Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Cutting-Edge Scientific Research

The following information is not--I repeat--NOT from The Onion. But it is from Yahoo News, which is the next best thing. 

Someone (maybe the orange lobby?) funded "proverb-busting research" concluding that an apple a day may not, in fact, keep the doctor away! Yes, friends. According to this study, "daily apple eaters had just as many doctor visits as those who ate fewer or no apples."

As long as we're throwing research dollars at proverbs, why stop with this one? Let's put science to work and debunk these important proverbs, too! In fact, I think it's already been done:

  • The pen is mightier than the sword: A double-blind study showed that murders attempted with pens were 99.9% less successful than those committed with swords.
  • The squeaky wheel gets the grease: This study showed that the squeak of most wheels is ignored until it finally becomes unbearable. At that point, the vehicle's owner sprays all four wheels with WD-40 while he or she is at it, so the unsqueaky wheels receive the collateral grease benefit of the squeaky wheel's squeak.
  • There's no such thing as a free lunch: Studies show that if you are willing to listen to pitches from time-share companies trying to sell you a ski condo in Colorado or a vacation bungalow in Key West, there is in fact such thing as a free lunch. However, the study did not include participants who believed in the proverb "time is money."
  • A watched pot never boils: In a controlled study, three groups of people put water on the stove and watched the pots continuously. All of the pots eventually boiled, usually within seven to ten minutes.
  • If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself: Clinical studies show that if you're a cardiac surgeon, you shouldn't try to build a house, and if you're a carpenter, you shouldn't try to perform heart surgery. Both of these efforts tended to result in wrong outcomes.
  • Good things come to those who wait: Two groups of people sat around waiting for a really long time, and neither got anything that good, or at least not anything better than the control group who didn't wait at all.
  • Everything happens for a reason: In a years-long study of millions of happenings, at least 75% were found to have happened for no apparent reason whatsoever.

UPDATE: My dad informs me that the medical journal from which this study derives published it as an April Fool's joke! I am very relieved, although my unshakeable faith in the veracity of everything posted on Yahoo News has been forever shattered.



Lululemon Says “Stop Breakin’ My Balls!”

Lululemon, manufacturer of over-priced, illegally-sheer Yoga pants for size 10-and-under women is a frequent (and dare I say deserving) victim of O.H.M.’s ire, as in this post from February.  

Now, Lululemon is making my job too easy with their $128 “ABC” pants for men, which stands for . . . wait for it . . . ANTI-BALL CRUSHING pants. These pants and their “anti-ball crushing engineering gives you and the family jewels room to breathe.”  You can buy yourself (or the balls you love) a pair right here, although so many balls want to buy these pants that they're out of stock right now! 

This watershed sartorial development from Lululemon is so significant, that I felt it deserved its own Shakespearean soliloquy, which I happily provide here:

To stretch or not to stretch—that is the question:
Whether ‘tis nobler in the crotch to suffer
The pinch and grabbing of outrageous spandex
Or to take arms against a sea of nut-sack troubles
And by opposing end them. To breathe, to move—
Some more—and by that room to say we end
The aching nads and thousand natural shocks
That balls are heir to. ‘Tis a pair of $128 pants
Devoutly to be wished. To breathe, to move—
To move—perchance to chafe; ay, there’s the rub!
For in that vice-like grip wet dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this pair of jeans
Must give us pause. There’s the respect
That makes calamity of regular old pants.
For who would bear the too-tight crotch of slacks,
That oppressor’s wrong, the proud stones’ contumely
The pang of squeezed cajones, the shifting fire,
The insolence of polyester, and the spurns
That patient merit of th’unworthy Hanes,
When Lululemon itself might its high profits make
With a bare grundle! Who would normal fabric bear
To grunt and sweat under some sweaty sweats,
But that the dread of cheap pants grabbing junk,
The undiscovered comfort of ABC pants, whose "wide-paneled gusset"
No man returns to the store, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather spend what cash we have
Than wear some cheaper pants that do the exact same thing?
Thus Lululemon does make suckers of us all,
And thus the native hue of crotch-based perfection
Is pasted over with the "sweat-wicking, four-way stretch Warpstreme (TM)" fabric,
An enterprise of great "trouser waistband with belt loops that sit comfortably on your hips"
With a "reflective cuff feature" and "six pockets that make it easy to stash and dash"
And "ensure a slim fit, such that your pants and bike chain won’t cross paths."
The family jewels! Precious in their expanse!
Be all our nuts protected.

My Conflicted Relationship with Conflict

I used to be extremely conflict averse. Fighting with people and arguing made me cry. I was afraid of people yelling at me and of being “wrong.” One of the reasons I went to law school was to overcome those fears, and it worked.

I’ve come to realize that a firm verbal exchange (let’s not call it a “fight”)—particularly when you know that you have the moral, legal, or ethical high ground—can never harm you, and it can also be immensely satisfying and cathartic.

I recently helped a friend back on the East Coast through a conflict with an adult bully, in which, among other things, the bully was threatening to “sue” my friend. You know the type: the adults who were obviously bullied as kids, and who now seek universal revenge by yelling at anyone they can force into submission in order to get their way and assert their perceived dominance.

Except it turns out that when you stand up to people like that, they’re not so tough after all. Most bullies tend to shrink in the face of being confronted, as I’ve learned time and again from both personal and professional experience. (Especially when you tell them off on the phone or better yet in person, as opposed to in writing).

To me, that's what conflict is all about. Conflict is a tool, and it’s a tool you need to use sparingly and in the right way. It’s the classic “pick your battles” scenario, but engaging in a battle worth picking is the best rush there is. There’s nothing more rewarding than telling off a mean, stupid, adult bully and having them sheepishly skulk away to do whatever it is they need to do.

Oh, and by the way: that’s my all-time favorite response to any threat (particularly the “I’m going to sue you” threat): “Do what you need to do.” It tells the bully to bring whatever bullshit bullying they see fit to bring, and nine times out of ten what they end up bringing turns out to be exactly nothing. Filing a lawsuit in America is easier than ordering a milkshake and fries from McDonald’s. It doesn’t make that person right. If someone is bound and determined to “sue” you, nothing you can say will stop them, and it will be a costly pain in everyone’s ass. But at least you’ll have your pride and you’ll have stood up to a bully.

I don’t like to engage in conflicts just for fun, but nothing—and I mean N-O-T-H-I-N-G—makes me happier than telling someone off who really deserves it. Right to their face.

Hats Off to Teachers

I'm a lawyer by trade and a writer for fun. I'm not a teacher. I’ve never pretended for a single second that I can teach anyone (especially a child) anything, and I try to avoid doing so at all costs. So this weekend’s experience of leading a one-hour lesson in resource conservation to my daughter’s Girl Scout Daisy troop was a stark reminder to me of how hard it really is to be a teacher.

Children are terrifying to me in any context, especially in groups, so I honestly can’t believe there are people who willingly enter a profession where they spend all day trying to expand young minds for what is objectively not enough money.

For some reason, people (politicians, mostly) are always shitting on teachers. They have the whole summer off! They’re part of a shiftless, corrupt union! They leave work at 2:30! They want dental and vision insurance! (Some nerve, right? They want to be able to chew food and see six feet in front of their faces). Let’s cut their “bloated” salaries and “bloated” public school funding.

Whatever.

These arguments are asinine. One hour of teaching is the equivalent of seven hours of sitting around arguing with adults or responding to emails, which is how I spend a lot of my work day. Teaching in this country is exhausting and difficult and largely thankless. And yeah, there are people who phone it in and do a crappy, delinquent job. But poor performers exist in every profession, or at least they do in mine. In abundance.

You couldn’t pay me enough money to be a teacher, much less the amount of money our teachers are actually paid. Anyone who takes care of my kids all day long and sends them home happy is alright by me. And the really good ones are memorable, positive adult influences in all of our lives. Think about it: you never forget your teachers—both the good ones and the bad ones. They make an enormous impact, and the good ones work a lot more than their assigned hours, just like conscientious professionals in any field do. I’m extremely grateful to the teachers in my own life and my children’s lives.

Maybe we should stop shitting all over our teachers and put that shit where it belongs: on the people who keep saying teaching is easy and overpaid. I’d like to see even one of those dicks survive a single day in a classroom.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Not Surprisingly, I Was Kinda Shitty at Leading a Girl Scouts Meeting

March 29. That was the day that had been staring at me on my calendar for months. 

No, it wasn't the day of a big court argument or important legislative testimony. THAT would have been CAKE next to what was coming on March 29. 

See, that was the day I was scheduled to lead the meeting for Paige's co-op Girl Scout Daisy troop. Growing up, "co-op" was just a type of apartment building in New York City where people acted like even bigger assholes than usual. Today, it's code for "this activity will be a pain in your ass at some point, and someone else won't just magically take care of things indefinitely after you write a check."

And March 29 was my day to pay the co-op piper. My number was up and there was nothing I could do. I had to teach a dozen little girls how to "conserve resources." 

Now the irony of my assigned topic is worth a brief digression. Although I'm not oblivious to environmental stewardship, the CEO of Greenpeace I am not. 

That's apparent from the fact that I crack off a paper towel whenever the mood strikes, and had two kids in diapers that will still be in a landfill somewhere long after their kids are out of diapers. In short, when the planet finally burns to a cinder like a jalapeño popper left overnight in the fry-o-later at T.G.I. Friday's, I probably won't be able to claim total innocence in the matter.

Nevertheless, my job was to help 12 little girls earn their daisy petal in resource conservation, and fuck if I wasn't going to make them work for that shit. I spent a not insignificant amount of time seething at Pinterest and collecting garbage in my house in preparation for the big day.

When it came, the girls sat expectantly in a circle on a little blue mat, on the floor of the public library where our meetings are held. I've said before that I'm bad with kids, and I am. There's nothing that scares me more than a room full of children expecting me to hold their attention for more than five minutes, and this meeting was scheduled for an HOUR. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw one of my mom friends--who is familiar with my ineptitude--snickering in anticipation of the disaster to come.

The troop leader (whose shit is decidedly more together than mine, I don't need to tell you), handed the reins over to me. "Now, Libby is going to talk about our flower friend, Clover," she announced cheerfully.

WAIT...WHAT?! WHO THE FUCK IS CLOVER?, I thought, panicking as I looked down at my book about Spongebob Squarepants at the recycling center and a brand new copy of The Lorax that I had very incongruously and inappropriately bought new for this occasion (I couldn't find our copy, and it would have just been too consistent with the day's moral theme to take one out from the LIBRARY where I physically WAS).

Then I had a vague memory of chasing Isaac (a.k.a. a "tagalong," as siblings are called in Girl Scout-speak) around the room while other, more competent mothers talked to the girls about the various "flower friends" associated with each petal.

Well, FUCK. It was kind of like that dream where you sit down for a final exam and realize you haven't been to class all semester. But I was deep in the shit now, and had no choice but to roll with it. That bitch Clover was gonna cede the floor to Spongebob Squarepants, and that was all there was to it.

I blabbered on about recycling for awhile, and then had the girls make little garbage critters out of old egg cartons and googly eyes that looked nothing like what I had seen on Pinterest. That took most of the time, fortunately, but there was still my ill-planned "nature walk" to get through.

I insisted that we all step outside into the 40 degree monsoon to experience nature with our five senses. I failed to account for the fact that the library is on a busy thoroughfare with the least amount of "nature" in all of Juneau. 

Still, I was determined. I made everyone stand around awkwardly in front of the building for 45 seconds looking at bushes, grass, and old beer cans before cries of "I'm cold!" relieved me of the pressure of having to provide more educational experiences.

I couldn't believe my good fortune when I got back inside and saw that there were only 15 minutes left of the meeting! I suddenly felt like I had aced the exam I hadn't even studied for! I whipped out my "snack from the earth" (a.k.a. strawberries and clementines), and BOOM. Drop the MIC!

Well, at least until another mom asked, "Did you bring your cookie money? Today's the deadline."

FUCK.



Swipe/Delete

Memory is a curious thing; specifically what we remember, what we forget, and what we simply mange to repress deep in our subconscious. It makes it difficult to suss out fact from fiction, truth from imagination, and to know what did or didn't happen in the past.

That's why I didn't quite know what to make of the following reminiscence, related to me by a childhood friend with whom I'd worked as a summer camp counselor at a sleep-away camp in New Hampshire. Here's what happened, in her words:

"It was my camper who was blossoming early and cried every night and peed her bed. She had diarrea'd (sic.) in her pants and your face was right up in it as we crawled thru 1/2 mile of underground rock somewhere."

She was telling me (via text) about a trip we'd taken with our campers through a cave system in the late 1990's. Apparently, one of the campers had shat her pants, and since we were all in a single-file line in a cave system, my face was in her ass for half a mile in the bowels of the earth with no way out.

I vaguely recalled the caves, and taking campers there. I also recalled crawling through the caves in a line. But the rest was a blank. How could I possibly have forgotten having my face in a "blossoming" girl's diarrhea pants for half a mile of underground spelunking? Especially since I have so many (SO many) memories related to shit, both mine and other people's? How is it that my mind repressed this particular graphic memory? Maybe it was my friend who was mis-remembering, but the sheer specificity made me doubt it.

It must be some neurological version of swipe/delete. You only have so many gigabytes of storage in your brain. As the years go by, your mind must have a process by which it decides what to remember and what to forget by swiping and deleting old memories and making room for new ones. 

In this case, my face buried in a pre-pubescent, crying girl's diarrhea pants didn't make the cut. But why did some of the other things from that summer make the cut, then? Like eating two plastic bowls full of soggy, gross Life cereal every morning and seething for seven weeks as the guy I loved decided to shack up with my co-counselor? I can remember vividly the sheepish look on both their faces as I stormed past, glaring at them on the porch of our bunkhouse, but I can't remember having my head halfway up an ass full of diarrhea? None of it matters anymore, so why don't I just forget it all? God knows I could use the bandwidth.

I kind of feel like Hollywood should make another version of Total Recall about this phenomenon, called Swipe/Delete. Somewhat ironically, the only thing I remember about Total Recall is that Arnold Schwarzenegger is in it and there's a little alien named Kuato who was stuck to his stomach and looked EXACTLY like Paige as a baby.

Now. Why won't my brain swipe and delete that?

If Facebook Was a Waiter

Good Evening, folks! My name is Mark, I'll be your server this evening. Can I get you guys started off with a drink? We have a great selection of beers on tap tonight.

We've got the robust and heady Indignation Porter, brought to you by Ted Cruz and the NRA, both of whom are #trending right now. We've also got The Things You Do Both on Your Blog and In Real Life Are Stupid, Trivial, and Meaningless IPA, hand-brewed by the Humans of New York (HONY) blog. And I highly recommend the hoppy, nutty amber, from your friend Amber. The one who always posts shots of her feet and/or herself jumping mid-air on a beach somewhere.

Also, let me tell you about the specials. Tonight's appetizer is the latest shenanigans from Kanye West, Lena Dunham, or Bill Cosby (your choice), braised and drizzled with a light is this asshole even for real cream sauce. Highly recommend it.

Our special entree--we've got three, actually--is a hearty helping of random baby and brunch pictures. That comes with a side of who got fat and who lost weight, topped with a wow that vacation could not have been even close to as awesome as it looks balsamic reduction. It's served over an I can't believe their kid is reading Harry Potter already and they want everyone to know it cous-cous.

We've also got a special selection of cute, grainy dog and cat videos. That's breaded with a light cornmeal crust of distractify, buzzfeed, and bored panda links, and finished with another video of a random guy doing extreme bike and ski tricks off the side of a mountain.

And you can't miss the bully/bitch from high school who friended you out of the blue, for reasons that are unclear. That's served with a spicy tomato-avocado chutney on a bed of why is this rando from work in my newsfeed all the time.

For dessert,
 we've got a nice creme brûlée of ex-boyfriends and ex-girlfriends, prepared by our pastry chef who's been specially trained in the regret, shame, humiliation, anger, frustration, depression, and schadenfreude technique. 

Our dessert cocktail is guilt from a gofundme page that you'll contemplate donating to, but forget about six seconds later when you read about the shocking death of the latest celebrity to die. R.I.P. whoever you are!

Let me give you a few minutes to think about all of that. I'll be right back with those drinks.



Sunday, March 29, 2015

Don't Lose Your Man to a Sly Seductress!

Says a women's lifestyle magazine from 1990. Great advice. GREAT Advice. Beware "Donna Juanita."

Also, make sure you rock the bowl cut/thick eyebrows combo and ski school, ski bunny, Aspen Extreme maternity-look neon pink jacket with geometric print.

That will ensure that you beat the seductress at her own game. But wait! "This wily woman traps your man before you know what's hit him!"

It's ALL that bitch's fault for being SO wily and seductive in her leopard print dress and stiletto heels. Beware the predatory vixen who convinces your man to cheat on you with ZERO involvement from said man.

He will be paralyzed and blinded with lust and physically unable to resist this slut's awesome shoulder pads. And it will be ALL HER FAULT!

What an unbelievable super power, eh?




Causes of World Catastrophes: By the Numbers

Friday, March 27, 2015

That One Time I Drank Yerba Mate Tea (Spoiler Alert: It Wasn't Pretty)

I consider myself an adventurous consumer of global cuisine and a citizen of the world when it comes to exploring the food and drink of various cultures. I also live in the patchouli and doula capital of Alaska. 

In fact, I think Juneau could pioneer the “patchoula”—a person who helps you figure out how to maximize the use of patchouli in your life. (Fun fact: while "researching" this blog entry, I spent ten full minutes laughing hysterically to myself upon learning that in 1985, Matel used patchouli oil to produce the action figure “Stinkor” in the “Masters of the Universe” line of toys).

So I knew it was only a matter of time before someone made me drink yerba mate tea, which I'd heard of, but had never tried.

My chance came a couple of weeks ago, while visiting a good friend who has worked in Central America (from which this beverage originates) and who is a big fan of it. She’s not a doula (at least not yet), but she is a yoga teacher and uses essential oils. So she encouraged me to try yerba mate.

I insisted that she not bother to make me my own cup, once I saw what hers looked like. First of all, an odd contraption was required to drink it, and that made me immediately suspicious. Any drink that requires special instructions is to be viewed with skepticism in my book.

In any case, you fill a cup (or more traditionally a gourd--a fucking GOURD, people!), full of lawn clippings. You then steep the lawn clippings in hot water, and drink the brew through a metal straw. Yerba mate is said to benefit the immune system, relieve allergies, improve mood, boost mental energy and focus, and increase the supply of nutrients and oxygen to the heart.

I’m not against any of these things, of course. But do I really need to drink a cup of ancient lawn clippings to achieve them?

That was my thought as I took my first (and last) sip of yerba mate tea. I was warned that it would be terrible--and it delivered on its promise. I knew it was good for me, though, because it tasted like what it was: a mixture of grass, twigs, leaves, dirt, worms, caterpillar legs, acorns, ladybug wings, and profound, bitter sadness--all churned up in a lawnmower and dropped into hot water. 

The expression on my face upon experiencing my first taste of yerba mate instantly sent my friend (and another friend who was present and also a regular yerba mate and essential oils consumer) into peals of laughter. 

I don't doubt for a second that yerba mate is the best thing for you ever. But those who know me also know that I don't give two shits about what's good for me. And that is why it's Prozac, Benadryl, and coffee forever!

 

Should I Donate to the KTOO Pledge Drive Already?: A Flowchart

Free the Nipple

I recently learned about a cool new campaign called "Free the Nipple." It's a "film, an equality movement, and a mission to empower women across the world." The movement "stands against female oppression and censorship, both in the United States and around the globe." The issues the campaign addresses are "equal rights for men and women, a more balanced system of censorship, and legal rights for all women to breastfeed in public."

All very good causes in my opinion, the sort of inherent silliness and arguable triviality of the name notwithstanding. (It lacks the gravitas of, say, "Free Tibet").

Still, readers of O.H.M. know that "feminism," whatever that is, is a topic I like to explore on this blog. I've written pretty openly about vaginas, periods, female masturbation, dieting, cosmetic surgery, aging, cougars, women crying at work, child birth, breastfeeding, censorship, the objectification of women, and various hypocracies and double-standards to which women are held every single day of their lives.

Now it's time for O.H.M. to give the nipple its own special moment in the sun. 

The female nipple is highly sexualized in our culture for who knows what reason. It's constantly being plastered over with pasties, pixels, piety, and pretend propriety. But really, it's basically a baby's dinner plate. That's all it is. And it's no big deal. 

I am showing my burgeoning support for this movement with the following cryptic picture, that could be a grainy black and white photo of a U.F.O. from Area 51. Or it could be an aerial (areolal?) satellite image of a Super Fund site.

But it might just be a nipple. Maybe even a human nipple. Maybe even a female human nipple. Maybe even . . . dun dun DUN!! ... my nipple? 

I will neither confirm nor deny. All I will say is: free the nipple.


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Three Old Sayings Anathema to the Modern Child

1. "Children should be seen and not heard."

This idiom rose to popularity during the Victorian era, and I think it’s high time we bring it back. Because let’s face it, today’s children (mine included) are most definitely both seen and heard. Loudly. Truly, modern-day children are permitted to be louder than a goddamn monster truck rally, and are catered to and coddled on every imaginable level. In addition to being both seen and heard, they are also fitted with helmets for one in three physical activities; placed in expensive test prep courses; and encouraged to share their “feelings” with anyone who will honor their sense of entitlement to pretty much anything in life. They’re still pretty cute though, especially when playing quietly or sleeping. Hence this phrase rocks, and it needs a renaissance.

2. "Do as I say, not as I do."

This is what I tell my kids when they catch me inhaling Costco chocolate chips by the handful for dinner, and/or drinking a Diet Pepsi and Bacardi instead of water, or when they hear me cursing like a sailor. I am way into this saying. It lets me get away with being a complete and total hypocrite while modeling poor habits for my children that they can carry with them into adulthood. Also, it teaches a fundamental human truth that it would behoove them to learn and accept sooner rather than later: life isn’t fair, and some people get away with doing whatever the fuck they want while others have to do whatever they're told.

3. "Spare the rod and spoil the child."

This phrase originates from the Bible and is regularly invoked by religious wing-a-ding-a-ling-nuts looking to justify beating the shit out of their kids for stealing a gumdrop, and similar infractions. I’m not saying all kids who are spared the rod end up perfect, obviously. But the common denominator for most felons, psychopaths, and other social pariahs is that they generally were NOT spared the rod, and usually not “spoiled” in the sense intended by this saying, or at least not as a direct consequence of rod-sparing. Personally, I say we leave this one in the past where it belongs.

The Onion's Rejection Letter to a Dipshit Frat Boy Who Thinks Non-Consensual Photos of Nude and/or Unconscious Women Are "Satire"

Amanda Marcotte reported in Slate last week on a scandal underway at Penn State University, where one of those ever-reputable, inclusive, progressive, safe, kind, feminist, and all-around great-for-society organizations known as college fraternities was revealed to have a secret Facebook page featuring non-consensual photographs of naked and sometimes unconscious women in "sexual or embarrassing positions." 

One of the upstanding young men involved in this--let's call it, "situation"--(those implicated bristle at the word "scandal")--has defended his wrongfully maligned and unfairly persecuted frat in an extensive, anonymous interview with Philadelphia Magazine, in which (among other gems) he characterizes the Facebook page in question as pure "satire."

Here is literally what this little dipshit and his dirty white hat had to say on the matter:

The thing is, that it was a satirical group. It's like, there's literally sites like that that millions of people access, whether it's totalfratmove.com or any of the other thousands of sites that post, you know, pictures of girls and post funny text conversations and Snapchat stories and things like that. It was a satirical group. It wasn't malicious whatsoever. It wasn't intended to hurt anyone. It wasn't intended to demean anyone. It was an entirely satirical group and it was funny to some extent. Some of the stuff, yeah, it's raunchy stuff, as you would expect from a bunch of college-aged guys. But, I mean, you could go on any one of hundreds and thousands of different sites to access the same kind of stuff and obviously a lot worse and a lot more explicit ... it's not funny. Funny's not always the right word. It's satire."

O.H.M. now imagines what would happen if this kid applied for a summer internship at The Onion, the online news satire magazine:

Dear Dipshit Frat Boy Who Thinks Non-Consensual Photos of Nude and/or Unconscious Women Are "Satire":

Thank you for your interest in a summer internship with The Onion. Unfortunately, we are unable to offer you a position at this time. 

You see, we are a satire magazine, and although you reference "satire" no fewer than four times in your defense of publishing non-consensual, nude photographs of unconscious women in compromising and embarrassing sexual positions, your grasp of satire is apparently less firm than your grasp of a 19 year-old woman's unconscious vagina, breasts, and thong underpants. 

See, technically, "satire" is: "the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues."

Assuming for the moment that non-consensual, nude photographs of unconscious women in compromising and embarrassing sexual positions are humorous (humor is subjective, after all), they are certainly not "ironic," and presumably not "exaggerated," as they appear to be actual, real, non-consensual, non-ironic, nude photographs of unconscious women in compromising and embarrassing sexual positions.

Please don't be discouraged though. We found your application compelling in terms of its ability to expose your stupidity and vices in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues. Because although non-consensual, nude photographs of unconscious women in compromising and embarrassing sexual positions do not really achieve these satirical goals, your preposterously indignant defense of this scandal situation certainly does. For as you rightly say, there is "obviously a lot worse and a lot more explicit" stuff floating around out there, and that fact alone completely absolves you of any wrongdoing or responsibility for your role in this scandal situation!

Thanks again for your interest in The Onion, and we will keep your application materials on file. Right next to those of your fellow dipshit frat boy from Oklahoma who just led a racist chant calling for the lynching of human beings and who was so wrongly and unfairly expelled from school and forced to make a disingenuous public apology. 

Sincerely,

The Editors of The Onion.


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

O.H.M. Movie Review: "The Blue Lagoon"

After reviewing both Endless Love and Flowers in the Attic, it would be criminal to ignore The Blue Lagoon and fail to give this complete and total piece of shit its due.

The Blue Lagoon is an indescribably bad, positively delectable 104 minutes of Rated R-for-Ridonks, Adam-and-Eve-meets-Tarzan-and-Jane trizash from 1980 starring Brooke Shields’ hair and eyebrows, and a blonde surfer named Christopher Atkins who has never graced the silver screen before or since.

Like both Endless Love and Flowers in the Attic, The Blue Lagoon centers on pubes, boobs, incest, and intrigue, but in Jamaica (masquerading as a deserted tropical island), instead of a musty attic or the bed of a Ford F-150.


The movie is a period piece (the worst kind of piece there is) set in Victorian times. Two cousins named Richard and Emmeline LeStrange, and an obese, shady drunk Irish galley cook named Paddy survive a shipwreck in the South Pacific. (Note that the boy’s name is basically Dick Strange. That should give you an idea of where this movie is going).

Anyway, shortly after washing ashore in a lifeboat, Paddy and his standard-issue sailor hat from wardrobe at central casting go on a big-time bender with booze that he managed to keep secured in his suspenders during the shipwreck. Paddy hits the sauce a little too heavy and drops dead, but not before telling Dick and Emmy that one side of the island is teeming with cannibals and showing them a poisonous red berry that will supposedly kill them the second they eat it.

Dick and Emmy find Paddy’s dead body and poke it with a stick to confirm their worst fear: that the only grownup here just offed himself with help from a flask of Jameson’s. They then tromp over to the not-teeming-with-cannibals side of the island, and with zero skills or know-how, still manage to build a lean-to McMansion out of palm fronds, conch shells, coconut bark, and dreams.

Fast forward about ten years, and enter the boobs, pubes, and incest phase of this film, a.k.a., the part where “period piece” is revealed as a double entendre. By this time, Dick and Emmy are smokin’ hot, sinewy Sports Illustrated centerfolds in bronzer and strategically-placed loin cloths and long hair draped coyly over titties. They spend their days together fishing, diving for pearls, going through puberty, and conveniently forgetting that they're cousins.

At one point, Dick and his curly blonde, Donny Osmond-esque mop top have some secret fap times jacking off behind a rock, and Emmy is rightfully disgusted. But before long she’s good with it, since one day shortly thereafter there is a major "Say Anything from YM Magazine" (Tropical Island Edition) moment, where, OMG, this is so embarrassing, but Emmy gets her period like, right underneath a waterfall and like, right in front of Dick who wants to see if it’s a cut because neither of them has any idea what menstruation is! OMG it was like, soooooooooo embarrassing!

The film's turning point comes when a ship passes by, and Dick tries to Fred Flintstone up a signal fire to get rescued but Emmy won’t let him, because it’s just been too real playing Tarzan and Jane with cousin Dick for the past decade and now she’s totes all about that life. Dick is piiiiiiissed though, and boots her from the palm frond McMansion. 

In the course of being evicted, Emmy steps on a poisonous stonefish and at that point Dick realizes how sad he would be if Emmy actually croaked. Upon this realization, they go skinny dipping and have nature-takes-its-course-make-up sex. From that point forth, Emmy and Dick bone each other’s brains out on the daily and parade around in front of each other nekkid as the day they were born.

Due to all the boning, Emmy gets knocked up, but it takes awhile to figure this out. At first Dick is like, you’re getting fat, stop eating so many mangoes. Then the mangoes start moving INSIDE Emmy’s belly and it freaks them both the fuck out, but not nearly as much as when a little baby boy human comes randomly squirting right out of Emmy’s vajazzle one night! 

It’s like that reality TV show I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant, featuring some of the most clueless hos in America, all of whom manage to go through nine months of life not realizing there’s a baby hiccuping in their uterus until they shit the baby out on the toilet or on the shoulder of the Interstate one day.

Yeah, it's like that. Except it’s slightly more excusable since Dick and Emmy have been alone on an island since the age of six. For whatever reason, they inauspiciously name the kid Paddy, after the drunk sailor from the beginning of the movie. Emmy has no idea how to feed a baby, and starts shoving mangoes in Paddy 
Junior's newborn face. Naturally, Paddy Junior is having less than none of that, because as everyone (or at least everyone who has not grown up in isolation on a deserted tropical island) knows, babies don’t eat mangoes! Eventually, Emmy’s nipples and Paddy Junior's mouth find each other by instinct, and Emmy realizes that her tatas are all Paddy Junior needs, so fuck the mangoes.

Paddy Junior and Dick have father-son fun times for a few years, as Dick teaches him the ropes of living on a tropical island, like how to roast a coconut husk over an open fire and shit like that. 

We see via montage that all is well, until the day Dick, Emmy, and Paddy Junior stupidly decide to take the lifeboat around to the side of the island they originally crashed on. Dick climbs out of the boat to check shit out, Emmy falls asleep, Paddy Junior chucks one of the oars out off the side, a shark encircles them, and the current begins to carry the boat out to sea. Emmy and Dick slip in and out of consciousness and Paddy Junior eats some poison berries by mistake. Emmy and Dick decide to eat some too, since they are basically fucked and are like, let’s all go down together. It’s full on Goodnight Saigon up in this bitch.

Except not so fast.

Of all people, Dick’s DAD cruises by in a big ship and finds his now-teenage son and cousin-wife/baby floating in a ghetto life raft. The ship captain (who I guess knows his berries), assures dad that Dick and Emmy and Paddy 
Junior aren’t really dead, they’re just sleeping. The movie ends with all three being rescued, ostensibly to be re-introduced to civilization. 

All's well that ends well, Blue Lagoon! This is a great, GREAT movie that no one should miss. Watch it TODAY!

Lunch, Shame, and The Macabre

I’m ashamed to admit this (what else is new), but I’ve just spent the last hour eating my lunch while simultaneously reading literally every article I could find in The New York Times about the Germanwings plane crash in the French Alps and the 150 people that died on it.

I found myself completely riveted by gory details like the opera singer with a seven month old baby, the 8-minute free-fall in which no communication was heard from the aircraft, the sixteen high school kids returning from a study-abroad program, the fact that not one “intact body” had been recovered, and aerial video of the crash site.

All this, while shoving Caesar salad and a peanut butter cookie into my face as quickly as possible without taking my eyes off the computer screen for even half a second.

Seriously, what the fuck is wrong with you?, I was forced to ask myself for the hundredth time since I woke up this morning. Normal people shield themselves from this sort of information, don’t they? They certainly don't eat their lunch and peruse these stories at the same time? Or maybe they do, since newspapers wouldn’t print these articles if no one read them, and reading and lunch go together like PB&J, right?

Regardless, this isn’t the first time I’ve been transfixed by some gruesome and statistically unlikely tragedy while eating my lunch. 


The tree branch that fell on a mom and her baby in Central Park, killing the baby, consumed at least one lunch hour. What between reading about the condition of the trees, the occupation of the mother, the fate of the baby, the distraught father, the follow-up by the City Parks Department, and so on.

Then there were the “nanny killings,” in which a New York City nanny stabbed two out of her three charges to death in a bathtub on what happened to be my son’s third birthday and the eve of Hurricane Sandy. 


Then there was the woman who stepped into an elevator (also in New York City) at work, only for the elevator to improbably malfunction and squish her into a human pancake between the elevator car and shaft, shutting down the office building for hours. I mean, I had to find out where she lived (Brooklyn) and read about her boyfriend's reaction, obviously.

What is it about these stories that's so compelling, considering the fact that I forego articles in the same paper about malaria (which kills a zillion people every day) or statistics about car accidents, which also kill a lot more people than nannies, commercial aircraft, elevators, and tree branches combined.

Maybe it's the contrast between the seeming innocent banality and frequency of these First World activities--leaving your kid with a babysitter; boarding a one hour commercial flight; walking through a park; stepping onto an elevator--and the shocking way in which those everyday activities end. It's that contrast and its unlikelihood, of course, that make these stories newsworthy, or if not newsworthy, something more sinister--an online version of rubbernecking. Click-bait worthy.

The only thing more nauseating than these events themselves is the fervor with which I seem drawn to read about them--click, click, click, click, click--and the fact that I do so while happily cracking open a diet coke and sprinkling hot sauce over a bowl of fried rice. 

I'll say it. That shit is fucked up, and that's about all there is to say about that.

What's the Ask?

I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure it’s big. Like a really, really big ask. Before we go into this meeting with corporate, we need to know the answer to this critical question: What’s the ask? And who’s going to be doing the asking? 

At least as to this second question, the answer is no one, because ask is no longer a verb. Well, OK, it’s still a verb sometimes. But not here! Here, it’s just a noun. And that’s how we’ll be using it from noun. I mean, from now on.

What? Didn’t you hear? Or, should I say, didn't you "get the hear?" No more using ask as a verb. Only use it as a noun. It was in the same memo from H.R. that said we should all wear green for St. Patty’s Day and everyone who's got leftovers in the fridge needs to retrieve them by 3:00 p.m. or they’ll be thrown away.

But I digress.

Back to this meeting with corporate. See, last time, the ask was pretty big, and I’m not sure we can realistically make that big of an ask right now. Last time, the ask was almost as big as an 18-wheeler truck, and it was kinda awkward. Actually, I’d say the ask was as big as an African elephant. This time, the ask is at least as big as The Freedom Tower, and maybe even as big as a nebula, which ICYMI, is an interstellar cloud of cosmic dust, hydrogen, helium, and other ionized gases in outer space. Also, ICYMI, ICYMI stands for “In Case You Missed It.”

And ICYMI, ask is now a noun, not a verb, lest anyone be called boring, or be forced to take responsibility for an action. We basically need to sound hip at all times and divorce all action from its actors so as to neuter the action and make everyone feel like the action is just like this nebulous blob, floating around out there in the atmosphere, like a nebula. 

In fact, I guess nebula and nebulous are two words that derive from the same concept! But you’ll note that neither is a verb, and that’s the important thing. Verbs must be avoided at all costs. Especially when you’re asking for something. Whoops, I mean, making the ask.

Which brings me back to the matter at hand: what's the ask? See, I still don't know. We need a solve for this problem. Let's talk to creative, and see if they can come up with the create before 10:00 a.m.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Oh Huffpost! You Never Disappoint With Your SENSITIVE AND TACTFUL CLICKBAIT


Only the Lonely

I’m an only child, and I have mixed feelings about it. I don’t think only childhood was either good or bad. Like most things, it was both.

Having one child is viewed with skepticism in America, where three is the new two, and "depriving" a child of a sibling is generally regarded with pity and criticism. Growing up, I would often hear things like, “You’re surprisingly normal and unselfish for an only child!” 

First of all, that’s some rather faint praise, isn’t it? Second of all, little did they know! I have never been remotely normal or unselfish. But I don’t think that’s got anything to do with being an only child.

My parents and I made a good trio. They trusted my judgment and gave me a lot of responsibility and freedom. Without siblings, I had full access to my parents’ limited resources of time, money, and attention; and there was no contemporary in the household to serve as a yardstick for comparison, good or bad.


I begged for a sibling anyway. My mom explained she didn’t want more children. She had watched her mother become widowed and then die of breast cancer while working full-time and trying to raise three kids. My mom was afraid she could end up in the same situation, she said. She didn’t want more children than she could handle all by herself. Also, she wasn’t very close to her own siblings, and so told me (and herself) that I wasn’t necessarily missing out on a crucial relationship.

That’s a false equivalency, of course. Every relationship is different. Maybe if I had a sibling we would hate each other, or maybe we’d be totally indifferent to each other, or perhaps we would be inseparable. Most people I know are somewhere in the middle with their sibling relationships. Watching my own children, I see what appears to be a normal sibling relationship, although I have no way of knowing. I see a lot of fighting and arguments built on a solid foundation of love, affection, and mutual protectiveness. I’m certainly happy that my kids have each other, to make of that relationship whatever they choose to make of it now, and hopefully later as adults.

Although I decided to have two children, choosing to have one child or no children at all, as I wrote about awhile ago, are valid and legitimate choices, both of which are empirically much better for the environment than putting two or more new primates on the planet. 

I think our parenting culture is insensitive to the child-free, and to only children and their parents in general. Whether by conscious choice or not, many people have “just” one child, or none at all. People in America ask, “do you have children?,” whereas in many other countries they ask, “do you have a child?” While working abroad, my mom said she was validated by that question, not realizing that she'd always felt defensive of her choice to have “just” one child, and the assumption that she should have had more (or any).

I don’t question or resent my parents’ choice to have one child. It made sense for them and I respect their decision. Really, it’s mostly as an adult that I feel something like regret about not having a sibling. I worry about my parents getting older and having no one to share that experience with. My “family of origin” feels vulnerable and fragile in its smallness. 

But ultimately, every single one of us is vulnerable in some way. It's only the source of vulnerability, real or perceived, that differs from person to person and from choice to choice.

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Ocean Can Go Fuck Itself

Don't misunderstand me. I hope everything comes out OK for the world's oceans in the end. I really do. Lord knows they need all the help they can get, and I want nothing more than for the ocean to be clean, healthy, and pristine for countless generations to come.

But that doesn't mean the ocean doesn't scare the living shit out of me. So at least as far as my personal involvement with the ocean is concerned, the ocean can take a long walk off a short pier, go pound sand, jump off a bridge, and otherwise generally go fuck itself.

Today a friend dropped me off at the airport and she's going on a big scuba diving trip in a few weeks. In addition to knowing that I am unlikely ever to see her alive again, I also cannot imagine a punishment worse than being trapped on a bobbing, live-aboard dive boat in the middle of The Great Barrier Reef for four days, alternately vomiting from sea sicknesses and swimming for my life from aggressive sharks, highly venomous Australian box jelly fish (a.k.a. "sea wasps." Fucking SEA WASPS!!), barracudas, rip tides, propellers from other boats, razor sharp coral, rogue waves, electric eels, unforgiving tropical sun, and the countless other potentially fatal dangers that await human beings in the ocean.

See, when it comes right down to it, the ocean is no place for primates and therefore it's no place for people. Think about it. When is the last time you saw a chimpanzee in the ocean? Answer: NEVER. And chimps share 99% of our DNA. Is the missing 1% the part that makes people do stupid shit like jump in the ocean? Chimps have been around a lot longer than people (I think) and they are definitely on to something with never going in the ocean. So the ocean is no place for people, or at the very least, it is no place for neurotic people like me.

No, the ocean is no place for a neurotic person to stick their face into a tube or a regulator or whatever the hell it's called and hyperventilate into it for a couple of hours while relying on an unreliable source of oxygen.

It's no place to absorb the beauty, magic, and majesty of an underwater kingdom you could just as easily enjoy from the relative comfort and safety of, oh, I don't know, let's see, a FUCKING AQUARIUM, maybe, without having to risk a nitrogen bubble in your bloodstream that will travel to your lungs and kill you within ten seconds of surfacing.

Nor is the ocean a place for a neurotic person to stand up on a piece of wood or fiberglass and paddle into an oncoming wave the size of a house that will churn you around like a pair of jeans in a washing machine and pound your body into a bloody pulp--and that's only if a shark doesn't mistake you for a stellar sea lion first.

No thanks. I prefer my ocean viewed from the beach, a window, or better yet, a postcard. And if I do set foot in the ocean, it is only in the shallowest and calmest of clear waters where I can easily see what might be biting or stinging me and can quickly yelp and run away from it, back to my towel and Jodi Picoult novel before I am swept away forever into the gaping maw of some enormous prehistoric vertebrate stalking the shores.

And that, my friends, is why the ocean can go fuck itself.

Inside My Head On a One Hour Flight

What was that sound? It was a VERY odd rattling sound that I've never heard before and we haven't even left the gate. Was that normal? I don't think it was normal. But people are already asleep? Who can sleep through that sound? Whatever. I guess it must be normal.

Why is this plane shaking so much? I think we're having trouble gaining altitude. I read somewhere that "trouble gaining altitude" is actually a really big problem. Wait a minute. Oh no. The flight attendant is on that official looking white phone. Why? She's whispering. I can see her. Why is she whispering? Her eyes look very nervous and she's tapping her foot. She's hiding something. I know it. She's talking to the pilot or air traffic control or someone else who knows we're all about to die in ten minutes.

Where is that drink cart already? Oh here it comes. If we were really about to die they wouldn't be dispensing drinks, right? Except wait! Maybe that's EXACTLY what they would be doing! They're trying to distract us from our imminent demise. They're trying to keep us calm. They can't have anyone panic here. Panic and 30,000 feet up in an aluminum can do not mix. Even though there is obviously great cause for panic. Either way, I need a vodka tonic. Make it a double. I'll just close my eyes for a minute...

Ten seconds later . . .

WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT?! Did we just get hit by a surface-to-air missile like that Malaysian jet over the Ukraine? Or a bolt of lightening? Or maybe we lost an engine? I think a migration of blue herons just flew into one of the engines. Wait, wait. Never mind. I think that was the sound of a wing clipping against the side of a mountain. Or maybe it was a glacier. Do I have my jacket easily accessible in the event that I survive a crash into a glacier? Wait. What am I saying? People never survive a jet plane crash into a glacier! How can everyone around me look so calm? Who could be READING at a time like this? Don't they realize that we're all about to be eating each other's dead bodies for the next two weeks--and that's only for the ones who are lucky enough to survive impact?

Wait. That one guy looks very nervous, actually. He's sweating profusely and it's absolutely freezing in here. He's obviously very scared. And probably for good reas---NOW WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT?! Why is the pilot accelerating so fast? That CAN'T be a normal sound coming from the engine. Grandpa was a World War II pilot. If he weren't dead already he would be now, along with me and everyone else on board. What will happen to Geoff and the kids? I can't die on a work trip. Such an embarrassing way to go. I'm so glad I have life insurance. Please please please let me live to see my kids again. Or at least let me die of a disease instead of in a fiery plane crash. I need Ativan. EVERY time I tell myself that, and I never get it. When will I remember to call a doctor for an Ativan prescription?

Oh my God. We're on the ground. Thank God. Let me off this plane IMMEDIATELY. Why won't these people move? Who tries to cram this much shit in the overhead compartment? Holy shit ... that's about to fall on my head. Sorry lady, I didn't just survive a near death experience only to die of a concussion from your stupid rolling suitcase!


Finally. I'm off this plane. Now, where did I park my car again? I'm sure I left the headlights on for two days. I hope someone here will jump it. God, what a pain in the ass this whole thing is . . .
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Sunday, March 22, 2015

A Horrifying Realization

Over the past few years, a horrifying realization has begun to slowly sink in. It's on the order of "Soylent Green is people!" Or like when Bob Dylan first went electric. Or maybe like that moment in The Sixth Sense when you realize Bruce Willis has been dead the whole time.

Here it is: I am officially wearing mom jeans. Like, a LOT.

I have friends with young teenagers, some of whom babysit for us. (Side bar: 13 or 14 is the best age for babysitters. They've just taken CPR and actually want to interact with your children. Four years later, they'll be texting their boyfriends (or worse) while your kids set fire to the curtains. So I'm all about 13 or 14 year-old babysitters, even if it means being forced to drive them home at the end of the night).

On the rare occasion that we get a babysitter, I like to do reconnaissance on what "the kids these days" are wearing, and I have some fashion news for anyone who's been living in a subterranean nuclear fallout shelter for the last four years or so. "These days," when jeans are involved, they are--exclusively--tapered "skinny" jeans.

Having perceived this trend awhile ago, I broke down and bought a few pairs of skinny jeans, and all I can say is they are a total racket, because my thighs and ass look anything but skinny in those fuckers. I also, however, still own quite a few pairs of "boot cut" jeans, and I wear them. Happily, obliviously, and often.

Sensing that "boot cut" were perhaps the two dirtiest words in the 8th grade female vernacular, I decided to query one of our babysitters on the topic in depth.

"Tell me honestly," I said, looking up at her (because she is at least four inches taller than me), and then down at her painted-on skinny jeans, which in her case, actually performed as advertised. "Are boot cut jeans really that bad? I mean, moms can still wear them at least ... right?"

I said this last part in a small, hopeful voice and gestured to the pair of Lucky brand boot cut jeans I was wearing, and that I'd bought at Costco two years prior, and that looked like something I had donned in preparation for the Johnstown flood, because I'd forgotten to bring my clogs (yes, clogs) with me to the tailor and was too lazy to go back and get them before having my jeans hemmed halfway up my ankles.


She looked at me with a mixture of kindness and pity and said something that was meant to be reassuring. But I could tell she was just being nice. I could see it in her eyes and in the nervous way she twirled a lock of her thick, long, healthy hair. My worst fears were confirmed. I had crossed the Rubicon into full on mom jeans territory and there was no going back.

At that moment, I knew I should just give up and stop trying not to pee a little bit every time I cough or sneeze. Because after all, if you're going to suffer the indignity of wearing mom jeans, you had better OWN that shit.


The Stars Have Aligned!

The blogging gods must have overheard my recent themes of collagen, female masturbation, and bizarre plastic surgery, because they have brought me new information--conveyed through a friend who does research in this area--that combines all three.

I pity the fool who has never heard of...drum roll please...THE G SHOT! Here's how "Dr. 90210," the creator of this ingenious procedure, describes it:

"The wildly controversial 'G shot' is an injection of a quarter-sized dollop of human-engineered collagen through the vaginal wall into the urethral sponge, the spongy tissue surrounding the urethra.

Developed and franchised by Dr. David Matlock of Dr. 90210 fame, this procedure must be redone every few months. According to Matlock's Web site, and unpublished data, this injection results in 'enhanced sexual arousal and sexual gratification for 87 percent of normal sexually functioning women
.'"

At long last, there is a single procedure to remedy the trifecta of horrendous deficiencies in women's collagen, vaginas, AND orgasms! Women who have had this procedure report spontaneous orgasms in the middle of downward facing dog at yoga class, right there in their Lululemon leggings!

So the results are "unpublished. " Ok. So the procedure has to be "redone" every few months. And? So what? Isn't it worth it for a shot (pun intended) at a spontaneously orgasming collagenous vajazzle? I would TOTALLY risk being in the 13% of women for whom this procedure fails to re-create the diner scene in "When Harry Met Sally."

Just when I thought that a bleached perineum, labiaplasty, and permanent eye color change was enough, Dr. 90210 has delivered a "dollop of human-engineered collagen" injected right into my urethral sponge wall (whatever that is) so that I can go into full porn star mode every time I hop on a bicycle!

I have exactly two words for the "G Shot," summed up in this vanity license plate that I spotted in a parking lot today.