Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A Perfect Girlhood

Is there such a thing as a perfect girlhood? For my sake, I hope there is. For yours, I know that's impossible, and that disappointment is good, necessary, and inevitable. 

Yet . . . I still want a track record of 100% perfect happiness for you. Is that too much to ask?

Of course it is. I know that, even if you don't. You're almost 10 and approaching the second half of your girlhood. That most vulnerable part. The part where the instincts of confidence and self-preservation that have defined you up until now subjected to the slings and arrows of The World.


Not "The World," capital T, capital W. Anything but that. I want to SAVE you from The World. MAYDAY! SOS! Here comes the fucking WORLD.

I want to vacuum seal your healthy self esteem in a jar, and put it on a shelf forever with one of those airline "FRAGILE" stickers on it. I've worked too hard to help you cultivate its contents for the better part of a decade, and I want that jar to be shatterproof. 

I want to place it far out of reach of mean boys who would call you fat or ugly or violate you or mistreat you emotionally or physically. 

I want to hide it away from academic and athletic rejection and failure. 

I want to shelter it from other girls who would cannibalize your spirit and chip away at your sense of self. But remember--and this is important: they are fragile and vulnerable, too. They are your sisters on this journey. Do not forget that.


I wish you could skip that whole part. The part that's barreling down on you like a freight train right now. The part of girlhood where the gathering storm of adolescence and young womanhood thrashes your soul against a jagged reef.

No one gets out of The World alive, we all know that. Even you. But in the meantime, will you be able to do the things you set out to do and embrace setbacks as new challenges and opportunities?

Only you can decide that. 

I can't give you a perfect girlhood, even though I wish I could. All I can do is act as a counterweight against The World; give you safe harbor; whisper in your ear to be confident, fearless, to love yourself first. And, if you want to, become a rocket scientist or go to culinary school like you told me the other day you wanted to do.

I can't give you a perfect girlhood, and maybe that's a good thing. All I can do is try to give you the tools to make a happy girlhood for yourself.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Is This Really Necessary? No, Really, Honestly. Is It?

This is a serious question, because I'm legitimately fascinated by the mentality of someone who puts the stars and bars on the front grill of their truck in Juneau, Alaska (or really anywhere), in 2017. 

Let's unpack this a bit without judgment, because it's actually pretty interesting, at least to me. 

First, a few neutral (if vastly over-simplified) important historical facts:

1. This flag is one of several official flags of the Confederate States of America.

2. The Confederacy existed from 1861-1865.

3. The Confederacy was a self-proclaimed nation of 11 secessionist slave-holding states that relied on a labor economy of black slaves. The Union considered the Confederacy illegitimate.

4. The Civil War began on April 12, 1861 with the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter in South Carolina.

5. The Confederacy fought the Civil War because it wanted to maintain a system of slavery, primarily for agricultural economic reasons.

6. The Confederacy lost the Civil War in 1865, and slavery was abolished and made unconstitutional that same year.

7. Today, all the previously Confederate states are part of the Union and there is no legal or constitutional difference between them and the rest of the United States.

So that's the historical backdrop. 

As I see it, there are a few options--none of them mutually exclusive--for why you would choose to fly a confederate flag in 2017, ranging from innocently ignorant to intentionally bigoted:

1. You're just a big Dukes of Hazard fan and one hundred percent ignorant of history.

2. You're from the south and consider the confederate flag part of your "heritage" and feel entitled to "honor" it, regardless of its connotations, implications, or impact on others.

3. You lack empathy for victims of slavery and/or like to provoke anger and controversy.

4. You think slavery was a good thing and should never have been abolished.

5. You don't realize that the south lost the Civil War and that the Confederacy were traitors to the country in the most literal sense of the word.

6. You're a big macho "patriot" and don't think people should be slaves, but yet you also don't think it's a problem to display a symbol of treason, losing traitors, and slavery, all of which could not be less patriotic.

7. You fail to see the logical fallacy in #6.

8. You just think it looks cool and badass and don't know, think, and/or care about the rest.

9. You don't know, think, or care about any of those negative historical connotations, so that means no one else will (or should) either.

10. You lack intellectual curiosity and empathy (in general).

11. You're legally entitled to/can do something, so that means you should, no matter what.

This is all I can come up with. But the one unifying feature is this: if you feel the need to display a confederate flag in public in 2017, you have a lot of critical thinking and self-examination to do.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

If You Thought Your Marriage or Divorce Was Bad . . .

Then this is the post for you. I guarantee you that as acrimonious and miserable as your marriage or divorce is or was, you probably never divvied up Beanie Babies in open court, under the eagle-eyed supervision of a judge.

Recently my dad suggested I was "unambitious" for having zero interest in ever becoming a judge. I explained to him that I didn't want to work alone in a windowless room, listening to grown adults fight over who gets to keep a set of power tools, and then promptly sent him this picture.

Real life courtroom drama is, sadly, less Law and Order and more Honey Boo-Boo.

Chances are this photo will make you feel better about yourself, regardless of the state of your union. Even if you're happily married, you're still likely fighting about the same three things every day: (1) who works harder/does more; (2) who gets less sleep; and (3) where the fuck all your money goes each month. If you're unhappily married, you're probably fighting about the exact same three things, except ten times as often and with more yelling and even less sex, if that's possible.

If you're divorced, you're probably just relieved you don't have to see your ex's dirty socks or listen to their snoring anymore. You'd likely let them have every Beanie Baby ever manufactured if it meant you only had to speak to them when absolutely necessary for co-parenting reasons, and then only after three glasses of wine or several beers so you don't say something you later regret and that can be used against you in a court of law.

Awkward Family Photos is a highly recommended follow on Insta. It's like a daily affirmation that as lame and stupid as you are or feel, someone out there is even lamer and stupider than you.

Certainly, by the time you're consuming judicial resources to help you DIVIDE FUCKING BEANIE BABIES, it's game over. At that point, once you finish separating Ariel the Bear from Dippy the Bunny (yes, those are real Beanie Babies, look it up), you should walk into a lake with stones in your pockets ala Virginia Woolf.  

But you have never needed judicial intervention for Beanie Babies, and you never would, which is why you feel really good about yourself right now.

You're welcome. 

P.S. On the remote chance that you have needed judicial intervention for Beanie Baby division, I'm sorry. "People Who Fought in Open Court Over Beanie Babies" will just have to join the looooong list of people I have offended with this blog.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Easy Decisions

I can be indecisive about a lot of things, but some decisions--particularly parenting decisions--are easy. 

For instance:  This morning's decision to delete the app "Kim Kardashian: Hollywood" (and all of its data), whatever that consists of. Through the ether of cloud computing, Kim Kardashian ended up on my iPhone, courtesy of Paige downloading her million dollar bootie on a linked device. 

Don't ask me how Paige found "Kim Kardashian: Hollywood" or what the app is or does. I don't want to know. I just want to pretend it never happened. But not before I confronted Paige about it, and she insisted it was "like a girl dress-up game." "I don't like that," I scowled. "It sends a bad message."

That's how I feel about sharting. Sharting sends a bad message too, and you want to pretend it never happened.

Both my kids went to a Montessori toddler preschool that I loved because it emphasized independence in everything, including toileting. That part I didn't love. The staff of this school was not just willing--but quite insistent--on doing something I refused to do myself: put my kids in cult-issue tighty whities and let them piss and shit themselves until they magically figured out how to control their excretory functions. 

It doesn't sound like fun, does it? It wasn't.  

Not surprisingly, every kid participating in this grand pedagogical experiment shat their undies on the reg, and the undies would come home in a little tied-up plastic bag to be washed. 

The shit-bag would stare out at me from Paige or Isaac's hook, silently reporting on my child's toileting progress while daring me to touch the results. I wouldn't. I couldn't. I would take that bag, underwear and all, and stick it right into the giant dumpster in my garage. 

I know it sucked for the planet and I'm not the least bit proud of myself, but I simply was not fucking around with scrubbing shit out of underwear. This would have to be my ecological sin, and I would pay my penance to save the planet. But I was not putting any elbow grease into saving those undies.

Fortunately, when you're older and (hopefully) toilet trained, you hardly ever shit in your undies unless you make a really bad call on a fart. Like you're at that moment of "what's gonna happen here," and decide to roll the dice and BAM. Shart. That's an easy decision that quickly turns into a terrible decision. I did this when I was checking my bar exam results to see if I passed. Twice. You'd think after New York, I would've learned to evacuate my bowels before checking bar exam results, yet I didn't fare any better with Alaska.

This was my long-winded way of saying: "Kim Kardashian: Hollywood" is the shart of apps, and deleting it from my phone after lecturing Paige about internalized misogyny was pretty satisfying. 

Friday, May 19, 2017

Trump Impeachment Erotica

She woke up that morning not knowing if it was real--only hoping against hope that it was, wondering if it was a dream. A wistful, fading dream of a long-ago time when the so-called leader of the free world didn't demonstrably lie about the weather and misspell the word "tap" on Twitter with impunity.

As she rolled over in bed, she looked longingly at her phone charging on the beside table, and rubbed the sleep from her eyes. Since she was in a time zone four hours behind many of her friends and family, it wasn't unusual to wake up to texts or messages, but this seemed like more than usual.

"OMG, have you heard?" said one. "TRUMP IS GETTING IMPEACHED!" said another. Suddenly she was wide awake. 

Every fiber of her being tingled with anticipation and the electric possibility of the shittiest president and most mediocre human being ever to trod the global stage going down in a humiliating hurricane of corruption, scandal, incompetence, and stupidity of his own making.

"It can't be real . . . " she whispered softly as she opened Twitter and scrolled down ever so gently with her right thumb to see the top trending topics. As her gaze fell to the list, she bit her lower lip and pumped her left fist in the air:

1.  #45Impeachement 
2.  #JaredKushnerArrested 
3.  #MikePenceBustedInFBISting 
4.  #JulianAssangeGetsJobatWendys 
5.  #RichardSpencersDickFellOff
6. #BillOReillyCaughtonTapeSexuallyHarrassingEveryone
7. #Election2016DoOver
8. #IvankaShoeFactoryFire
9. #MikeFlynnTurnsStateEvidence
10. #TrumpTookDumpOnHisDesk 
11. #ThePizzaDiet

Her relief for the country and searing schadenfreude over the downfall of The Worst Humans Ever were too gloriously overwhelming. She had to stop at trending topic 11 and couldn't even make it to 12, which turned out to be #ClimateChangeSolved.

OH MY GOD, she moaned, exactly like Meg Ryan in the diner scene in When Harry Met Sally, except for real. MMM. Oh yeah. That's what I'm talking about. Right there. 


Donald Trump Writes Home

Thursday, May 18, 2017

I Need a New Duffel Bag so I Guess I Should Join the NRA Now

This ad popped up while I was reading Talking Points Memo, which means the NRA doesn't really know its own target demographic. But they scored with me, because it just so happens that I need a new duffel bag, and joining the NRA for $30 in order to get one is an offer I cannot refuse.

Holdup. Maybe I can.

They don't say what comes IN the duffel bag. I feel like this offer would be more enticing if there was like, a prize inside. Remember when you could get prizes out of a cereal box? Or mail box tops to some random P.O. Box in Kentucky and receive a so-called prize 32 weeks later? 

I think that's how I ended up with the Snoopy Sno-Cone Maker. A close cousin of the E-Z Bake Oven, this "machine" was a suuuuuuper ghetto way to make shave ice. You stuck ice cubes down the plastic chimney of Snoopy's dog house, and ground them up using with a manual hand-crank until you developed blisters on your fingers. By the time you made enough ice shavings for a tiny Dixie cup-sized sno cone, the whole fucking thing was water.

But I digress.

The point is, I think the NRA would have more takers on this if it offered several prizes INSIDE the duffel bag, particularly to readers of Talking Points Memo. For example, I would be MUCH more likely to snap this up if the NRA was offering to send me:
  • A Wayne LaPierre pillow pet.
  • Guns, guns, and more guns!
  • A Unabomber style getaway-survival-in-the-woods-militia-prepper kit.
  • A 12-pack of urinal cakes with Alex Jones' face on them.
Come on, NRA. Make me a serious offer here. My luggage needs can't go unfulfilled forever.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

I Wish I Could be as Excited About Anything as Ryan Seacrest Pretends to be About Everything

Do you guys listen to Ryan Seacrest? I do. Not on purpose, exactly, but more by default. Okay fine. I'll level with you: I secretly love T-Swiz and Katie Perry and this is one of the few things on which my 9 year-old daughter and I can agree. That and tacos. We both love those, and I think it's because that's all I ate when I was pregnant with Paige.

Which brings me to the point of this post.

Have you heard of the Chicken Chalupa Crunch Wrap (TM) from Taco Bell? If you answered yes to the Ryan Seacrest question, then your answer to this second question is probably "yes" too. You probably have heard of the Chicken Chalupa Crunch Wrap. 

At least I think that's what it's called. I'm too lazy to look it up. I've been doing some heavy parental lifting lately, and took the day off from work today because our house is a faaaaahhhhhckkkin shit hole. I spent a long morning doing laundry and spacing out in Costco, wandering around aimlessly looking for noodles. It ended up taking twice as long as it should have, because I kept getting distracted by a sudden compulsion to buy a three-pack of beach towels and 35 toothbrush heads instead of the shit I came in to buy.

So just go with me here.

Basically this thing--this Chicken Chalupa Crunch Wrap, let's call it--was some sort of limited time special at Taco Bell where the TACO SHELL WAS ACTUALLY MADE OUT OF FRIED CHICKEN. In other words, it was a genetically modified chicken ass-lips-n-feet grease pouch filled with whatever they fill burritos and tacos with at Taco Bell. When I say I love tacos, I don't mean Taco Bell. In desperation I will do Taco Bell, but the idea of a taco shell made OUT OF CHICKEN Is just . . . 

Hell to the No.

And I am pretty sure it's a big negatory for Ryan too, which is why I am so in awe of him. 

One look at this man and you know he lives on kale smoothies and wheat grass cleanses. There is no fucking way Ryan Seacrest has ever--or would ever--eat a Chicken Chalupa Crunch Wrap from Taco Bell. Yet he makes it sound like it's THE BEST THING IN THE WORLD AND HE EATS IT ALL DAY EVERY DAY.

He gets on the radio right after he plays some Lorde and is all like, "Okay you guys. I don't know if you've tried this yet." And we listeners are like, "yes, please go on!" And Ryan is all like, "Get this. It's ONLY available for a limited time at Taco Bell. It's crunchy. It's delicious. It's crispy. It's the CHICKEN CHALUPA CRUNCH WRAP and wait wait. Get this . . . the SHELL IS ACTUALLY MADE OUT OF FRIED CHICKEN."

And suddenly you're like, "I want one." You stop thinking about the fact that it is completely against nature for chicken to be ground up and fashioned into a fried chicken tortilla shape, and the vile conditions in which that chicken lived such that he or she became a pretend tortilla. Like it's not enough that this chicken had to be turned into meat for Taco Bell. It is being forced to suffer the posthumous indignity of playing the part of BREAD.

I wish I could be as excited about literally ANYTHING in my life as Ryan Seacrest is about everything. The only thing that would make me sound, act, or really be as excited as Ryan Seacrest pretends to be about a Chicken Chalupa Crunch Wrap is news that Donald Trump is finally getting impeached (although today's special prosecutor news put a big ass smile on my face).

That's it. 

Apart from the demise of Cult 45, there is literally nothing in the world that makes me even half as excited as Ryan Seacrest seems to be about a Chicken Chalupa Crunch Wrap and everything else he talks about on AT-40.


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Into the Void of Derp: I Have the "Comey Memo!"

To:        Whom it May Concern
From:    James Comey
Re:        POTUS-Russia Clusterfuck
Date:     Literally Every Day After 11/9/16



If you're reading this, that means the shit's about to go DOWN, and I am long gone. But I wouldn't be a respected career civil servant if I didn't leave a CYA paper trail behind. Now John Chaffetz and Nancy Pelosi get to hold hands like Hansel and Gretel, and follow the trail of bread crumbs to the Gingerbread House of Impeachment proceedings.

I'm not sure what America expected when it did the electoral equivalent of putting a second grader in the cockpit of a 747 and asking him to do maneuvers like he was Maverick from Top Gun

But that's what it did, so that's where we are.

Yep. America elected a President who has taken us across the Rubicon and into the Void of Derp, down a deep hole of semi-inadvertent misconduct the likes of which I've never seen in my long career. When I wrote that letter about John Podesta's Risotto recipe and Hillary's private email server with Carlos Danger and all that shit, I couldn't have known what was coming.

As it happened, what was coming was a fascist, genetically-modified cantaloupe with less knowledge of basic American civics than the fruit which bears his likeness. If you sat Donald Trump down in front of the television (where he can usually be found when he's not golfing) and turned on School House Rock, he still wouldn't understand that the President isn't supposed to interfere with a pending FBI investigation, divulge classified information and intelligence to known foreign enemies in the Oval Office just to brag, or ask people to be "loyal" to him like he was the CEO of America.

I genuinely think Trump believes this country is an Atlantic City casino or one of his shady foreign real estate deals where he can just hire and fire people at will and impede federal investigations with a wink and nod like it's NBD. Well, ignorance of the law is no excuse, as they say, and that's why you're reading this memo.

Now the alt-right Twitter bots will tell you to burn this because it's all meant to distract from Hillary Clinton putting a hit out on some 27 year-old D.C. intern named Seth Rich who once emailed Julian Fuck-America-in-the-Assange from his iPad or some shit. 

If you believe that, you probably also believe that Avril Levigne died in 2003 and was replaced by a clone. I'm not saying it couldn't happen, but it probably didn't.

Let me ask you which seems more likely: that HRC had a Congressional paige murdered in the D.C. subway OR that Donald Trump opened his big fat KFC-hole without having any fucking idea what he was talking about?

That's what I thought.

Anyway, I look forward to your subpoenas and to testifying to my knowledge of this entire situation in the Halls of Congress. That is, if you can find even one specimen of the species of invertebrate formerly known as our elected officials who will bother listening to me.

Attention Career Gals! The Tone Deaf Irony of This is EXTRA!

According to the Internet, PR Week is “the leading source of news, analysis, features, & jobs for the Public Relations Industry.” And according to a vagina-having friend of mine who works in PR, this is an event they’re advertising in NYC next month.

Welp, gals!  

Looks like the organizers of the “Hall of Femme”—who oddly appear to have vaginas themselves--don’t necessarily appreciate the irony (or, as we say in the industry, the OPTICS) of inviting an entire “Panel d’Homme” to mansplain to a room full of women why they are kinda sorta failing at life. (Spoiler alert: it's because vaginas).

But the experts know better. And again, the experts are—surprise surprise!—people with dicks.

“Male senior executives from some of the biggest brands and agencies” are going to gift their female colleagues with some “frank discussion and unique perspective on where and how successful change is happening and on overcoming challenges that remain for women in career advancement,” and further, how women can “find the support, company culture, and resources to ensure a rewarding long-term career.”

To be fair, when I clicked on the agenda, I saw that there is, in fact, a panel of women scheduled to speak at this event, but I note that the Keynote Speaker is a dudebro named Michael from Johnson & Johnson, and, of course, the above-referenced panel consists of four people named John, Richard, Jim, and Tony.

We can only hope that Michael, John, Richard, Jim, and Tony will have some insights to offer the Beckys with the Bad Jobs in the room, as well as the other failing women on the panel that precedes theirs. While it’s not clear exactly what science Michael, John, Richard, Jim, and Tony will drop at this conference, what is clear is that they have the straight dope on working while female.

Good thing I’ve been given exclusive access to their PowerPoint presentation! Here are the titles of the first ten slides:

1. How We Got Rich by Being Named Michael, John, Richard, Jim, and Tony.

2. Why Bleeding Into Your Underpants is Kind of a Disadvantage that We Can’t do Anything About, Sorry.

3. Breastfeeding in the Office: It’s Gross albeit Perhaps Necessary, but Let's Face it You Did This to Yourself.

4. Having a Penis Really Helps You Get Ahead (AHEM!) in the Workplace, It Turns Out.

5. Smile, Look Pretty, and Wear a Supportive Bra: Three Tips to Climbing the Corporate Ladder.

6. The Very Existence of Your Uterus is a Huge Obstacle that You’ll Never Overcome Unless You Transition to Male and Then You'll Have Even Worse Problems.

7. How to Tell if a Man at Work is (A) Taking You Seriously or (B) Just Wants to Have an Affair with You (Answer: It's Usually B).

8. Checking Our So-Called Male Privilege: We Checked Everywhere and There is No Such Thing.

9. Why Being Named Michael, John, Richard, Jim, and Tony has Actually Made our Lives Harder than You’d Think.

10. We are Your Woke AF Allies but We Have it Worse than You, We Promise. (Yes, It’s a Contest and We Win. Also: What Are You Doing After This)?

See you there, ladies!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Trump Hasn't Tweeted for 5 Hours: Taking Bets on Next Tweet on Russia Clusterfuck

1. FAILING Washington Post is lying about Russia hoax. Top security officials say no "intelligence protocols" breached!

2. When will tax-payer funded Russia charade end? FAKE NEWS MEDIA has once again gotten story WRONG!

3. H.R. McMaster, nat sec adviser, says NO intel "sources and methods" revealed and called WaPo story "FALSE." Very unfair!

4. Had great meeting with Russian ambassador. Terrific guy who will help USA get (and keep!) JOBS, JOBS, JOBS!

5. FAKE NEWS MEDIA is at it again today with "Russia" story. This is the DEMOCRAT EXCUSE for losing election by millions of (illegal) votes!

6. As a very active President with lots of things happening, it is not possible for me to recall what I tell "officials" with perfect accuracy!....

7. So-called Russia "bombshell" is just more FAKE MSM. I will be interviewed by @seanhannity at 6:00 p.m. on @FoxandFriends tonight to explain. Enjoy!

8. Russian ambassador has the confidence of almost everyone in Washington, Republican and Democrat alike. When things calm down, they will be thanking me!

9. Democrats should be ashamed of this witch hunt. Disgraceful!

10. Top security officials call FAILING Washington Post story on Russia "false." When does it end?

The United States Presidency for Dummies

There seems to be a lot of confusion about this lately, particularly among our current President and his cohort. So I wrote up a helpful primer on basic American civics.

1. Once Upon a Time, there were 13 American colonies under British rule (England).

2. On July 4, 1776, the colonies “declared their independence” from England. They did this by writing a piece of paper called “THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE.” 

3. The DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE is why we celebrate July 4 every year as “Independence Day” with fireworks and cake, because it is “America’s birthday!"

4. A really important part of the DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE was this: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."

5. That is a lot of bigly words. But it means that the government must treat everyone the same way, and that everyone who lives in America has the right to live their lives and be happy.

6.  In 1787, the Continental Congress—which was like a temporary government--wrote the UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION to be the “Supreme Law of the Land.” That means we do not have KINGS or DESPOTS or any LOYALTY to anyone except for THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION which is a PIECE OF PAPER and not an ORANGE person or any person.

7. The guys that wrote the DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE and the UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION are called THE FOUNDING FATHERS. You may have seen them before on money. They have weird old timey wigs and were trying to not live under a king and queen, also called a MONARCHY.

8. The UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION has been the Supreme Law of the Land since 1789 and is a very important piece of paper that tells us how to run America.

9. Under the UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION, there are three “co-equal branches” of government: 

(A) The LEGISLATIVE branch, which MAKES the laws; 
(B) The EXECUTIVE branch, which ENFORCES the laws; and 
(C) The JUDICIAL branch, which INTERPRETS the laws. 

"Co-equal" means "the same." "Branch" means part. It is not the same as a literal tree branch.

10. The head of the EXECUTIVE BRANCH is called the PRESIDENT.

11. The LEGISLATIVE BRANCH is made up of the HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES and the SENATE, together known as "CONGRESS."

12. The JUDICIAL branch is made up of lots of courts, but the one that gets the very last word on what the UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION means is THE UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT which has NINE (9) judges. The "decisions" of the UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT are sometimes called "opinions" and they also become THE LAW, unless Congress changes the law later or AMENDS the Constitution. "AMEND" means "change."

13. It is very important that the three branches work well both alone and together, like a school project with small groups. This is called “checks and balances" and "separation of powers." That way, no one branch of government can do anything another branch is supposed to do. That is why the branches are “co-equal.”


15. In 1791, the first ten amendments to the UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION were adopted. Together, these ten amendments are called THE BILL OF RIGHTS.

16. THE BILL OF RIGHTS contains important freedoms. For example, freedom of speech and religion; right to bear arms; right to a fair trial; freedom from police search and seizure and the government taking your stuff; prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment; and saving powers the federal government doesn’t use for the states to have.

17. Many other important AMENDMENTS were passed later, like the one that abolished slavery (#13) and the one that let people with vaginas vote (#19).

18. Today there are FIFTY (50) States. Each State has its OWN STATE CONSTITUTION that can provide MORE rights, but not FEWER than the UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION guarantees.

19. The UNITED STATES OF AMERICA is a REPUBLIC. A REPUBLIC is a type of government in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives, not a king or queen.

20. Here are three (3) things the UNITED STATES IS NOT


Any questions?

Sunday, May 14, 2017

These Quotes from the Handmaid's Tale, Written in 1984, Will Terrify You with Their Prescience

"It's good to have small goals that can be easily attained."

"I'm ravenous for news, any kind of news; even if it's false news, it must mean something."

"Last week they shot a woman, right about here . . . She was fumbling in her robe, for her pass, and they thought she was hunting for a bomb. There have been such incidents."

"It has taken so little time to change our minds, about things like this."

"When we think of the past it's the beautiful things we pick out. We want to believe it was all like that."

"Ordinary, said Aunt Lydia, is what you are used to. This may not seem ordinary to you now, but after a time it will. It will become ordinary."

"But we lived as usual. Everyone does, most of the time. Whatever is going on is as usual."

"I'm allowed to watch the news . . . Such as it is: who knows if any of it is true? It could be old clips. It could be faked. But I watch it anyway, hoping to be able to read beneath it."

"In reduced circumstances, you have to believe all kinds of things."

"This is something you can depend upon: there will always be alliances of one kind or another."

"For every rule there is always an exception: this too can be depended upon."

"Already we were losing the taste for freedom, already we were finding these walls secure."

"It can't last forever. Others have thought such things, in bad times before this, and they were always right, they did get out one way or another, and it didn't last forever. Although for them it may have lasted all the forever they had."

"They blamed it on the Islamic fanatics . . . That was when they suspended the Constitution. They said it would be temporary. There wasn't even any rioting in the streets. People stayed home at night, watching television, looking for some direction. There wasn't even an enemy you could put your finger on."

"Newspapers were censored and some were closed down, for security reasons they said. The road-blocks began to appear, and Identipasses. Everyone approved of that, since it was obvious you couldn't be too careful. They said that new elections would be held, but that it would take some time to prepare for them. The thing to do, they said, was to continue on as usual."

"It's outrageous, one woman said, but without belief. What was it about this that made us feel we deserved it?"

"There were marches, of course, a lot of women and some men. But they were smaller than you might have thought. I guess people were scared. And when it was known that the police, or the army, or whoever they were, would open fire almost as soon as any of the marches even started, the marches stopped." 

"If my life is bearable, maybe what they're doing is all right after all."

"Better never means better for everyone . . . It always means worse for some."

"Perhaps he's reached that state of intoxication which power is said to inspire, the state in which you believe you are indispensable and can therefore do anything, absolutely anything you feel like, anything at all."

"He says this as if he believes it, but he says many things that way. Maybe he believes it, maybe he doesn't, or maybe he does both at the same time. Impossible to tell what he believes."

"Truly amazing, what people can get used to, as long as there are a few compensations."

"I've heard this speech, or one like it, often enough before: the same platitudes, the same slogans, the same phrases: the torch of the future, the cradle of the race, the task before us."

"To institute an effective totalitarian system or indeed any system at all you must offer some benefits and freedoms, at least to a privileged few, in return for those you remove."

Saturday, May 13, 2017

All I Want for Mother's Day is for Ed Sheeran to Write Me a Love Song and I Really Feel Like That is Not Too Much to Ask

Mother's Day. It's not a big deal to me, seriously. 

This is my tenth Mother's Day as a mom, and the last Mother's Day of my thirties, and I've never been demanding in terms of what I want on This Special Day. Usually, it's enough for me to just spend quality time with my kids. And by "spend quality time with my kids," I mean "sleep until noon with silicone ear plugs jammed into my ears while my kids do I don't even know (or care) the fuck what with their dad."

This year, though, I feel like I'd like a little something more. Something besides Congress to impeach Donald Trump. I just want Ed Sheeran to write me a love song, and I feel like that's really not too much to ask.

I mean, really. Is it? This is a small demand in the grand scheme of things.

To just go to an Ed Sheeran concert for like, a weekend trip to Seattle and catch his eye from the front row of Century Link Field, and then act super surprised when one of the security guards comes up to me and whispers in my ear, "Ed wants to see you back stage," and then turn to my friends and we all start jumping up and down and silent-screaming like we are 14 instead of 40 or even 26, which I believe is the approximate age of Ed Sheeran, and which technically makes me old enough to be Ed Sheeran's mom, but only if I'd had an extremely fucked up childhood, which thankfully I did not.

Truly I feel it is not asking too much for Ed Sheeran to then beckon me to his dressing room, dismiss his harem of sinewy, collagen-rich millennial groupies, and tell me that I look great in mom jeans--which are totally on trend right now--even though I couldn't possibly actually be a mom because I look way too young to have kids and no he's totally not just saying that in his adorable British accent.

This would really be a much more welcome gift than, say, getting a half-assed scribbled card and some luke warm scrambled eggs in bed, amirite moms? To instead get a note from Ed Sheeran, written in non-crayon, that says "please come on tour with me, you are my muse and I can no longer create outside of your spiritual orbit," at which point my family would completely understand that I was just doing what I had to do for the sake of art and probably a lot of dope swag, let's be honest.

Then the world and Ryan Seacrest would thank me for the next platinum Grammy Award (TM) winning album called "Mom Jeans," featuring the #1 hit single in both the UK and the U.S., called "You Pee a Little When you Sneeze." At which point 39 year-old French President Emmanuel Macron's 63 year-old wife Brigitte would come to the Paris leg of the tour, and we'd drink French 75's and high five each other and congratulate ourselves on being the GOAT cougars.

Like, this is a seriously a really modest request, and I feel like I deserve it. I'm a mom, after all, and not just "anyone" can be a mom, except for approximately 4.3 people per second on earth.

UPDATE: No sooner did I post this, than Isaac came home from school with this:

 It changes nothing. 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Mustard and Cheerios

There are certain things, that while perhaps perfectly okay on their own, make for a highly questionable combination. For example: mustard and Cheerios; your father-in-law and a sold-out showing of Brokeback Mountain; and Trump and everything in the whole history of the universe ever.

Two more awkward combos I discovered at the Alaska Bar Convention in Juneau this week: (1) Constitutional law scholar Erwin Chemerinksy, a podium, and a highly clinical description of serial digital penetration of the vagina to illustrate a core principle of criminal procedure; and (2) me, alcohol, Professor Richard Painter, karaoke, and a room full of lawyers.

First some background: I have this little problem, which I'm certain I've touched on before, where I talk a lot when I get nervous and/or a tiny bit drunk. Like, a lot. Like, a LOT A LOT.

I discovered this tendency the hard way many times throughout the course of my adult life. 

One year on Valentine's Day, I talked my boss's boss's ear off for an entire 1.5 hour flight from Anchorage to Juneau AND the ensuing cab ride downtown because I thought we were dying in turbulence, and it was the only thing that made me feel calm. Even though part of my brain kept saying "stop talking," the other part just wouldn't listen and boldly forged ahead.

Yesterday I did the same thing to my friends, colleagues, and boss's boss's boss (that's THREE LEVELS OF BOSS IN CASE YOU ARE COUNTING) AND the keynote speaker for the Alaska Bar Convention whom I follow religiously on Twitter.

Armed with my third or perhaps fourth cocktail of the evening, I cornered the former ethics lawyer for the Bush White House and several other lawyers (including my aforementioned boss-in-triplicate) as I gushed over Professor Painter's witty anti-Trump tweets, and held forth on my hazardous exploits in the First Amendment and social media. In my peripheral vision, I could see one of my closest colleagues--the Jiminy Cricket of my professional conscience if you will--eyeing me with a cautionary look that said, "you can stop talking now."

But Ms. Cricket is British and prone to a certain measured reserve incompatible with my MO. So nevertheless, I persisted.

Still, I knew better, at least, than to succumb to pleas from numerous equally intoxicated attorneys to try my hand at karaoke. I watched several consecutive victims fall prey to the ill-advised combination of Alicia Keys + vodka + an obvious lack of professional voice training and I was not about to tumble headlong down that same bottomless well. 

I mean, what do I look like? Someone who would eat mustard with Cheerios? 

I don't think so.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Trump Adapts the Steve Harvey Staff Memo

Well This Should be Good!

As long as we're witnessing the edifice of American democracy crack (if not crumble) before our very eyes courtesy of our bull-in-a-china shop POTUS and comatose Congress, we might as well get some entertainment out of the bargain. And at least on that front, our carnival barker orange assclown of a president exceeds all expectations. 

Look at this you guys. 

Trump is reportedly "preparing a certified letter attesting that he has no ties to Russia," whatever that means. 

In other words, the most mendacious public figure in American history now wants us to take him at his word that he's not a traitor by "certifying" as much in a letter.

Just for context, let's recap some of Trump's most outrageous and easily refutable lies during his short, ignominious political career:

--Obama's birth place
--Muslim's cheering on 9/11
--The weather at his inauguration
--The crowd size at his inauguration
--Obama wiretapping Trump Tower
--Voter fraud

--That no one at the FBI had confidence in Comey

So now we're to believe that the ONE thing that could finally MAYBE undo his tinfoil-hat kleptocracy of an administration isn't true, because he wrote a letter "certifying" as much.


Maybe I'd believe this, but first the letter would have to be notarized, copied in triplicate, stamped with a wax seal, copy all his lawyers in the cc line, contain all ten of his fingerprints and maybe even his lip prints, and be printed on gold-embossed Mar-a-Lago stationery. Then it would have the true imprimatur of Trump legitimacy.

Here's some good news though. 

The last time Trump wrote a letter, he fired James Comey and relayed the existence of "three" alleged conversations with the ousted FBI director. Constitutional law scholars have observed that in so doing, Trump has waived executive privilege as to those conversations, which means that eventually, a judge could make their contents public.

Donald Trump: his word is his junk bond.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

This is Not a Drill

There's an inevitable moment in childhood when you realize that the adults around you have reached the limit of their capacity to help you and care for you. If you're lucky, that moment comes, as it did for me, during an innocuous tenth grade school project. For others, it starts at birth with abuse or neglect.

Now our young democracy has reached that metaphorical moment. 

I don't think it's hyperbole to say that we are facing the gravest constitutional crisis since Watergate. Because everything is now a "gate," and our spineless Congress has become so inextricably entwined with its own naked self interest, we've all become numb to legislative ineptitude. 

Our elected officials are closing ranks as we speak, passively allowing the United States of America to be compromised by a hostile foreign power in an administrative coup enabled by an inept, possibly senile kleptocrat and his goons.

Did Trump have the right to fire Comey? Of course. But Comey was also in the middle of investigating Trump and/or his associates. 

For treason. TREASON.

No more. I am a registered nonpartisan, and this is not "political." We own this government and the Constitution of the United States. We do. Each one of us, and no one else. If we ignore that civic fact, we do so at our peril. 

Experts in autocracy know this. They know that autocrats depend on gaslighting, passivity, and a flagrancy of lies and misconduct to capitalize on the people's stunned powerlessness in the face of the outageous, the shocking, and the unthinkable.

It's time for the adults in this country to fight back and take the wheel. Call and visit your elected officials. Remind them that they work for you, at least in theory if not in practice. Let them know you won't stand idle while Trump and his white collar thugs lay waste to the Great American Experiment.

Do it today, and every day until this is resolved to the satisfaction of the American public. 

This is not a drill.

Trump Tweets His Way to Impeachment

Oh wait never mind that would require a Congress that wasn't this:

Someone take the wheel! Where are all the adults?! GOOD LUCK, FAM!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The James Comey Firing in Limerick

There once was a bro named James Comey
Who was Donald Trump's #1 Homey
But then he cried treason
And so for that reason
POTUS said why don'tcha blow me?

Yet the timing of this is quite odd
One can only conclude there's a fraud
Now here come the hearings
And media jeerings
And "fake news" and Bannon's goon squad.

The whole thing is shady at best
Our democracy's put to the test
It's kinda like Nixon
With someone a fixin'
To make several dozen arrests.

This nonsense set Twitter ablaze
But the Trumpites seem not to be fazed
By a traitorous fool
And a dictator's tool
With a deep fascist impulse for days.

So now it's America's mission
To investigate growing suspicion
And watch Trump come unglued
As he learns that he's screwed
And becomes an excluded condition.