Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Shake 'Em On Down

On days like today, when I never do find the rhythm of the day and nothing seems to come together how I want it to, and I come home and it's a little too warm in the house and smells like stale dog, I have one sure fire cure. Bukka White's "Shake 'Em On Down." I'm going to share it with you. Go ahead. Download this puppy. When I hear this, it reminds me of late nights out on the porch, the smell of pine hanging slightly in the air. You can almost hear the crickets and the squeak of a rocking chair in the guitar part. This is a song for dancing around your house while you do the dishes, hoping for a cool breeze to come in the kitchen window. And this is a song that plays in the background of any party and entices heads to bob. And this is a song for a late night stop on a back road, with a couple of cold beers in you already and one in your hand that hangs slightly behind you and the other one is draped over the shoulder of the guy you've enticed out of the car. "Where are your shoes?" "Don't worry. We'll find them later.*" "You're crazy." "I hear that from people." "How do you even dance to this?" "You've got to come closer." "I hate this music. It's so fucking weird." "Then I'll dance by myself." "It'd be better if you were like other girls." Well, shit. That sucked. I forgot about that part. I was thinking about the dark trees and the moon and the feel of the gravel on my feet and how good and alive I felt. Fuck it. That's how I feel when I hear this song, like there should be dancing and sly grins and good times. I've got to stop taking shit like that personally and I've got to stop hauling it out like it deserves any space all this time later. I'd be better off devoting my time to shakin' 'em on down. Anyway, now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure I was trying to convince him to dance to Bessie Smith and I should have known better than to expect him to be comfortable with any song called "Do Your Duty." So, yes, "Shake 'Em On Down." Good times. *You will, too. Not the sock, that's gone, but the shoes are in the back seat where you left them.


Fine, obviously no one wants to talk about what it means to be a man and I neglected to give you my grand list of what I'm looking for in a mate** so let's just call this morning's post a bust. But look at this instead:
I find it so easy, always, always, to fall in love with the utter impossible romanticism of the whole Beat experience, and found myself looking longingly at the photos of North Beach in the fifties, thinking, I was born too late.
Isn't that nice? And here's where the hopscotching comes in. I read Sarcastro (in case you haven't noticed), who reads this dude, who linked to the chick who wrote those words. It must be like the thrill some folks get out of shopping--flipping through rack after rack of not quite right things only to finally find something that makes you gasp--the feeling I have when I'm following blog trails and stumble across something written by someone I don't know and won't ever know that makes me go "Ah, yes, that's just right." *Yes, it is a Cortazar reference! Suck my butt, you experimental fiction haters. I'll read what I want, or in this case, intend to someday read it and never get around to it but still reference it anyway. **I was thinking about this at lunch and I think my requirements are--1. funny 2. smart 3. self-assured and cantankerous without being too obnoxious 4. adores me 5. makes me feel safe 6. sweet 7. calls me on my bullshit 8. loves my dog 9. loyal 10. will accompany me to boring-ass crap so that I have someone to snark with 11. tolerates my family.

When Did It Go Wrong for Men?

Before we start, can I just say how weird it is to be thinking about Carl Sandburg while walking Mrs. Wigglebottom only to come in and find that Ryan wrote about Carl Sandburg last night? Am I reading his mind? Is he reading mine? If so, poor Ryan. I give the impression that my mind is constantly racing with kinky things, but really, it's a lot about whether the cats have food and if I remembered to turn the stove off. Anyway, I was thinking about men this morning. Actually, I was thinking about an offhanded comment that Exador made a long time ago* about me being one of those women who can't make up their minds about what they want in terms of men. I don't think this is true, only because I've never sat down and articulated for myself what I wanted in a man, so I'm not sure one could then fairly say I've changed my mind. But I was watching some show on MTV2 this weekend about the crisis of black masculinity and how all these black entertainers grew up without positive male role models, especially fathers. I'm not going to argue with that or dispute it; I don't want to get off track. But it seems to me that the problem is larger than that--that it's not clear for anyone what it means to be a man and how to transmit those values to young boys. Instead, we have, I think, what Snoop accurately observed, boys teaching boys how to be men. When did it go wrong for men? I know some of you have your fingers hovering right above the "f" key, ready as soon as I'm done to blame the feminists for the muddle that is trying to figure out what being a man means and how to be it. But I was thinking about the men in my family and what that must have been like for my great grandfather to be raising his family in an old house that was also a chicken coop and barn on the land of some other man. That's what got me thinking of Carl Sandburg--"Under the terrible burden of destiny laughing as a young man laughs." There was a moment when being a man meant being Midwestern, or like a Midwesterner. And for a generation of men, sandwiched between the Wars, being Midwestern meant failing--that you would do everything you could, work from sun up to sun down, and there wouldn't be enough money or the crops would fail or the bank would close anyway. We've never had to face this head on, because the story we tell is that we "fixed" the Depression by saving the world and coming home and having a bunch of babies and throwing our energy into fighting communism. But I think that knowledge is still there, itching at the back of our brains, that you can do everything a man is supposed to do and you can still have to pack up your 12 year old son's meager belongings and send him out to fend for himself because you can't feed him. I mean, I think that implicit in the definition of "man" is a guy who provides for the people he cares about. The Depression made that impossible for a lot of American men. But the story we tell never acknowledges that. And I think that remains a large problem. So, I guess this is a long way around to asking what do you think makes a man? And how do you learn those things? And what do you do when those things don't work? *I do this--you say stuff to me you don't mean for me to take too seriously, and I do. Nashville Knucklehead said to me the other day "Why do you feel so guilty?" In context, it made sense. But something struck me about it in a larger sense, too. I don't have an answer, but I'm chewing on it.

Monday, February 27, 2006

It's Not a Mess, It's the Butcher's Studio

I got home from work and the house was just as messy as it always is, with the addition of the aforementioned mail. I asked the Butcher what he did all day and he claims he slept and worked on his art. I think it's been a while since I've told you guys about the Butcher's art, so allow me to refresh your memories. He does a lot of work where he melts crayons onto canvases in interesting, trippy patterns. And he makes these wire figures. Lately, he's been covering the wire figures in melted crayons. And documenting it on film. Some of you may recall that he took a class in how to put on your own cable-access show this summer, which I thought, might lead to something interesting. Of course, seeing as it's the Butcher, it has. Now, a part of our living room is designated the Butcher's "studio." And set up in one corner is a camera. And right next to it? A tiny spotlight. It is to this tiny spotlight that I'd like to turn our attention. This spotlight started out life as one of those cheesy candles over-zealous, but fire-safe Christians put in the windows at Christmas--a molded piece of plastic in the shape of a candle and its holder, with a wire running up the middle of it to provide electricity to a small 15 watt bulb. The Butcher has made two slight modifications. There's a toilet paper tube around the candle which, as far as I can tell, serves no purpose other than decoration. And then, there's a more elaborate modification on top. He's lined a toilet paper tube with aluminum foil, cut a hole in the bottom, and set the whole thing on top of the light, to focus the... Waves? Particles that somewhat act like waves? Photons? Rays? Beam? Whatever. Which means that whenever he sits down to work on his art, there's this elaborate ritual of adjusting the light and staring through the camera and adjusting the light again which must take place. I'm still not sure why he has to tape his creative process, because, from the outside, it doesn't look that exciting, and he doesn't seem prone to forgetting how he's done it in the past. So, I suspect these little crayon covered creatures are the impetus. I imagine, when I'm at work, the Butcher concocts elaborate soap operas starring his wire things. And the taping of his art production is just a cover so that I'll never bother to watch the videos to see what's really on them. Of course, I can't even work the MP3 player, so, in real life, the chances of me figuring out how to look at whatever he's taped on the camera are slim to none, which is why I have to make up stories about what he's doing in the corner of the living room with all those crayons and the tiny spot light in the first place.

The Shill Makes Me Cry

The Butcher finally retrieved the mail for the month and I was sorting through it looking for bills to pay, when I came across a gift card from the Shill and the Legal Eagle, I presume. She says it's from those of you that love me. Could I be any more spoiled? Thanks.

Phantom IHOP

They have treatments for phantom limbs, but nowhere can I find an answer for what to do when you feel the pain of an IHOP no longer there. The IHOP at the corner of Broadway and 21st has been gone for years, and yet today, I thought, I'm going to treat the Butcher to lunch and we will sit in one of the big sunny booths and watch the traffic go by just like we did when we first moved here. Then, I remembered that it's not there anymore. But today, I can see that old map of the stars' homes that used to hang in the vestibule and hear the kitchen noises in my head as clear as day. I've come to think of my memory like a vast bog and every day, I go to the edge of it and throw my valuable thoughts into it, to appease whatever lurks there. Some things end up gone forever. But often other things come to the surface, like the Tollund Man, looking so freshly dead, that I can't believe how long ago they happened. The Butcher teases me about having no memory. And, in some way, that's true. He's got the bear-trap mind and can recall names and dates and faces and roads to places I never, ever want to go again. I don't bother to hold onto those things. As soon as I have them in my hand, I toss them away, so that no one can ask me to turn them over, to explain my relationship to them. But sometimes, memories just erupt. I don't know how else to explain it. It feels almost violent and I sometimes have to grab hold of my chair to keep me grounded in the present, they come bubbling out from that bog there inside me and, like a bubble bursting, whatever kept me from recalling those instances--whatever spell normally keeps my past safely shrouded from me--is gone and there those memories are. Forever afterwards accessible to me, behaving just like normal memories do, I imagine. It's weird, too, because they aren't ever really memorable moments. It's not like I lost the moment of the Butcher's birth, only to find it later. No, they're just ordinary moments, like a sunny day in a long-gone restaurant wasting a lunch hour with your little brother.

Things that Make Me Smile

  • Exador's mom called the cops on him because he espouses "Extreme Right Wing Views" on his blog. I read this before I went to bed and then spent all last night thinking about whether I could convince his mom to pack him up and ship him to my "reeducation camp" and what such "reeducation" might consist of.
  • The Tiny Cat Pants mugs appear to be very cute in real life.
  • Peg's advice to Plimco in the comments of this post has convinced me that we should appoint Peg Ambassador of Food. She could just go around making sure that everyone has tasty things to eat and knows how to prepare them.
  • I have my car today.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Puke-Associated Things I Cleaned Today

1. The sink. 2. The front of the sink. 3. The floor in front of the sink. 4. My pajamas. 5. The shower curtain. 6. The glass of water I meant to drink, but instead dumped all over me and the bed when I passed out fell asleep Friday night. 7. The dog. In all fairness, she was not puke-associated, but since I was cleaning the tub anyway, she did have some previous ketchup stains I wanted to get after. 8. A shot glass. Also, I should say that many of these things were already cleaned once by the Butcher yesterday (Thanks, Butcher), but you know how sometimes you're just convinced you can still smell it? I was convinced I could still smell it. But I bleached the shit out of everything, so nothing organic can possibly have survived. Cleaning the shot glass, though, alerted me to another problem. I now have half a bottle of Gentleman Jack that cannot possibly be opened in our house without causing me to gag. I thought about having a contest and the winner would get the rest of the whiskey. But then I thought about how I probably should just give it to the man who had to "enjoy" the first half of the bottle as it ran around his house making an ass of itself Friday night. And so, that is what I shall do, as soon as I can bring myself to look at it again.

The Books Meme

Sarcastro tags me to play this little game and, since I'm grateful to learn that he's still speaking to me after Friday night*, I will oblige him. [1] Name 5 of your favorite books --The Poetic Edda. What can I say about this book that I haven't said before? It's the little-acknowledged reason for every nerdy Saturday night spent across this great world playing Dungeons & Dragons. It's the spiritual ancestor to The Lord of the Rings and it's full of magic, sex, adventure, and wisdom. Except for the part where most everyone dies, even the gods you love, it's a wonderful gift from our ancestors**. --Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman. Everyone should take the time to read "Song of Myself" out loud, once. I think you can love it seeing it on the page, but hearing it out loud? Good god damn. Whitman is bold and crazy and his sentences meander across the page like long rivers he's traveling down, coaxing you with him. Whitman knows America, sees us in our Sunday best and sees us in our dirty underwear and loves us at both moments equally. Plus, there's a barbaric yawp at the end. I've never told anyone this before, but it's a secret dream of mine to have the libertarians read that stanza to me (I don't know under what circumstances that might transpire, but I guess you never know) and to watch them barbarically yawp. That would delight me. Do libertarians read poetry outloud? I don't recall there being any rule against it in Libertarianism: A Primer. --Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino. This may be my favorite book ever. I can't find my copy, which makes me heartsick. But here's the premise: Marco Polo is in the court of Ghengis Khan, telling him stories about all of the cities he's seen. If you aren't familiar with Calvino, he's incredible. He writes this experimental fiction that, unlike most experimental fiction, is light and playful and beautiful and dream-like. I don't know that Invisible Cities is his best work, but it's my favorite. --The Wake Forest Book of Irish Women's Poetry. I quote from this all the time, so I think my love for it is already apparent. It's just full of good stuff. --The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. It's a good thing most writers are idiots, because if they weren't, they couldn't read this book and still set out to write "The Great American Novel." Here is it, America. Here it is. What more can you say about how wonderful this country is and how deeply, deeply fucked up the ways we treat each other are? I've said it before and I'll say it again, the fact that we're still, 150 years later, missing the central bitter joke of this book--that Nigger Jim, a piece of property, is the only real man Huck knows--just proves that Twain knows us better than we care to admit. Yes, the ending sucks. Is that a "problem?" I guess only if you think that the answers to our problems are easy and within reach--Twain knows better than that. That's the second central bitter joke of the book. [2] What was the last book you bought? Shoot, I haven't bought a book in so long... I think it was Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, a book I just adored. [3] What was the last book you read? Libertarianism: A Primer as you well know. [4] Name five books that have particularly meaningful for you. The Redneck Manifesto by Jim Goad most recently. Sarcastro lent this to me and it blew my mind. Yes, I think his anger is scatter-shot in ways that dilute his point, but his point--that it serves a particular group's purpose to make sure that poor people are unaware of their own history--is really important. Things Invisible to See by Nancy Willard. If any book could have kept me Christian, it's this one. God, baseball, the Midwest, and World War II. At the end, when the baseball players throw the game for the women, I cry and cry every time I read it. The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf. Wolf is a nut and she's got some issues. But she makes this point in this book that haunts me--that we women talk about ourselves and our relationship to food in religious terms and we rarely think about what that implies. When we have dessert, we're being "bad." Foods are "sinfully" delicious. When we lose weight, we're being good. So, how we look is not just an aesthetic issue, but has become deeply tied into whether or not we feel we're worth-while at a soul level. Nine Worlds of Seid-Magic: Ecstasy and Neo-Shamanism in North European Paganism by Jenny Blain. I'm sure many cultures are tired of white folks showing up to study them and participating in their rituals and bothering their dead folks. Blain bothers her own dead folks and talks in a scholarly way about how she does it. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. I read this book in middle school and felt like a whole world opened up to me. I had no idea that people like me could write books and that they could write them about ordinary folks. Then I read this book and decided I was going to be a famous author before I was 20. Oops. [5] Three books you are dying to read but just haven't yet. Love and Theft by Eric Lott. Yes, in part, because it shares a name with the Bob Dylan album. Race, Rock, & Elvis by Michael Bertrand. I have a huge intellectual crush on Bertrand's chapter on Elvis in A Boy Named Sue so I'm dying to see what he says about him in this much space. A History of Pagan Europe by Prudence Jones. [6] Tag five people to go through this same ordeal. Whoever wants to do it, feel free to claim to be tagged by me. I'll never say any different. *Though I'm not sure the Boy Scout or Sarcastro's Sugar Momma are... **Christianity gets blamed, rightly, for a lot. But, in this case, as in the case of Beowulf, I'm glad some literate person at least put this shit on paper.

How It Went

I wasn't nervous, probably because I was just so relieved to not feel sick. The Butcher had asked me earlier if he was going to have to put on a dress and pretend to be me and go out there and read my lines. For most of the day, I was afraid that might be the case. Here's the thing, folks--in real life, I'm awkward. I feel awkward. And the women who were in The Vagina Monologues are extraordinary. And I kept feeling like the coolest stuff, for me, was happening behind the scenes, just getting to hang out with these women who kick so much ass. I just had two small parts, a happy cooter fact and a sad cooter fact, but these women were getting up on stage and telling long cooter stories, and then coming back stage and laughing and talking in hushed voices and everyone was constantly hugging each other and smiling and I just felt incredibly honored to be there with them. Any one of them could have read my two cooter facts and no one would have missed me. And so that made me feel deeply honored, too, that they would give me a little room on the stage. Even so, it didn't really hit me until I stepped out on the stage to give my happy cooter fact and there I was, bathed in light, and I couldn't see anyone else. Just darkness and a spot of light to stand in and a microphone with that waffle of silver wire over the head. And that's when I was awe-struck. Here I was, your lowly blogger, on the stage at the Belcourt Theater, once the home of the Grand Ole Opry*, where Miss J. and I saw Gillian Welch, and, according to the sign on the dressing room door, Raul Malo had been recently. It seemed pretty silly, frankly. Not in a bad way, but just in one of those "Wow, how the fuck did this happen?" ways. Weird things constantly happen to me, but it's been a long time since something really pleasantly strange has. And it felt good. I am all for the return of some happy fortuities around here, let me tell you. So, shoot, you want to throw me out on a stage used to bearing the weight of people I admire, and if that audience wants to laugh at and with me**, I'm not going to say no. It was amazing. And I feel very lucky. Then, afterwards, I was standing in front of the stage and I heard a familiar voice shrieking "B.! B.!***" and The Big E and the Butcher came running over to give me hugs. Then, I went back stage to get my stuff and I came out and said good-bye to folks and hugged everyone I could find and looked around and there was the Butcher standing in the back of the house, wearing his big brown leather coat, with a big smile on his face, and he lifted his hand to wave at me, and I walked up to him and he said, "No, that was really good." And I said, "I'm really glad you came." And he said, "I liked it." And I felt lucky to have him, too. I can't help it, y'all. Even when he drives me crazy, I feel like my brother is one of the best happy fortuities in my life. *Though, in all fairness, before the Opry settled at the Ryman, it seems to have made its home for a short time in just about every place in town. **Though, to the person who whooped when I mentioned that having your clitoris cut off can lead to death... Did you not get that that was a "not-so-happy fact"? ***Well, actually, she was shrieking my whole name, which most of you now know, but you know, in the beginning I was "Aunt B." and all of my readers knew who I was and it became a funny little joke after a while. And so, I reckon it's still a joke, just now everyone is in on it. It's probably better that way.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Jack Daniel's is Not My Friend

That is all. Now that I can stand up without wanting to die, I need to get into the shower.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Yes, I've Been Drinking, So, Yes, It's a Mushy Post

Let's hope this is the last we have to speak of the recent unpleasantness*. But I just wanted to take a minute and say thanks to all y'all. I think the last time I talked to Coble, our exchange went something like "Suck my butt," "You'd like that, wouldn't you?" "Do you even read what I say?" "I don't have to. You never say anything new." "You stink." "So do you." And yet, who called me up at lunch to check on me? Coble. Kleinheider is my exact opposite. We're actually forbidden by a little-known law of physics from meeting, because it would be like matter and anti-matter colliding. Scientists right now are studying how to bring us close enough together to generate an endless supply of energy without destroying either of us. Do most of Kleinheider's readers agree with me? I doubt it. And yet, one of them called him to let him know what was going on so he could take appropriate steps. Up at Pith in the Wind, they deleted comments as fast as they went up. And you know Brittney, Sarcastro, Nashville Knucklehead, and the Wayward Boy Scout totally had my back. I've said it before and I'll say it again, Tiny Cat Pants might be good because of me, but it's great because of you guys. I learn so much from you all the time, not only because of what you say, but how you live in the world. I feel very lucky. So, again, to all you guys, thanks a lot. It's strange, but as much as it sucked and probably will continue to suck for a bit, y'all made me feel taken care of. *My Southern readers will pause momentarily to wonder if I'm talking about the Civil War.

Sorry About That

It's going to be slightly annoying around here for a little bit. I've turned the comments moderation on. Not forever. Lord knows having to wait for me to okay everything is going to ruin the rhythm of conversations. But for a little bit. As you all know, there aren't a lot of rules around here. Just please don't personally attack each other and, if at all possible, please don't take others' comments as personal attacks. In the whole time I've had Tiny Cat Pants, I've only deleted a couple of comments--the ones that I felt were insulting attacks on the Butcher. And then the one from last night, which disclosed all of my personal information. I thought about leaving it, because, obviously, most of you know who I am and the ones that don't could always just ask. It's not a big secret. But some of the information is wrong and, if there are any loonies out there who, for whatever reason, want to hunt me down, it seemed unethical of me to point them to folks who have no idea who I am and thus no responsibility for what I do or say. So, down it came. Still, once something's out there on the internet, it's out there forever. So, I have to ask, if you're going to start stalking me, please, beware of the dog.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Mickey Mouse Paper

I'm terrible at math, still. Not the accoutrements of math. I can get an Excel spreadsheet to work and I can usually figure out how to turn all my budgetary issues into elaborate story problems. I just cannot work numbers. I still have to think for many seconds about what 7+4 equals. I have a hard time multiplying by 8. When I was in fifth grade, we had to memorize our multiplication tables and then we'd take these tests where we had a minute to answer thirty multiplication problems. If we didn't a certain amount of them correctly, we had to stay in for recess. I could get them right if I had enough time. I just always ran out of time. See, the way I learned to memorize the multiplication tables was by singing a little song and committing it to memory. One times one is one. One times two is two... eight times eight is sixty-four, etc. So, if I wanted to answer, say, what 8x7 was, I had to sing the whole set of eights to myself. I missed out on a lot of lunchtime recesses and so I began to hate math, both because I was failing to pass these quizzes and because I was missing prime socializing time. So, finally, one day, my dad brought me into the living room and opened the second drawer on the desk, which, up until that point, we were forbidden from touching at all. And there, in a package, was some notebook paper with Mickey Mouse in the corner. Now, it would be fun to do math! I could do my math assignments on the Mickey Mouse paper. I could write my math teacher elaborate stories in the margins of my homework, because there, in the margins already, was Mickey. It's stupid, but it worked. I looked forward to doing my homework so that I could use the Mickey Mouse paper. Doing my homework lead me to improving my math skills--not to genius levels, but to "get to finally go outside for recess levels." And that was good enough for me.

So, a little while? Six hours

I'm over at Kleinheider's making an ass of myself about abortion. I would have thought someone would have called me on the unfairness of claiming personal insult, but so far no one has. My best line?
As for your hysterical outrage about linking abortion, gay rights, and racial discrimination, I can barely bother to reply. If you can't see how those are all issues of bodily autonomy and self-determination, I can't help you. But really, we both know, you don't want my help. You want to win one for your side by putting an uppity liberal woman in her place. I only hope you'll begin to speak in your weird right-wing language like you did in this thread before this winds down. Once you start in with the "Californi-cating" and the "lezbo couples" and the "Helen Degenerate" (Is that a jab at both Ellen Degeneres and Helen Thomas?), it's a bit like watching a possessed man spewing forth in some foreign language.
So, go check it out, if you're bored this afternoon. [Edited to add that you should go check out Exador's comment. Or, shoot, I'll just reproduce it here:
Doesn't that show that just about everybody can agree that abortion is not a first choice for even the most pro-choicer? Can we agree that it's a difficult decision for any woman?
This, my friends, is why I think it's impossible to write off the libertarians. Sure, they swagger around all he-man like, and burb, and drink beer, and shoot things, but sometimes they just say things in a simple, elegant, and beautiful way and it makes me think that they're not as easily discountable as we'd like to believe (and that's not just because I agree with him).]

Silver Linings

Okay, so asking me to be in The Vagina Monologues is apparently the equivalent of asking a garlic farmer to host a party for vampires. That doesn't mean there isn't a bright side. 1. The Butcher doesn't know that Miss J. isn't coming, and so he's at home cleaning as we speak. 2. I bought the most awesome necklaces for the show to wear in a big pile, but I've been having fun wearing them all week. 3. And at least now I know that, if any of you are stalking me, you're the shittiest stalkers in the world.

Both Funny Ha Ha and Funny Ouch

Well, I just got off the phone with Miss J. who is sick with the flu and so is not coming down to see my fabulous theatrical reading of cooter facts, both good and bad. This brings the sum total of people I know who are coming to see me in The Vagina Monologues to 0. Yes, zero. It's kind of funny in a really pathetic way. Okay, no. It's very funny. I mean, it's not so funny for The Vagina Monologues, which is a fund-raiser for an actual good and helpful charity and so, you know, could use the ticket sales. But funny for me in a humbling way. Even with promises of cooter talk and my good bra, I could not talk one person who knows me in real life into spending a fabulous evening at the theater. Yep. I suck. Well, shit. Maybe if I buy a ticket for the Butcher, he'll come. I mean, he's got to be over on that side of town anyway, because he'll have to give me a ride home. And yes, that would be really funny, too, if it weren't happening to me.

I'm Done for a Little While

I think I'm done arguing about abortion for a little while. And it's really because I can't argue about it with people who think it should be illegal and still respect them. There's two reasons for this. One is that I don't understand how anyone can go through childbirth or witness childbirth and not be pro-choice. When you see a woman who wants a baby crying and screaming and bleeding and there's shit and piss and she's calling out for her grandma or her god and crying some more and tearing apart and she's begging for anyone who can to stop the pain and this goes on for hours, sometimes days... when you see that how can you feel okay about compelling women who don't want babies to go through it? Do you just block this part out? Do you justify it to yourself in your head by saying that that's just how it is? Or that it's not so bad? Or that women are built to handle it? How do you watch a woman giving birth and not see it for the tremendous gift that it is? Who do you think you are to compel someone to give a gift that costs that much? The other reason is that I'm tired of being polite. I was telling Exador yesterday that I wish there was a way for abortion providers to play hardball like the militant gay-rights folks. We all know that anti-abortionists themselves have abortions and hide behind doctor-patient confidentiality and we let them. They do this right now. They did it when abortions were illegal. Sure, it's fine and dandy to force me to carry a pregnancy to term, because I'm just a whore who deserves to be punished. But when it's your daughter, Deacon, who's looking at either going to college in August or having a baby in August; or your mistress, Senator, who says "We have to find a way to take care of this or I'm going to tell your wife."; or your sister who's been a stay-at-home mom to her three kids who shows up at your door because her husband's leaving her and the kids out of the blue and she's never worked outside the home in her whole life and she needs a job now because she's got mouths to feed, but, oops, she's pregnant; or your girlfriend who was raped; or your wife and the doctor says "There's something wrong with the baby and it won't live outside the womb, but if she carries the pregnancy any farther, delivering it will probably kill her."; or you... When it affects you, "make abortions illegal" crowd, then a lot of you have no qualms about availing yourself of them. And if you have enough money, when most women who need them can't get them, it won't matter to you if they're illegal. Do you honestly think there's a single rich person in South Dakota or anyone in the legislature who's at all worried that they're going to make abortions illegal? No, because the laws won't apply to them. When it comes to abortion, it rarely does. They'll travel or have "emergency appendectomies" or whatever. And I'm tired of knowing that and still fighting with you. I know it's not all of the "abortion should be outlawed" crowd, but it's enough of you that I'm starting to feel like it's pointless to continue the debate. No reason I ever give will be good enough to justify why I might have an abortion. And any reason you give for why you or your loved one needed one is supposed to be excused as a tragic necessity.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Two Things

1. The new peanut butter Hershey's Kisses. I like them, I guess, but not as much as the Kisses with Almonds. 2. Y'all, I am such a doofus. Having Kleinheider and Knucklehead devote posts to me yesterday and our Wayward Boy Scout also threatening to slap my ass... well, it tickled me. In a girly way. Today, I wore eyeliner and, I can't even tell you, it's so ridiculous, a necklace. Shoot. What next? Lipstick? What the fuck?

The Port Thing

America, if you don't find this hilarious, I just don't know how to talk to you. For the last five years, this administration has argued that we can do whatever the fuck we want, world opinion be damned--torture people, make them disappear into secret prisons never to be heard from again, listen in on the phone conversations of US citizens without warrants, etc.--as long as it keeps America safe, or, frankly, gives the appearance of keeping America safe. Then, yesterday, the President was all like "Well, we can't just be running around telling the United Arab Emirates that they can't run our ports just because it's an Arab country. It wouldn't look right. What kind of message would that be sending the rest of the world?" And then he threatened to veto any legislation that Congress might approve that halted the deal. Yes, the "Tough on Terror" President is going to side with an Arab country against the US Congress. You can almost hear the Democratic leadership wetting itself with glee. Time and time again the Democrats have been handed political gold only to turn it into lead. But finally, here comes a political opportunity so easy that even they cannot fuck this up, because Republicans are also on-board. And all this veto talk that was so important yesterday? Well, it doesn't take a seasoned journalist to interpret what this headline means: Bush Didn't Know About Ports Deal. He's going to try to back away from all that tough talk to save some political face. Still, it's pretty funny that something that was so important yesterday that he was going to veto any effort to derail it, is so unimportant today that the President didn't even know about it.

Why I Will Never Be a Libertarian--Reason 3

If the market must be utterly free, then George Bush is right and there is no reason why the United Arab Emirates shouldn't control our ports.

Why I Will Never Be a Libertarian--Reason 2

I feel I owe Sarcastro. I think you do, too. You don't just send folks off to shoot at people and get shot at and to defend our country or liberate whoever needs liberating or tell them to do something and then blame them for doing it and then bring them home and set them loose to fend for themselves. If Sarcastro goes crazy or ends up with long-term effects from exposure to oil fires or whatever, because of what we asked him to do, then we owe it to him to take care of him once he's home. He doesn't want to be taken care of. But really, tough shit.

He's free to barricade himself in his house and refuse all help, but that doesn't mean we're not obliged to make it available.

Why I Will Never Be a Libertarian--Reason 1

My nephew regularly shows up at my parents' house with weird rashes and burns and scrapes. He's four. A lot of times, this shit just happens. Hell, I have a big bruise on my arm right now and I don't know where it came from. I'm just an easily bruised person. But when he comes into my dad's room late at night and pats my dad's arm and says, "It's okay, Grandpa, sometimes mommies don't come home." it makes me want to drive over to North Carolina and run my sister-in-law over. I don't, because all I have are my suspicions and a four year old nephew who doesn't think there's anything weird about the way that he lives and who has no interest in explaining where every strange bump and scrape on his body came from. If you've known me longer than five minutes, though, you know that I'm terrified for him. What do I want for him more than anything? I want him to live until August. I want him to get enrolled in kindergarten, because the law says he has to be, and I want him to go to a public school, because that's all his mom can afford to send him to, and I want him to be so cute and charming to a tax-payer funded teacher that when he starts showing up late or not at all, because his mom can't be bothered, I want a Department of Family Services to swoop in there and rescue him. I can't do this. I have a job and just one car. I don't have unlimited wealth to hire a private detective to follow him around and make sure he's okay. No one in my family has enough money to quit their jobs and move to North Carolina to keep their eye on things and intervene if need be. Plus, she moved to North Carolina, in part, to keep my family out of her hair. I need for there to be someone with the weight of the government behind him or her who can force her to do right by my nephew. He deserves that, even if we aren't rich enough to provide it for him.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Mrs. Wigglebottom Does Not Have a Head Wound

I got home from work and saw that Mrs. Wigglebottom had crusty red crap on her head and around her eye. Of course, my immediate thought was that she'd suffered some dreadful wound at the claws of the cats and had been wandering around the house bleeding all day. I hugged her to me and started to ask "Oh, Mrs. Wigglebottom! What happened to you?" when I smelled a slight tomato-y, vinegar-y smell. Someone--I won't point fingers--did throw the pickles from her quarter-pounder with cheese at the dog yesterday and one did land on her head and one did cling to her eye. And yes, that same person did today think that the dog had been hurt. And so, yes, that very same person may be a bit of a moron. Sorry, Mrs. Wigglebottom.

Hmm, Will Knucklehead Fight Kleinheider?

Nashville Knucklehead also tries to sweet-talk me today. Gentlemen! I swear, if I had known that blogging about marriage would get your attention like this, I would have started blogging about marriage 15 years ago. I would have invented blogging just to have grouchy cantankerous men tell me a thing or two about the way things are between men and women.
While I try to devote this forum to funny tales of crazy chicks and blow jobs of yesteryear, Auntee B got to me the other day when she posted a long and eloquent argument (as only she can do, 3 or 4 times a day) about how straight men should not stand for the messages sent by society that we are all pigs. I told her that we didn't hear such messages, then made a witty and charming remark about eating my own poop for lunch. She responded as though we were an old married couple. She ignored what I said and asked if maybe I actually heard the messages and subconsciously internalized them. She didn't like my answer, so she asked the question a different way. Well, the answer is still no, I don't hear the messages in society about how men are pigs, and now I'm here to tell you why.
An old married couple? That tickles me. I can't even tell you.
And Aunt B., if you need someone to reach into you clogged disposer, just let me know, you cute little ol' feminist. /* virtual smack on the ass*/
I can unclog my own garbage disposal, thanks, but I could use somebody to come over and change my oil. Let me know if that's in your skill-set, Knucklehead.

Kleinheider Appeals to My Baser Nature

Kleinheider lectures me on the benefits of marriage.
Women and marriage make males better men. Does this mean men are somehow weak, wicked or incompetent? You damn skippy. What of it?
And then he sweet-talks me some.
Women left to their own devices and without structure can be just as scandalous as men. Depraved, despicable, and disagreeable, the female is. Just like men. Well, not just like men. Obviously, female failings manifest differently and thus the benefits derived from marriage are different but the ladies need us just as much as we need them. Believe.
And then he throws in a Shakespeare reference.
Us humans, we are people who need people -- in the proper context and with the proper structure in place. Does marriage "domesticate" men? No doubt. Properly configured, though, marriage tames that shrew as well.
And what can I say? He's wrong, but I totally [heart] Kleinheider anyway.

Miss J. is Coming!

My darling friend, Miss J. is officially coming down to see me in The Vagina Monologues on Saturday! How excited am I? Buy your tickets now, folks, and you can try to talk her into sitting by you and telling you how much fun it is to smooch me. Unless, of course, you've smooched me yourself, in which case, you can sit by her and commiserate. Anyway, hurray! My mom called me last night to say that she will be there in spirit. If you are a cute man and feel your ass mysteriously pinched while you are in the Belcourt, it's her.

Tennessee Debates the Power of Sperm

Both Fritz and Rachel are reporting on this legislation which would require women to notify the man by whom she is pregnant before she has an abortion. Yes, apparently Tennessee sperm is so powerful that it can penetrate doctor-patient privilege and render privacy rights non-existent. So powerful that its mere presence at one time in a woman's reproductive system obliges that woman to report in to that man about her medical activities. Shoot, why stop there? Let's just legislate that everything the sperm of Tennessee touches becomes the purview of the man from whom the sperm originates. We'll just be calling men up left and right "Dr. Frist, I'm about to go get my teeth cleaned. Just thought you should know.*" "Oh, shoot, I just started my period. Do you want to come over here and root through the garbage to make sure that one of your fertilized eggs didn't fail to properly attach to my uterine wall? Just in case, I've got the tiny casket ready." "I'm about to wash these sheets. Is that okay with you?" "Howdy frat boy. I saw you fucking that girl last night on my lawn. I appreciate that you practice safe sex, but you left your used condom in the grass and the lawn needs mowing and..." *I'm inferring only for the sake of humor that I regularly perform oral sex on our Senator. I actually do not do this, as it is against my religion to blow humorless busy-bodies.

Comforting Gods

During practice yesterday, I got to thinking about Baubo and Demeter. As you recall from learning about Greek myths in grade school, the short version is that Demeter's daughter, Persephone, is kidnapped by Hades. Demeter gets pissed off and Zeus is forced to intervene and return Persephone to her mother. Unfortunately, Persephone ate some pomegranate seeds before she left and is now forced to return to the underworld for half the year, and hence we have seasons. It's too easy to imagine Demeter's grief. Her daughter goes out swimming with some friends and suddenly she's gone. It's that moment in the grocery store when you are sure you can still hear her chatting on the cell phone and you turn to find the aisle is empty. And you at first are sure she's just down the next aisle or the next. And then you stop moving because you think, well, this is ridiculous. If she's walking around looking for me and I'm walking around looking for her, we could spend an hour just missing each other. And so you call her cell phone, kind of already laughing to yourself about how you will joke about how funny it is that you're probably not more than fifty feet apart and yet you've got to get her on the phone. But it's busy. Not her, not voice mail, just busy. Then, you turn the corner and there are two of her friends standing there looking at your daughter's crushed cell phone. "Where is she?" You ask. And they shrug and say "She went off with some guy." "Some guy? Did you know him? Did she know him? Did you even try to stop her?" Now you're pissed off. But when they say "No, we didn't know him. And he just grabbed her, even though she was screaming and crying." you must want to have a gun right then, to shoot them, to shoot him, to shoot yourself. I think we all understand Demeter's impulse to rid the world of everything that grows. I think we all sometimes envy her ability to do it. And it wasn't as if some stranger took her daughter. Hades was her brother. And Zeus, also her brother, who knew where Persephone was and could have told Demeter at any time, let her keep looking for her daughter, knowing that she'd never look in the right place. To lose your whole family through that kind of betrayal, no wonder she went crazy and hid herself as an old lady and remained inconsolable. Until Baubo, another old woman, gets her drunk and makes her laugh. The story goes that Baubo lifted her skirts and sang dirty songs. I imagine she sang Bessie Smith; what other woman sings so frankly about fucking--"He's a deep sea diver with a stroke that can't go wrong / He can stay at the bottom and his wind holds out so long"--and heartache--"Nobody knows you when you down and out / In my pocket not one penny / And my friends I haven't any"? I keep thinking about Karin Agness and her outrage at The Vagina Monologues. And I keep thinking about that old woman lifting her skirts up and shaking her cooter in the face of a god for a laugh. I mean, it worked. Being with that old Baubo as she shimmied and sang and showed herself moved Demeter to laugh. I think, to get back to it, this is another reason I feel bad for Agness. She's so sure that any talk of vaginas must be, by definition, degrading women by reducing them to just this one body part that she advocates for a position that would never talk about them in public. And yet, this is a way for vastly different women to connect. What did Baubo have in common with Demeter? Demeter is the Divine Mother. Baubo is a servant. What they share is the common experience of having a cooter. Imagine it. Baubo stands in front of a god driven out of her mind with grief. Slowly, the old woman raises her skirts. Look. Look at this. You are not alone. That's something, folks, the ability to comfort gods by reminding them of what we share in common. To see that as degrading or reductionist is pretty funny when you think about it.

Victory is Mine!

I finally finished that god damned Libertarianism: A Primer. Non-libertarians, let me warn you that, for all their talk of a utopia where the weak and morally deficient just die off and they use our corpses for fertilizer, I'm convinced that they'll actually do away with us by reading to us from this book until we kill ourselves to escape it. I have some issues to raise and some refutations (is that a word? It should be. Let's coin it, if it's not.) to make, but my brain is mush. Later, though, later we shall let the refutating begin. Refuting. ....shit...

Monday, February 20, 2006

Another Disjointed Mess of a Post

1. When Shaun Groves linked to Tiny Cat Pants, I thought that was pretty cool, considering that he and I could not be less religiously compatible. It takes a lot of bravery to expose yourself to ideas wildly different than yours. I know that such exposure hasn't gone so well for him lately, but when I read
I believe, having now researched not only the pagan-copycat claims against Christianity but also the claimers, that this movement is primarily joined for personal profit and publicity and is supported, if not lead, by admitted Wiccans, Satanists and Atheists hiding behind pseudonyms and half truths and funneling their theories through publishers, blogs and other outlets also openly supportive of Wicca, Satanism and Atheism and such nonsensical fringe topics as phychics, astrology, tarot card reading, alien abduction, the lost city of Atlantis and ghosts. This is not, in other words, a movement as credible as it is well spoken and prolific. But it is powerful, so be careful, pray and learn in community - never alone.
my first thought was, "Well, fuck me, that's the beginning of the end of Shaun Groves's reading of Tiny Cat Pants." My second thought was, "Damn, there's a movement of Wiccans, Satanists, and atheists that can remain anonymous and write on nonsensical topics AND profit from it. Why doesn't anyone ever let me in on this shit?" 2. The readership of Tiny Cat Pants has remained pretty steady over the last couple months and yet there seems to be a general consensus that it's suddenly gotten "popular." This is ridiculous. I guess. I guess I do feel like things have changed a lot since I started. I feel a lot more guarded about things, even though, I suppose, from all the cooter talk you'd not guess this. It's just a sleight of hand. I distract us all from the painful stuff with the loud flashy stuff. If you guys knew how often I sit at home alone... well, if not for the Professor and Sarcastro insisting I stop acting like a fucking idiot and this weird shit that's happened lately, I'd make Kleinheider look like an extrovert. 3. I also feel a lot more uncertain. I don't like it, but I don't think it's a bad thing. I mean, I feel like it's making me a better person, but god damn, it sucks. I don't know if being a tax and spend liberal is the best way to be. I don't know if Christianity is really wrong. I'm not sure if feminism goes far enough or too far or what. And these were things I used to think I had pretty well figured out. But you know, you come to care about folks who hold opinions vastly different than yours and you come to respect them as people and even if you don't agree with them, you can't feel smug in your dismissal of their positions*. 4. But I still believe that a lot of the bullshit between us that feels inevitable is not; that we, as Bridgett continually reminds us, are a story-telling animal and the stories we tell shape how we see the world. But we can tell other stories about what we've been through and about what we're going through that make us happier and healthier. I was thinking about it this way, that we're like folks who use a well-worn path to travel on a large mountain. We use this path, our parents used this path, and their parents and on back presumably used that same path. It's familiar and it gets us to where we've always gone. It often seems inevitable that we will take this path. And yet, sometimes, I catch glimpses of more ancient, crumbling paths near ours--which leads me to believe that we did not always take this path, but moved to it when the old one became impassable. And sometimes, I see folks braver than me cutting new ways through the rocks. Not every new path will be a better route to where we're going. Not every path will be worse. Sometimes, the paths may take us places we didn't even know existed. Those places may be better or worse than the places we always go. I don't know. But I do know that what seems inevitable is not. We can learn new ways. 5. I still feel like a disjointed mess (much like this post). A lot is going on because of Tiny Cat Pants and it's true that Tiny Cat Pants is different than it was and will continue to become different than it is. I don't know how. And, frankly, I'm kind of terrified. I feel like things have kind of sucked around here lately. But when I look back at recent posts, I can't put my finger on anything where I can say "Yep, that's what's going wrong." So, I think it's just that I feel unsettled and uncertain and unsure about how to express that. A lot of that comes from the fact that the best thing about this place is not my doing. Somehow this is a place where people of vastly different background can come together and talk and fight and crack jokes and be heard and listened to. I don't know for sure how that happened and I couldn't explain it to others to replicate it. But I don't know of any other place where people who actively disagree with each other can talk about politics and gender relations and other touchy things and it not devolve into flame-wars or where the people who disagree with me leave in a huff. And I'd be really sad to lose that. Though, sometimes, I think what's happening here is so weird and fragile that eventually it will fall apart and this will become just like every other liberal feminist blog on the planet where I sit around and write to a bunch of people who pretty much agree with me. Not that such a scenario wouldn't be easier than reading through Libertarianism: A Primer while I'm on the shitter. Easier, but when that happens, if it happens, it'll suck. *Yes, fuck you, Sarcastro and Exador. I do mean you. You've fucking ruined me with your libertarian bullshit--"Just because our world-view is different than yours doesn't mean it's not coherent." The next thing you know I'll be driving around in some truck the size of Canada just running over hippies and drinking and shooting at rural stop signs.

Kiss an Engineer Week

Shoot, how can you not love engineers? When there's a problem, who's drawing up plans and tinkering with formulas and reveling in the joy of fixing things? Engineers. But what of seemingly insurmountable problems? Can an engineering mind solve age-old questions, like "How can I get more smooches?" W. proves that, indeed, they can. In fact, W. has declared this week to be "Kiss an Engineer Week." The man is a genius.
So pick the engineer of your choice, and give them a big ole smooch. Though I will warn you, engineers aren't noted for dealing with the opposite sex so random kissing could have entertaining results. I'd expect anything from new puppy like devotion (stalking is such an ugly word) to fainting right on the sidewalk. If you choose wisely, you may even get kissed back. As the founder I'll be available for kissing all week, otherwise I'd just be a hypocrite.

The First Practice

Oh, holy shit. I just got back from my first practice for The Vagina Monologues. I don't even know where to start. Okay, to start with, I spent some time staring at Bocephus's gold records. Then I was listening to Jeannie Seely telling stories about the Grand Ole Opry, about how she announced our production last Saturday. She threw her head back and just laughed at the memory of her saying "vagina" on the Opry stage. I overheard the last part of some story she was telling Mandy Barnett in which she said "So, at that time, apparently, you could show your tits on the Opry stage but not your knees." She was wearing a t-shirt that said "In dog years, you're still a bitch." After today, she's kind of my hero. So, I haven't seen The Vagina Monologues before and the first time I read through the whole script was last week. And so I didn't have any idea what it would really be like, to see each piece embodied by a woman. But wow. God damn. Parts are so funny. Tracy Gershon is just a riot, as is Trish Vogel. And parts about did me in, even with people reading through them for the first time; they're just so sad. But what was really amazing was just being in the same room with all of these amazing women all working on the same task, some who had done it before, some who had not. People who knew each other. People who were strangers. It was like a county-wide quilting bee, but, you know, with a performance when we're done, not a blanket.

For All You Working Folks

Some of you are at your jobs right now, surfing your computer, looking for a little something to distract you from the tedium of Monday. I, on the other hand, am still in my pajamas. Will I take the dog for a walk or spend my morning reading? Hard to say. Right now, I can grope myself and no one cares. How many of you can same the same thing? Eh, sorry. This post is entirely unnecessary, but it's no fun to have a day off unless you can gloat about it.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Rex L. Camino Cares About The Ephemera of My Life

Remove the blog in the top spot from the following list and bump everyone up one place. Then add your blog to the bottom slot. (1) Karmadgeon (2) (insert name here) (3) Hits from 'da Blog (4) Rex L. (5) Aunt B. Next, select 5 people to tag: Plimco, W., Huck, Newscoma, and Grandfille. Ha, I hope they haven't already done this. What were you doing 10 years ago? I was just starting spring semester of my senior year of college, so I was applying to a bunch of grad schools I wouldn't get into and trying to figure out how to spend as much time with the President of the TKEs as I could without drawing the ire of his girlfriend, who I also really liked. What were you doing 1 year ago? Hmm. Let's see. I was thinking about the Professor's cute boy, who I'd been standing on a porch with the night before while he leaned up against me and tried to act like he couldn't decide if he was going to kiss me or not. He was not. We both knew that. But it's always more fun to talk about music when leaning your whole body against my whole body and talking softly right in my ear, so who can blame him? Five snacks you enjoy: Oatmeal raisin cookies, chocolate chip cookies, craisins, those layer bars with the coconut, Snickers. Five songs to which you know all the lyrics: "Me & Bobby McGee," "Paul Revere" (I think), "Hang on, Sloopy," "Hello, I Love You," & "Hellhound on my Trail" Five things you would do if you were a millionaire: 1. Buy the Butcher a fucking car. 2. Buy a house. 3. Hire a housekeeper. 4. Pay off my debt. 5. Go on vacation. Five bad habits:1. I procrastinate. 2. I worry too much. 3. I get mad at people and don't tell them, because I think they should just know when they've pissed me off. 4. I leave my hair in the tub. 5. I leave just a little milk or orange juice or whatever in the container and put it back for the Butcher. Five things you like doing: 1. Driving around. 2. Blogging. 3. Making out. 4. Getting drunk. 5. Going creepy places. Five things you would never wear again: 1. Those dalmation print leggings. 2. A big bow in my hair. 3. Work boots stained with pig blood. 4. The orange jacket (sadly). 5. Anything that deliberately matches anyone else. Five favorite toys: 1. My car. 2. My tarot cards. 3. The remote control. 4. Ping pong balls. 5. The Playstation.

Misbehavior is when you complain about what is requested or expected of you

The libertarians continue to funnel me the weirdest shit on the internet. Sarcastro just sent me the link to that doofus in Iowa who wrote his wife up a list of rules for how she would behave in their marriage. Little did our friend Sarcastro know that I've actually been following this closely, because nothing warms my cold heart more than to watch BSDM-ers complain about how people are always passing judgment on their kinks while at the same time those same BSDM-ers are making broad, sweeping generalizations about how people in Iowa are. Check out this discussion at Metafilter, to see what I mean. Apparently we all know how people from Iowa (which is near Omaha) are, but try to say anything about what a sick fucker this Frey guy is and you're slandering a whole community. Is this a BSDM relationship gone bad? Who the fuck knows? I'll say this, until I read the discussion over at Metafilter, it didn't occur to me that this was a contract between a Dom and a sub, in part because it says it's not a contract and in part because it doesn't outline any of the responsibilities of the Dom. Instead, it read like all the weird evil bullshit that I faced when I worked at the family crisis center and was sorting through the files or that I heard people telling their minister about. People do a lot of strange and evil shit to each other out there in the middle of nowhere--men who molested three or four generations of neighborhood children; women who burnt their sons' penises with cigarettes to keep them from masturbating; men who rape everyone in their families; women who rape their daughters with parts of Barbies--as they do everywhere. I'm just saying, there aren't a whole lot of people so hard-core into BSDM that they're drawing up contracts and there are a whole lot of fucked-up evil people who get off on torturing the people who depend on them and so I tend to suspect he's probably more fucked-up than kinky. But what really struck me is that, once you get past the initial appalling-ness (and the wondering about how thick his wife's chest hair must be for him to insist on her shaving it every three days), it's really boring--more like accounting than fucking. She can do certain things to earn Good Behavior Days (GBDs) and there are elaborate discussions of how to earn them and under what circumstances she can turn them in and what will happen if she's "non-compliant" and how long she'll be raped for if she doesn't have enough GBDs to get her out of it. Much of the rules are centered around a quarter system and she can choose between having her GBDs accounted for on paper or on the computer*. See? Once you get down to it, it seems really more about the accounting (and the dude's weird fixation with body hair) and controlling her behavior than anything erotic. When Sarcastro emailed me about this, he said, "I can't really do this justice, but I'm sure you can**. Use my link to the wife/whore thing as a tie-in and your Boaz 'Men are pigs who need women' as well. Check it out here and prepare to be ill." But I think he's wrong. The article he links to that is really useful to this discussion is not the article on wives v. whores, but the article on academics v. whores***. Anonymous, pour some wisdom on us.
Calling academics "whores" is a denigration of whoring. It buys into the stereotype that the prostitute is the consummate example of objectification -- the idea that he or she is somehow the most objectified person in our society, more object and less person than anyone else.
This condemnation of whores ultimately boils down to the fear and hatred of sex. Our Judeo-Christian society is so ashamed of sex that it has to lock it behind closed doors and swear it to secrecy under the vows of marriage. A woman who transgresses these bounds is frequently called a "whore," even if she's not a prostitute. Being a "whore" -- either literally or figuratively -- is unacceptable in polite society.
And, most importantly,
But it's no coincidence that whoredom also poses a serious threat to our society's limitations of women's power. Many people want to see whores as victims, because they don't want us to own our power and embody this threat. Historically the whore has always represented a danger to the patriarchy, because she does not have to depend on any one man for financial support. She makes her living off of many men. This gave her financial freedom in times when women were forbidden to work to support themselves and the wife was her husband's possession. Dependent on no one man, the whore was no man's property.
Keeping this in mind, what does this tell us about the situation of Frey's wife? Or about anything? Shoot, folks, I've got to tell you, I honestly don't know. Here we've got Boaz saying, basically, that men are so hungry for pussy that women can withhold it from them in order to force the men to marry them and thus continually withhold it from them or grant access to it based on how well the men are coming along on with their domestication. And yet, as Sarcastro's economists remind us, men don't always feel bound by marriage to stay faithful to one cooter and, in fact, will often pay other women for access to their cooters, to the point where--as both the economists and Anonymous say--it can make good economic sense for women to choose to become prostitutes instead of getting married, because they can make their own money and not be controlled by any one man (assuming they don't have pimps). And then we've got Frey with his elaborate pussy economics, with quarterly reports and credits and debits. And need I point out that being married did not domesticate Frey, but instead gave him the courage to act like a bigger asshole? And last, we have my vagina. (Which, yes, we're going to talk about again, because it's the one I know best.) I'll admit, I'm naive. I've never been married and I've never been with anyone long enough to get bored with fucking them. Maybe that happens. But I think about what it feels like to have you inside me and to hear you whispering in my ear, your breath against my skin, and I just can't imagine. I can imagine how a girl might want to do that with everyone she can; but I can't imagine why she'd still want to be with you and not want to fuck you, just because it's so nice to fuck you. And yet, Boaz, the economists, and Frey all seem to assume that a woman's first motivation for fucking a man is not desire but something that can be reduced to some numbers on a spreadsheet--I fuck you because I want to domesticate you so that you will labor for me or I fuck you because you are a sure and steady stream of income and I'm not sure I could get that as a prostitute or I fuck you to earn GBDs. What about the fact that I fuck you because I like you and because it feels good to fuck you and I am delighted with you and it tickles me when you're delighted with me? Is there room for that? Yes, it's ephemeral--my desire for you--and, yes, it could fade or change with time. But what I feel for you is mysterious and awe-inspiring and, sometimes I tremble in the face of it. I want you to feel that for me, too. I don't want to fuck you as a chore or an obligation. I want to fuck you because I want to, not because I want to exchange my cooter for something from you. That shouldn't be such a strange notion. *I'd hate to be one of the Frey children and come across this file while working on my homework. **Oh, America, his faith in my blogging abilities is so touching. ***I hope it goes without saying that I'm not advocating that everyone run out and become a prostitute, nor am I saying that prostitution is a completely unproblematic profession to get into, free from guilt and shame and violence and danger. In real life, for most women who do it, being a prostitute sucks. So, we should keep in mind that many women who do it do it because it sucks less than their other options or because they figure that's an easy way to make quick money to support drug habits and not because they're striking out against the patriarchy.

Yeah, I'm Jealous, What of It?

Our friend "Scarcastro*" got mentioned at Slate on Thursday. Since he doesn't pay any attention to the liberal media, he didn't notice until today. *Oh, Melonyce McAfee, that's not a scar. That's just how his face always looks.

Straight Men, Why Do You Put Up with this Nonsense?

I'm so close to being done with the libertarian book that I can almost smell it. Which is good for Mr. Boaz because now he's reminding me of an old joke. There's a new preacher in a church and he's nervous because it's his first Sunday but he gets up to the pulpit and he starts in about the sin of dancing, how it leads to lewdness and immoral behavior, and one woman in the back starts in "Amen, Preacher, Amen." So, he's feeling good and he starts in on the sin of drinking and how it leads to lewdness and immoral behavior, and that same woman in the back yells out again, "Preach it, Reverend, preach it!" And now he's really feeling it so he switches to the evils of television, with all the sex and violence and immoral behavior and the little old lady in the back turns to the woman next to her and says, "Well, now he's just meddling." This morning, when I got to the point where Boaz was talking about family and marriage, that was pretty much my response--now he's just meddling. He makes this claim--that marriage domesticates men--which I find laughable. Not just because I've dated enough married men to know that there's no force on earth that can straighten a jackass out if he's got it in his heart to be a jackass*, but because in that same chapter he claims that the reason it's so important for boys to have their fathers present is that fathers domesticate boys. Well, fuck me, gentlemen. How much domestication do you need? If left to your own devices would you be rooting through my garbage and eating your own poop? Seriously. Christ. Of all the reasons to support two parent families, domesticating men has got to be the worst reason I've ever heard of. What does "domesticating men" even mean? Let's just leave aside the weird ideas about women inherent in the notion that girls are powerless to raise boys on their own, but powerful enough to change grown-ass men** into housecats. What kind of weird-ass ideas about men does such a world-view promote? That men, left to their own devices, are monsters lacking all civility? That, without interference from a specific team of others (the father and the wife of said boy), men cannot help but act shittily? I mean, really, gentlemen. I am stunned, repeatedly, by how loud and clear the message is in our society--that straight men are monsters who cannot help themselves when they hurt others and it is up to the people they hurt to somehow manipulate them into better behavior--and how unaware of it y'all seem to remain. Doesn't this piss you off? When you look at yourself or your brothers or your sons or your nephews, do you really believe that, at his core, there is someone who would beat his wife or children, or rape a woman, or kill someone if no one stopped him? Do you all really think you are criminals kept in check only by the threat of violence from your father and the fear of being cut off from the vagina of your woman? Or, I guess the real question is--why doesn't this assumption piss you off? *For the record, I do not date married men on purpose. But I'm also going to take you at your word. If you don't say that you're married right up front, I'm not going to hire a fucking detective to make sure you're not misrepresenting yourself. I am not the god damn morality police. **I cannot say for certain how women might be able to work this little magic trick, but I suspect that, because of Boaz's hang-up on unmarried teenage girls, we're supposed to domesticate y'all by refusing to fuck you unless you straighten up (and the first step of getting you to straighten up is to get you to marry us). Whew! Lord knows there's nothing more fun than a relationship where women dole out sex as a reward for proper behavior and withhold it as punishment. Will a day come when we can build social policy that assumes that straight women actually like to fuck men and aren't just putting up with it because it's a way to get them to, say, go to church or mow the lawn or act in a respectable fashion?

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Chef Yang's

I think that's the name of it. It's this crazy Chinese buffet in Murfreesboro where you can get great Chinese food and pizza and fried shrimp and hardpacked ice cream and it's all delicious and it's only like six bucks for lunch. I tried to discern if Rex L. Camino or Kleinheider were dining with us, but, since we were in the non-smoking section, it was just us and the kids. So, unless Mr.s Camino and Kleinheider are secretly babies, we did not see them. The Butcher drove my down to my thing and I felt bad because when we got there, it was obvious that there was no need for us to be there. So, we hung out for a little bit and the Butcher and I cracked each other up and once we'd made sure a couple of people had seen us and could attest that we did indeed actually make it there, we left. I'm still taking Monday off, though. Then the Professor and I went to buy something for me to wear at The Vagina Monologues. I'll be wearing all black--I bought this awesome shirt with all these tiny buttons up the front--and then we spent a good hour in Dillard's picking out these fabulous orange necklaces to layer up and wear. The Professor thinks I'll look very witchy. I hope so. It's funny. Sometimes you stand in front of mirrors in dressing rooms and you think, "My god, that is one hideous thing to look at." Today, I was like, "Yeah, I guess I'm cute, in a Hummel-type of way." I mentioned it to the Professor, but I don't think she knows what Hummels are.

My Grandma's Noodles

The recalcitrant brother called me up and asked me for my grandma's noodle recipe. I have it written on a slip of paper stuffed into my childhood Bible, which, surprise, I cannot find. So, I said, I think it's a cup of flour, an egg, and some salt. My dad found it written down someplace at their house and here is the actual recipe. 2 eggs 1 cup of flour 2 teaspoons of salt. You make the flour and salt into a volcano shape and put the eggs in the middle and then work in all the flour you can until the mixture is stiff, but still workable. Then you roll it out on a well-floured surface, flouring to keep it from sticking, until the dough is 1/8 of an inch thick. You let it dry for two hours and then cut it into strips for noodles. My grandma would cook a pot roast in a dutch oven on the stove and then cook the noodles in the juice of the pot roast while she cut the roast into chunks. Then, everything would go back in the pot in this tasty starchy mess. I'm going to walk the recalcitrant brother through the process tomorrow.

The Underpants, Revisited

I wanted to say, but forgot, that there's this really nice moment in The Underpants where the king makes everyone stay bowed to him for a really, really long time. It's a simple thing, but it lets you know that, unlike most of the characters in the play, the king is used to getting his way. Also, Rachel Agee is hilarious.

A Poem for David Boaz

No, I'm still not done with that fucking Libertarianism: A Primer. I'm sorry. It's just slow going and parts of it are really boring. But today, finally, even though he blamed the War on Drugs on the Clintons*, he made a spectacular point about the intellectuals' love of planning and devising programs. In honor of Boaz's brilliant point, I have composed this sonnet**. "The Moral Equivalency of War" (or "America Works Best When All Americans are Working towards the Same Goals") "Let us meet about the meeting we'll have to set a time for us to meet again." "A regiment does you well. Feel my calf. A war on fat is the way to go. Pain reminds us we're alive and sacrifice is good for the soul. Let's create a task- force to look into a diet of rice. We'll promote it on TV. If we ask For the time. They'll give us advertising space because we know what's good for us all." You can almost hear their joy in rising to the challenge of being on the ball. It must be nice to be so sure that you know better what's best for me than I do. Hmm. That doesn't suck half as bad as it might have. Anyway, for my own reasons, I'm digging on the libertarians propensity to knock the wind out of the sails of well-meaning planners and program-implementers. So, thanks for that, mostly-wrong-headed right-wing gun-nuts. *Because, lord knows the right wing cannot miss an opportunity for Clinton bashing. I would not be surprised to find that hearing or reading the word "Clinton" triggered for them the same feeling that a good nipple pinch does for the rest of us. You don't want it to happen out of the blue, but under the right circumstances, it is a lovely decadent ouch. **Actually, I have not yet composed the sonnet. I'm concerned I won't actually be able to write a whole sonnet devoted to libertarianism, but now I have a goal. If it goes poorly, I'll just go back and change the word "sonnet" to "poem" and you will never be the wiser. Anyway, on with the composition...

Friday, February 17, 2006

The Underpants

I just got back from The Underpants, which is a delightfully funny Steve Martin play they're putting on over at the Darkhorse Theatre. I'm headed to bed, because I have to be at work first thing in the morning if I'm not iced in or I'd tell you more about it. But, if you're in Nashville and you're looking for something to do this weekend, you should check it out. It's not quite a play about cooters, but it is a play about underpants, which is very close.


Y'all, just typing the word 'vacation' has made me feel so much better that I think that's just what I need. I start thinking about taking two weeks off in March and I feel like this big weight has just been lifted off my shoulders. Who the fuck cares what I do? Maybe the dog and I just spend all our days at the park, then we come home and tell you all about the shit we saw. Maybe I mop the kitchen floor or watch shit-loads of TV or throw eggs at the passing trains. Does it matter? Whatever it is, it'll be different. And lord knows I need some "different" right about now.

My Problems are Obvious

Tonight, when my co-worker drove me home, she said, "B., this isn't my business, but I've got to tell you, I think you need to take a vacation, like right away. Just take two weeks and go someplace away from here and away from your family and pull yourself together. You are a mess." "You can tell?" "You're not hiding it very well." ******** I've got no money to go any place. I've got no place to go. I've got no way to get there if I did. But I'm thinking of taking some time when I get back from Puerto Rico, anyway.

The Professor's Bean Soup and Other Stories

The Professor served me delicious bean soup for lunch--spicy and thick. The Professor is always worried that her food is not very good, and yet, when she opens up the crock pot, it's always something fabulous. She has a real gift for layering flavors. She also showed me her cute ankle corsets, which she uses to keep her ankles braced and herself upright. Now, I'm ready for a nap. It's a beautiful Friday and I should be enjoying it, but I have to work tomorrow, so it's more like Thursday and a half for me today. Not that I'm complaining. Thursdays are nice in their own ways as well. I did have a question for you engineer-y types, though, regarding the last post about Mrs. Wigglebottom. The "mmmmmrraawrrllmmmm" sound of the trucks. What's that called? Is that the Doppler effect? I looked on wikipedia, but I'm sad to say that I still can't quite tell if it's the same thing or not. I passed Physics by copying off of the Man from GM. What can I say? Speaking of him, I talked to him the other night and he was asking about y'all. He said, "So there's a large number of people who know me as the Man from GM? You don't tell them embarrassing stories about me, do you?" I had no idea the Man from GM could be embarrassed. But, since I have nothing else to write about and I have to end this post some way, I will tell you this story about the Man from GM. He was in my calculus class in high school. I loathed that class. There were nine of us in there--six boys and three girls. The three girls were required to sit in the front row, since "girls can't learn math as well as boys, your brains just don't work that way," but really it was so that the teacher could be a big letch. Fucker. Once we figured out that he had no interest in teaching us math and that he was really just waiting for a chance to sit at his desk and stare down our shirts, we'd often just announce, "Well, if all you're going to do is stare at our tits, we're leaving" and we'd wander down to the cafeteria and steal chocolate milk. Obviously, he didn't have a lot of control over the classroom. And, he sucked at math. So, he'd write out these long equations that covered all six blackboards in the room and just when he'd get to the end, the Man from GM would get up, grab another piece of chalk and start correcting the errors of the teacher. Man, that dude hated the Man from GM. He wasn't the only one. Our English teacher once duct taped the Man from GM into his desk and taped his desk to the floor and then taped his mouth shut. After class, she just left him there. I don't know who cut him loose eventually; he says it was me but I doubt it. I wasn't always very nice to him. But anyway, here's how the Man from GM got his job at GM. He was a freshman in college when GM was working on the big overhaul of the Corvette and GM had invited all these baby engineers up to Michigan to start wooing them. So, all these kids are touring the facilities and the guy giving the tour asks if they want to see the new Corvette and they all say "Sure" and he takes them and shows it to them. And, bless his heart, the Man from GM gets down under the car and starts shouting out potential problems. Then, he springs up and pops the hood and starts rifling around in the engine and asking more questions. Can you imagine? And the guy giving the tour is just standing there dumbfounded. "What?" The Man from GM asks in his smart-ass annoying manner. "You're touching the car." One of the other students says. "How else am I supposed to see how it works?" The guy giving the tour says, "I've shown this car to every group of students who's come through here this semester and you're the first kid to get under the car to take a look. When you graduate, you come work for me." And so he did.

Mrs. Wigglebottom's Love for Trucks

As has been mentioned over and over, Mrs. Wigglebottom loves trucks. Pick-up trucks, semi-trucks, whatever, if it's got a cab, she wants to climb in it. Mrs. Wigglebottom is not a howling dog. Sure, sometimes she'll kind of purse her lips and let out a hooh-hooh, but really, only when she's trying to make fun of the Butcher and me. "This is what you sound like to me," she says, "ha, ha, you funny apes." Mostly, she likes to bark. She likes to bark if I'm on the phone with the Professor (Rup, rup, rup--Come over right now and let me stand on you!) or when other dogs are peeing in our side yard (yack yack yack ack ack ack ack--Hey, hey, hey, don't be peeing... shit, are you looking me? B., there's a dog peeing right there and he's looking at me! Look, look, aw, damn, don't shut the door.) or when the cats need in (ooorghll--I hear the orange cat outside. Open the door for him.). Last night, though, as I was laying in bed, trying to fall asleep, I could hear the semis on the interstate--mmmmmrraawrrllmmmm as they went by. Mmmmmrrraaawwrlllmmmm. They make this noise all night long, a drive-by lullaby for those of us who live along I-440. And after a bit, I hear, softly from the floor next to me--ggggrrraaawwwlllgggg--Mrs. Wigglebottom singing along with the passing trucks.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Karin Agness is So Cute I Could Just Eat Her Up (after stewing her in my cauldron!!!!)

Before we get started, let's just review why we here at Tiny Cat Pants love libertarians. In order of importance: 1. They give us rides home when we need them and let us see their large construction equipment. 2. They call us up and pretend not to notice that we're crying and say things like "You need to stand up for yourself, B. Don't let those fuckers patronize you." in such a way that we feel like maybe we can kick a little ass. 3. They send us photos titled "Naked Under the Afghan" which still makes us laugh so hard we about can't stand it. 4. Though they seem to be atheist, they give awesome Christmas presents, including ping pong balls and The Triplets of Belleville. 5. They're on the side of right in the whole pitbull debate. 6. They are fun to fight with, because they have well-thought-out, though obviously usually wrong, positions. 7. They often buy us beer. 8. They threaten to beat people up for us and they mean it. Etc. And today, one of them sent me a link to this darling little article by Karin Agness over at Townhall.com. Really, all you need to know about Agness for this to be funny, even without my commentary, is that she's the president of the Network of Enlightened Women (leading me to not be able to refrain from saying that everything old is NeW again) at the University of Virginia, where ladies can go to hear talks on such ground-breaking and controversial subjects as "Sex, Lies and the Vagina Monologues" ("explaining how the Vagina Monologues has hijacked a romantic holiday with a poorly written play that is vehemently anti-male and degrading to women") and "Taking Sex Differences Seriously" ("Examining the real biological disparities between men and women, he explains how contemporary society's denial of sex differences has shaped the sexual revolution, fatherless families, and flawed social policy"). This is so close to shooting fish in a barrel that I almost suspect a libertarian plot to pull me out of my doldrums by showing me that each generation will bring forth new fools who need my attention. Just to switch topics here for a second, the Professor and I went to hear this awesome speaker whose name now utterly escapes me, who was talking about how the media constructed our ideas about feminism back in the 70s. It was amazing, and she (the speaker, not the Professor) brought up this really crucial point about how there was a real difference between the liberal feminists, who started NOW, and believed in ending blatant discrimination against women and the radical feminists who weren't interested in having the media spotlight and who didn't give a shit about what outsiders thought of them, but were interested in raising women's consciousness about what it means to be a woman and how to work towards freeing themselves from oppressive gender roles--the ones who protested the Miss America pageant. I bring this up because I think what we see with Agness is so fascinating in this historical light. These "NeW" women are clearly for some forms of equality--Agness goes to college, she writes in a public forum, she's president of an organization--so they've clearly adopted and internalized some feminist goals as being appropriate goals for them to have. But they're the goals of the liberal feminists of the 2nd wave. And then it becomes clear that her problems with The Vagina Monologues are, in part, that Ensler's goals are for the piece are more clearly aligned with the goals of the radical feminists of the 2nd wave. Ensler in The Vagina Monologues isn't concerned with social justice for women; she's concerned with consciousness raising through art. Fascinating. I can't decide if it's good news that these conservative women who are anti-feminist assume, though, that the goals of liberal feminists of the 2nd wave are just well-established matters of fact or if it's sad that they aren't aware of the debt they owe to these women they now deride as having ruined society. Anyway, onto Agness's piece. Let us look at the interesting nuances of the first paragraph:
While most people were celebrating or searching for love on Valentine's Day, groups of women throughout the country decided to forego this lovely holiday to talk about their vaginas.
First, it's obvious that Agness missed the Yahoo story about how most single people actually aren't looking for love, but second, look how she unhooks "love" from vaginas. This is so fascinating, since it's a commonly-held belief that one of the appropriate ways for a woman to show a man how much she loves him is to take him up inside her vagina. Flowers and candy are tools of seduction. That's the underlying theme of Valentine's day. Shoot, how many of you have October birthdays. Hmm. I wonder why that is? Anyway, my point is that, as long as Valentine's Day is linked with romance and love, it will be linked with sex and as long as sex is still something girls have, it's linked with vaginas. But Agness has to neuter the holiday, take the fucking out of it, in order to claim it as something "pure" that the dirty,vulgar feminists ruin with all their pussy talk. Then she goes on to do just what we talked about, making a bunch of statements about how the "good feminists" used to be. And then, again, she does something interesting. She makes these claims about the accusations feminists made against men and then says "Now feminists have reversed the scenario, and women are exploiting themselves." But that's not a reversal of the scenario at all. A reversal would be for women to exploit men. It would be interesting if she'd made this claim, because then it'd back up her earlier claim that feminists hate men. But, as it stands, she never actually talks about men or shows how she knows that feminists hate them. But then, as I was reading, I got to the point where Agness talks about what's going on in the play itself and suddenly I felt very bad for her. It's right where she says
The woman in this monologue has clearly reduced herself to a body part. This is way worse than the supposed objectifying that feminists claimed men did in the 1970s. Can you imagine if a man then or today would say to a woman, "Your clitoris is you?" No, only a leftist woman can get away with saying this.
Do you see it? Maybe not. So, let me spell it out for you. The woman in the monologue is not real. She is a character, voiced by a lot of different actors every year. It's not always going to be a "leftist woman" who speaks those lines. But even if it was, these characters don't carry the same weight as a real person. Here, look at this, when she's complaining about another piece in the Monologues.
The 24-year-old asks her to spend the night, feeds her vodka, slides into lingerie and then teaches the young girl how to play with herself. If this is not abuse, I don't know what is. Still, this is not condemned in the play.
See that--"this is not condemned in the play." Holy shit! Y'all, clearly, she doesn't understand art. Clearly, she thinks art is just propaganda--that it has a clear message that you are supposed to learn to adhere to. She thinks that, if something is not obviously condemned in the play then the play must be endorsing it. The Butcher and I have this fight about what "art" is all the time. He wants some clear high-faluting definition. I say that art can be anything intentionally made by someone that causes you to pause to reconsider. And I think Ensler in this piece does that. You do pause to reconsider what is violent and what is not, what is appropriate and what is not. You pause to reconsider what you would have felt like under those circumstances. That's the luxury art gives you--time and space for consideration. It doesn't matter if we think that character's experience was moral or immoral or good or bad, because she's just a character. Portraying her story is not an argument for behaving that way. It's just a chance to consider what that story means to you. Bless her heart, that Agness, who doesn't know what art is for. I don't know that I've ever thought this before, but clearly she needs more help than feminism can give her. --------- --I can't think where to add it, but Mephistophocles's post fits in here somehow. --Also, check out W.'s happy willingness to link cooters and Valentine's Day. --I alluded to man-hating lesbian feminist witch covens with my cauldron reference in the title, but then forgot to work it in. Here's a little art to bring it all full circle. For good fun, read it out loud. I swear it's as close as you're going to get to having Shakespeare's tongue in your mouth. ACT IV SCENE I A cavern. In the middle, a boiling cauldron. First Witch Thrice the brinded cat hath mew'd. Second Witch Thrice and once the hedge-pig whined. Third Witch Harpier cries 'Tis time, 'tis time. First Witch Round about the cauldron go; In the poison'd entrails throw. Toad, that under cold stone Days and nights has thirty-one Swelter'd venom sleeping got, Boil thou first i' the charmed pot. ALL Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble. Second Witch Fillet of a fenny snake, In the cauldron boil and bake; Eye of newt and toe of frog, Wool of bat and tongue of dog, Adder's fork and blind-worm's sting, Lizard's leg and owlet's wing, For a charm of powerful trouble, Like a hell-broth boil and bubble. ALL Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and cauldron bubble. Third Witch Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf, Witches' mummy, maw and gulf Of the ravin'd salt-sea shark, Root of hemlock digg'd i' the dark, Liver of blaspheming Jew, Gall of goat, and slips of yew Silver'd in the moon's eclipse, Nose of Turk and Tartar's lips, Finger of birth-strangled babe Ditch-deliver'd by a drab, Make the gruel thick and slab: Add thereto a tiger's chaudron, For the ingredients of our cauldron.