Saturday, February 28, 2015

A Slide Show of Your Entree's Life

Tonight I was lucky enough to go out for dinner to a restaurant that didn't issue paper coloring-placemats and a four-pack of crayons with its menus.

There was stuff there that I've come to recognize from TV and magazines as trendy, like "coriander foam" and "braised pork belly" and a "creme brûlée du jour" (this "jour's" particular "creme" was "maple bacon").

I've noticed that with food like this, it's not enough to just call it scallops or chicken or bacon or beef or whatever. It needs to be qualified with some sort of adjective. Like "applewood smoked" bacon or "grassfed Kobe" beef or "weathervane" scallops.

Don't get me wrong, that shit was delicious.

But it got me thinking how maybe it would be a good idea to take the whole "I need to know the full story of my trendy food" thing a little bit further. Like something that could really end up on an episode of Portlandia, perhaps.

Basically, you'd order up your braised pork belly as usual, but instead of just hearing what farm it came from and what it ate and how few hormones and antibiotics it got while it was alive, the waiter would bring an actual iPad Mini to your table, stand it up, and start playing a slideshow of the pig's entire life.

It would be like a wedding or a bar mitzvah. Pictures would flash by showing the pig as a piglet nursing, eating grass, running around in hay, and maybe even talking to a spider named Charlotte. The whole thing would be set to "Fields of Gold" by Sting or maybe "Wonderful Tonight" by Eric Clapton.

The final shot would be of the pig getting walked gently to a humane slaughterhouse by a 20 year-old white girl with dreadlocks, and the waiter would return just in time to assure you that the pig's last meal was (by request), a hearty mash of organic amaranth and old growth, blue Aztec maize kernels ... with coriander foam.

Then the waiter would replace the iPad Mini with a big white plate featuring your braised pork belly right in the middle.

Now that's what I call dinner!

Mother-Daughter Conflict

There's no female on planet earth that I love more than my daughter, Paige. However, she is also SECRETLY the biggest beeotch I know.

Yes, I know she might read this someday. And yes, I am OK with that. Mostly because I am positive the "love-more-than-life itself/biggest-bitch-on-earth" feeling is mutual.

And I know I can't be the only mother of a girl who has thought to herself, "Wow. I've met a LOT of bitches in my life. I just never thought my own 7 year-old daughter would be one of them..."

That's probably because there's no one who stands in Paige's way more firmly than me. No one who interferes more consistently with her executive "vision" of how shit is supposed to go down.

There's no one else who puts the kibosh on her grand plans to put $50 worth of real flowers on a cake; to make a science experiment with every spice in the cupboard; to jack up the volume of that shit-ass television program "Monster High" to 800 screaming decibels; to make a fort out of all our furniture right after we finished cleaning the whole effing house; to draw on the windows with soap and window markers; to tell her brother he smells like poop and pee until he cries; to beg for face paint, finger paint, and the messiest, most elaborate bullshit she can think of EXACTLY when we are trying to get out the door; and to generally say "potato" every single time I say "potahto."

And it's in these moments of mother-daughter conflict that I find myself waiting for Paige to turn her back so that I can mouth the word "BITCH!!" as I give her the finger while she's not looking.

Today on the playground, Paige, Isaac, and a friend were playing a game in which their mothers had died and left them to fend for themselves. This is a classic dark fantasy of all children, of course. Every Disney movie and many famous children's books are based on it.

Still, I don't recall a scene in any of those books or movies where the sweet little girl leaned over and whispered conspiratorially in her mother's ear--as Paige did to me a few months ago after I had nixed one of her plans for the hundredth time that day--"I'm gonna kill you, Mommy."

I sleep with one eye open, people. One eye open...

Dick Moves and Deal Breakers

A good friend of mine recently went out on a date with someone who parked in a handicapped parking spot without actually being disabled/having a handicapped parking permit. My friend concluded that this was pretty much a deal breaker, and I agreed 100%.

Then I spent a long time lying awake, thinking about why.

It's not a huge deal, necessarily, in and of itself. But what does a small dick move like this say about a person's character?

Quite a bit, in my opinion.

For one thing, it says that the person doesn't think society's rules apply to them. We'd all like the convenience of parking in the spot closest to the door, but most of us don't do that.


Because those spots are supposed to be left vacant in case someone comes along who really needs them, and if every able-bodied person who feels like it decides to park in them, the entire concept of those spots' availability falls apart.

Will that happen during your two hour date? Probably not. But what's so special about you, that you, in particular, don't have to obey the social compact of leaving those spots alone?

Answer: Nothing.

So, the second thing this little dick move says is that you're a very entitled person. You feel entitled to a benefit to which you're not, actually, remotely entitled, and you don't really give a shit if someone in a wheelchair comes along who actually IS, legally, entitled to that spot.


You're perfectly happy to gamble your own convenience against the (albeit likely remote) possibility that an actually disabled person will come along and experience a major hassle because of your selfishness and entitlement.

And if this kind of thing is cool with you, what other dick moves do you have up your sleeve?

I concluded that the tiniest things like this are often the most revelatory. If you're in the process of evaluating or learning about a person's character, little dick moves like this can be absolute gold for determining whether this is a person you can bear to spend another hour with.

Chances are if you're the kind of person who thinks conduct like this is 100 levels of lame, the other person is kind of a waste of your time. Because even though the dick move is small, it's pretty much a deal breaker statement on character.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Wow, Wrong, Nope, Holy Shit, and More Wrong

In one of many (MANY) "stop the planet, I want to get off" moments this week, one of my favorite blogs, Jezebel, hipped me to the complete and total steaming pile of reeking wrongness and nope-ness that is the "child bride photo shoot." 


Yes people, this exists. For REALS! In Wisconsin! Not even Bangkok or Manila! From some company called "All Seasons." 

I mean, the zillion levels of wrong, disturbing, wow, nope, and straight-up jacked-ness inherent in this concept are difficult to quantify. That's because it's pretty hard to imagine anything more child bride-y, sex traffick-ey, and downright borderline pedophilic-ey than 

 . . . Wait for it . . . 


I say this in all caps just so it's perfectly clear to readers exactly WTF is happening in the picture below.

I mean, I have two words for this: JonBenet Ramsey. This makes "Toddlers in Tiaras" look like Mister Rogers' Neighborhood! What's next? Stripper pole toddler photo shoot? Hooters Juniors? Sure, why not? Let's just go ahead and stick our daughters in pasties and clear heels for a future keepsake. We can even have them standing in thong-diapers with Monopoly money shoved into the extra-absorbent Huggies waistband. You know, just so we have a memento and a harbinger of their bright futures as "dancers" at the Alaska Bush Company or on the Vegas Strip.

I have four and a half more (admittedly judgmental) words for any parent who thinks this is cute and/or a good idea: YOU ARE FUCKIN' CRAY-CRAY. Also, your kid might belong in state custody.

The End.

Great Idea for Your Small Baby: Buy Her a 'Future Bride' Photoshoot

Mom Scout Badges

That Can't Be Normal

From time to time, something will come along that everyone around me is extremely into and won't stop telling me I HAVE to do. Something that no one can BELIEVE I haven't delved into or tried yet. It's usually some form of absolutely wretched, torturous, trade-marked exercise fad like Zumba, Pilates, or Bikram Yoga. Sometimes it's a horrid and trendy food, like figs. But it's also often some type of media.

The most recent example is the podcast Serial.

I've got lots of friends and family members who love podcasts, but I find them difficult to listen to because they require silence, thoughtfulness, attentiveness, and a block of uninterrupted time such as exercise--all of which are in shamefully short supply in my life. 

I also bristle at all of the narrators' voices: most of the men sound like smarmy grad students from the Kennedy School of Government wearing Burberry scarves, and the women sound like perky, nose-ringed college interns at the Rachel Maddow Show. (I have a nose ring too, of course, so who am I to talk).

Anyway, everyone--and not just my podcast addict friends--insisted that I HAD to make an exception for Serial

Serial is ground-breaking, they said. Serial is addictive, they said. Serial is poised to revolutionize the criminal justice system, they said. Serial will change your life forever, they said. No one who went to law school should continue to practice law without listening to Serial, they said. The woman who narrates Serial is a genius of the radio and podcast genre, they said. Even Ira Glass agrees. Serial is like a G-spot orgasm for your ears, they said. Even The New York Times has acknowledged the stratospheric amazeballsness of Serial, they said. Listening to Serial is the closest you will ever come to hearing a Greek chorus of pegasuses (pegasi?) singing Pachelbel's Canon acappella at the Pearly Gates of Heaven, they said.

Well, you know what I say to all that? Fuck Serial. Yeah bitchez, I said it!

I think what all the people telling me to listen to Serial don't realize is that I'm someone who comes home from work and thinks it's a perfectly good idea to taste a new flavor of ice cream (Macadamia Mocha Coconut Bliss, to be precise), like this:

And that can't be normal. 

Surely if they knew that, they'd give up on me completely. I still haven't listened to Serial, but if it involves forensic dental records (as these things often do), maybe I'll give it a shot after all.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

15 Things I'd Like to Crush and Then Snort Up My Nose

Before you judge the title here, I encourage you to read a recent article from The HUFFington Post (Badum-dum-KSH!) about snorting chocolate up your nose.

In case you don't feel like doing that, let me summarize it for you: according to the fine chocolatiers of Europe and Canada, the only TRUE and sophisticated way to "taste" and appreciate fine chocolate is by doing a line of cocoa powder off a glass table like you was Wesley Snipes in "New Jack City."

Naturally, this brought to mind the many other sensory experiences that I personally think could be enhanced simply by crushing something up and and snorting it up your nose.

I came up with the following 15 things:

1. Gasoline
2. New car smell
3. Own farts
4. Baby-head skin flakes
5. Franks Red Hot buffalo wing sauce
6. Nestlé Toll House cookie dough
7. Old books
8. Old Spice for Men
9. Dry erase markers
10. Bacon
11. Kettle Corn
12. Fried Twinkies
13. Earring cheese
14. Guacamole
15. Debbie Gibson's "Electric Youth."

Before you go on with your day, I highly recommend that you go out, procure one of these substances, pulverize it into a fine and dehydrated powder, roll up a dollar bill, and snort that shit like it was your last hit of crack before going in for 20 years of hard time upstate.

You heard it here first, people.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Four People Who Sit Next to Me on Planes: A Comic

Say Anything

'80's girls will instantly recognize the words "Say Anything" as two things: (1) The best movie EVER MADE in the history of American cinema, starring John Cusack as perennial underdog heartthrob Lloyd Dobler (see also prior post from 11/16/14 titled, Dear Loyd Dobler); and (2) An "advice" column from the now-defunct teen magazine, "YM."

I'm not the first person to recall and comment on the "Say Anything" column, or the idea of an adult version of that column: (see:

But I'm now joining the apparently-two-person blogging chorus (duet?), in pointing out the complete and total awesomeness of "Say Anything." 

"Say Anything" was a teen-girl advice column in which readers submitted their most embarrassing stories to YM Magazine. The stories were always, but ALWAYS, about periods, parties, and boys. 

The blogger linked above notes that it would be funny if there were R-rated adult versions of these advice queries. But actually, I think it would be even funnier if there were PG-13-rated lawyer mom versions. 

Inevitably, each letter would read something like this:

Dear Say Anything,

It was the day before my big oral argument in Rice v. Gluten, and I needed to find the perfect pair of Spanx to wear underneath my boxy, pastel-green J.C. Penney's pants suit. I was standing in line at Nordstrom, when suddenly I felt a bad and familiar warm feeling in my tits-high, "Hanes Her Way" cotton granny panties.

It was my period! And even worse, it had arrived in hemorrhagic fashion right in the middle of my cycle for no reason! I briefly set aside fears of cervical/uterine/ovarian cancer so I could try to figure out what to do next.

I reached into my purse to see if I had a tampon, but right at that moment my bottle of Prozac flew out and struck the person standing behind me in the eye, blinding them permanently. 

I turned around, and who should it be but the Chief Justice of the 1000th Circuit Court of Appeals who was scheduled to hear my oral argument in an en banc panel the very next day!

As if things couldn't get any worse, the following afternoon, I went through security in the federal courthouse building with all of my luggage because I needed to catch a flight later that evening. Imagine my surprise when the U.S. Marshal X-rayed my bag only to discover my vibrator and bathroom scale (neither of which I travel anywhere without) and hold them up in front of the large line of spectators behind me to determine their owner!

Naturally I was mortified, but not even close to as mortified as when it came time to deliver my oral argument. I wasn't even done saying "May it Please the Court," when several of my cinnamon rolls rolled right out over the top of my brand new Spanx! 

Turns out I'd bought the wrong size. 

The Chief Justice had recused himself due to the aforementioned blinding incident, but the rest of the panel wasn't even listening to me. In fact, the first question they asked is why I had secreted a 12-pack of Cinnabons into the courtroom, and the second question they asked is whether I was aware that food was prohibited in there!

I had to tell them that those weren't actually Cinnabons. They were just rolls of doughy white fat that looked and smelled like Cinnabons ('Cause I always use "Warm Vanilla Sugar n' Cinnamon" Bath & Body Works body spray).

When it was all over, I checked my voice mail and was greeted with a message from my kid's school saying that there had been a "biting incident" in which my child was the culprit. Also, the same day, my other kid was sent to the principal's office in an "I'll show-you-mine-if-you-show-me-yours" type-situation and the teacher had called children's services!

I mean, OMG!  

Seriously, Say Anything  . . . isn't that like, TOTALLY the most embarrassing thing EVER?!?


One Hot Mess

Monday, February 23, 2015

My Relationship with Gelatinous White Foods: Another Comic

My Relationship with Pilots: A Comic

Oscar the Grouch

I want to get excited about The Oscars (tm) every year. I really do. But despite my best efforts at de-Scroogifying my admittedly bad attitude, I rarely watch them. Maybe because I've always been a little bit resistant to blowing a proverbial wad over Hollywood's largest and most ostentatious masturbatory self-worship fest.

Still, I always tell myself, what’s a day without some lighthearted analysis of dresses and boobs; blow-back against the superficiality of said analysis; serious discussion of the great achievements in film; a few heartfelt and buzz-worthy performances from the singer-of-the-moment; some corny, awkward jokes; and the annual, inevitable, Sweeping Tribute to The Importance of The Movies in All of Our Lives?

I've been to more than a few fun Oscars parties and have enjoyed hanging out with friends at them. Furthermore, surely there's room and time in between the headlines of All The Sad and Terrible Things in The World for some conviviality and entertainment?

Of course. Granted.

Then I read this:

According to Vanity Fair, this year 21 unlucky losers in the big ticket Oscar categories received a $168,000 consolation prize "swag bag" which, among other things, includes a $20,000 astrology reading, something called an “orgasm booster,” and free Silvercar Audi rentals for a year.

And this got me thinking (like a true communist, I suppose): what can you get for $168,000 (besides luxury condoms and first class tickets to Italy, I mean)?

Turns out quite a few things.

For example, you can send thousands of kids to school in Africa; fund AIDS research for a year; provide an enormous subsidy to school lunch programs; or improve access to clean, running water in the developing world. Surely at least some of the recipients of these swag bags will donate their value to charity anyway, so why not make the swag bag a charitable donation in the first place?

But hey, look. Who am I to judge? It's a dog-eat-dog world out there. It's a free country. A country of capitalists and consumers. Nothing wrong with that. Money makes the world go 'round! And I'm no Mother Theresa myself. I don't spend all day Thinking About Making the World a Better Place for a living--certainly no more so than Lady Gaga or Matthew McConaughey. And I certainly have my vices. I mean, I'm not sitting here donating the cost of all my eyebrow waxes to charity either, so far be it for me to wander into the realm of hypocricy. So maybe it's all just economies of scale, after all.

But still. 

There is SORT of a LITTLE something wrong with this picture, no pun intended. Isn't there?

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Psychology of the Like

There's something fascinating, compelling, and a little bit insidious about "liking" stuff on Facebook and Instagram, and probably lots of other social media that I'm too lame and old to be using (or worse/better yet), that I don't even realize exists.

The "liking" process is addictive for the likers and the liked alike. It's fun to toggle back and forth between icons on your phone, tracking a quantifiable level of validation in the form of bright little red and orange numbers.

It's equally fun to scroll through other peoples' business at a rapid fire pace, almost arbitrarily "liking" stuff and simultaneously making a value judgment or sending a message; often without--quite literally--giving it a second's thought.

And that works fine for people who have healthy relationships with the world: you know, the people who eat three balanced meals a day, exercise briskly for 30 minutes five days a week, and get 6-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night. Those people can do things with psychological moderation.

The rest of us (and you know who you are) will read this and secretly know exactly what I mean, even if you refuse to admit it to yourself.

To prove you're not one of those pathetic people, please "like" this post right now.

Is Big Pharma a Bunch of Misogynist Pigs?: A Flowchart

Is That Blood?: A Flowchart

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Alaska Airlines-to-English Dictionary

Overhead (v.): To fly over a bank of frozen fog, come within 100 feet of landing, take off again in a "missed approach," end up in another city 500 miles away from your destination, stand in line for hours at a shitty hotel and an airport, get two hours of sleep, and do it all again 10 hours later.

Missed Approach (n.): See also, "overhead."

Mechanical (n.): Broken light bulb in the aft lavatory that results in staying in another city 500 miles away from your destination, standing in line for hours at a shitty hotel and an airport, getting two hours of sleep, and doing it all again 10 hours later.

Ceiling Below Minimums (n.): A bank of frozen fog that results in staying in another city 500 miles away from your destination, standing in line for hours at a shitty hotel and an airport, getting two hours of sleep, and doing it all again 10 hours later.

20 Minute Bag Guarantee (n.): A promise that your bag will arrive in 40 minutes.

Go Through Security (v.): The thing you NEVER do when you have a ceiling below minimums or a mechanical, and are still within reach of coffee, food, and other meager amenities.

Self-Tag Bag Drop (n.): A new self help system of print-on-demand bag tagging that is too confusing to operate for someone with an engineering degree from MIT, much less the average passenger or employee of Alaska Airlines.

U.S. Senator (n.): A person with whom you will inevitably be on an Alaska Airlines flight at some point, and who will make a big show of sitting in coach, despite the fact that the only thing anyone really cares about is being a footnote when the shit goes down.

The Board Room (n.): A modified gate waiting area to which you pay an annual fee for the privilege of eating cheese cubes and bad soup, drinking box wine, and feeling a smug and unfounded sense of self-importance and superiority.

1971 (n.): The year of the infamous Alaska Airlines crash into the Juneau airport from Anchorage that, among other things, took out an entire division of the State Department of Transportation on its way to a work conference and that forever changed for the better the way pilots and planes are equipped to fly into the Juneau airport but that yet still somehow raises its head in your mind as a likely repeat event literally every three times you land in Juneau.

Cell Phone Service (n.): The thing you're damn lucky to have when you land wherever the fuck you end up.

Taxidermy (n.): The collection of dead animals and animal heads that are on the wall and in glass cases wherever the fuck you end up.

Mediterranean Tapas (n.): A loose affiliation of chips, olives, dried fruit, nuts, and hummus that bears no relationship whatsoever to the Mediterranean or to tapas but that is nevertheless the only acceptable for-purchase snack pack available on any Alaska Airlines flight.

10,000 Miles (n.): The bone Alaska Airlines throws to irate passengers to mollify them in the event of lost baggage, ceilings below minimums, or a scorpion bite. (Yes, that happened last week).

Combi (n.): A plane that you board on the Tarmac and that is half cargo/half passengers, where the passengers are all somehow in the scary tail half and the Frosted Flakes, mail, and Brown Jug orders are riding first class in the presumably safer front half.

Alaska Airlines Pilots (n.): 1. A crew of seriously competent badasses into whose hands Alaskans put their lives and fates on the daily. 2. Probably the best commercial pilots in the business.

Friday, February 20, 2015

I'm Crazy Swamped Right Now

Hey, so good to see you! I'd LOVE to stop and chat but I am craaaaaaazy swamped right now. Like so, so crazy. And so, SO swamped.

I'm actually talking to you from a stalled-out power boat in the Okefenokee Swamp right now, as a matter of fact. Yeah, yeah. It's on the Florida-Georgia border. That's the one. It's such a crazy swamp that it's actually a federal wilderness area!

The mosquitos are out in droves today. Like TONS of 'em. And I can't hear you too well, because I'm under a banyan tree and there's a little bit of interference from the roots, leaves, and branches. There's also a little bit of static from the voices in my head who are currently communicating with me through the silver fillings in my teeth. Super crazy.

But it's all good. I've just taken 60 mg of Thorazine (it's an antipsychotic, just FYI) and I'm in a strait jacket, so I'm a little woozy and I have you on speaker. You know, because of the strait jacket and not being able to use my hands and all. The sound of these frogs croaking and hopping across the lillipads is kinda distracting.

Oh shit! Sorry. Sorry. I just saw an alligator. And no, it was not a psychotic hallucination. He literally just jumped out of the water and almost bit me on the leg. God this swamp is so crazy. I can't tell you how crazy swamped I am right now. I think I need to summon a Creole Voo Doo witch doctor to cast a spell to help me feel less crazy and get me out of this swamp. I'm like fuckin' buried in cat o' nine tails up to my ass over here.

Let's chat next week when things are less crazy and I'm less swamped, K?

Should I Build a Fort Underneath My Desk and Take a Nap There?: AFlowchart

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Guinea Dog

Like almost every kid between the ages of 8 and 12, all I wanted on God's Green Earth (for The REST OF MY LIIIIIIIFE!) was a pony. And if I couldn't have a pony, all I wanted was a dog. And if I couldn't have a dog, I would settle for a guinea pig.

And that's exactly what I got. A ginger-colored guinea pig named Norma Jean. Norma was a bit of a disappointment, but not because she did anything wrong. She was just being a guinea pig: drinking from a water bottle, eating lettuce, and shitting/pissing 12 times a day on hay and old copies of The New York Post. She was only disappointing because she wasn't a pony or a dog. And obviously that was not her fault.

My parents felt it was inhumane to keep a dog in a New York City apartment, and because they were not bazillionaire Central Park West Aryans, they were not about to stable a pony in said park. So what I got (after my turtle and gerbils died) was a guinea pig.

But that didn't stop me from trying to make Norma Jean something she wasn't. She was too small to ride, but fuck if I wasn't going to take her out for a walk like a proper dog.

I affixed a modified cat collar to Norma's neck, tied a bungee cord to the collar, and carried her downstairs through the lobby, past a confused custodian, to the little patch of grass in front of my apartment building. I fully expected her to begin walking alongside me as I traipsed up to the Kosher deli to buy a hot dog. (DAMN those hot dogs were good! I wish I had one right now).

Needless to say, (or perhaps only needless to say for those well versed in guinea pig behavior), Norma did not walk. Not at all. She sat perfectly still sniffing and nibbling the grass, and no amount of poking and/or gentle prodding with sticks and the left toe of my dirty white Keds sneaker could prompt her to take a single scuffle forward.

She twitched her pink nose and bore her beady little black eyes straight into mine as if to say: "Fuck you, bitch. You think I'm a dog? I will show you I am a rodent! I will chew 1,000 blades of grass before I move one paw (?) a single inch!"

And that was the first and last time I tried to take Norma the Guinea Dog for a walk.

Years later, Norma perished of natural causes at what I can only assume was a reasonably old age for a guinea pig. As I dutifully buried her in an unauthorized grave in the back of my apartment building, I whispered in eulogy: "You should have walked, Norma Jean. You should have fucking walked."

Fight for Your Right

I'm currently traveling out of Juneau, which is always fun. But I was dismayed to learn that the hotel I'm staying at has a "no party policy!" What the WHA? I have just one word for that: LAME!!!

The lamest thing about this is their definition of a party: "A party can occur anytime persons not registered in your guest room remain for more than a few minutes and another guest reports a disturbance."

What?! I mean, really. That sounds like the worst and most boring party ever! I'm considering writing to the hotel and asking them to amend their definition of a "party" on this poster.

In my opinion, a true hotel "party" needs to have, at a MINIMUM: two members of Def Leppard, Motley Crüe, or similar washed-up butt rock hair band; six strippers in lucite heels and pasties; a stripper pole; two kilos of blow; a case of Jack Daniels; three ounces of weed; rolling papers; nine cartons of Pall Malls (methol and regular); several hypodermic needles; eight dozen hot wings; four large cheese pizzas; a sub-woofer blasting Metallica; seven sheets of acid; a flat screen TV ready to be thrown out a window at a moment's notice; a box of Dunkin' Donuts coffee; a dozen purple latex strap-on dildos; six boxes of Roman Candle fireworks; and a large candy bowl filled with a mixture of green M&Ms and barbiturates.

Now THAT'S a party. "Remain[ing] for more than a few minutes and another guest reports a disturbance" my ass!

Anything less than the above is for amateurs and pussies. And I defy you to find a single self-respecting hotel partier who would disagree with me.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


Dear Subscription Service of the Universe:

Please UNSUBSCRIBE me from the following:

Group texts of five or more persons: Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! DINGDINGDINGDINGDINGDINGDINGDINGDING!!!!!!! Little red iPhone number: 2,888 unread text messages. AHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

Replies all of five or more persons re: topics that do not require a single reply, much less a reply all: “Hey, you got a promotion, congratulations!” “Congrats!” “Congrats!” “Way to Go!” “Wow, amazing!” "Let's all say congratulations via this reply all!"  "I'm replying all to 1,000 people so I am obviously a huge jack ass!" KILL ME NOW!!!!

Anything from the American Bar Association and/or The Seminar Group: No, dipshits. I’m not going to pay a thousand dollars to attend a conference in Detroit on the privacy implications of Smart TVs. No, seriously, I am not. No, not a three-day round-table workshop with breakout sessions on commercial arbitrage either. I don't care if Alan Greenspan himself is there. Nope. Nope. Aaaaaand . . . Nope!

Anything delivered to my junk Yahoo email address (e.g. Facebook notifications, Banana Republic sale announcements, and promotional emails from M&Ms because of that one time I tried to get “Fuck Cancer” written on M&Ms for a sick friend but M&Ms is a bunch of fascist candy-making pigs who wouldn’t let me pay good money to print "Fuck Cancer" on their stupid bad-for-a-cancer-sufferer-anyway-sugar-poison). And especially spam trying to make me buy wine or penis enlargement remedies. I don’t drink wine, and I don’t have a penis. And if I did, I'd stick my dick in a glass of Malbec before I'd buy wine or a penis enlargement remedy from a spam solicitation. Therefore, your wine and penis spam is likely even more wasted on me than the average recipient of wine and penis spam.

A spousal lecture regarding disorganized Corningware, dish towels, and shampoo: youalwaysputthestuffintherwrongplacewhyisitalwaysinthewrongplaceicanneverfinditthisissoterriblenoonecaneverfindanythingaroundherethisisawfulhowdowelivethisway ..... zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Paper that comes to my mailbox, except the occasional check. Do you not realize you go straight from my mailbox into the recycling, Paper? And that I barely look at you for two seconds, Paper? And that no matter how many times I ask you to stop coming here you insist on being a dead-tree reflection of something I already took care of online or by phone several weeks ago, Paper, you dick hole? FUCK YOU AND THE USPS TRUCK YOU RODE IN ON, PAPER!

Should I Go Into This Adorable Shoe Store/Handbag/Accessory Boutique?: A Flowchart

I Have No Idea What I’m Talking About

Good Morning! 

Hey you. Yeah you. Come on over here for a second, will you? Sure, grab a refill of coffee first, that's fine. But come back quick and click on over to me. Come on. Do it. You know you want to.

This super popular online news magazine gave me a forum to talk to you, and I couldn’t be happier about it. The headline of my article is click bait, and you're about to get fished in. See this headline? It's in the form of a question. That’s called Betteridge’s Law of Headlines. It says that any headline ending in a question mark can be answered with the word "no." 

But who cares that you know the answer already (to the extent there is an answer, which there is not). Read this anyway. Come on. Come on. Do it. Do it. Do it. Do it. Click. Click. Click. Click. …

Oh there you are! Yay! Welcome to my screed! Who am I, you ask? Just put that out of your mind while you read what I wrote. All you need to know is that I am someone who thinks they are very smart and perhaps actually is. Regardless, my job and/or hobby is to propagate bullshit about various controversial topics and act like I know what I’m talking about. But the fact is, hahaha, that I actually have no idea (or at least not a very good idea) of what I’m talking about.

What should I write about today? Let’s see. There are so many choices. Should I go for broke on this one or be conservative? Big controversy or small? Let's see. 

Circumcision? Guns? Vaccines? Israel/Palestine? Climate Change? Abortion? Race/Class/Gender Inequality? Sexual Assault? Whether to put one or two spaces between sentences? The latest gadget from Apple and why it sucks/rocks? An anthropological dissection of Downton Abbey? So many choices, so little time in the 24 hour news cycle. 

Anyway, it doesn't really matter what I end up talking about, and it certainly doesn't matter that I actually have no idea what I'm talking about.

What matters most is that I say something incendiary that pisses half of you off and makes the other half jump vociferously and passionately to my defense. Then I get to read a thread of angry comments and respond with indignation as my bullshit (and the bullshit responses to my bullshit) continue to be re-posted everywhere and gain a life of their own as millions and millions of clicks and trolls and message boards and forums explode with the purported veracity or non-veracity of whatever it is I decided to write about today.

Gosh, you are so persistent! Who am I and what are my credentials? Like I said, never mind that. Rest assured, I have many relevant credentials. Like, I went to an Ivy League college and interned at The American Prospect and Talking Points Memo. I made some copies there and it was cool. I am at least 25. Possibly 30. Maybe even 40. I've been doing this for awhile now. I got in on the ground floor. 
I am also male. Actually female. Maybe even transgender. I am some religion or ethnicity. I am straight. Or actually maybe gay or bi. I was also president of the Young Democrats. Actually the Young Republicans. Or maybe it was the Libertarians.

Oh--I almost forgot. I also called a few people yesterday and skimmed a couple of studies to write this. And I cited some numbers and figures, too. Nothing says you know what you're talking about like citing to a bunch of statistics and debunking another bunch of statistics. Also I am a "regular contributor" and I live somewhere in America. Or Europe. Maybe even Asia. So the sheer regularity of my various contributions and my citizenship (whatever it is) make me highly credible. 

Scroll on down to the bottom of this article and see who I am. If you're lucky I'm a professor of something and I wrote a book. If you're not, I was the former managing editor of my Ivy League College newspaper or just a columnist for this website. Yeah I know people a zillion years older than me have devoted their entire lives to this issue that I just spent ten minutes telling you I'm the final authority on. But you should believe me anyway.

OK, fine. You got me. I actually have NO fucking idea what I'm talking about. But just forget about that and keep reading, forwarding, and sharing. Thanks!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Dear Punk-Ass Teenager in a Big-Ass Truck

Dear Punk-Ass Teenager in a Big-Ass Truck,

I’m a cranky old lady, and I am here to tell you to get off my lawn!

Well, not literally off my lawn, although come to think of it your truck is so big that there is probably at least one tire of it on my lawn (what little lawn I have, anyway, since I live on a hill).

I know you think you’re pretty cool, not to mention invincible. After all, you’re "driving" (and I use that term generously) a giant, obnoxious, tricked-out, gas-guzzling truck on a lift kit with a sticker of Calvin pissing on Hobbes pissing on whatever football team you don’t like and an “Alaska Slednecks Kick Ass” decal on the back window, blasting terrible music that not even I recognize (and I listen to a lot of terrible music).

But you need to know that you’re a really bad driver. Like, really bad. You obviously just got your driver’s license yesterday, and I can't understand how the DMV even gave you a driver's license in the first place. Seriously I’m about to write down your license plate number and track down your mother. Get off your cell phone, put down that can of Red Bull, get your hair out from over your eyes and under your Volcom hat, and stop passing people on a double yellow while going mock 50 and giving everyone the finger. In fact, you better put that finger away before I come over there, crack a piece of metal off the front grill of your truck, and use it to break your finger. (It will never rise again, I promise).

You also need to quit honking, especially since you’re the one blocking an entire street and no one can get past you. You might also think about learning to park and/or maneuver a vehicle like that before you start driving it down the narrow one-way streets of Juneau. 

Basically I'm gonna make your dad come down here and shove you into the passenger seat and you're not going to see the inside of that rig until you're at least old enough to rent it, which would be 25. Forget about prom and impressing girls in that piece of shit. Your ass is mine now. I own you.


Cranky Old Lady with Two Kids Who Will Not Have Her Entire Family Taken Out by the Likes of Your Stupid Punk-Ass.

Statement Earmuffs

For the always-brimming "is that seriously a thing" and "WTF" files, I bring you "statement earmuffs." (Stearmuffs)? They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and this picture says "wrong" and "nope" at least 1,000 times. This is seriously a thing:

Statement Earmuffs: A Trend to Try?

Apparently, runways from Paris to New York are battling the polar vortex with this fabulous winter accessory. I'm pretty intrigued by these. They look like a lot of stuff, but not like earmuffs, exactly. They look more like the following ten things:

1. Two baby slow lorises, captured in the jungles of Burma, slaughtered, and attached to a woman's head:

2. Two fluffy bunny rabbits, farm-raised, slaughtered, and attached to a woman's head:

3. Two white Koosh balls, bought at Toys R' Us and attached to a woman's head:

4. Two Hostess Snoballs, lifted from a gas station mini-mart and attached to a woman's head:

5. Two tawny frogmouth chicks, recently hatched, gassed to death, and attached to a woman's head:

6. Two teacup pomerranian puppies, drowned and attached to a woman's head:

7. Two giant Dandelion fluff-buds, plucked and attached to a woman's head:

8. Two giant puffball mushrooms, gathered from the forest and attached to a woman's head:

9. Two baby seals, clubbed to death and attached to a woman's head.

10. Two giant spores of candida, grown in a Petri dish off a yeast-infection positive pap smear and attached to a woman's head:


Warning: This post contains scenes that may be disturbing to some readers (as opposed to all the other posts that are very tame and not at all disturbing). Audience discretion is advised.

I like to contemplate the macabre and the humiliating. So needless to say, the combination of the two is irresistible to me. True to form, I awoke today with the following thought: 

What would be the most embarrassing way to die? 

I think there are basically two options: (1) While taking a dump; (2) While engaged in auto-erotic asphyxiation.

To the second point first: In the Aerosmith song, "Voodoo Medicine Man," off the 1989 album "Pump," Steven Tyler sings about "living loving getting loose/masturbating with a noose/now someone's kicking out the chair." Because I was 12 years old in 1989, I had no idea what this meant and so I asked my mother, who freely explained to me the concept of auto-erotic asphyxiation. 

For the uninitiated, auto-erotic asphyxiation is a sexual practice wherein some people (no judgment) apparently enjoy the sensation of choking during sexual climax. (The wisdom of explaining this to a 12 year-old is debatable, but there you have it). Anyway, I was duly confused and horrified. Several years later, Michael Hutchence, the lead singer of INXS, was rumored to have died while doing this. And about the same time, a trench-coat mafia/cape-wearing kid at my college was likewise rumored to have perished while engaging in this paraphilic, Fifty-Shades-of-Grey-esque shenanigan. 

The problem with death by auto-erotic asphyxiation, of course, is that no matter what else you achieved in your life, you will forever be remembered as a sexual deviant who took things one step too far and was discovered by cops with your dick in your hand and your neck in a belt on a doorknob or something. It's not a pretty picture, and it kind of undermines the rest of your life's accomplishments. Accordingly, this has got to be one of the two most embarrassing ways to die.

To the first point second: Dying while taking a dump has got to be the second worst way to go. Doctor friends of mine tell stories of seemingly healthy people suffering an aneurysm while on the can. Paramedics find them with their pants down, keeled over on the toilet. Again, this is a pretty terrible way to go. Peeps be like, "Oh no, how did so-and-so die?" And the response be like, "Oh you know, just taking a shit. They blew a gasket in their head pinching out their morning loaf. Send donations in lieu of flowers." WTF. This is not good. Because again, regardless of your prior accomplishments, the main thing people remember about you is that you died literally mid-crap.

I apologize in advance if any readers have a loved one who perished in the midst of either of these activities. I certainly don't mean to be insensitive. It's just pretty clear to me that of all the ways to go, these two are likely among the least desirable in terms of the humiliation component and the tendency to be forever remembered primarily for the embarrassing way you went out.

Bringing things back full-circle, I continued to admire Steven Tyler notwithstanding his songs about odd sexual proclivities, largely because I felt we were kindred spirits in giant mouth-having, as evidenced by the side-by-side comparison pictures below:

Monday, February 16, 2015

For My Daughter

Next week is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. I've been thinking about how best to honor and acknowledge the many people (especially young girls and women) who struggle with eating disorders every day.

I've been thinking about that especially as the mother of a girl: A not-and-probably-never-will-be-thin girl. What can I can do to support her? What should I strive to convey to her about her body?

I worry that I will say and do all the wrong things, mainly because of my own tenacious body-based bigotry and deeply entrenched ideals of beauty. And also because I never got the right messages at the right time in my own life. So I don't have a good model.

But I made myself a short list of the messages I want my daughter to absorb from me, to remind myself, and just in case society fails to do the job for me:

1. Your body knows what food it needs to grow and be healthy. Listen to it carefully, and you will grow exactly the way you are supposed to.

2. You will want to try fad diets, pills, shakes, starvation, and those wolves in sheep's clothing: juice cleanses and "clean eating." Try those things if you want to and feel like you have to. But be honest with yourself about what you're doing, and come talk to me before it's too late.

3. Move your body for these reasons, and only these reasons: to feel good; for the joy of movement; to expend energy; to feel strong and capable; to enjoy the outdoors and/or the company of friends.

4. Don't measure yourself against your peers or allow societal ideals of beauty to define your self worth. You have your own unique genetic blueprint. Whatever it is, it's your destiny, and therefore it is perfect.

5. My number one wish for you is to be as secure, happy, and confident in your own skin as you are right now. I don't know what the trick to that is, if there is one. It's a tall order. But I promise to do everything I can to help you love the body you are supposed to have, today and always.

Horrible Words

The word "moist" is often reviled as the worst word in the English language. In my opinion, "moist" has some stiff competition in the following:

1. Slacks
2. Dungarees
3. Galoshes
4. Groin
5. Loins
6. Engorged
7. Pantyhose
8. Girdle
9. Bulbous
10. Gaily

The only thing I can think of that is worse than these 10 words individually is all of them used together in a single sentence. I'm afraid to even try. Moist slacks, anyone?

Should I Eat a Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeño Popper from Underneath aConvenience Store Heat Lamp?: A Flowchart

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Good Advice

I have a pretty simple and firm policy about giving personal advice to the people in my life: I don't give it unless I'm asked for it, and then sometimes not even when I am.

The expression that best embodies this philosophy is "free advice is worth what you pay for it." I don't think I'm immune from that, because I never presume to know what another person should do in any given situation.

In case you haven't noticed, the world is chock full of people who want to give you unsolicited advice, on topics ranging from the consequential to the mundane: you should break up with that person; you should buy or sell that house; you should or shouldn't take a certain job; you should change your cable package; you should eat this way; raise your kids that way; exercise this way; eat that way; quit this habit; start that habit, etc. 

There's a fine line between unsolicited advice and a recommendation. The latter is a neutral referral. The former is a presumptuous (albeit usually well intended) indictment of the way someone is currently living their life. 

The red flag is a delivery that begins with the person telling an anecdote about themselves, followed by "you should...", and culminating in a long string of assumptions that the advice-giver knows the right way to do things in all circumstances.

I don't view that as a particularly helpful approach to problem solving, because it's too uniform and too judgmental.

From time to time, everyone needs help thinking through the problems and issues in their life. When someone asks me for my advice, I try to see the situation from their perspective, rather than my own. It doesn't help to give another person advice that fails to take their unique perspective into account.

So here's my advice:  Unless someone asks you for advice, don't give it. And if they do ask, think about what might actually apply to them as a unique individual, in their own unique set of circumstances.

Yes, that is my free advice. And it's worth exactly what you just paid for it.

El Cabbage Patch

Readers who grew up in the '80s might recall the Great Cabbage Patch Kid craze that took America by storm. Not to be left out, I begged and pleaded for a Cabbage Patch Kid. I finally got one, but it was a fake one. She was a janky ass, pink haired knock-off that my mom picked up from a street vendor in Spanish Harlem. I knew the difference, but I was grateful anyway and named her Nellie, after the bitchy character on "Little House on the Prairie."

Several months later, through some back channels and a hook-up with an aunt on Long Island, I came into the legit goods. I was so excited that I tore at the wrapping paper without successfully opening the package at first. I stared lovingly at the girl-doll's brown yarn hair as I inspected her outie belly button and the "Xavier Roberts" stamp of legitimacy on her left ass cheek. I named her "Mira Galinda" and sent away for a "birth certificate" bearing that name.

Now, why did I name her Mira Galinda? Well, the Spanish language had fallen on my 7 year-old ears all my life without managing to be absorbed. I would often hear Dominican and Puerto Rican women on the bus or the sidewalk exclaim, "Mira! Que linda!," meaning "look, how beautiful!" Of course, I didn't know what this expression meant, but I knew it was something good and it sounded pretty. So that was how "Mira Galinda" was born.

As the years wore on and Cabbage Patch Kids lost a bit of their popularity, they became cheaper and easier to come by. Before I knew it, I had amassed a small collection of these hideous dolls. I think I even sent one to "camp." (This was some sort of ingenious toy marketing racket wherein you shipped your doll off in a box, wrote the Cabbage Patch Kid company a fat check, and they held your doll in a warehouse for six weeks before shipping it back with a fake picture of your doll in a canoe or roasting a s'more with some other Cabbage Patch Kids).

I also loved to play "scary orphanage" and "finishing school" with the dolls, lining them up in a row and yelling and screaming at them until I achieved compliance. My mom would peek into my room, horrified and confused as to how I'd come to believe that cursing and smacking my dolls upside the head until they fell over backwards was an appropriate form of discipline.

In retrospect, she was probably worried that a social worker would get wind of this and conclude that I was acting out some sort of child abuse via the classic "show me on the doll" tactic.

About this same time, my mom accidentally opened a car door on my face and I got a black eye. She took a picture to document the incident, which confused me at the time, but in retrospect must've been a similar "CYA" move to make sure the social workers knew this was all just an unfortunate coincidence.

In any event, Mira Galinda and a few of her fellow scary orphanage/finishing school alums still sit in my childhood bedroom, none the worse for wear. They were loved, but they were loved with corporal punishment and a Machiavellian hand. In the end, I believe this taught them honor, discipline, respect for God and Country, and the value of a dollar. I wasn't going to hand them anything on a silver platter! No sir. Not this mom.

Life was a little tough for Mira Galinda and her peers at times, but their draconian upbringing has made them the upstanding doll citizens that they are today.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Should I Wipe Another Person's Ass?: A Flowchart

I Wish I Was a Baby

Bear with me for a second. Just think about it. 

Being a baby is DOPE! This is what I was thinking as I helped a friend strap her 18 month-old daughter into her car seat the other night. 

She looked so warm and content as her mom secured her into her cozy little nest in the back of the car. She smiled and stuck her thumb in her mouth, apparently happy and satisfied after having eaten a delicious meal of sweet potato french fries, broccoli, and steak cut up into tiny little pieces while everyone around cooed and smiled at her undeniable cuteness.

Sure, being a baby is scary, in the sense that you have zero idea what's going to happen at any given moment, and you are completely vulnerable and at the mercy of the adults and the world around you.

On the other hand, IF (and only if) you're lucky enough to be well cared for, you have someone waiting on you hand and foot. They keep feeding you and playing with you and carrying you around in a cozy carrier and making you take naps (which is basically the most amazing activity on earth, even though you don't realize it and actually resent it).

You have no idea that the world is full of war, famine, disease, poverty, dictators, divorce, paperwork, taxes, death, lawyers, accountants, insurance, checkbook balancing, heartbreak, failure, rejection, pain, and all manner of bullshit that you will one day need to deal with on a very real and extremely unjuicy level.

As far as you're concerned, the only things that exist on planet earth are car seats, fleece, cheese sticks, apple sauce, titties, Usborne touch n' feel books, mobiles, rubber duckies, bubbles, the Pandora kids station, and Melissa & Doug stacking toys. 

Yup, life is pretty damn sweet when you're a well-attended baby.

And the thing is, if you're lucky enough to reach adulthood and have your mom around, and have any level of a decent rapport with her, it sort of takes you back to that time and that feeling.

My mom is visiting this week. I'm 37 and she is turning 70 this year. Yet when she walked off the plane, I put my face in her neck and breathed in that warm, familiar mom smell that activates the most primal areas of the human brain and that somehow makes you feel like a baby for just a few seconds again. Indeed, my mom has stories from medical school of 90 year old people on their death beds, asking for their mothers.

And I sort of suspect that no matter how old I get, or how many responsibilities I have, part of me will always want to be a baby again.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Group Think

In my opinion, one of the dumbest and most illogical expressions ever is the one that goes: "50,000 [insert whatever] can't be wrong!"

This expression is routinely used to justify large groups of people jumping on some particular bandwagon. Like, "50,000 life coaches can't be wrong!" Or "50,000 Atkins dieters can't be wrong!" Or "50,000 women who like "Fifty Shades of Grey" can't be wrong. Or whatever. 

It doesn't HAVE to be 50,000, of course. The point is that generally speaking, a large number of people holding a particular and uniform set of preferences, beliefs and/or ideologies is usually evidence of the exact opposite of this aphorism. In fact, the more people that are out there thinking the same exact thing without questioning it, the worse the situation usually is. Look no further than Nazi Germany or North Korea, for example.

When it comes right down to it, millions of people can--and often are--very, very wrong. 50,000 whatevers can very, very easily be very, very wrong.

The only related expression I have ever heard that is stupider and more illogical than this was for a late night TV snake oil supplement called "Focus Factor," which was supposed to allegedly improve concentration and make you smarter. 

They were giving away free samples, and the woman in the ad literally said (and I shit you not): "They're giving it away for free? It must be good!"

Now THAT'S a person who could use some smart pills.

Fifty Shades of Nay

Or, 50 reasons I don't want to read the book, nor see the film, "Fifty Shades of Grey."

1. Kim Kardashian liked it.
2. Read the first chapter; it was painful.
3. Ball gags and butt plugs.
4. Pun in title/name of main character is always a bad sign.
5. Chains n' whips.
6. Christian Grey seems like a huge douche and I see douches for free every day.
7. Contracts play a prominent role.
8. 31% on Rotten Tomatoes.
9. BDSM scares me.
10. Real life is unpleasant enough.
11. Three words: Twilight fan fiction.
12. I like my mom porn less rough.
13. I don't need new masturbation material; I'm good with what I've got.
14. Would not want to read it in public.
15. Would not want to watch it with another human being.
16. If erotica/BDSM is mainstream, it's jumped the shark.
17. I have enough dysfunctional relationships in real life; I don't need to watch a pretend one unfold.
18. If ten zillion people like something, that generally means it sucks (See also: The DaVinci Code, The Celestine Prophecy, and The Rules).
19. I'm broke.
20. I haven't been to a non-kid movie in the theater in years and this cannot be the one to break the seal.
21. It seems boring.
22. It seems creepy.
23. It seems trite.
24. It seems shitty.
25. It seems troubling on many levels.
26. I am troubled on enough levels all by myself; I don't need outside help with that.
27. It seems misogynistic.
28. The actors' faces piss me off on sight.
29. This juggernaut doesn't need my financial assistance or my attention.
30. It seems ugly.
31. It seems to celebrate materialism and acquisitiveness.
32. My bandwagon dance card is full.
33. Wall Street pretty boys are gross, even if/especially when they live in Seattle.
34. Bondage goes badly with popcorn and soda.
35. Did I mention Kim Kardashian?
36. It is displayed prominently at Hudson News.
37. Slate wrote about it (I'm guessing).
38. If I wanted to check out BDSM, this lite, watered-down version is not the direction I would go.
39. Again: Kim Kardashian said it was "OMG sooooooo good!"
40. I can barely stay awake for a real book that I want to read.
41. Same with a movie.
42. I would be sad and confused if erotica put me to sleep.
43. I don't want to live in a world where something like this is a "thing."
44. It disturbs me that this "thing" was created, promoted, and supported by women.
45. The tie on the book jacket is ugly.
46. I always judge a book by its cover.
47. And a movie by its trailer.
48. The whole thing seems distinctly and disturbingly domestic violence-y.
49. If you type "50" into Google, "50 Shades of Grey" is now literally the second thing that comes up.
50. I am literally using the word "literally" literally in #49, and that is just wrong.