, which leads me to believe that they might be all sleeping together during the day.

*I'm sure most of you know this, but if you don't, the easiest way to get ticks off dogs (or people, for that matter) is to take a tissue and soak it in either rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover and put it over the tick. This will cause the tick to back out and make it easier to remove. For pets, it's a lot less traumatic than matches. But, hey, if you want to put matches near your kids, more power to you.

Iraqis Agree On One Thing

Well, let's give credit where credit is due: this administration has finally succeeded in bringing together the three major Iraqi ethnic groups and getting them to find some point of agreement. That point? That killing U.S. soldiers isn't really so bad. Take it away, Salah Nasrawi from the AP:
Leaders of Iraq's sharply divided Shiites, Kurds and Sunnis called Monday for a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S.-led forces in the country and said Iraq's opposition had a "legitimate right'' of resistance.
Sure, they say that terrorism wrong, but take a look at who has to die in order to move an act from "resistance" to "terrorism.": "killing and kidnapping targeting Iraqi citizens and humanitarian, civil, government institutions, national resources and houses of worships." Did they just forget that soldiers are not immortal? No, as Nasrawi reports, "In Egypt, the final communique's attempt to define terrorism omitted any reference to attacks against U.S. or Iraqi forces. Delegates from across the political and religious spectrum said the omission was intentional." Jesus Christ. My dog could run a war better than this administration and she spends 20 hours a day sleeping. I could run a war better than this administration and I'm a hippie liberal commie who opposes this war with every bone in my body. Because here's the thing. You cannot half-ass your way through a war. You can't say "oh, well, we're going to take down this dictator and liberate these people in their own country," because people do not want you sticking your nose into their business*. Even if they don't like their evil dictator, they don't want someone else coming in and telling them how to take care of shit. If you are going to go to war, you've got to be intent on smashing the shit out of the people you're at war with. You can't have some kind of fucked-up idea that you can go to war with a government and not with the people. You have to be prepared to be merciless. And, I'm sorry, but this is exactly why the current administration sucks at warmongering. The truly scary people, who get that there's no room for mercy and acquiescence in the midst of a fucking war, people, a war that we are in right now (argh!), are cowards who are hiding behind some kind of compassionate conservative idea that we can liberate the people of Iraq** and all the troops will be heroes and that heroism will rub off on an administration that barely knows what bravery looks like. So, every time you turn around, it seems like this administration is almost purposefully making things as difficult for our troops on the ground while at the same time deflecting criticism of the war effort by suggesting that any criticism of the administration hurts the troops. Never mind that letting the people who are supposed to be on our side in the country we're at war in decide that our forces are fair targets hurts our troops a hell of a lot more. What these folks need is a simple checklist for war-mongering: 1. Have you been attacked by said country? 2. If not, does that country have resources vital to your economy? 3. Would you benefit from being in direct control of said resources? 4. Will your allies understand? 5. If not, can you bribe them into understanding with the resources you're soon to come into? 6. Will the countries neighboring the country you're about to invade understand? 7. If not, are they sufficiently afraid of you? 8. Are you prepared to do whatever it takes to win control of said country? 9. Is your army prepared to go to war? 10. Do they have the training and equipment they need? 11. Say you get over there and you decide you don't really want that country, are you prepared to keep your people in power until the first generation of resistance to you is dead?*** 12. Do you have the support of your public? Since the administration asked itself none of these questions and seems unprepared to actually, you know, invade and occupy Iraq, but instead is doing invasion and occupation lite, I think we should just cut our losses and get the hell out of there. *Right? One can take an army into France and deliver them from the Germans because France was attacked by outside forces. But no one's stupid enough to say that we liberated the Germans from Hitler, because everyone understands that Germany had the leader it thought it wanted, and even now people are like "Fucking-a, Germany, what the fuck is wrong with you? Were you insane?" No one is stupid enough to see the Nazis as Hitler's victims. **This actually gets right to the heart of my objection to torturing people. Of course, I don't think we should torture people because it doesn't work. But I also don't think we should torture people if we're trying to run a "moral" war--which is, at its heart, what a war of liberation claims to be. Well, we cannot run a moral war (if such a creature exists) through immoral means. ***This is the part that makes me most irate. Why are we handing power over to the friends of our enemies? Give the country back to people who cannot remember what it was like before we got there.

The Creepy Nice Guy

Sorry, y'all, I got caught up in the thought of all the conservative blogging men I know enslaved to me and doing all my housework while naked and thus got distracted from the important bits of yesterday's post on the problems with liberal men. So, I wanted to start out by saying that I think we can't discount S-Town Mike's objection that we can't discount inter-faction fighting between people all competing for the same pool of vulnerable co-eds. Fair enough. But again, W. leads to enlightenment, as he asks for clarification between the "creepy nice guy" and guys who are nice. This is somewhat hard to explain, because a lot of it has to do with just the vibe the creepy nice guy gives off. Let's take the Wayward Boy Scout for example. When we came out of the strip club, he opened the truck door for me. Did I mind? Not at all. Why? Because he was being nice* and I assume that, in his paradigm, holding doors for women is his way of saying "Yeah, I'm probably not going to shoot you." But, and here's the problem, the creepy nice guy will also hold the door for you. The creepy nice guy will buy you flowers. The creepy nice guy will pay for your meal. See, the creepy nice guy will do all the things regular guys who are nice will do, but with a difference. Most straight guys** do nice things for women because they want the women to know they like them and want to be liked in return, in hopes, I presume, of eventually getting laid. But the creepy nice guy does these things because he hates women. The creepy nice guy doesn't send you flowers because he saw them and thought how beautiful you'd think they were and thus might be inclined to fuck him. The creepy nice guy sends you flowers because he wants to prove to you and to everyone around you that he is a nice guy and so, if you won't fuck him, it's because you're a bitch. Dwell on the fucked-up-ed-ness of the creepy nice guy here a moment. Once he decides that you're the object of his affections, he already presumes that 1. He's inherently attractive to any woman he meets and so 2., if you don't respond properly to his gestures, it's because 3., you're a man-hating whore, because 4. he apparently possesses the ability to read minds. So, you can see our dilemma when men do nice things for us. If we don't know them very well, it's hard to discern whether they're behaving those ways because they like us or because they're just waiting to hate us. But I actually think that it's point 4. that sheds real light on the problems between liberal women and liberal men. There are now creepy nice guys who have become so thoroughly familiar with feminist thought that we liberal women mistake them for guys who are nice, thoughtful, and on our side. When really, no, they are just the same old creepy nice guy who both thinks he deserves better than us and is shook to the core by the fact that we might not want him. And the fact that he presumes to know what we're thinking, because he's already read all the theory, well, obviously, in the face of that, it's nice to sit across the table from someone who will regularly say "Where the fuck did you get that idea?" Conservative men, I theorize, are benefiting from the expert camouflaging skills of the creepy nice guy within liberal circles. And, I surmise that, if it appears that all the easy girls start pursuing conservative men, the creepy nice guy will, once again, change his spots to blend in with that crowd. *Well, and I'm planning on someday opening a car door for him, just to see how uncomfortable it makes him, but that's just my own sad way of amusing myself. **And yes, I'm making broad generalizations. If you don't like it, the line to suck my butt starts over there.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Tub Troubles

Furry Lewis sings "The girl I love, she's got great long curly hair." From this, we can deduce one of two things. Either Furry Lewis was a better amateur plumber than I am or his girl washed her hair outside. Because, believe me, once you've pulled big wads of my hair out of your bathroom drain, you're not feeling so loving towards me. You're definitely not going all the way to Brownsville to see me. I had that fucker apart in two places and it's still draining slow. I'm sure there's some big wad of hair and dirt and dead skin way up there where I can't get to it, but now I'm tired and pissed off, so I'm just going to bed. I can put in light fixtures. I can take in a dress with nothing but a little duct tape and a commercial break. I can even change a tire, if I can get the lug nuts to move. It irritates the piss out of me that I can't get the water out of my tub. Gravity should be on the water's side and the water is heavy and should be able to push whatever's stuck in there out of the way. I wonder if I could get a really long pipe cleaner in there to get things moving. Or firecrackers...

Catching Up Over Burritos

The Professor took me to lunch over to Qdoba, which is slowly growing on me, I must confess. She wanted to explain the many ways that having 57 lovers has taxed her lately. Seeing her limping towards me made me slightly concerned that they were taxing her physically as well as psychologically, but it turns out that she's fucked up her ankles yet again*. How bad was it? I was so distressed to see her in so much pain** that I threatened to email her brother and get her mom involved. Sadly, for me, as I was waiting for her, I came to realize that the days of wearing the orange jacket are over until spring. I'll have to empty my pockets and fill up the pockets of the blue coat instead. And, even more sadly, the blue coat has no pocket for my screwdriver, so I will have to leave that in the orange jacket. As we were eating, the subject of the Butcher came up and she asked me if he'd even bothered to clean the house. I said that when I got home it was so surprisingly clean that I wondered if he'd had a girl over. And then, I saw on the end table the reason for the cleanliness--a contraption so exquisite that I was almost moved to touch it. I will not tell you what it is, but you've been reading long enough to guess what could be so special to the Butcher that he would feel the need to make the house ready for it. Anyway, we have a bunch of apple tobacco in the freezer, so maybe that will finally get used up. *Just due to falling down, not due to the rigors of kicking the shit out of the patriarchy. **Though, for some reason, her hair looked spectacularly cute today.

What you can get me for Christmas

Come on. Is this not the coolest thing you've ever seen? I'd totally wear it walking home from work. I wonder if I could train the tiny cat to sit up there like that...

What's the Problem with Liberal Men?

So, my trip wasn't all a rollercoaster of fun and boredom. I also got very lost in Buckhead when I was supposed to be in Decatur and I sat in one Starbucks after another, which is extremely discombobulating after a while. All of them so similar; none of them quite the same. Anyway, strangely enough, I kept having these conversations with liberal lesbians that reminded me of W. As you all may recall from the manly afghan incident, I mistakenly assumed that W. was conservative. Sitting across from the second lesbian who, upon ascertaining that I was straight, leaned over and asked "So, is it true that liberal women are giving up on liberal men?" I realized that I assumed that W. was conservative because he's nice--and not in that creepy "nice guy" way, but genuinely nice. Well, holy shit. That's not really a bias you can realize in yourself without being a little shook by it. So, I was probably quieter than one might expect when it comes to gossiping about boys. But both of the women I was having coffee with have noticed that their straight liberal friends are giving up on liberal men*. One wondered if it wasn't their inability to refrain from fucking their students** and the other had this elaborate theory that we on the Left actually lack the ability to engage folks on the Right in real debate because the things we're upset about--racism, sexism, classism, fuckers in big pickup trucks pulling campers through Birmingham at 95 miles an hour with the trailer flailing behind it like a misbehaving child getting yanked outside for a spanking***, etc.--are not things that the Right is concerned about (because, since we don't actually talk to folks on the right, we have no idea what they're concerned about, we just attribute to them all kinds of negative crap), but the things we hate about each other. Again, holy shit. Anyway, I'm not sure what to make of it, but I thought I'd throw it out there for discussion. *For the sake of this entry, I should note that I didn't interrogate them to discern whether they were talking about all liberal men or just that pernicious subset of academic liberal men. **Thus lending credence to my theory that we're actually just talking about academic liberal men. ***That may be just me.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Settling In

The laundry is done. The afghan is started. The dog is laying on the couch, snoring, but her one ear is cocked up, like she fell asleep listening to me type. Is there anything better than a big old dog on a big old couch, waiting for you to join her? Okay, sure, a few things, but this is what makes me happy right now.

Lunch with the recalcitrant brother

I was thinking my whole ride home about Sarcastro's question about why it bothers me so much that the recalcitrant brother is a racist. I'm of two minds about it. I don't care that he's a racist. I don't like it, but it's not my business. Hate who you want, but live and let live. Which, then, is the problem with his association with the Klan--a group not known for their live and let live policy. I find that deeply embarrassing, both for him and for me, that he seems to lack the ability to extend that common courtesy to others. And so on the ride home I wondered about a lot of things. I wondered if I'd feel differently if I were married--if my primarily loyalty were to the family I created with my husband (even if that family were just the two of us and Mrs. Wigglebottom) instead of the family I'm born into. I wondered if I'd feel differently if we hadn't moved so much when we were little and I hadn't come to depend on my brothers as my closest friends and sometimes my only friends. And I wondered if I'd feel differently if it hadn't been the recalcitrant brother who's repeatedly stood up to the bullies in my life because I can't. I feel like I owe him so much and I feel fiercely loyal to him and I'd like for my loyalty to make sense without me having to explain my worst moments over and over again. I guess that's selfish and fucked-up on my part. Anyway, we went to Applebee's for lunch and talked a long time about the Butcher. When I told the recalcitrant brother I was walking home, he wanted to know why I didn't have a gun. "I have a gun within reach all the time," he said, leading me to wonder if a theme of my trip to Georgia wasn't "meals with men with guns." I told him what I told the Boy Scout--me getting a gun is just admitting that I'd like to learn how to get around with a very bad limp. After lunch, we walked very slowly around his neighborhood, while the littlest nephew rode his big-wheel along side us. We talked for a long time about our parents and then he told me how to fix our tub and I said that I'd see him on Thursday. And it was good and so I cried and felt so lonely I had to sit at the gas station and compose myself so that I could get home in one piece. All we have are each other, we three strangers tied together by fate and siblinghood, and we all want something for ourselves and each other that we don't know how to articulate. I still wish he'd come into Atlanta. It hurt my feelings that, when I told him I was coming, he said that he could come in without any trouble, his hours in the afternoon were flexible enough, and when I got there, he couldn't. But when we were standing in his bathroom, with him taking apart his tub so that I'd know what to do when I got home, I felt cared about and cared for and that was so nice and comforting and rare that it broke my heart.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

"I'm going away just to wear you off my mind"

The long hours are getting to everyone. The quiet guy sitting to my right has transformed into a hilarious, obnoxious mess. He's bitching about the South. He's demanding the right to go home early. I saw him packing things up at ten and I yelled over, "Hey, cheater, we're here until four." "You're here until four," he hollered back. "What you call 'cheating,' I call 'Getting the hell out of Dodge.'" Ah, citizens of Earth, if only he'd been so amusing yesterday or the day before, I might not have been wishing for a gun. But, I was thinking, if I had had a gun yesterday, I could have shot myself in the foot--thus getting me out of the hotel AND forcing the recalcitrant brother to come into the city to visit me in the hospital. But, you know, what the fuck? Instead of being bitter, I'm just going to sit down with the whole family at Thanksgiving and suggest that we have our family motto be: "The [our last names]: Total strangers will do better by us than we will." Then, I can get that tattooed on me some place where I can refer to it often, until I know it in my heart, and then I'll stop being so fucking hurt by their bullshit. Whew. That spot's tender. Let's go back to the people watching. The two girls to my left tend to answer in unison when they're unsure which one of them is being spoken to. The guy across from them is delightfully laid-back which, I think, has had a calming effect on everyone. The two girls across from me are cute as hell, but very no nonsense. What's the use in being cute as hell if you aren't any fun?* The woman directly to my right has been a riot this whole time. I'll be sitting quietly and she'll just lean over and say something like, "You're left handed?" "Yes." "Oh, my god. How gross!" Which is maybe not so funny in print, but I thought I was going to fall out of my chair. My dad just called to talk about Thanksgiving. I did not spring the motto-creation plan on him. Instead I had the pleasure of explaining to him yet again that I'm not doing Thanksgiving this year because, god damn it, the Butcher is a grown ass man who works at a store and owns a meat thermometer and I am not the fucking family social director. And so he should discuss meal planning with the Butcher. "Well, that's what your brother said, but I couldn't believe it." You know, you'd think a family so dependent on women for its well-being would be a little nicer to us. You'd also think that once I realized that I constantly take care of them in ways I wish they'd take care of me and once I realized that all that's done is lead them to expect that I will always take care of things, that I would stop taking care of things. But come on! I think we both know who, if any turkey has actually been procured, will be putting that fucker in the oven on Thursday. I can't decide if the trick is to stop taking care of people or just to find better people to take care of. Anyway, it's stupid to let them annoy me so much. Soon enough, I'll be done here and I'll have no obligations to anyone until Monday morning. I'm probably going to stop by the recalcitrant brother's house for lunch and I'll probably stop by Walmart to get some yarn for my next project. But none of these probablies are firm. And I'm buoyed by the knowledge that I will soon enough get into my car, slip out of town, and drive out of reach of everyone, at least for a little bit. *As Josh White reminds us, "Takes a nice teasing mama just to pacify my soul."

Okay, yes, I'm grouchy

No, it's not just because I'm bored. It's also because my brother, who I've not seen in months is sitting not an hour away from here and I've been here for a week and he won't come into the city to see me. Well, recalcitrant brother, I'm sorry, but yes, black people live in Atlanta. And I'm sorry you're uncomfortable with that. But I'm really sorry that I have to go out to the West Georgia Klanvarn to get an audience with you. And I'm really, really sorry that you don't like me better than you irrationally hate people who are different than you. And I'm a little pissed about it.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Diet Dr Pepper

America, I require very little in the way of special handling and I like to think that whatever annoying quirks I have, I've found work-arounds on my own. But my fragile world is held together by the presence of just a few non-negotiables--Mrs. Wigglebottom*, access to a vehicle, and Diet Dr Pepper. Today, I am without my dog and without my car. All I have is this Diet Dr Pepper between me and madness. Okay, fine, further madness. *I am now done being here mentally, which is pretty terrible because I still have until Sunday. But I've got nothing novel to look forward to, no more armed dinner companions, and, since the adventurous part of the trip is over, I'd really rather be at the park with my dog or curled up on the couch with her curled up next to me. I'm about ready to call home and leave her messages on the machine.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Trying to Alleviate Boredom

I will spend twenty-four hours over today, tomorrow, and Saturday, sitting in a conference room at a hotel. I am approximately two hours into it and I'm already dying of boredom. I tried coming back from lunch late, going to the bathroom, and buying some snacks. I'm checking every once in a while to make sure I can remember where I parked my car. I tried practicing sitting with Zen-like detachment, but I about fell asleep. I tried listening to my phone messages, but I got to the part where the Professor said "...and then the three of us got into bed and..." and my phone died. I'm contemplating masturbation. The Shill and I had a professor in college who had a hole in her doctoral robe pocket so that, she claimed, she could amuse herself while our college president droned on at Commencement. Now, I think I could scoot up under the table far enough that I could get up under my skirt with no one noticing--I mean, right now I keep looking up and nodding like I'm paying attention and I'm sure I just look like I'm taking copious notes, when really I'm amusing myself by jotting all this down so I can type it up later and no one is the wiser. So, I think I could, maybe, pull off some downstairs action, since the woman sitting next to me has sneaked off for some lunch. But the fact remains that the only think I do more than talk about my tits is absentmindedly touch them. Someone would notice that. Still, you hear about women who can squeeze their legs and shift around in their chairs discreetly and bring themselves to hands' free pleasure. Those women, if they really exist, are very lucky and I envy them. Ha, now I'm totally looking around the room trying to guess whether any of those women are here and as bored as me. I will be listening for quiet, satisfied sighs. That may be my only tip-off.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Wayward Boy Scout

I've been thinking about Sarcastro's Home for Wayward Girls and it tickles me because I now know, first-hand, that he just knows a lot of wayward people. Take Exador. Last night he promised to be a good influence on me--yes, suggesting that I, your kind host--was somehow a bad influence on him. And anyway, it must have worked, because this morning I woke up feeling very sympathetic to God. Poor God, who's all the time in the Old Testament looking down on folks and saying, "Oh my Self, you idiot mortal have called yourself the wrong thing." That's how I feel today--that a man has called himself so wrong that I must take the extraordinary step of giving a pseudonym to a pseudonymous internet identity. Call yourself what you want to, Exador. Around here, you're going to be the Wayward Boy Scout. How wayward, folks? Let me illustrate. Last night the Wayward Boy Scout came back to finish showing me all the cool places in town. I was exhausted from all the drinking and the sightseeing from the night before, but this is a man you trust can keep a person entertained, so I dragged my sorry ass back out again. We had pizza and beer, which coupled with the utter exhaustion, went straight to my head. So, at some point we're sitting in the most awesome strip club ever with all these drugged out alterna-chicks dancing on a platform not three feet from us, and the Wayward Boy Scout is lecturing me--me, who has ever taken zero people to strip clubs to throw dollar bills in people's underwear--about the immorality of government. I shit you not. But I don't disagree. Of course the government is immoral. Imposing your will on other adults is always, to some extent, immoral. But my point was, "So what?" And he attempted to make some kind of argument--in a strip club mind you--about the necessity of fleeing from immorality. Anyway, I owe the Wayward Boy Scout big time and so I'm going to make him an afghan to show my gratitude. Though, perhaps, I'll leave the ends loose so that he can practice his knot tying, because it's apparent to me that he needs to brush up on some of the foundational tenets of Scouting.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Another Brief Update

Exador took me to a biker bar last night. Yes, a biker bar. There was some short Vince Neil looking dude, lots of beer, and the most hilarious bathroom ever, full of warnings against heavy petting. I'm just saying that the bar for Tiny Cat Pants reader behavior has been set awfully high.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Brief Update

There are hookers too good for my hotel. Seriously, this place is a dump and the recalcitrant brother refuses to come into town to meet me. The directions to his house? "Get off the interstate at the Bremen exit. Go to the Marathon station and turn. Go to the other Marathon station and turn again. Look for my car." Other than that, it's cool. More later.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Farir & aftr komir

I'm leaving y'all yet again. I'll try to check in when I can, but you know how that goes when I'm on the road. Meanwhile, let me offer you some fresh and new recommendations for blogs to browse while I'm gone. Three Men Joined by a Theme: The Church Secretary--Warning! If you are a woman, clicking this link will unleash in you a certain noise, the "oh my god, look at that little nose!" noise. Men, you will also feel the need to make that noise, but I trust most of you will be able to contain yourself. Church Secretary, congratulations! Make me proud: raise that girl to be loud and opinionated and to rule the world with her liberal ways! The Saucy Monk--Canada--it's like the United States, but with less Pat Robertson bullshit. The Unapologetic Atheist--How can you not love something that starts "Just another blog from a 'freedom-hating' American"? Two People Who Should Post More: Shug--She's known me half my life. She blogs while drunk. And she, the shiest person I know, is hanging out in bars, trying to pick up chicks. Go over and cringe in self-recognition. Huck--Huck is the type of guy that, when you have lunch with him, you both wish you'd invited eight more people you know would have gotten a kick out of him, and you're glad no one else came along, because you're selfish. If I were smarter and more well-organized in my thoughts, I'd be either: Chris--Well, I'd need a penis, too. Lindsey--I wish I were that articulate. In case you're wondering what would be pissing me off: Kleinheider--I once told Kleinheider that I used his last name as my safe word*. He was both disgusted and flattered. That pretty much sums up how I feel about the privilege of reading him. All right. If that doesn't give you some shit to keep you busy, I just don't know what will. So, I'll see you when I can and I'll be back next week. *For the record, that's not true.

Saturday, November 12, 2005


My big afternoon movie was "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World," which I was delighted by. I hadn't ever seen it before and didn't know anything about it. So, I was laughing during the credits, just at the bizarre incongruity of seeing all the names of the different people in the movie--from Spencer Tracy to the Three Stooges. Then, I laughed consistently from start to finish. Here are some things I really liked about it. 1. The pacing. On the one hand, it seems like chaos, like a lot of things are happening all at once and for no reason. But on the other hand, each joke is allowed its own life. Hmm. I don't know if I'm really getting at it, but there's a way in which things go on for just the right amount of time. Things that aren't quite that funny don't go on too long, but things that are really funny aren't rushed. There, that's it. There's a sense that nothing's rushed. Everything goes at its own pace. We don't have to hurry to the punchline, because there's plenty of funny along the way. 2. The physical comedy is really beautiful, almost like you're watching dancers. 3. Which leads me to how beautiful the whole film was. Just the way it looks on the screen is really stunning. I don't just mean the scenery, which was lovely, but everything, from the way things were placed in the background, to the way the camera moved, to the graceful ways the cars turned and swerved. 4. It was nicely self-contained. 5. There are funny airplanes. I don't know why I love funny airplanes, but I do, and there are some. So, I liked it and was glad to have something worthwhile to waste the afternoon on. And all those cars! It made me excited to be driving mine tomorrow.

1,400 Pound Meteorite Found in Kansas

Yahoo reports that a 1,400 pound meteorite was found two weeks ago in Kansas. This discovery has been cited by scholars as further proof of the historical accuracy of DC comics.

Boredom Has Set In

So, you have to leave this conditioner in for twenty minutes while you sit with a warm, wet towel on your head. First of all, there is no way to keep a wet towel warm for twenty minutes. Second, why does all the girly shit have to smell? Or, at the least, why does it all have to have different smells? I swear, if you were to fuck me right at that moment when all the lotion and shampoo and conditioners and soap and detergent and deodorant had reached their smelly equilibrium, it'd be like fucking a very warm, less crunchy, funeral arrangement.

Gwen Stefani

Is my heart softening to Gwen Stefani? I really like her new song, "Luxurious," and I just realized, upon seeing some old video of hers, that I really liked it too. I'm disconcerted. Is the war over?

One Last Carless Day For a While

So, I got up, ran my errands, took the dog to the park, and then went to Walgreens to get everything I need to spend nine hours trapped at the end of a dead end street a little too far from anything interesting. Pizza, hair conditioner, a big old bone for the dog, and those awesome dessert bars with the coconut and the walnuts and chocolate and butterscotch chips. If you know the ones I mean, I feel bad for you that you will be missing out on them. I've got a movie to watch and dishes to do. All that, plus internet porn ought to take me through the day.

6:30 Saturday Morning

Okay, now this time change thing has really gotten out of hand. At 6:30, the dog and I were having a disagreement about who got to sleep near the pillows and I got up to go to the bathroom. I looked at the clock on the wall and it said 7:50. This seemed reasonable considering how light it was and--pow--that adrenaline rush you get when you've promised to be somewhere at 9 a.m. and it's already almost 8 and no one has walked the dog or fed the cats or taken a shower kicked in. After eating breakfast, I checked the time--7:20. Damn you early morning light. Damn you dead clock battery. And damn you, cruel circumstance, which gave the dog another hour in bed right in the warm spot near the pillows, which, as the owner of said bed, is rightfully mine.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Lunch with W.

Lately, there seems to be an informal and lovely tradition of my readers taking me out to eat. Today was W.'s turn. We went to the Mellow Mushroom. I had half a steak and cheese sandwich. W. had something that came with a heap of sprouts on top, which struck me as funny. Not the sprouts, but the vast amount of them, as if a person might want to build himself a little wall of alfalfa sprouts in order to hide behind them from the crazy blogger lady across the table. Since W. is an engineer, I've no doubt he could have designed a very sturdy wall out of all of those sprouts, if he'd felt like it. He did not. He did, however, come up with the most ingenious idea, which I now share with you. Seeing as how old men find me so irresistible they must stop and offer me rides as I'm walking home and seeing as how I have a dog that can leap from behind a chair over the top of the chair and into the laps of unsuspecting patrons of said chair, W. proposes that I use my odd ability to attract the affections of old men to attract the affections of a rich old man. Upon marrying him, I let the dog leap over the back of the chair and into his lap, thus causing him to have a heart attack, thus leaving me so wealthy that I can have a chauffeur drive delightfully tiny hors d'oeuvres around to all my readers, starting with W., since he came up with the idea. I gave W. his afghan, which he either liked or faked liking sufficiently enough to please me. I think he was expecting something more frou-frou looking, or at least more green, but it was, as promised, sufficiently manly. He also had this brilliant idea that I should make up t-shirts for liberals to wear that would say "Yes, Republicans, We are Fuckers!" But the more I think about it, the more that seems like the kind of shirt that might be misconstrued, depending on where the line-breaks went, and if there's anyone you don't want misconstruing things, it's people who are well-armed. I have been thinking, though, that a perfect T-shirt might read "Tool of the Patriarchy." Anyway, it's delightful and strange to meet y'all and I hope you find me strange and delightful in return.


I'm sure there will be shitloads of effusive praise heaped on the members of our armed forces today. So, I'm not going to bother piling it on. Instead, I'll just say that y'all* have my heartfelt thanks. Yes, even pinko commie liberal hellcats love our veterans. *Yes, even Mr. "I've got a permanent home at the top of B.'s shitlist."

Heideggerian Dating

I watched this movie last night which advocates, as one of its core conceits, taking Heidegger's observation that "We pursue that which retreats from us" as sound advice on how to fuck chicks. Yes, my friends, let that sink in. A little more. Now, imagine spreading this idea--that we might use Heidegger as a philosophical cornerstone for our interactions with others--to all facets of our lives. I, for one, will be basing all my further career advancement on the notion that it's not my problem if my colleagues keep "mysteriously" disappearing.

The Third Amendment

[Listen, Conservative Readers, this is going to quickly go someplace you don't like. I mean it. If you read beyond this warning, I don't want to hear ANY bitching about how you were blind-sided by the baby killing.] I've been thinking a lot about the Third Amendment--the poor, neglected middle child of the Bill of Rights--not as flashy as the first amendment, not as easily recognizable as the second. No criminals count on it. No one since the Civil War has even needed it. There it sits with its simple, antique protection against having to house soldiers in times of peace:
No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.
There's been almost no litigation pertaining directly to the third amendment, but I think it's time to dust this puppy off and put it back to work. It seems to me that, rather than hanging our right to end unwanted pregnancies on an unarticulated right to privacy*, we should be hanging it on the articulated right to decide who lives in our own damn house. Why? Because anti-abortionists have successfully reframed the abortion debate. They've argued in the court of public opinion that some mass of cells wholly dependent on a woman for its continued existence is a person in the same way the woman carrying it is and won. And, they've made a seemingly convincing argument that, if an embryo or a fetus is alive and a person in the same way a woman is, that it should have rights, especially a right to life. And, as long as the abortion debate is framed in terms of privacy, people who think they can legislate morality will feel free to butt into matters that aren't their business under the guise of protecting the "rights" of the unborn. And as long as pro-choice folks remain mealy-mouthed about things--when life begins, whether there are ever times when abortion is wrong, whether there might be something to be gained by kicking things back to the states--it seems like there's some room for negotiation and compromise. But there's not. So, fine. Let's say a fetus is a person. Then, when the rights of this person come into conflict with the rights of the woman, rather than the ridiculous state of affairs we have now, where the anti-abortionists argue that this pre-born class** of person is so unique that its needs take precedence over the rights of the woman, we can settle the matter like we settle any matter where the needs of two people come into conflict, by looking to the law. The Cult of True Pre-born Human-Hood As it stands now, we have something of a cult of true pre-born human-hood. Much like the cult of true womanhood that we had to suffer through in the 80s and 90s--in, I suspect, direct retaliation for Susan & Elizabeth getting all uppity in Seneca Falls--this cult is also based on the notion that some people are so precious and perfect that they must be protected from the rigors of the cruel world.*** Also suspiciously like the cult of true womanhood, this cult is based on the notion that such beliefs about this special class of people entitles society to monitor the behavior of women to ensure that nothing corrupts the perfect state of this special class of people. In other words, what pro-choice people need to be more cognizant of is that the kinds of "rights of the pre-born" that anti-abortionists argue for are not the same kinds of rights that real people have, but special rights that allow these pre-born "people" to infringe upon the liberty of women. Here's Some Stuff I Get Annoyed About Having to Repeat Sex is not some mysterious dirty thing that good girls only do when married and only whores do otherwise. Children are not the proper punishment for sex. Viewing pregnancy as the "proper" outcome of a sexual encounter and insisting that a woman attempt to carry a pregnancy to term as the proper punishment for daring to be close to someone and enjoy her own body is fucked up. It's not just fucked up for what it does to women. It's fucked up for what it does to kids. Kids deserve to be raised by people who want them. They are not little eternal punishments and it leads to a lot of terrible, terrible things when parents see them as such. As well, babies are not magic. Having one in you does not transform you into a good person****. My sister-in-law has one of the cutest, sweetest kids ever. She's still her. And that kid could melt the devil's heart, so that's saying something. Also, pregnancies are still messy, complicated, difficult affairs under the best of circumstances. It's not like getting a Coke from the machine, where you drop your coin in the slot and nine months later out pops something refreshing, with little effect on the pop dispenser. It's hard to get pregnant. It's hard to keep a pregnancy going. They fail all the time, and for reasons doctors don't always understand. Pregnancies are dangerous for women--not just because we're more likely to get murdered while pregnant--but because we still die trying to bring life into the world. If you haven't seen it yet, I recommend you head over to Redneck Mother's post, where she talks frankly about all the different ways her pregnancies went. Host & Guest So, I suggest that we reframe the debate in terms of guest and host. I might love to have guests. I might even announce that I'm open to the possibility of having a guest over on Sunday. Being open to having a guest on Sunday doesn't mean that I'm morally required to entertain guests on Thursday. It doesn't mean that the government can force me to have guests over on Saturday. And it doesn't make me a hypocrite if I didn't want guests on Thursday but am sad that the guest I was hoping for on Sunday never showed up. One positive side-effect to reframing the debate in terms of hosting a guest is that it helps make it clear that one, such as me, can be both pro-abortion and think that prosecuting people who commit crimes against pregnant women with two crimes (one against the woman and one against the "pre-born person") is a good idea. No one should be able to force a woman to host a "pre-born person," but just as clearly, no one should be able to force that woman to not host that pre-born person or to attempt to prevent her from doing so. Conclusion Since the government is specifically forbidden from forcing people to live with other people--according to the third amendment--it ought to stand to reason that the government cannot force a woman to host a pre-born person without her consent. We need to stop relying on an unarticulated constitutional right to privacy to protect our bodily autonomy, and start testing whether the third amendment is weighty enough to assure women's liberty. *Though, I should point out that that fount of all Santorum knowledge--my hero, Dan Savage--is leading the push for a Constitutional amendment guaranteeing a right to privacy, which seems like a damn good idea, though I wonder how sex-hating cultural conservatives will ever be able to fuck if they can't feel legally and morally justified about getting angrily aroused at the thought of all the dirty things gays are doing to each other. **Yeah, I, too, find it funny that unborn people get special rights, but heaven forbid any other groups do. *** I suspect some of you may need a refresher course on the cult of true womanhood, so let me just remind you that it was based on the idea that there were separate spheres for men and woman and that men got to go out and be in the world and women stayed home and served as moral examples to their children. As wikipedia so astutely puts it: "The Cult of Domesticity identified the home as the 'separate, proper sphere' for women, who were seen as morally superior to and purer than men." See, we were supposed to be happy being confined to the house because we were special and both needed protection from the big bad world and were the only things standing between men and their almost inevitable corruption from said big bad world. As soon as they let us out of the house in the Jazz era, we took off all our clothes, danced lewdly, and drank a lot of gin--so you can see how happy we were to be sitting around at home while you hung out at the brothels. (One might notice a pattern here about women's responses to particularly repressive time periods--the flappers and the hippies both coming after bull-shitty returns to "traditional" values.) ****Though there's something really interesting about the cross-arguments that anti-abortionists seem to be making--both that pregnant women are vile and depraved and their unborn babies must be protected from them by the law and that, if only pregnant women seeking abortions were shown enough sonograms or given enough counseling, the magic of the baby would transform them into selfless incubators of joy.