Pride, Prejudice, Pot, and Pants

Guns don’t kill people.  Pants kill people.

A gentleman in Tennessee recently shot himself in the chin when he took off his pants and placed them on his dresser, “at which time the 25 caliber Baretta pistol in the right front pocket discharged.”

Problem SolvedYou’ve got to love a police report.  You’ve got to love the passive voice.   That gun just went off for no reason, through no fault of the outraged incredulous redneck standing there in his dingy tighty whities. He is a blameless victim.  His pants shot him.  He will probably sue Dickies for the crotch seam that pulled the trigger or the rivet that released the safety catch.

This arming of clothing against God-fearing gun-toting conservatives is surely a liberal plot.

Guns don’t kill people.  4-year-olds kill people.

Last Thursday in Detroit, a 4-year-old girl fatally shot her 4-year-old cousin with a gun the children found underneath a bed.  “The female 4-year-old found a long gun underneath the bed and pointed it at the male 4-year-old and pulled the trigger,” Detroit Police spokesman Adam Madera told CBS.  Those bitchy females – you can’t trust them any more than you can trust what’s in your pants.

This arming of toddlers is surely a liberal plot to make God-fearing conservatives who keep loaded unlocked weapons under their beds look bad.

An uncle of mine just added my name to an email he forwarded to all his conservative cronies.  We don’t correspond, and he long ago dropped me from his distribution list since we agree on nothing but the facts that we’re related, scathingly sarcastic, and smarter than average.  He’s actually a very charming male, just as I am a very charming female; such traits run in the family.  We do pull out political rifles, but we only shoot words at each other, and from a distance.

Just $14.95 when you use your NRA Visa!
Just $15.95 when you use your AARP NRA Visa!

Uncle sent a video called “Liberals With Guns” that I won’t link to here because I don’t want my site in any way connected to it.  Think Rush Limbaugh with closer-set eyes, fatter and sweatier and more self-righteous, wearing a Stetson in a vain effort to conceal his bald spot.  But even Rush doesn’t ingenuously and repeatedly hold a coffee cup up to the camera with his picture and the American flag on it and coyly urge that viewers visit his website to buy it.

It’s a sorry day when I find myself defending Rush Limbaugh.  Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

I stewed about the damned email for a week and just couldn’t let it go.  It was a loaded gun, stuck in my pants and stuck in my craw (like the bullet wedged in that red Tennessee neck) (that fellow is fine, by the way, and has lived to abuse his pants another day).  I had no choice but to respond:

Favorite Uncle,

I hate like hell to admit that I know you sent this just to get my goat and that it did, indeed, get my goat.

We yuppie bleeding-heart pansy-ass liberal Democrats out here in Colorado can now keep goats in our within-city-limit backyards!  Chickens, too.  I haven’t gotten into that yet, but with pot now being legal and all I suspect I’ll stop shaving my legs and start raising personal livestock.  You’ll have to come out and kill it for me, though.

colorado potI actually think that the pot-legalization bill was a conservative plot.  What it’s done is render marijuana totally uncool — so it worked, as a Republican plan to curb drug use. Pot’s main attraction was the allure of danger (but not too much danger–you weren’t likely to be shot to death while buying a pedestrian eighth-ounce).  Now, your parents can go out and buy a bag full and smoke it in front of you (provided they drive all the way to Denver and stand in line for hours and pay exorbitant rates).  How totally weird is that?  No self-respecting hipster wants to be like his parents.  I predict a drastic decline in pot popularity.  The whole thing, despite frenzied national coverage, is actually a non-event, here.

Don't make me defend myself.
You keep your pants on, hear?

I know that some ignorant woodchuck wearing a big cowboy hat and clutching a .45 as a penis substitute may well be the death of me.  Until then, I will continue to believe that our duty here on earth is to take care of each other.  I had this sweet little grandmother in New Hampshire who didn’t have a pot to piss in — yet she’d give away anything she owned to anyone, with a selfless generosity of spirit that I’ve never seen matched.  Yes, she was eccentric and more than a bit neurotic, and the family ridiculed her mercilessly, but she “got” what life is all about.  When she died, an enormous group of friends and relatives was the poorer for it.

We’re all on the same journey, after all.  Liberal, conservative, Democrat, Republican, black, white, male, female, Christian, atheist, rich, poor, mouth-breather, effete intellectual — we all end up rotting in the grave.  We’ll all be dead together.  We all have the same terrors.

— except that I am not afraid that the Gov’mint will be coming in the night to take my weapons or my daughters or my Duck Dynasty videos or the supplies against Armageddon I’ve stockpiled in the cellar.  I sleep well, and soundly.

Mind you don’t throw your pants on the dresser in an unguarded moment.

Your fond niece,


Yes, I shamed him with a reference to his own mother.  A female’s got to use whatever comes to hand when she’s rummaging defensively around under the bed.

It’s all for naught, of course.  “For what do we live,” wrote Jane Austen in 1811, “but to make sport for our neighbours, and laugh at them in our turn?”   Our pants are full of pride and prejudice.

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Dem Bones, Dem Bones, Dem Dry Bones

. . . Now hear the word of the Lord.

Pope Frances dusted off the bones of Saint Peter just lately and hauled them out for public veneration in a cloud of incense, which probably made them smell better.

Now, this woman has pluck!
Now, this woman has pluck!

With a similar gesture, Husband just threw applewood chips on the grill beneath our Thanksgiving turkey.  The pungent smoke is billowing through the neighborhood, blessing the bones of that turkey and anyone lucky enough to catch a whiff.

Yes, I know.  Thanksgiving was Thursday.  But Sons #1 and #2 and Girlfriend of Son #1 all work thankless night jobs and were unavailable for celebration then.  Fish of Girlfriend of Son #1 was free to join us, but it seemed rather pointless to cook an 18-pound turkey for him.  I cleaned his bowl, instead, pretending to be thankful for his presence in my living room.  Faking thankfulness is what Thanksgiving is all about, after all – mouth a few platitudes of gratitude, stuff yourself with turkey, and then rush out to fight frail old ladies tooth and nail for sale prices at the big box stores.

A third of Fish of Girlfriend of Son #1’s water had evaporated, the rest of it was cloudy, and there were dead fruit flies floating on the top.  That fish was in a bad way.  Today, he’s vibrant and happy, frisking around like a teenager.

If only a change of water worked like that for me.

We won’t think about the long-term implications of the quality of this fish’s care as regards my future grandchildren or myself, when I’m old and dependent and stuck in the basement needing a diaper change.  Lucky for me, Girlfriend of Son #1 is working on a nursing degree.  I am occasionally kind to her old betta with hope that she in turn will prove occasionally kind to old me.

There was nothing left but the dried bleached bones of their former friend.
Blanch carcass from Thanksgiving turkey.
Spray paint gold, turn upside down and use as a sleigh to hold Christmas Cards.

It is interesting to opt out of a national holiday.  We ate spicy Thai noodle bowls Thursday night and thought about the hundreds of thousands of naked turkey carcasses exposed on kitchen counters across the country in various degrees of desiccation.  Think of the piles and piles of dried bleached bones!

And so I thought of the bones of Saint Peter. Yes, that Saint Peter, the rock upon which the Catholic god built his church.  God’s very own peter, if you will.

Don’t roll your eyes.  Ancient graffiti is what alerted archaeologists to the possible significance of the relics:  PETROS ENI was found scrawled near the excavated tomb.  A literal translation reads, “Peter is here.”  But we’ve all seen graffiti — isn’t it far more likely that the peter referred to belonged to whoever was holding the can of spray paint?  “Hey, baby, I got something for you right here – check this out!”

Did graffiti artists use chisels back then?  That surely made for slow tagging.

what a turkeyCuriosity pricked by this ancient peter, archaeologist Margherita Guarducci ran tests on the surviving boners (bare with me, if you will:  When Son #2 was little, he referred to the opposite sex as “girlers.”  We still call them that, and have taken to adding an “er” to the end of various objects now and then).

I should probably apologize for taking you from mounds of turkey bones to erections of other sorts.  I should probably apologize for hinting that St. Peter even had a penis.  I’ll hasten to add that he used it only to further the glory of god, and to take the occasional leak.

I like the idea of leaky saints.  It humanizes them.  I like a saint who has doubts and second-thoughts and misgivings.  You can feel fond of someone caught in a difficult situation who gives it his best shot while knowing the whole thing is probably pointless.

Sainthood typically calls to mind some humorless fanatic grimly martyring himself for some impossible ideal and to make some nebulous point, thereby (to his great satisfaction) publicly proving himself better than everyone else.   Dead, mind you, but better.  And of course the whole thing is predicated on belief in a sadistic god who gets off watching the religious equivalent of snuff films, who might (if you’re obedient) reward you later for entertaining him with your death throes.  Kind and loving, my ass.

Please, Sir, may I have another?
Please, Sir, may I have another?

Even on Thanksgiving I don’t have thanks to offer God.  I offer him a piece of my mind, instead.  He can stick it in a reliquary where the sun don’t shine (God knows I refer, here, to a catacomb).

I’d like God a lot better if he were passionate – the raging Jehovah of the Old Testament or the theatrical Zeus or the bloodthirsty Quetzalcoatl.  Those guys rolled up their sleeves and took an active interest.  They were involved.  You knew exactly where you stood with them.

God these days just shrugs.  At his best, he’s utterly indifferent.  At his worst, he’s a heartless little boy torturing an ant colony or pulling the wings off flies and the legs off spiders.

God is indifferent to controversy – even the one raging over pieces of what’s purported to be part of his Peter.  You’d think he might step in and settle the question, as a token of thanks.  “Who?” asks God.  “Which one was that?”

“The one who insisted upon being crucified upside down,” you say.  “Peter, who decided he didn’t deserve to die in the same way you arranged for your son to die.  Remember your son?”

“Whatever,” texts god.  “That is sooo 1st century.”

But I digress (“ . . . and how much don’t you like it?” says my father, who art part of me).

The excited archeologist ran tests on the bones they dug up under Peter’s old shrine. They were not those of a turkey.  She claimed they belonged to a robust man who died in the first century at the age of 60 or so, and was buried in a purple, gold-threaded cloth.  That was evidence enough for Paul VI, who declared in 1968 that Peter’s bones had been identified “in a convincing manner.”

Who are we to argue with infallibility?

Why, though, did she feel it necessary to emphasize that god chose a “robust” man to be his chief clerk?  Isn’t it far more likely that Peter was a nerd?  God would need someone bookish and officious and a bit prissy to codify his new religion.  Robust men of action have little patience with writing stuff down.  And they don’t follow rules – they make their own.

I have a holy bone to pick.

Furthermore, a bone is a bone.  Whether it be from a man or from a turkey, it is beyond caring.  There is nothing remotely robust about a bone.

“Faith, the people of God, have always believed these to be the relics of the apostle Peter, and we continue to venerate them in this way,” said Rino Fisichella, head of the pontifical council for evangelization.

That, my dears, is the statement of a clerk:  “We do it this way because we’ve always done it this way.”

Only a real turkey resists change.  I dare you to defy God.  I dare you to stop making that soggy Thanksgiving casserole every year – the canned-mushroom-soup-with-canned-green-beans-and-canned-fried-onions-on-top one.  I dare you to steam harticorts verts instead, and serve them with sliced almonds and lemon butter.

You can eat that can of French’s fried onions later, selfishly and secretly and full of thanksgiving, hiding in the pantry and licking your fingers.  God won’t care.

Thanks for visiting!  Missy
Thanks for visiting!

Oh, Sweet Buttermilk Jesus!

Fish of Girlfriend of Son #1 is still with us, despite apparent depression, fin-rot and neglect.  I felt sorry for him this weekend and (once again) changed his water.  He sits in my living room, after all – bad Feng Shui to have the slow-motion death of an ailing fish on display.

I just turned 55, and am feeling a bit of depression, fin rot and neglect myself.  Is my bowl half full or half empty?  How shall I part the waters of my attitude?  To my right,  “All right! I probably have 20 more good swimming years!”   To my left, “All that’s left is probably 20 more good swimming years.”

one fish two fishYou’ll notice that I’m ever leaning to the left, although Husband would say (if I were out of earshot) that I always have to be Right.   But here’s the thing:  I usually am.  I don’t crow aloud about this, mind you – I crave outside approval far too much for that.  I just wait, biting my tongue until it bleeds, until the time comes when I might say, “See?  I told you so!”  Then I bite my tongue even harder and leave that unsaid, too, so that I can roll my eyes in secret smug superior self-satisfaction.

I am at least not blind to my faults.

I fear that Fish of Girlfriend of Son #1 is blind now, though.  He guesses and gulps at where his food might be – even when the water in his bowl is clean and clear.  He has become my metaphor for life.  I, too, guess and gulp.  I, too, will one day be at the tender mercies of Girlfriend of Son #1, who in all likelihood will be choosing my nursing home.

Then again, my fledglings might never leave home.  In my declining years, Son #1, Son #2 and Girlfriend of Son #1 might just deposit me down in the basement, where they’ll forget to feed me or change my water.  The pale finless ghost of Fish of Girlfriend of Son #1 will then haunt me, saying, as my father is wont to do, “And how much don’t you like it?”

I tend to think we get our heaven and hell right here and now, you see.

"Set out runnin' but I take my time A friend of the devil is a friend of mine"
“Set out runnin’ but I take my time
A friend of the devil
is a friend of mine”

I must, however, disagree with Supreme Court Justice Scalia, who said in a formal interview last week that he believes in the devil – and not as an allegory or a symbol or even an immortal being.  “Yeah, he’s a real person,” said Tony.

This is a man who holds a lifetime position on the highest court in the land. This is a man who deliberates over the details of words and the nuances of words and the intricate involved meanings of words, a man who knows that words stand for far more than themselves.

And this man says that the devil is, yeah, a real person.

I am right about this:  Justice Scalia is bat-shit crazy.  I cannot bite my tongue and wait for this truth to be universally acknowledged.  Is it any wonder that sociopathic outrage is the order of the day in the United States?

When the nuns taught me that Jesus became a real person, I became very troubled.  If Jesus was really a person, that meant that He pooped and peed and farted just like the other people I knew.  How was I to reconcile this dismaying thought with that of a perfect gleaming God?  And what became of His divine poop?  Did Jesus think His shit didn’t stink? (another fine  phrase of my father’s, without the Jesus.  My father has discretion, which I’ve been told I lack).

Remember that I was also taught not to chew the host after receiving it in Holy Communion, since that amounted to masticating God.  The sacred cardboard wafer would adhere like cement to the roof of my mouth, where I was supposed to let it dissolve.  But what then?  The body of Christ goes through my body and winds up in the toilet?  What becomes of the divinity in that humble poop of mine?

Did she jump or was she pushed?
Did she jump or was she pushed?

I wanted very much to believe, and was too afraid to ask such questions. In my younger years, I lacked conviction in the fact that I was Right.  And one never wishes to seem unduly preoccupied with bodily functions – I’ve already mentioned my horror at learning that a guardian angel watched me even in the purported privacy of the privy.  But that’s the crux of the whole thing:  we’re a cross between the sacred and the profane.  We somehow have to come to terms with the fact that while divinity lies within us, coarse hair grows out of our noses and ears.

Or at least starts to when we turn 55 and develop fin rot.

My doctor tells me I am not old – and I’d love to believe her, but she’s bat-shit crazy, too.  I have to find a new doctor.  A letter arrived from her office yesterday, announcing an “exciting change” in the way she chooses to practice medicine.  She’s a general practitioner, “helping people through life from birth to death.”  She has decided to help women by offering instruction in the rhythm method of contraception.  That is all very well and good, since the rhythm method as I understood it meant crossing your fingers and saying, “Oh, what the hell.”  Reliable medical advice should certainly be readily available.

Her words then get judgmental, handed down from a higher court.  She goes on to say that she will no longer discuss, endorse, or prescribe any other form of contraception.  Period.

"Walking in Rhythm  Singin' my song Thinkin' about my baby"
“Walkin’ in Rhythm, Singin’ my song
Thinkin’ about my baby, Tryin’ to move on”

I will bite my tongue.  I will wait until her young Catholic-school daughters come of age, and see what happens.  Perhaps one of them will get pregnant at 17 and have to give up college plans.  Perhaps one of them will have 5 kids and find herself carrying a sixth, when she hasn’t the resources to raise even one.  Perhaps they will grow up believing that sex is dirty and sinful, and spend their lives fighting the devil of their humanity.

New York Magazine:  Have you seen evidence of the Devil lately?

Scalia:  You know, it is curious. In the Gospels, the Devil is doing all sorts of things. He’s making pigs run off cliffs, he’s possessing people and whatnot. And that doesn’t happen very much anymore. 

New York Magazine:  No.

Scalia:  It’s because he’s smart.

New York Magazine:  So what’s he doing now?

Scalia:  What he’s doing now is getting people not to believe in him or in God. He’s much more successful that way . . . I mean, c’mon, that’s the explanation for why there’s not demonic possession all over the place. That always puzzled me. What happened to the Devil, you know? He used to be all over the place. He used to be all over the New Testament.

Oh, sweet buttermilk Jesus!  MIRTH at its most outrageous could not invent something like this.

No doubt the devil grew bored with making pigs run off cliffs.  He’s smart — he realized it’d be a lot more fun to make the people who run the world do so.


Credit for the wonderful turn of phrase “sociopathic outrage” must go to Husband, outraged himself at being furloughed as a non-essential federal employee.  I tell him that he is essential to me.  He snorts.

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A Dearth of Mirth

“You really need to make time for some MIRTH,” says Husband, helpfully.

“Oh?”  I say, in full attack mode.  “And just what is that supposed to mean?  You find me uptight and humorless and dour, lately?  You think I’m dying by grumpy degrees for want of a creative outlet?  You’re suggesting that I need to lighten up and stop staring at my naval and worrying that our sons will still be living in the basement when they’re 40 and that I’ll die without ever having had an empty nest moment?  You think I’m unhealthily obsessing about the fate of the planet and the fact that Girlfriend of Son #1 will doubtless get another goddamned Siamese fighting fish when the one living listlessly in my front room finally gives up the ghost?  You think our marriage has become yet another household chore that I’m grossly neglecting?  You think I’m even more strung-out and grim than usual?  You think I’m doing that pathetic ‘I have wasted my whole summer’ thing again?  Just what do you mean, giving me a glass of wine and suggesting that I sit and work on my mirth?”

Husband gets one of those deeply hurt but patient and understanding expressions on his face, which pushes me over the edge.

Me, except for the boobs and the Scarlett O'Hara waistline
Me, except for the great knockers
and the Scarlett O’Hara waistline

“And just what does that look mean?  You think I’m just another hysterical middle-aged female raging-hormone case?”

I am, of course.  I take the wine and apologize to Husband for having morphed from the fairly docile creature he married into a full-blown harpy.

And not even an up-to-date computer-graphic harpy – I fancy myself one of those awkward stop-action figures from the old film version of Jason and the Argonauts.

I mourned the recent passing of Ray Harryhausen.  His army of marching skeletons terrified me when I was a nervous young babysitter trying to stay awake through the wee hours of the night.  To this day, I figure Death will come trooping after me on bony skeleton feet.   I’d prefer little cat ones and a nice fog, but I don’t get a vote.

Ask not for whom the bell tolls
Ask not for whom the bell tolls

The news server I frequent kindly arranges a sidebar of articles selected “just for me,” chosen by some godlike algorithm that examines what I’ve researched in the past  (yeah, I know – Bigfoot, classical music, carnal relations with aliens, 18th century literature, the Guinness record for biggest fake boobs – I can stump a sophisticated mathematical formula without even trying).  Sometimes it does get it right, though, trotting out the article on the death of the Dynamation man.

This morning I woke up to Goats Unleashed at Congressional Cemetery paired with Women at Wailing Wall Incite Ultra Orthodox.

"Are there any women here today?"
“Are there any women here today?”
(courtesy Python Cam)

It works, really.  Washingtonians are wailing about weed-eating goats invading a place of their dead as if they were widows in weeds invading a place of worship.  Or perhaps my personal news search engine ran “goats” and “Jewish mothers” through the system and decided they belonged together because Kosher law forbids the cooking of a young goat in its mother’s milk.  Makes perfect sense, in a binary sort of way.

MIRTH at its most whimsical would be hard-pressed to top that.  But MIRTH didn’t even have to try – the next two articles on the list were entitled, Panda Cam Offers Adorable Eavesdropping and Vigil Set for Boys Strangled by Python.

I’m thinking a Python Cam might be a better investment than a panda one, at least where defenseless young boys are left sleeping near killer snakes.  I’m thinking that pythons need some strict food rules  — no young boys, period.

I grew up eating fish every Friday.  I understand that religious dietary laws are a call to holiness, a demand for minor martyrdom.  You’re craving a big messy chili dog in the worst way, but your god expects you to substitute a dried-out frozen fish stick.

And why?  “Because I said so.”  It’s an indulgent exercise in flaunting power for power’s sake.  Every parent who ever lived has lived for that line.  There’s a certain thrill in intoning Thou Shalt Nots.

The Abrahamic god was clever with his Catholics.  Many of them had no money for meat, anyway, so he had them make a virtue of necessity by abstaining on Fridays.  He might have done better by his chosen people, though.  Why not just teach them to cook their pork to an internal temperature of 145 degrees and pasteurize their milk?  Any god worth his salt should have some gourmet cooking expertise and be willing to share it.  Think of the advantage he’d have on IRON CHEF.

Dietary laws are also a call to discipline. The ability to distinguish between what’s right & wrong, good & evil, and pure & defiled helps our species survive.  Your innocent daughter is slumming in a seedy biker bar late Friday night?  You want her to understand these things.  Your sweet son is downtown where he shouldn’t be, propositioned by practitioners of the oldest profession?  You want him to have this concept down pat.

Terror of men everywhere -- an earnest young woman with prayer book
The terror of conservative men everywhere
— earnest young woman with prayer book

Black and white turn to grey when we turn to questions of the sacred & profane – goats in the cemetery or women at the Wailing Wall.  Jerusalem’s last extant piece of the Temple of Solomon is a fiercely contested prize.  Solomon himself would laugh (or perhaps cry) at seeing his baby cut in half — or, more likely, into eighths or ninths or hundreths, with Jews and Arabs and Christians and many vicious sub-sects of each fighting each other tooth and nail for control.

We none of us like to share our toys, but most learn to do so with reluctant grace (except for my new laptop, which by Jesus no-one else will ever touch unless of course I need tech support, in which case Sons #1 and #2 will grudgingly be allowed temporary access).

Commandment #11, alas, went missing long ago:  Thou Shalt Share Thy Stuff.  Clear, straightforward, and free of all that confusing coveting and envying wordage that makes some of the Top 10 seem redundant.

Commandment #12 is an important one, too:  Thou Shalt Not Be An Asshole.

#13 reads, Thou Shalt Be Kind.  #12 by itself is not enough, you see.   Not being an asshole just renders you neutral.  We’re after active goodness, here.

#14 says, Thou Shalt Bite Thy Tongue.  It continues, “ . . . Until It Bleedeth, If Necessary.”  Ultimately, your opinion does not matter, even to God.  Or perhaps especially to God.  Father of Kid’s Friend has no business rocking back on his heels, Moses-like, and instructing me to kick my slacker sons out to toughen them up.  He knoweth not my situation.  He loveth not my sons.

The friend who advised me to flush Fish of Girlfriend of Son #1 down the toilet may, however, have a point.  Everything is relative.

imagineImagine how smoothly the world would run, given those four simple rules!  Instead of militarizing the Wailing Wall, pilgrims of every faith should learn to say “Please” and “Thank You” and “No, After You!” and visit it respectfully together.

You may say that I’m dreamer, yes? (although I never actually liked John Lennon much, a confession I know is akin to saying I don’t believe in God.  Forgive me, you ardent Beatles fans.   I haven’t grown horns.  Really.  That’s just my harpy persona).

Lost Commandment #15 is best of all, though:  Thou Shalt Not Put Empty Ice Cube Trays Back In Thy Freezer.

Husband was right again (I hate that).  Some wine, some MIRTH, and the earth is worth it all once more.

Thanks for visiting!  Missy
Thanks for visiting!






Bite your Tongue and Pass the Velveeta

“Don’t you have a blog entry or something to do?” asks Husband, somewhat crossly.  So here I am.

Pretty, BUT . . .
Pretty, BUT . . .

We are looking out the patio door at the wonderful jungle of an Eden Husband has created in our small stark square suburban backyard.  When he first started digging up the sod five years ago, I was very alarmed.  It looked like a moonscape out there – one hard flat brown desert rectangle, with a 1960s chain-link fence and a solitary locust tree.

I’m from New England – I want thick ferns springing forth from the foundation of my house.  I want dense greenery you take for granted and don’t have to water.  I want rich black soil, not this hard red clay.  I can’t even get a fern to grow inside my house, much less outside it.

Husband has managed to make me a lush and beautiful secret garden.  But one of the pottery fountains isn’t working very well.  “Looks like that one needs more water,” I say, with what I hope is a casual tone.  “I just put water in it yesterday,” says Husband, immediately on the defensive.  Do I bite my tongue?  Do I shut up and say nothing?  Do I content myself with knowing that since I’ve mentioned it, he will be sure to follow up?

Of course not.  I repeat myself, because I know I am Right.  And the tone of the evening changes.  Not for the better.

Just say no to saying it
Just say NO to saying it

This past week was full of tongues that should have been bitten instead of being stuck out at the public and the press.  Makes me feel better about my own lingual looseness.

In Texas, we have 5th Circuit Federal Appeals Judge Edith Jones saying, “certain racial groups are prone to violence.”  Suppose she means Caucasians?

Asked to explain her remarks, she states that “there is no arguing that Blacks and Hispanics outnumber Anglos on death row and that, sadly, it is a statistical fact that people from these racial groups get involved in more violent crime.”  By way of example, she cites “the fact that a lot of Hispanic people are involved in drug trafficking, which itself involves a lot of violent crime.”

Jones, a Reagan appointee, also defends the use of the death penalty because “a killer is only likely to make peace with God and the victim’s family in that moment when the killer faces imminent execution, recognizing that he or she is about to face God’s judgment.”

Oh, my.

Is this the wisdom of Solomon we’re after in our judges?  Cut that baby in half!  It’s just another godless minority bastard out to defraud the welfare system!  You may rely upon our judicial system – as long as you’re an affluent white self-righteous Christian zealot.

My own tongue needs biting again.  Husband just left a pan of bacon sizzling on the stove while he went outside for a minute (read, “4 or 5”) to start the grill.   What if I hadn’t been sitting in the next room, ever-alert and hyper-vigilant and ready, like a self-righteous Christian zealot, to show the way?  What if I hadn’t trotted out there immediately to mind his business?  My house would be in flames right now.  And it’s no doubt under-insured, or I’d be inclined risk it so that I’d never have to deal with that broken faucet in the kitchen (no, I haven’t fixed that yet).

If not for me
If not for me

Husband finds me stirring his pot when he returns.  “Is there a problem?” he asks, that dry-fountain hostile edge still sharp in his voice.  This is my moment.  I should shut up, knowing that he does know better than to walk away from hot grease on the stove.  Instead, I say (rather primly and probably with my lips pursed), “Well, you did just go outside and leave that bacon unattended.”

I should just paint my tongue black.

But so should the senior US senator from Georgia, Saxby Chambliss (could even William Faulkner have come up with such a name?), who blames military rapes on “the hormone level created by nature.”  Here’s the full quote, from a hearing on the sexual assault crisis in the armed forces:

“The young folks coming in to each of your services are anywhere from 17 to 22 or 23. Gee whiz, the hormone level created by nature sets in place the possibility for these types of things to occur.”

Aw shucks, I just couldn’t help it.  My penis told me to do it.

Even the military, predicated upon indoctrinating absolute obedience to following the rules, cannot seem to enforce rules against the ruling sentiment that boys will be boys – gee whiz, warriors shouldn’t have to bother with the niceties of basic human decency.  Yet what about all the honorable ones who take such things seriously?  Doesn’t this sort of thing just chap their hides?

Perhaps basic human decency shouldn’t be extended to those who grotesquely violate it.

Ha!  You didn’t expect me to get all an-eye-for-an-eye on you  – a bleeding heart liberal with a secret fondness for Hammurabi harshness.  I read about the likes of Jodi Arias and Ariel Castro and become as foaming-at-the-mouth self-righteously zealous and vindictive as anyone I ever criticize here.

Mother always told me to keep them guessing.  “Do I contradict myself?” asks Whitman.  “Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.” [1]

And, really,  “Gee, whiz?”  Talk about further denigrating something:  Gee whiz, that bomb went off in Boston.  Gee whiz, those kids got shot in Newtown.  Gee, whiz, that guy suffered thirty stab wounds, a slit thoat, and a bullet in his forehead.  Gee whiz, those women lost ten years in that Cleveland cellar. cheese_whiz

It’s like calling extra-sharp organic aged artisan Vermont cheddar Cheez Whiz.

Not that I haven’t happily eaten more than my share of tasty salty bright orange over-processed viscous artificial cheese food products.  Whitman rules.


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[1] Walt Whitman (1819-1892)  “Song of Myself”