Mar 13 2009

Spinster aunt talks about the weather

Fig. 13a

Fig. 13a

Cottonmouth County, home of Spinster HQ, is the droughtiest county in the droughtiest state in the country. I know, because, like all spinster aunts, I am an expert climatologist, and also because I consulted the U.S. Drought Monitor. If I may direct your attention to Fig. 13a? Observe the section of the map that looks like dried blood on a bullet wound. That’s Cottonmouth County.

Thanks, global warming!

There hasn’t dripped a drop of rain around here since about 1947. Even the rocks are beginning to wilt. All along the highways, instead of wildflowers, are signs reading “Burn Ban in Effect. This Includes Lighting Farts.” * Everything is dead or dying, which, I grant you, is a bonanza for vultures, but for most everybody else the drought is pretty inconvenient. It’s pointless, for example, to plant food in a drought, which condition has obvious consequences for both food planters and people who eat food. It is also inconvenient for livestock who eat food. A spinster aunt can’t tootle down County Road 666 for half a mile without seeing at least one skeletal cow planted in the dust with four in the air. I expect the wild herbivores are similarly feeling the pinch.

Meanwhile, bone-dry perma-winds have been howling through El Rancho Deluxe at 20 to 40 MPH for two weeks straight. Whenever I leave the bunkhouse I have to wear goggles to keep my eyes from being ripped from my skull. I pick my way around the landscape clinging from tree to tree, brachiating on foot like some mutant earthbound gibbon.

To prevent the pruneo-dessication of my person I’ve been forced to have water trucked in by price-gouging drought profiteers. The water driver is a guy named Keith who, irritatingly, always accepts what I intend to be a strictly disingenuous offer of coffee. While my water pumps into the cistern he stands around slurping and raconteuring about the good old days in the Navy when he was a real ass-kicker. Unless I want to see ex-ass-kicker Keith every week, I have to be fairly frugal with showers and the laundry. So a certain aroma hovers.

But overarchingly, I’ve been pretty much living in a state of panic that some crazed armadillo hunter’s insufficiently stubbed-out Marlboro will float over here on a dirt devil and El Rancho Deluxe will go up in a blaze of deluxeness like some crap Hollywood special effect.

How dry is it? Two nights ago I was awakened by what could only have been an army of hydrophobic claw-footed aliens parachuting onto my hot tin roof from a giant pulsating mothership hovering directly overhead. I surmised that the aliens were allergic to water, and had journeyed to the Texas Hill Country from a recently flooded planet 4,307 light years away in search of the parched conditions that could sustain their species. I supported this hypothesis with the direct observation of two instances of thunder and one instance of lightning. As you know, mothershippal pulsations always generate thunder and lightning.

But the origin of the roof racket turned out to be even more alien than an alien invasion. It was, of all things, rain. Like all the other spinster aunts in Cottonmouth County, I tested this wild hypothesis by leaping into my wellies and hot-footing it dramatically out into the anhydrous dust that used to be my hay field, twirling with outstretched arms and singing my number one jam, “Africa” by Toto (including the keyboard “flute” solo, because damn those are some hott lixx).

Sure enough, I became damp. Hypothesis confirmed.

The precipitation continues today. Please join me for celebrational cocktails on the Lido Deck at 4 PM.

Drizzle at the Spinster HQ Climatology Lab: God is crying because He hates feminism.

Drizzle at the Spinster HQ Climatology Lab: God is crying because He hates feminism.

* Remember, during W’s first term, how he was always hanging around his Texas ranch “clearing brush”? Ranchers fucking hate brush. Almost as much as they love fetuses. Brush is anything that grows where the rancher wants to plant genetically modified hybrid grass to feed genetically modified hybrid cattle. The product of brush-clearing is a huge pile of wood. Ranchers always burn this pile, sending gallons of nasty hydrocarbon globules into the atmosphere, rather than going to the expense and trouble of turning it into mulch, thus incurring pollution and increasing the likelihood of wildfires. Nice.


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  1. undercover punk

    Twisty, really, why must you tease me so?!? Cocktails with you on the Lido Deck is an impossible dream! Though maybe less impossible than the Feminist Revolution…? Well, anyways, *CHEERS* to precipitation! And *CHEERS* to you and your guests! I will have to settle for enjoying a beer in Boston with my visions of decentralized gender separatism.

  2. Pinko Punko

    Imagos equal 404, but the prose has been enough to fertilize my ol’ bean. I hope the deluge continues.

  3. Twisty

    “Imagos equal 404”

    You’re fucking kidding me! I thought I had this sorted!

  4. B. Dagger Lee

    Is that Esperanto you guys are talking?

    When I was little I used to visit my grandparents on an old experimental farm (bamboo, quince trees!) outside of Dallas, and I remember the ground as having big, gaping cracks in it from the extreme drought of the time.

  5. Comrade PhysioProf

    Yay for rain!

    (The pictures load fine for me in Firefox 2.0.0.sumthin.)

    Comrade PhysioProf

  6. norbizness

    Here is even a more detailed breakdown. All of East Texas would be in our shoes had it not been for Hurricane Ike.

    Thankfully, the current deluge, which will make up about 20% of our 18-month deficit, is not coming down in a torrential fashion, because all that would do would be to strip the layer of topsoil from the limestone foundation just beneath it.

  7. Jo

    Thanks, Twisty. You made my day as you often do.

    I can remember one July when everything was brown and dusty, I drove about 50 miles to find a green spot to have a picnic. Lo and behold, it rained right on me and I danced in it.

  8. Felicity

    God I’d love to live there! I hate hate hate England – Give me a drought any day!

  9. Twisty

    “God I’d love to live there! I hate hate hate England – Give me a drought any day!”

    It seems you might not fully appreciate the fairly horrific implications of drought, Felicity. But good news! Owing to the continued success of global warming, your hated England will likely disappear into the Atlantic before too long.

  10. rubysecret

    God is weeping with joy because she hearts unicorns!

  11. Laura

    Hurrah for rain! And thank you for awesome prose describing what is such a radically different climate (than N. Eastern U.S.)

  12. Notorious Ph.D.

    I come from a part of the country famous for its rain, but currently live in a city planted in irrigated desert. At least your drought is honest about what it is.

  13. Hattie

    Da da da da da da da da dum!!! With the flute, yet.
    Congratulations. Around here, we have to dump the rain out of the gauge every day. It only holds five inches. Sometimes it overflows. We’e had something like 20 inches in the past few days, and we average 120 inches a year. On the other side of the Big Island of Hawaii, there is total drought in places. Like five inches a year or something.
    But we had a drought a few years ago, and people living on catchment systems had to buy water at $150.00 a tank.

  14. Boudicca

    Happy rain, Twisty! We’re enjoying the showers here in the Piney Woods, too. I’m not sure if it’ll be enough to get the azaleas and dogwoods in a springtime mood, but it’s certainly welcome.

  15. rowmyboat

    I’d like some rain. Cause it sure as hell beats the snow we’re still getting off and on in Massachusetts.

  16. Emma Goldman

    Hello! please check out our blog which describes some feminsit direct action! There is a little thing in london called the Miss University London beauty pageant and we decided to disrupt it. Cause it’s disgusting and retro. heres the blog address to find out more hope to see you!

  17. Betsy

    That’s great about the rain. I hope you get some more soon, too. It soaks in better after the initial wetting, my grandmother always said.

    Cuba certainly is strangely puertoricomorphic on that map.

  18. Betsy

    Or maybe it just suffered an early coastline adjustment due to global warming.

  19. rootlesscosmo

    brachiating on foot like some mutant earthbound gibbon.

    Analogy of the Week, for certain.

  20. Hedgepig

    One of the best examples of mis-heard lyrics I’ve come across is: “I led some raids down in Africa.”
    Diction wasn’t an important element in 80s pop, as my mother would relentlessly point out to us as my siblings and I attempted to enjoy our generation’s cultural artefacts. But really, who gives a shit about the words with melodies like that?

  21. birkwearingblamer

    We got rain down here near the coast, too. It’s 45 degrees right now (that’s F for you Brits–too lazy to convert to C). I’m freezing my hiney off!

    Who would expect a drought in a place that’s only a hour drive from the freaking Gulf of Mexico?!? Thanks to global warming, though, we expect to have beach front property in the near future. Let’s have a big ol’ feminist clam bake and dance like Annette did.

  22. Felicity


    Erm yup bad global warming!

    I kinda know what it’s like though – even going to Portugal is actually torture enough with its droughts. My sympathies!!

    You actually live in a desert though, that has to be something many of us here can only dream…

  23. yttik

    “God I’d love to live there! I hate hate hate England – Give me a drought any day!”

    My sympathies. I also live somewhere that is so wet and gloomy you begin to mold in the fall, which helps to feed the moss that will soon begin to grow on you over the winter. In the summer we simply rust a bit and pretend it’s a suntan. My fingers are pruney like I’ve been in the bath too long, all year around.

    But I do remember the parched dryness, the cracked earth and the glorious rain that makes you run outside just to make sure it is real. Water is incredibly precious, sometimes those of us who spend most of our time half drowned forget.

  24. Orange

    Hooray for rain in droughtlands.

    Boo for the rains we had in Chicago. Who needs 3″ in a day? Certainly not the people who live near rivers that threaten to flood.

    But yay for the Great Lakes region in general. It looks like a promising place to ride out global warming.

    Hooray for #1 jams. My #1 jam is Dire Straits’ “Romeo and Juliet.” I know, it’s all het, but so am I.

    Hooray for the picture showing up fine. I never did see that Maypearl picture, but I’ve seen the photos since. Just saw a mention somewhere of a Texas town called Maypearl this week. Hooray for lady horses not named Sam Houston or Stephen Austin.

  25. Ron Sullivan

    Congratulations on your rain!

    Now how’s that for a post-apocalypse greeting card?

  26. chingona

    Hohokam. That’s all I have to say.

  27. Oaktown Girl

    Late last year I had to move, and went from a “moderate” drought zone to a “severe” one. Unless things change radically, this summer will have us firmly in the “extreme” category.

    It’s scary, not just for the lack of water, but for all the godbags that will descend like locusts saying “more prayer” and fewer “loose women” will solve the problem.

  28. Antares

    A hilarious post. Thanks for the laffs, Twisty.

  29. Helen

    Oh snap! Here in SE Australia, we have had two of the worst droughts in a century (chronological century, not just the 21st) in 2003 and now. The one now is the worst ever. And today, we had a massive thunderstorm and rain like a tropical monsoon.

    Loving it!

  30. Helen

    …And if anyone thinks Oaktown Girl is joking, think again.

  31. Vinaigrette Girl

    You and Proust, sisters under the skin: who knew?

    Un petit coup au carreau, comme si quelque chose l’avait heurté, suivi d’une ample chute légère comme de grains de sable qu’on eût laissé tomber d’une fenêtre au-dessus, puis la chute s’étendant, se réglant, adoptant un rythme, devenant fluide, sonore, musicale, innombrable, universelle: c’était la pluie.

    (A little knock at the door, like something thrown; followed by sudden soft copious pouring, like grains of sand flowing onto a window below; then the flow evens, regulates itself, adopts the rhythm, at once fluid, sonorous, musical, without number, universal: it is the rain.)

    (I love rain. It’s one of the things I moved to England for.)

  32. Aunti Disestablishmentarian

    A few years ago, Poland was going through a severe drought. So the Polish parliament prayed together in the parliamentary chapel for the Polish national god to bring the rain.

    And the Polish national god obliged, and turned the taps on. And kept them on until the country was swollen and the rivers were bursting.

    And Parliament actually had the audacity to go back to their god and wave their hands and whistle; “Sokay now, you can shut the taps off!”

  33. fsteele

    Anhydrous dust?


  34. keshmeshi

    Granted, I know very little about ranching or brush clearing, as I’m a member of the urban liberal elite. However, I did hear, from someone more knowledgeable than I, that Bush tended to clear brush in the wrong season(s). Thusly, his brush clearing was all about photo-ops and proving himself to be a manly man rancher, even as he craps his pants if a horse ventures within 20 yards of his eminence.

  35. Vinaigrette Girl

    @birkwearingblamer: I beg your pardon, Madam! Here in the UK we are so Celsius that people write in to Radio 4 to complain on a regular basis! [gets off high horse HERE].

    Let’s not go into US v Imperial v Continental metrics, it’s all too much at this time of night ;-)

  36. fsteele

    OT breaking news:

    About Obama’s “Council on Women and Girls” with cronies Jarrett and Tchen heading it.

    I just wanted to give this fact about the actual make-up of the ‘Council.’ So if the ‘Council’ ever has a meeting and anything that matters comes up for a vote, look who will have the most votes. “While the new council does not have Cabinet rank, the whole Cabinet, from the Secretary of Defense to the US Ambassador to the United Nations, is required to serve on it.” “The members are all Cabinet Secretaries and the heads of numerous federal agencies.”

    So is it now about 75% men in Obama’s cabinet? They will be automatically on the Council and able to outvote anything the women might come up wtth. (Is the gender parity any better among the “heads of numerous federal agencies”? — Of course as he needs in future, Obama could make a new executive order defining just which of those heads are on the Council from one meeting to the next.) Headed by two cronies, peopled by a large percentage of male appointees who have their own high-payng Cabinet jobs to protect…. Very safe design….

    Reasons for scepticism, in no particular order:

    Created all of a piece with Jarrett and Tchen (both Chicago cronies of Obama) already installed, no chance for public input.
    Jarrett has no known prior feminist credits; Tchen’s none mentioned since college.
    ‘Council’ has no staff, no meetings; both Jarrett and Tchen already have full time jobs with the Administration, and Jarrett already has other impressive titles.

    ‘Councll makeup: “While the new council does not have Cabinet rank, the whole Cabinet, from the Secretary of Defense to the US Ambassador to the United Nations, is required to serve on it.” “The members are all Cabinet Secretaries and the heads of numerous federal agencies.” http://www.fem2pt0.com/?p=855

  37. She-cago

    Yay Twisty! Your number one jam lol. I love it. Happiness!

  38. Spiders

    In Australia, not just drought/bushfires in the south, but simultaneous devastating flooding in the NE.

  39. Lovepug

    Yeah, rain!

    Global warming toys with us all. I have a deep fascination with Namibia to the extent that I read The Namibian online. I guess since they’re a desert country, they’re having a heck of a time dealing with the unusual amounts of rain they’re having these days. Their sewer and runoff systems are simply not equipped to handle the amount of water. They worry now about water-borne diseases.

    I also can’t help but wonder if some of the brush that The Man Who Would Be King used to clear were native species that might be drought tolerant.

    How do Texas Longhorns fair under drought conditions? Better than a Holstein cow I would imagine.

  40. sonia

    I had to youtube “Africa” because I was born in 80.

    I have this persistent mental picture of a shorn-locked Texas feminist twirling in a downpour to the song that I am now being treated to. it’s like a Meryl Streep movie in slo-mo but way more…deluxe.

    thanks. i apologize but because of the Meryl Streep thing in the mental picture there’s a long floral dress that belongs on a compound. but it’s still pretty fucking hilarious.

  41. Noshoes

    I used to like rain and I used to enjoy surfing when it was raining or immediately after a storm. Nowadays I get a sinus infection if I even think about it. Here in filthy SoCal, any rain we get washes all the disgusting stuff that has accumulated on the streets right down to the ocean and straight up my nose. I wish there was some way of rebuilding our infrastructure so that rainwater could flow to catch basins, where it would hydrate foliage and gardens and things instead of washing dog turds and motor oil into my sinuses and befouling the beaches.

  42. TheLady

    Despair! Chagrin! Downcastedness!

    The Twisy Jam is none other than the most despised, loathsome piece of pathetic excuse for popular music ever to make me storm out of a nightclub in disgust! It’s so bad it’s not even ironic!

    However, also delight! Joy! Glee! For long awaited rain. Long may it continue.

    For anyone who thinks that living in drought conditions or a desert is all that, please pause to consider not only the local but the political implications of water shortages.

    Go look at a map of the Middle East. Go on, shoo.

    Back? OK.

    See how every border of the post-’67 state of Israel is delineated by a river or high ridge down which rainfall flows into the country?

    Yep. It’s all about resources, and the most crucially scarce resource in that part of the world is water. Notice how the Sea of Galilee is the only lake in the *entire* Middle East between Turkey and Tanzania? (Aswan doesn’t count, it’s a dam) No wonder people have been fighting over it for 3,000 years.

    Living in England with its interminable drizzle is pretty depessing, but at least it doesn’t lead to phosphorous bombs.

  43. speedbudget

    Twisty, every time you mention your #1 jam, I run around all day with a single line going through my head over and over again because it’s the only line I know. Gah.

    Also, we’ve been overcast and nasty, with no rain, just depressing clouds. I’ll take a nice rainstorm over constant clouds any day.

  44. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    Sorry to hear about your aridity. I’m hoping you get more rain soon.

    Being a SoCal gal who fetched up in the Great Lakes region, I remember many days of brown, crunchy vegetation and my dad pitching fits over the water bill. It still kinda freaks me out, the way everybody here is so casual and free with lawn-watering in the summer. And how overabundant the greenery gets once spring really gets going.

    Meanwhile, I’ve still got the thinsulate winter lining zipped into my trench coat. It ain’t spring yet.

  45. Tina H

    I do miss the Great Lakes. Central Maryland’s not so bad, though, it drizzled all day yesterday.

  46. pheeno

    The west texas area needs to be redder. We’ve been in this drought for over 12 years. We’re never getting out of it, it just doesn’t rain enough normally to fix it, much less right now.

  47. Claire

    The drought map shows the dust bowl for the developing depression.

  48. Angiportus

    Solar stills, anyone?

  49. pheeno

    FYI for those that don’t know, EAST Texas isn’t a desert. Neither is north, south, the plains or central. West Texas is the desert.

    East Texas is hill country, with lots of lakes and rivers. So is north texas, except the panhandle, which is plains. South has the beaches, south west has mountains and central has lakes.

    We all have different accents too.

  50. Jezebella

    I sure hope y’all got some of the rain that’s soaking the soggy southeast right now.

  51. Twisty

    We sure did. Enough for a couple more long showers and a few loads of laundry, at least!

    East Texas is hill country, with lots of lakes and rivers. So is north texas, except the panhandle, which is plains. South has the beaches, south west has mountains and central has lakes.

    But, pheeno, Central Texas is the Hill Country. I know because I live there, and when I look out my window, I see hills. There are no hills in North Texas. I know because I used to live there, and when I looked out my window, I saw flat.

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