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Dear parents, you need to control your kids. Sincerely, non-parents

September 19, 2013

“Parenting is the easiest thing in the world to have an opinion about, but the hardest thing in the world to do.”

The Matt Walsh Blog

To the fan I lost yesterday:

I don’t owe you an explanation, but I thought I’d offer one anyway. I do this more for your sake than mine. You see, maybe, as you later suggested, I was in a bad mood. Maybe I could have been a bit more polite about it. Maybe I’m more sensitive to it now that I have kids. Maybe I’m just sick of hearing these comments about parents. Maybe I know that my wife has to take the twins with her when she goes grocery shopping sometimes, so she could easily be on the receiving end of your sort of bullying. Maybe I took it personally.

Whatever the case, there I was, walking down the aisles of the grocery store looking for the ingredients for a new chili recipe I wanted to try. I heard the kid screaming from a distance; the whole store heard…

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Dear Mrs. Hall,

September 4, 2013

Dear Mrs. Hall,

I read your blog post, FYI (if you’re a teenage girl) this morning at the recommendation of two really lovely people who shared it on Facebook. They agreed wholeheartedly with your position and, to a degree, I do as well.

We have teenage sons, and so naturally there are quite a few pictures of you lovely ladies to wade through. Wow – you sure took a bunch of selfies in your pajamas this summer!  Your bedrooms are so cute! Our eight-year-old daughter brought this to our attention, because with three older brothers who have rooms that smell like stinky cheese, she notices girly details like that.

I think the boys notice other things. For one, it appears that you are not wearing a bra.

I get it – you’re in your room, so you’re heading to bed, right? But then I can’t help but notice the red carpet pose, the extra-arched back, and the sultry pout.  What’s up? None of these positions is one I naturally assume before sleep, this I know.

Teenage girls should definitely NOT post compromising photos of themselves on social media sites. 

Before I continue, let me say that you appear to have lovely, fun-loving, well-managed sons and one cutie-patootie of a daughter. I feel as if you wrote this with a pure heart filled with concern for your boys and the girls that are growing up with them.

I know a thing or two about the dynamics of a large family tree and as the mother of four boys and one teenage girl, I feel doubly qualified to share my opinion of your letter. It occurred to me to write this in the comments section of your post, but I thought it more consistent to just go ahead and use you as a platform for my opinion the same way you exploited the teenage female friend(s) of your sons.

Let’s start there. With that.

It feels as if you know these girls personally. Austin is a big place, but you seem like the kind of mom who would know their children’s friends and taking into consideration the sharing of photos, it’s an easy leap. Did you contact the girl or girls mentioned to share your disappointment personally or was it more expedient and humiliating to just lay them bare on the pages of your blog?

Perhaps you know their parents. The specific examples you use, sexy posing in pajamas without a bra and posing in a towel, would trouble most any adult. And yet, I wonder, did the parents of this girl (or girls) actually see your letter? Did this missile meet its mark? Did you reach out to them first, before hitting ‘publish’?

As I said before, I believe your concern is true and legitimate, but you make no mention of any action on your part that fulfills the intent of your words. Setting your son up to explain this to a girl he has media-blocked accomplishes what? “My mom made me do it.” The measure of your meaning is completely lost. And therefore, so is your motive for writing this … which is to bring about change, right? Not to just go on a non-specific, self-righteous rant about how your sons are better than their scantily clad counterparts? I certainly hope your sons and mine never do anything so scandalous as to go braless.

But if they do … when they do …

And so, in our house, there are no second chances, ladies. If you want to stay friendly with the Hall men, you’ll have to keep your clothes on, and your posts decent.  If you try to post a sexy selfie, or an inappropriate YouTube video – even once – you’ll be booted off our on-line island.

I know that sounds harsh and old-school, but that’s just the way it is under this roof for a while. We hope to raise men with a strong moral compass, and men of integrity don’t linger over pictures of scantily clad high-school girls.

Wow. No second chances.

On your About Me page you say, “In my current role at All Saints PCA,  I get to combine so many of my heart’s true loves: writing to the saints, cheering on the church, ransacking God’s Word, teaching, gathering, and walking with women in all stages of life and faith –  reminding them that Jesus loves them. I couldn’t enjoy it one drop more.”

Banished from the Island of Hall for an indiscretion and blackballed for life. That would totally remind me that Jesus loves me.

You close with this:

Will you trust me? There are boys out there waiting and hoping for women of character. Some young men are fighting the daily uphill battle to keep their minds pure, and their thoughts praiseworthy.

You are growing into a real beauty, inside and out.

Act like her, speak like her, post like her.

I agree that our boys deserve to have women of character in their lives.

And so, Mrs. Hall, I offer you your own advice: Act like her. Speak like her. Post like her.

I wish we were friends (to discuss this face-to-face),

Mrs. Landsberger


P.S. *The other issues , I’ll leave to the experts.

Twenty-something White Girls Shaking that Ass

August 28, 2013

Yesterday I read at least three “open letters” regarding the twerkarific performance on the VMAs. One to Miley, one to a daughter about Miley, and one to Miley’s mom.

I read an article that blamed the performance on feminism.

I read an article that called it out for what it was, terribly executed.

I saw Mika Whatshername say that we have an expectation [of wholesomeness] when we turn on MTV programming. Okaaaayyy.

I saw Mika Whatshername spin totally out of control and get adjective diarrhea. Irritable Thesaurus Syndrome?

Then I saw the Country Music Somethingorother on Facebook ask for fans’ two cents. And boy did they pay up.

Ummmmmmm …. y’all.

How many open letters did you write to the Purrfect Angelz or their mothers regarding their disgusting-drug-induced-satan-possessed-slutastic-mentally-ill-spectacle when this came out EIGHT YEARS AGO? (VIDEO)

Honky Tonk Badonkadonk

How many synonyms for degrading did you use to describe it? It was on the charts for about eight months and made it all the way to the number 2 spot in 2006. Right behind Jesus Take the Wheel by Carrie Underwood. It was nominated for CMT Video of the Year, Male Video of the Year, and Hottest Video of the Year.

And if public ass shaking is a result of feminism, why did feminist groups write letters opposing the video?

And how about the inspiration behind it? Offensive?

We were hanging out at the Wild Horse Saloon in Nashville, and my buddy Rob was bartending. We were poor songwriters, so we’d go in there and get free beer. [laughs] Me, Dallas and Randy were hanging out there just cutting up and cracking jokes, watching this girl on the dancefloor who had this huge butt. [laughs] It looked like somebody stuffed a beach ball in her pants. So we got to laughing at this girl — she was drunk as hell, just completely wasted and having the time of her life. She didn’t care who was looking; she didn’t care who she bumped into. So we started popping one-liners, and we threw out this word, ‘badonkadonk.’ And a minute later, we said, ‘Honky tonk badonkadonk — hell yeah, we’ve gotta write that!’ So we wrote that song in just about an hour but spent half that time just laughing. And it turned out to be the best damn joke any of us had ever told!

I can’t really find any of your objections from back then, so maybe you could link me up.

But thanks for the hundreds of YouTube videos of your children singing and and dancing to the tune.  Adorable.

There’s a lesson in Miley’s performance for our daughters, but it has little to do with objectification and everything to do with double standards.

The Upside of Being a 44 Year Old Nomad

June 20, 2013

There’s a lasting pain that comes with moving out of one home and into another, a loss not quite like any other. It lacks the luxury of permanence that death provides and exists in a crooked orbit throwing off hot stars of guilt every so often for never quite making your way back like you promised.

Not for lack of want, but because of … life.

I always liked relay races when I was a kid. The passing of the beanbag. You run your leg of the race as fast as you can, eyes fixed on the scuffed orange traffic cone as you make it around and head back towards your cheering team. It’s exciting. It’s a full throttle sprint up and back, to the end of the line where you collapse in the warm grass.

I’ve felt like that for the last ten years. Grabbing the bean bag and running running, but every time I was almost home instead of taking my seat at the end of the line, I’d grab the next bag and take off again. Running. Always running. Always almost home.

It starts to sink in, eventually, that you may never get to rest. It’s a test of mettle, that race, and when you finally commit to the next lap, someone places hurdles on the track. But you keep running …

And then a day like today happens.

A day comes along when you realize that it was all worth it. Every step, every turn, every exhausting moment becomes a victory because each lap brought you closer to someone new. Brought me closer to you.  Maybe we were neighbors or had kids in class together or maybe we found each other through our shared stories. Maybe every single step has been as it should have been because without each one, true or misguided, I might have missed out on you.

I’m 44 years old today and have never felt so incredibly blessed to be surrounded by so many beautiful human beings.

You make me possible.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.



Meh Behavior

March 25, 2013

From the first chapter, “Man”:

“A certain feeling comes from throwing your good life away, and it is one part rapture. Or so it seemed for now, to a woman with flame-colored hair who marched uphill to meet her demise.”

And so begins FLIGHT BEHAVIOR by Barbara Kingsolver.

It is love at first sight and as Dellarobia opens the curtains on her life (where she’s going, what she’s doing, the pinch of her second-hand cowboy boots) I immediately invest. Everything about her is absolutely real to me. I follow her up the hill; feel the stab of each of her doubts and the thrill of her hopes. I let her cast the colors of everyone in her life without flinching. We’re friends now.

But then this thing happens. She gets halfway to her destination and encounters something unexplainable. An intense orange glow in the trees. A wildfire? No. The sun rising over the hill? No. It’s otherworldly, so frightening and ominous that she deserts her plan and flees to the safety of home.

And … I lost interest.

Despite writing that lifted me from my chair and placed me in another woman’s life (in an instant), writing so authentic to the rural experience and attitudes thereof, I kind of just rolled over, meh, finished the chapter and put the book down.


I am sick of plot. I am bored with mysteries. I have no use for anything paranormal. And if it comes down to me decoding a metaphor for God or death or enlightenment, I’m out. I’ve got plenty of patience for drama, however, and an open mind when it comes to morality, just don’t make me go back up that hill with Della to figure out what the orange glow is and then make it our mission to do something to, with, or about it. Keep telling me about her neighbors, the one with the kids whose names are misspelled. Or her mother-in-law because she reminds me of Frances. Help Della sort out her depressing life while I watch and cheer for her, but let’s not go all Pelican Brief up in here.

Your friend,


Have I become too lazy for literature? I fear I have. Or maybe my vision was clouded by Rules of Civility. The twists and turns of relationships, the coincidences, the revelations, that’s what I want—people doing things to, with, or about each other. Surely, I’m not the only one. It’s possible to execute the 8-point arc without stumbling upon murder, aliens, or hidden treasure, isn’t it?

Can an ordinary life, on paper, hold water? And if not, why am I writing this at all? Existential crisis? Meh.

Nobody. (according to Zelda)

February 7, 2013


The 39 Best Things Ever Said About Love

Should we read the book first?

January 15, 2013

Traci Cumbay saw the movie. I read the novel. Did I make the right choice?

(Click the image to read our reviews at Punchnel’s.)