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The Vine

The Tomato Nation advice column addresses your questions on etiquette, grammar, romance, and pet misbehavior. Ask The Readers about books or fashion today!

Home » The Vine

Vine News 'n' Notes

Submitted by on April 16, 2008 – 12:46 PM15 Comments

On a trial basis, I've decided to publish The Vine as follows: a set of "classic" Vines, mid-week; and Ask The Readers on Fridays, as usual.

I've also decided to leave the comments open on a trial basis, but will moderate those quite tightly for relevance/off-sides bitchiness. (Off-sides bitchiness is my job.) (You were thinking it.)

So, let's see how all that goes. I'll have this week's regular Vine ready to go shortly, but in the meantime, fun from the archives: divorced parents fight over a poster; "Should I tell prospective employers about my other personality?"; and the guy who wanted to marry the family friend he thinks of as a daughter, to help her with her school loans.

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  • cayenne says:

    Yay – Vines! And wow – somehow I never saw these, so this is excellent. Love the response to the creepy guy.

    Then I scrolled through the last one & found reference to "The Porn Letter". Now I'm curious…and of course it doesn't seem to have made it over yet. Or did I miss it? If it's there, can someone post a link? If not, Sars, could it be one of the re-posted classics?

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    Most of the old links are busted, but I just got an email telling me the Porn Letter is August 1, 2003. That should be over here by now.

  • cayenne says:

    Thanks, Sars. Much appreciated!

  • SweetieDarling says:

    Oh my god, that's my letter about my stupid parents and the stupid poster!

    I did take Sars' advice, wise and rational as it was, and great fun ensued. My mother was furious with me and accused me of taking my dad's side because I have "always wanted his approval," but she ended up giving back the poster anyway.

    When dad and stepmother came to visit and pick up the poster, they realized that gosh, maybe it wouldn't really work with their decor after all and they left it for us, since we had "always admired that poster so much."

    It's like O.Henry updated for modern times, isn't it!

    Thanks for the memories (and for the good advice in spite of all the idiots involved, myself included), Sars. xo

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    Hee. Glad everything "worked" "out."

    Is it wrong that I picture that poster as one of those velvet/neon blacklight stoner jobs?

  • Suzanne says:

    Can I just say this one thing?

    "Gordian knot of writhing blondes" = win!

  • Phoenix_B says:

    Yay vines!!

    I love your tough-talking advice Sars.

  • Alexis says:

    Nice to hear about the outcome re: the poster. It would be pretty cool to hear more outcomes of old Vines!

  • Diane says:

    I just read all replies to the 4/16/08 Vine and wanted to let you know I like this new format a lot. Especially hearing how other people dealt with similar situations and how things turned out for the person who wrote in.

  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    Here's the letter with the aunts and uncles who refused to come to the four-year-old's birthday:

    And here's Reginald the possible bobcat:

  • La BellaDonna says:

    Oh, Sars! SCORE! "We call him "Reginald," but apparently his real name is BOB.Bob. So, if you are a tender-hearted person who finds a little kitten somewhere near wild areas, and it's not your stand tuxedo black-and-white, or stripey cat, or calico, DO take it to the vet's for identification!

  • La BellaDonna says:

    Oh, THERE'S a line that just dropped dead via the Internets! It was supposed to be:

    Oh, Sars! SCORE! "We call him "Reginald," but apparently his real name is BOB.Bob. So, if you are a tender-hearted person who finds a little kitten somewhere near wild areas, and it's not your stand tuxedo black-and-white, or stripey cat, or calico, DO take it to the vet's for identification!

    Of course, it's possible that Sars just edited down my contribution, but I'm thinking it was Teh Innernets. Because Sars wouldn't have left off the quotation marks, or left out a space between words. Can't fool us, Innernets!

  • Jen M. says:

    Oh, Reginald was a possible *puma*. No wonder none of us could find him searching with "bobcat." How do you mistake a puma kitten for a domestic cat kitten??

  • La BellaDonna says:

    Jen M., it happens more often than you'd think, both with puma kittens and bobcat kittens. When they're kittens, they just look like kittens. They're not so big that you'd know offhand by looking at them, and when they're young, there aren't necessarily any distinctive markings. If you're not looking for a wild animal, you won't necessarily see one. They just don't look different enough to get that "aHA!" going. Tiger cubs, lion cubs -even though they look catlike, they are different enough, and big enough, that people will notice.

    Plus, I'm thinking maybe Reginald wasn't a puma; he may still actually be a bobcat. Male pumas grow to between 115-160 pounds, and females between 75-105 pounds. And they are rare, verging on endangered. Bobcats, on the other hand, are "approximately twice the size of the average housecat." Hah! That is, "the adult male ranges between 16 and 30 pounds, the adult female averages around 20 pounds." Now, those sizes are NOT twice the size of Little Joe! Those weight ranges put Bob the Cat into a category that could easily be mistaken for a housecat – that is, until he starts dragging cars home to play with. Bob the Cat also has a pretty wide-ranging habitat, and is not as scarce as the puma.

    So it wouldn't be nearly as difficult to wind up with a bobkitten as it would a puma kitten, and until it's done growing, you still might not figure out that Bob was "different from all the other boys." A sixteen-pound bobcat is, at last check, 2.3 pounds LIGHTER than Little Joe.

  • MaggieCat says:

    Heh, I can totally see someone getting confused between bobcat kittens and your more standard domestic variety. Now granted, this may be partly because I used to know a giant cat. He was 40lbs without a speck of fat on him, and between 2-3 feet long nose to base of tail. He was larger than his humans' 2 year old child. "Normal" (I use the word loosely) grey tabby cat, just freaking huge. Luckily he was also one of the sweetest animals I've ever met…. but all the dogs in the neighborhood still kept a respectful distance.

    The funniest part? He thought he was a lap cat. I had a bit of trouble walking for an hour or so after he finally got off my lap the first time we met. Apparently only his new friends were gullible enough to get suckered into that.

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