Thursday, March 31, 2016

Bringing My Style A-Game to Three Weddings This Summer Will Not Be Easy

This week I melted my Alaska Airlines Visa credit card into a small puddle of liquefied plastic goo when I bought plane tickets to three weddings happening in Real America this summer. 

I'm very much looking forward to seeing the friends and family who will be at these weddings, but not to the mental and physical carousel I hop onto every time I have a wedding on the horizon.

There are 7 horsies on that carousel:

1. Assess Body-Mass Index: Step on scale, look at number, spiral into mini-depression, conclude life would be perfect if number indicated were ten digits lower. Vow to get scale to say that number by X date. Hate self for caring/making said vow.

2. Assess Closet: Examine contents of closet. Conclude closet is a time capsule of 2004, and that there is "nothing" inside worth putting to any use other than donating to Good Will or Paige's sewing projects. 

3. Assess Finances: Log into checking account. Acknowledge dearth of disposable income to invest in personal glamour. Revisit #2. Find at least one item to be pressed into service at one of the weddings or associated functions. Reject several obvious prior bridesmaid dresses as viable candidates for this role.

4. Assess Diet: Vow to quit sugar until X date. Imagine self eating kale chips and Granny Smith apples every time hunger strikes. Make it to 3:00 p.m. the following day before consuming a medium-sized gluten-free brownie with frosting on it in four bites.

5. Assess Exercise Regimen: Vow to exercise daily until X date. Succeed in doing a single 30 minute walk-run the following evening. Give up forever in the face of excruciating boredom and mild to moderate physical discomfort endured during the aforementioned 30 minutes. Vow to walk up six flights of stairs every morning from then on. Never do it. Not even once.

6. Assess Body Hair: Get out calendar and track backwards to schedule next waxing appointment where entire face and body must be stripped bare of thick, black hair. Make closest possible appointment to dates of weddings in order to maximize level of hairlessness at actual event.

7. Repeat steps 1-6, 3x until early August.

Right after buying the plane tickets, I begged Geoff not to buy any more cookies at the grocery store. I asked him (rhetorically) if he didn't agree that impending weddings were a great excuse to lose ten pounds and squeeze into a few fancy dresses. A tried and true feminist, he replied that to the contrary, he couldn't think of a more depressing expenditure of my physical and mental time and energy.

Well, fuck that. Free advice is worth what you pay for it, Geoff! If nothing else, I'll be taking the summer off from being a feminist in order to hypocritically indulge in every possible gender-shaming body and style issue known to female kind.

Sorry, but sometimes social progress and inner peace need to take a backseat to not looking like a Jimmy Dean sausage link in a cocktail dress.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Don't Worry Donald: Women Who Undergo Abortions are Already Punished for It

Today Donald Trump mouth-farted out some words which--even for him--turned out to be a bridge too far. He told MSNBC host and fellow-old-rich-white-person-without-a-uterus Chris Matthews that women should receive "some form of punishment" for undergoing illegal abortions. He later recanted that statement, saying that such a ban should criminalize only those performing the procedures and not the women who undergo them.

Here's the thing though.

It doesn't matter that Trump said what he did, or that he recanted it. Because as everyone knows, women already receive "some form of punishment" for getting abortions, whether those abortions are legal or not. 

This is a simple fact on which the whole world can agree, whether you believe abortions should be legal or not: women already get "some form of punishment" for abortions.

Here for Trump's edification is a non-exhaustive list of the "forms of punishment" women who undergo abortions--legal or not--already receive in spades:

1. Harassment and threats of violence at abortion clinics while exercising constitutional right to legal abortion.
2. Lack of means to fund a legal abortion.
3. Forced to get illegal abortion because of #1 or #2 and get death penalty as a result.
4. Lack of access to legal abortion within hundreds of miles of home.
5. Forced to get illegal abortion because of #4 and get death penalty as result.
6. Guilt
7. Shame
8. Fear
9. Discrimination
10. Intimidation
11. The wrath of God (if religious)

So really, Trump's statement wasn't offensive because it was a preposterous notion. Quite the opposite: it was offensive because it's already true.

So don't worry Donald: Women who undergo both legal and illegal abortions in America are already punished pretty severely as it is.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Gut is Now Main Source of Information in America, Studies Find

The human gut has now eclipsed books, newspapers, television, the Internet, and plain old common sense as the primary source of information among Americans ages 18 to 64, according to a series of studies published this week in the Journal Asshats.

"More and more people are trusting their guts on the significant issues of the day," said Dr. Tim Anderson, lead author of the studies.

"When it comes to stuff like climate change, vaccines, GMO labeling, the qualifications for a good president, whether someone is lying, whether the earth is flat or round, and whether the stuff at Trader Joe's is really just crap from the regular supermarket put into different packaging, more and more Americans are believing their guts over and above any correct or incorrect factual information provided in words, regardless of the source."

At this rate, concludes the study, humans will evolve to have such powerful and astute guts, that their brains will become vestigial organs, relegated to the dustbin of human evolutionary history alongside the tail and extra nipples.

I Refuse to Believe That Ted Cruz Had Extramarital Affairs With Five Different Women

I don't believe the tabloid reports, first circulated in the National Enquirer, that Ted Cruz had extramarital affairs with five different women. Not because I think he's an upstanding, morally sound citizen who would never do anything so hypocritically contrary to his Christian values.

No, it's not that at all.

See, regardless of Ted Cruz's politics or values--no matter what they are or aren't--I find it literally impossible to believe that Ted Cruz found five separate women willing to sleep with him.

I am a woman. Thus, I feel distinctly and uniquely qualified to state that there is an extremely long list of both people and objects that I--and likely the entire female race--would sleep with before willingly submitting to intercourse with Ted Cruz. So 
I feel comfortable speaking on behalf of all women everywhere when I say that these people and objects include but are not limited to:

A Zucchini

A Recorder

John Lovitz

An actual boy Cabbage Patch doll (as opposed to his real life Texas-Senator lookalike)

Any of These Guys from Duck Dynasty

Barbara Bush

The Crypt Keeper

Just the thought of rolling over and having post-coital pillow talk with the individual pictured below makes my lady parts wither and atrophy into subatomic particles of cosmic dust. So I'm not surprised that the women implicated in these affairs are denying them all over the place.

When you're accused of having an affair with the biggest douche to burst into the public consciousness in a century, reviled up and down the aisle by more or less anyone with with a pulse, it's no wonder you're saying it ain't so.

So good news for Cruz: As between the tabloids and the women, I believe the women.

Ted Cruz, official portrait, 113th Congress.jpg

Monday, March 28, 2016

Seriously, My Kids' Homework Can Go Fuck Itself

I'm completely obsessed (in a good way) with all the latest research on homework: It's a waste of time; it's bad for kids' sense of joy and playfulness; helping your kids with homework is pointless; you should let them do it themselves, etc. 

I'm not opposed to my kids doing homework per se, but I am opposed to doing homework myself when I am pushing 40 and haven't been in school for over a decade. Thus, I have one word for the anti-help-your-kids-with-homework trend: 

YAAAASSSSS!!!! Here are five obvious reasons why:

1. Homework is fucking boring: There's a reason why you have to fight with your kids to do their homework. It's boring AF! Truly, homework is the equivalent of eating microwaved spinach for two hours a night every night. If your kids have to do homework, there is no reason for you, the parent, to suffer along with them. Two wrongs don't make a right, people.

2. I did my time: Closely related to #1, I feel I shouldn't be punished for engaging in human reproduction by having to repeat every step of my scholastic life. I did the crime by being born, and I did my time by doing homework for 20 years. Now it's their turn. So every time I hear "IT'S NOT FAAAAAIR," I say in an evil voice, "Oh but it is my dear. Oh but it is."

3. I don't understand second grade math: My daughter is in second grade and I literally do not understand her common core math curriculum, so I assure you she is way better off without my help than she is with it. It's like, Peter has six eggs in a basket. He takes away three green ones, and puts in two yellow ones. How many blue eggs did Anne start with? You know what Anne, my answer is going to be the same every time: You had the exact same number of eggs as I have fucks about how many eggs you had: ZERO!

4. Homework is a pain in the ass: There are lots of other things everyone would love to do besides homework: coloring, playing with dolls, writing jokes about how--surprise surprise--an idiot white frat bro pleaded guilty to tying a noose around a statue of the first black student at Ole Miss and while leaving court, looks like he just got done attending an open casting call to play Lenny in Of Mice and Men, vying for the part against Josh Duhamel with a bowl cut and 40 extra pounds (Fig 2). UNFORTUNATELY, if you're a child, you don't get to do those things when homework is on deck. And if you're an adult, you do. That's why I make myself a deconstructed peanut butter cookie (Fig. 1) and shove it gleefully into my face while my daughter cries and whines over her homework at the kitchen table.

5. Homework prepares kids for the mind-numbing realities of life: I have to break with the research here and say that homework still serves a valuable purpose. And that purpose is to prepare kids for the fact that adult life is more or less one giant pile of paperwork and ministerial obligations punctuated by the occasional orgasm, run on a treadmill, vodka tonic, and accidental barefoot step upon Legos, not necessarily in that order. In this way, homework remains highly beneficial to children's development of life skills.

As far as my personal involvement is concerned, however, my kids' homework can seriously go fuck itself.

Fig. 1

Fig. 2

If Taylor Swift Gave a Presentation on Alaska's Budget Woes to the Legislature

Through the chair, members of the committee: For the record, my name is Taylor Swift, and I'm here on behalf of all cross-over bubblegum country alt-rock pop music to deliver a statement about Alaska's dire fiscal situation.

Suffice it to say, now we have problems, and I don't think we can solve 'em. We've made some really deep cuts, and now we have bad blood (with the public). We can't cut our way to prosperity, because you see, Band Aids don't fix bullet holes, and it doesn't help to say sorry just for show, since if you live like that, you live with ghosts. 

Rest assured: Nothing lasts forever, and I fear this is gonna take us down. (Senator: may I just take a moment to say, you're so tall, and handsome as hell? You're so bad but you do it so well!). Anyway, we need to look to our future, and think about what's all in the past--these kinds of wounds, they last and they last . . .

Not in our wildest dreams will we be able to fully recover from this recession, but there's always the cruise ships. They keep crusin', because they can't stop, won't stop moving; it's like they've got this music in their minds saying "it's gonna be alright." Yes, the players are gonna play, the haters are gonna hate, and the fakers are gonna fake. But Alaska is just gonna shake it off. See, we're dancing on our own, we make the moves up as we go, and that's what they don't know.  

That's what they don't know.

I knew BP was trouble when it walked in. Shame on us: They flew us to places we've never been, and now their oil is lying in the cold, hard ground. The oil companies will never see us cry, and we don't need to apologize--they're just gonna pretend they don't know that they're the reason why we're drowning. We're drowning. We're drowning-ning-ning-ning. 

It's time to ask ourselves: Are we out of the woods? Are we out of the woods? Are we out of the woods? Are we in the clear? Are we in the clear? Are we in the clear? Are we in the clear yet? 


Let me just conclude by saying: When we go crashing down, we come back every time. Because Alaska never goes out of style.

Thank you.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

"Luther" is Pretty Terrible, but That's Okay Because Idris Elba

I haven't left my house for 30 hours except to go to the store in my pajamas to buy Cinnamon Rice Chex, and it's all Idris Elba's fault. Okay, it's not entirely his fault, but mostly.

I've worked all week while my family has been in California. They get home late tonight, and when I returned from work Friday afternoon, I smoked a giant rock of crack. And by smoked a giant rock of crack, I mean looked around my clean, quiet, house and decided I needed to be inside of it for the next 72 hours without interruption. Because unless some horrible tragedy strikes that leaves me alone forever (which would be bad) I won't be alone for 72 hours in my house ever again for another year or more. The weather cooperated by being terrible, and my sister wives cooperated by coming over and bringing me breakfast and their company while we cleaned.

And that's when I got into Luther on Netflix. 

One of the aforementioned sister wives recommended it to me, and I power-streamed the whole first season while coloring and eating a mixing bowl full of sugar cereal for dinner last night. The show is an extremely hack BBC police procedural that somehow seems less hack because everyone is British and casually drops big words like "fatuous." But in addition to being incredibly hack and gory, there is also Idris Elba. 

Idris plays John Luther, the main character and a detective who solves every crime with the prescient EUREKA! of a psychic chemistry professor, while his fellow "coppers" stand around clueless and dumbfounded, serving no apparent purpose other than to act as impediments to his razor sharp detective-y instincts. And if the show is to be believed, there's a different serial killer or sniper stalking London every day of the week, a premise I highly doubt crime statistics would bear out.

I know what you're thinking. Another desperate, middle-aged white lady fetishizing and likely subconsciously objectifying--much to her horror and self-loathing--a hot black actor with zero self-awareness. Fine. Guilty as charged, minus the self-awareness part. But that fact is not mutually exclusive from the fact that Idris Elba is objectively very, very hot.

Even as his British colleagues pronounce his name "Loufa," which I believe is a sort of shower accessory, and even as he throws stuff around during every episode. Seriously at least twice per episode (so far) Loufa breaks a window, upends his desk, or chucks a giant book in frustration. Basically he has at least one enormous, out-of-control mantrum every thirty minutes, which in addition to mesmerizing me with his sexiness, also made me jealous:  I would definitely get fired from my job if I threw even one book through a window ever, much less one every 45 minutes. But I want to do that. Badly.

I'm gonna keep this short because I only have thirteen hours of crack left in the pipe, and I have two more seasons of Loufa to get through.

P.S. I know it's Easter, but I'm Jewish, SUCKAS! Spending Easter Sunday with Idris Elba is quite possibly the main and only advantage to being Jewish.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Wow You Guys, Turns Out Being a Society Woman in the 1880s Sucked Serious Donkey Balls

That's the basic message I took away from a play I just saw called In the Next Room

We have a great regional theater company here in Juneau called Perseverance Theatre. I went there last night with three friends to see a play about the invention of the vibrator, which happened in the 1880s when electricity was first introduced into wealthy American households. 

The play was about a lot more than that, but the only thing I could focus on was the fact that being a society woman in the 1880s sucked MAJOR donkey balls.

Let's start with the clothing. 

The number of layers of clothing, their stiffness, and the volume of laces and buttons alone would have been enough to make me want to die an early death. Which, b-t-dubs, was pretty easy to do, since infants and mothers alike routinely died in childbirth and/or of cholera, measles, small pox, and other infectious diseases that plenty of wealthy moms in Marin County and Park Slope now seem totes cool with getting. 

For someone who lives in her pajamas during almost every hour she's not at work--including in public--the crinoline bustles, fancy hats, gloves, petticoats, lace-up boots, cloaks, and corsets the women were expected to wear back then would have been the absolute end of me. (See Fig. 1). No doubt, I would have put these duds on at the latest--and torn them off at the earliest--possible opportunity every single day.

But worst of all was how sexually and emotionally repressed the women were, and how outrageously they were infantilized by the men around them.

The main character was a new mom and the wife of a wealthy doctor who didn't have enough milk for her baby and had to hire a wet nurse, thus making her feel like an inadequate mother. (Breast feeding-related inadequacy and guilt are alive and well in 2016, I'm happy to report). Anyway, the doctor/husband treated women and sometimes men for "hysteria" by giving them "paroxysms" with a vibrator the size and shape of a hair dryer in an "operating theater" adjoining the couple's living room.

The women in the play basically sat around their living rooms all day in these highly confining outfits, and every emotion they experienced or idea they had was dismissed out of hand with a man's condescending pat on the head. 

As for their sexuality, well, that was nonexistent. These women had not the first clue about how their bodies functioned, and the only way they got to have an orgasm was in a doctor's office to exorcise whatever mysterious forces were making them "emotional" and "hysterical." (The play program noted that back then, the uterus was thought to be a free-flowing organ that traveled throughout the body, and could float into the throat and strangle its owner).

As much as I gripe about gender inequity now, I left this play feeling like 2016 was the best time ever to be a woman: I'm allowed to wear my pajamas in public, eat Sweet Tarts while watching Netflix, work in an intellectually and financially rewarding profession, yell at people and be sort of heard sometimes, and have "paroxysms" at will not brought to me courtesy of a stuffy 55 year-old doctor and his nurse assistant in an "operating theater."

As my 8 year-old daughter has already observed, "life isn't always fair" as between boys and girls (See Fig. 2), but it's sure a LOT more fair now than it was in 1880.

(Fig. 1)

(Fig. 2)

Friday, March 25, 2016

Big Dicks and Hot Wives: The Mask Finally Slips Off the Race for BROTUS

2016 is going down in history as the election in which the mask finally slipped off the race for BROTUS, by which I mean, the size of a candidate's dick and the hotness of his wife have been brought out of the subtext and into the foreskin text of presidential debate.

Let's step back for a minute and ask ourselves this: Is it really so crazy to think that Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Donald Trump, by turns, spent the better part of a year publicly boasting like peacocks about the size of their penises, their virility, and the sexiness of their respective wives?

Sadly no.

A friend of mine pointed out that dick size and wife hotness have been a subtext of what has been more or less exclusively bro-based presidential campaigning for decades. Jackie O. and Michelle Obama were consistently praised for their good looks. And despite being brilliant and highly-educated women, not much else, let's be honest. Eleanor Roosevelt, by contrast, was blasted for being a dog, and I bet you can't remember a whole lot else about her without resorting to Google. 

Basically how FLOTUS looks is the number one most important thing about her, whether anyone admits it out loud or not. So with the theme of this election being "let's all speak our minds," it really isn't that shocking that candidates are outright tweeting side-by-sides of each others' wives as a proxy for presidential aptitude.

Same with the dick measurements. Guns, missles, aggression, all of it is a proxy for phallic, dickish leadership and ability, even though it's well documented that dicks with vaginas (see, e.g., Margaret Thatcher) have been perfectly capable of dicking their way through democracy. 

So I'm not saying that I heart Hillary or that having a woman president is necessarily the answer to all of this.

All I'm saying is that we've never had real, meaningful, impactful, high-level female leadership in this country at all, and look at where we are. Is it all the bros' fault? Surely not. But maybe we need fewer big dicks and hot wives in our public debate. And perhaps that change can only come from more people with vaginas and husbands (or wives) getting some real skin--not just foreskin--in the game.

Alaska So Broke

Alaska so broke, even the glaciers are moving away.

Alaska so broke, it’s been cut off from the rest of the country on a map.

Alaska so broke, the legislature can’t even afford to pay attention.

Alaska so broke, next year’s dividend is being paid out in canned beach asparagus.

Alaska so broke, the midnight sun is only staying out until 10:00.

Alaska so broke, kids are funding the whole next school year with a bake sale.

Alaska so broke, even duct tape can’t fix it.

Alaska so broke, a barrel of oil costs less than a bucket of KFC.

Alaska so broke, only ravens and eagles are allowed to fly anywhere for work.

Alaska so broke, sea lions have to apply for a fishing license now.

Alaska so broke, the legislature might have to enact a broad-based beard tax.

Alaska so broke, God is threatening to turn off the northern lights.

Alaska so broke, special session is being held in the dumpster behind Humpy's.

Alaska so broke, winter is being shortened to three weeks.

Alaska so broke, it's considering selling itself back to Russia.

Alaska so broke, the new state flower is a dandelion.

Alaska so broke, the state motto is being changed from "North to the Future" to "South to the Sewer."

Alaska so broke, even the bears' hibernation days are being furloughed.

Alaska so broke, eight stars of gold are being replaced with gold laminate.

Alaska so broke, the field of blue is being subdivided into lots.

Alaska so broke, the new LIO is going to be a drive-thru espresso stand at the intersection of Tudor and Lake Otis.

Alaska so broke, "the panhandle" is no longer just the name of a region in southeast.

Alaska so broke, Don Young is now selling ad space on his forehead.

Think these Alaska So Broke jokes suck? Trust me: they do! Make up your own! Use #AlaskaSoBroke on Facebook and Twitter.

Dr. Badtouch: Where is He Now?

Well, under indictment, for one thing. Let me "refresh your recollection," as the prosecutor who will be cross-examining Dr. Badtouch is all but certain to say.

Dr. Badtouch is the name I gave to Dr. David Newman, an emergency room doctor at the prestigious Mt. Sinai Hospital in NYC who earlier this year was accused of over-sedating one (now it's up to four) mildly injured female patients in order to fondle their breasts for no medically indicated reason, and in one case, "whack off" in a corner and jizz all over the woman's face and upper body.

As far as the double doses of morphine are concerned, Dr. Newman attributed those to "some confusion amongst the nurses." But the best part is how he explained the double dose of jizz on the face of 29 year-old Aja Newman (no relation): 
"I am embarrassed because I whacked off in the lounge, and it was possible that the ejaculate may have gone from my hands to the woman’s blanket. Semen may also have transferred from my hand to her face during the time I treated her . . . she may be mistaken about me ejaculating on her face because she was on morphine . . . I can't believe this is happening. My explanation doesn't make sense."
You got that right, cowboy! Whacked off in the lounge? May be mistaken? About JIZZ on her FACE?! Holy Tijuana Toothpaste, Batman!

Dr. Newman clearly has a few lessons left to learn, notwithstanding his advanced education: (1) Do not use your medical degree as a vehicle to jizz on the face of a woman you just sedated with IV morphine; (2) Do not explain #1 by admitting you "whacked off" in the lounge of a hospital and then didn't wash semen off your hands before examining a patient; and, most importantly: (3) DO NOT SPEAK TO A DETECTIVE ABOUT #1 AND/OR #2 WITHOUT A LAWYER PRESENT. 

I'm glad he did #3 though, or this blog post would not have been nearly as much fun to write. 

A close childhood friend of mine who practices medicine in the suburbs of NYC pointed out that Dr. Newman's specious (at best) explanation for how a patient wound up with his jizz in her eyeballs raised the question of how many doctors routinely masturbate at work. He said:
"My basic interaction as a physician always begins with washing my hands. I always believed this had been passed down from Joseph Lister as a means of physicians stopping the spread of disease. Apparently it's all a big ruse to wash the cum off our hands."

Now the only one jizzing is the editorial board of the NY Daily News, who is following this tabloid story with all the enthusiasm of a 13 year-old boy who just discovered his older brother's vast collection of Playboys stashed in a closet.

Slow clap, Dr. Badtouch. Slow clap.

NYC PAPERS OUT. Social media use restricted to low res file max 184 x 128 pixels and 72 dpi

Thursday, March 24, 2016

I Feel Like There is Escalating Sexual Tension Between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz (UPDATED)

Just hear me out. Have you been paying attention to their wife-feud this week? 

It all started when Fascist Cantaloupe tweeted that Boy Cabbage Patch Doll should "be careful" or he would "spill the beans" on Ted's wife, Heidi, in retaliation for a pro-Ted Super PAC's tweet of Melania Trump in GQ or some such nonsense. 

Ted responded that "if you try to attack Heidi, you're more of a coward than I thought." Not to be outdone in classy maturity, Donald retorted by tweeting a pic of Heidi Cruz looking like the dog's dinner alongside a glamour shot of Melania with the caption, "no need to 'spill the beans' the images are worth a thousand words."

At first, you would think this is just another "my-wife-is-hotter-than-your-wife" fight, so typical of infants, 8th gradersfrat boys, accomplished grown men seeking to occupy the highest office in the land and possibly the world.

But I think there's something more going on here. I think this is a sign of escalating sexual tension between the two presidential candidates.

According to the BBC, during an interview last fall, Donald said of his relationship to Ted, "well, it is a little bit of a romance . . . I like him. He likes me." The above-linked article quotes Politico as reporting that "the two men have had private meetings for several years," and that "the seeds of that relationship have flowered into an alliance that has left political pundits and prognosticators guessing as to the motivation of the actors and who, in the end, will benefit the most." And the Politico article in turn notes that the candidates' have a "mutual admiration" and "a relationship with more to it than meets the eye." Trump also said that he was too confident to "worr[y] about giving someone else exposure." And one reporter quoted by Politico observed Cruz being "very, very nice to Donald Trump."

I bet.

Mutual admiration? Mysterious motives? Romance? Private meetings? Flowering seeds? More than meets the eye? Exposure? Not just very nice, but very VERY nice? And now they're talking about "spilling the beans" on each other's wives??? What "beans?"

BOWM CHICKA BOW WOW!! And just look at these photos, the first of which is LITERALLY captioned "Will Trump's appeal rub off on Cruz?" 

Bottom line: the sexual chemistry between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz is palpable. Get a room, you two!

The whole world would be way better off if these guys would hole up at one of Trump's hotels and just bang and get it over with already. Then, presumably, they'd be happy and contented and the rest of us wouldn't have to put up with either one of them anymore.

UPDATE: Today, Ted Cruz was quoted as saying: "Donald Trump may be a rat, but I have no desire to copulate with him.”

A likely story.

Donald Trump and Ted Cruz embrace on a Washington, DC, stage.

Ted Cruz and Donald Trump shake hands in Washington, DC.

I Did Not Come to Play With You Hos. I Came to Slay! (And by Slay, I Mean Watch Blue Crush on Cable)

I defy you to turn on cable at 9:00 p.m. right at the beginning of Blue Crush (2002) and NOT watch this movie from start to finish. 

If you haven't seen Blue Crush, I feel sorry for you, because it's so bad, it's good. In a way, watching Blue Crush is the movie-watching equivalent of sniffing dry erase markers or standing in a garage huffing gasoline. It's easiest to explain the plot of this film in diagram form (Fig.1), but basically it's an amalgam of Endless Summer, Cinderella, and a promotional video for a timeshare on Maui. 

A girl-next-door/sun-kissed blonde surfer girl-type from the wrong side of the tracks/island is living with her two slightly-less-attractive best friends and much-less-attractive tween kid sister in Hawaii (their mother bailed to Vegas), trying to make ends meet.

In minutes one through five of the movie, we learn through a series of flashbacks that Blondie was a big deal up-and-coming surfer, until she smacked her head on a rock and almost drowned at a contest a few years back. Blondie and her squad are now toiling as maids in a fancy resort hotel, where they dream of Blondie's Big Comeback in the next big wave surf contest. 

The trio meets a pro football team who's staying at the hotel after Blondie yells at them on the beach for leaving puke and dead condoms in their rooms. The head maid at the hotel cans Blondie for this stunt, which sucks because she desperately needs a Jay Oh Bee and the cash that comes with it. 

FORTUNATELY, the Tom Brady of the football team (both in looks and position) offers to hire Blondie and her friends to give him and his teammates surf lessons--a form of highly dangerous recreation for which they inexplicably have time and permission, despite being official property of the NFL.

I don't need to tell you what happens next, but fuck it, I will anyway.

Tom Brady and Blondie strike up a PG-romance that is largely documented in montage format (DUH). This initiates class and relationship-based tension amidst Squad Blondie, riling the local Native Hawaiian surfer dudes who have claimed the best surf spots for their own, and threatening to derail Blondie's surfing career. (DUH, DUH, and DUH).

But wait! This girl next door is tougher than she looks. (DUH). She's not gonna let a boy define her, even if he is a super hot NFL quarterback! (DUH and DUH again). With the help of her friends and a few football-based-analogy pep talks from Tom Brady, Blondie crushes it at "pipe" (the big surf contest), thereby overcoming her fear of big wave surfing triggered by the prior near-drowning. 

One of her pro-surf idols--a K.D. Lang doppelganger who, because she's clearly over 30 and a lesbian, does not threaten Blondie's hegemony as the epicenter of the male gaze in this movie--helps Blondie catch the wave that carries her to redemption and puts her on the cover of a surfer magazine, sans pants.

The movie ends with Blondie and Tom Brady playing tonsil hockey on the beach, as their respective squads and the somehow-now-friendly-and-supportive Native Hawaiian locals cheer them on in the background.

Most of the appeal of this film is visual. It's 108 minutes of eye candy: Big wave surfing, gorgeous panoramas of Hawaii, and an indescribably hot Kate Bosworth in a zillion different outfits from bikinis and board shorts to bathrobes and ballgowns. 

Oh whatever, she's not so hot, you're saying. I call bullshit on that. If you're a girl, Blondie is everything American society programs you to aspire to, and if you're a boy, she is everything society tells you to covet and that you deserve: white, blonde, petite, blue-eyed, self-confident and tough, yet a little bit of a damsel in distress, with a bangin' bikini body and a megawatt smile you can bring home to mom. 

In other words, Blondie is supposed to make you 8th-grade jealous, and it works. Natch, the no-name actor who plays her quarterback love interest is the male yin to Blondie's Tommy Hilfiger female yang. The script, plot, and characters in Blue Crush are generic, one-dimensional, and elevate the dominant paradigm of gender, sexuality, race, and popular culture in every conceivable way. 

And of course, it's because of all this that you simply cannot stop watching this total shit-show of a movie from beginning to end.


Fig. 1: (Plot Diagram of Blue Crush)

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

"I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant" Was the Best Reality TV Show Ever Made. Then Came "Gigolos."

And they both share(d) one thing in common: A preposterous premise that leaves the women who make up their core audience incredulous.

My brief but intense love affair with reality TV peaked before I started O.H.M., but with Gigolos now in its sixth season and free reign over the cable box in my family's absence this week, I'm starting to feel the pull of the Showtime series once more.

Used to be, I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant was the gold standard for train-wreck, rubber-necking, how-the-fuck-can-this-be-happening reality TV. This four-season, 56 episode show on TLC required a superhuman suspension of disbelief, particularly for viewers who had themselves been pregnant but knew it.

Specifically, I found it extremely hard if not impossible to believe that a person could make it nine whole months with a healthy, full-term baby growing inside her uterus only to feel a pain in her stomach one day and shit that baby out on a toilet the next. 

And yet incredibly, TLC producers found 168 women to whom this had allegedly happened. Yeah yeah, I know everyone's different and blah blah blah. Let's put that aside though long enough to admit that it is FUCKING CRAY not to realize you are pregnant for nine months. If it weren't, it wouldn't be a TV show in the first place.

I get how at the beginning, you might think you have the flu or an irregular menstrual cycle. Where I part ways with this show is at week 39, when there is a seven-pound human rolling around in your body like Sigourney Weaver in Alien, punching and kicking the ever-loving shit out of your ribs with all four limbs, and a head sitting like a bowling ball in your crotch all day and night as you leak urine into your underpants. 

That's where "maybe it's something I ate" starts to ring hollow.

I was sad when this shit show got cancelled, but fortunately its cancellation coincided with the premiere of Gigolos on Showtime. 

This show features a main cast of half a dozen or so straight, male gigolos living and working in Las Vegas. Theoretically, there is something for everyone here. Much like the famed buffets of its native city, Gigolos offers up a veritable smorgasbord of purportedly heterosexual male prostitutes: a long-haired, hippie Latin lover with whom you could easily imagine doing peyote in the desert; a blonde surfer-type; a biracial software engineer; a tattooed, motorcycle-riding ex-Marine; and a handful of others.

The psychological profile of someone who is able to (a) be a gigolo and/or (b) hire one is alien to me, and frankly I question the veracity of what is happening on this show. In other words, I think most of it is staged bullshit, even more so than most reality TV. But real or not, it is FASCINATING. There is only one gigolo (the bald one, second from right) whose personality as portrayed on the show even begins to approach anything I could tolerate for more than five minutes without copious amounts of alcohol, much less allow anywhere near my nether-parts for any amount of money.

And yet the women who hire these gigolos--of all heights, weights, and abilities--seem perfectly happy to be filmed paying a set of tanned, washboard abs to fuck their brains out on a granite kitchen counter top doggie style before a national audience. 

To be fair, all of the gigolos work hard to be charming and solicitous to their dates. They talk about how seriously they take their jobs, how much they love women, and how their goal is to help women become happier and more self-confident. Which I guess is empowering for the women who are turning traditional sex work on its head, so to speak. 

But the thought of paying a man--ANY man--$1,000 an hour to feign interest in what I have to say while biding his time until we do the reverse cowgirl amid theatrical, porno-style moaning seems . . . how shall I put this . . . inauthentic at best? (Not to mention prohibitively expensive).

Regardless, both these shows are amazing television. Gigolos just started its sixth season this week, so assuming you're a quick study, you just might be able to catch up with the plot lines and character development if you start watching now.

I am Actively Fighting the Transformation of My Home Into a Kiddie Crack House and Jacking Tom Cruise's Style While I'm at It

The young protagonist on the show Breaking Bad is a meth cook fuck-up who, at one point in the series, moves into his parents' old house and turns it into a flophouse for junkies.

That's sort of what I felt like might be happening at my house when, after a recent gathering of particularly rowdy children, I discovered a broken futon frame, Legos in the woods, and graffiti. Graffiti! Someone under the age of ten had actually tagged up the outside siding of our house with Paige's name in purple marker. 

When confronted, Paige plausibly denied being the graffiti artist, and I was proud of her for: (1) not drawing on our house; and (2) being held in sufficiently high esteem by her peers to be the subject of their tagging. Notwithstanding, I licked my hand and attempted to smudge it off, which as you can see was an epic fail (Fig. 1). Shortly after this discovery, I snapped a picture of my kids playing in a front yard that looks like the riverbank in Deliverance. (Fig. 2).

Well, this week I am taking charge. The other three members of my family are away on vacation while I remain in Juneau for work, but that doesn't mean I'm not getting my Risky Business on while the cats are away. Yup, I'm pulling a Tom Cruise, with a few notable real life differences:

Tom Cruise in Risky Business: Raids liquor cabinet, plays stereo loudly, and dances around the living room in his underwear to Old Time Rock and Roll.
Me IRLRaids liquor cabinet, plays stereo loudly, and folds three baskets of laundry in my living room, in my underwear, to Fight for Your Right (to Party).

Tom Cruise in Risky Business: Calls a hooker, asks her to come over, and they have sex all night long for $300.
Me IRL: Calls a Juneau sister wife, asks her to come over, and they clean out the playroom and living room of all sorts of shit no one will ever notice is missing until 10:00 p.m. for free.

Tom Cruise in Risky Business: Turns parents' house into a brothel in order to pay for car repairs.
Me IRL: Turns my house into a Juneau sister wife shelter in order to drink, clean, and do adult coloring while alternately binge-watching Forensic Files, talking, writing, surfing the Internet, listening to podcasts, and eating gluten-free/dairy-free cookie dough ice cream (it's as bad as it sounds) for dinner, straight out of the carton, in bed.

I am SO making a documentary about this week called Straight Outta Carton.

Fig. 1

Fig. 2

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Choosing Alaska

Yesterday, the ADN profiled a young Juneau couple who is leaving Alaska after four years because "they see a downturn coming and they don't trust the Legislature to handle it." The couple, a university economist and a massage therapist, are "highly trained people with marketable skills" who "can go where they want, when they want," and are choosing to leave. The point of the op-ed, I think, was that legislative cuts impacting an educated professional class result in a brain drain, which in turn drags down the economy. 

I have no idea if that's true or not (I'm not an economist) and I don't know the featured couple personally, but the comments on the op-ed were predictably harsh and hostile. Stuff like, "don't let the door hit you on the way out," and "can afford to move when things get tight, still complains. Just leave if you're gonna leave or stay and help us fix it." 

I'm ashamed to admit I felt a small twinge of these same sentiments, so I asked myself why. 

A hard part of living in this state is watching people come and go. It's difficult to invest in friendships and professional relationships when you know it's likely people will leave. When you're committed to living here--whether it's because you have to or because you want to--it feels like a personal indictment when someone moves. You feel a little abandoned and put-off, like: Oh, I see. Alaska is good enough for me and my kids, but it's not good enough for you? Screw you then! It makes you bristle, shut down, and feel angry and judgmental.

I confess I've felt all of these things at various points in my 11 years of living here, but ultimately I know that's my own issue, and I don't judge people for their choices. It's not a simple matter of loyalty; people have all kinds of reasons for leaving Alaska: family obligations or new opportunities Outside, the high cost of living in the state, its weather, its isolation, emotional baggage. All people must make careful, highly individualized evaluations of their lives and make the decisions that are right for them and their families, personally and financially, at any given moment in time.

I have a graduate-level education and (presumably) the ability to move if I wanted to, and my job is also subject to the whims of the Legislature. But I don't want to move, and I don't plan to. 

One of the most-read posts on O.H.M. is this one about why I choose to stay here, and it feels more relevant than ever. It pretty much sums up the reasons why I think Alaska is a special and unique place, and why I don't want or plan to leave. Even with a bleak economic forecast, and even though I'm indisputably one of the deeply-maligned-by-ADN-commenters-professionals-with-supposed-options.

There are intangible benefits you get from living here that you can't monetize or otherwise put a price tag on: Access to the outdoors; a lack of materialism and acquisitiveness; a lifestyle where you don't have to sit in traffic and commute for hours; quirky, supportive communities of people who share your values. In short, things you can't easily find in the Lower-48, no matter how great the next job is.

All economies are volatile, perhaps ours more so than some others. To be sure, it's not always easy to live here, and the latest doom-and-gloom economic outlook paired with prospective legislative gridlock is simply one more reason why. Alaska doesn't work for lots of people, for lots of different reasons, and that's okay. Maybe it will stop working for me someday too. Who knows. All I know now is that every time I come home to Alaska, I feel like I'm in the right place for me and my family. 

And that's why, each day and for as long as I can, I will continue to choose Alaska.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Excuse Me, Are You Pregnant?

Excuse me . . . I couldn't help but notice: Are you pregnant? Oh haha! What a relief! You never know. For a minute I wondered if you were just smuggling a basketball under your shirt for some inconceivable reason, or were maybe just fat and carrying all your weight in a round basketball shape on your abdomen. But I'm glad I took the risk of asking you, and I'm glad the answer is yes, because in addition to the awkwardness of a "no" response to this arguably intrusive question from a stranger, I have lots of valuable advice to offer on the topic of pregnancy that you truly should not go without.

Am I a doctor, nurse, midwife, doula, or other maternity-based health care professional? No, no. Of course not. I'm just a nosy person who, like half the population of planet earth, has biological children that emerged from my uterus some time ago, thus making me uniquely qualified to momsplain the remainder of your pregnancy.

Do you have a birth plan? God, I hope so. And I hope you're having a home birth, or at least a birth center birth. The birth-industrial complex is completely corrupt and they are trying to murder you and your baby with all sorts of unnecessary interventions. Unless of course you have an emergency requiring some sort of intervention, in which case you'll be glad you live near a hospital and you should get there immediately. Whatever you do though, do NOT consent to a C-section. Unless of course the baby's heart rate is dropping precipitously. Then of course you should have a C-section.

Let's see . . . what have I left out? Ah yes. Me! Well, with my first baby, I had a home water birth, then with my second I had a birth center vaginal birth, then with my third I had a planned C-section although it started out as a midwife-assisted hospital birth. Come to think of it, forget what I just said. You'd be crazy to have a home birth. Completely irresponsible. I don't understand women who put their lives and their babies' lives in jeopardy like that. I seriously hope you're not considering something that crazy.

Basically what I'm saying is I'm a complete stranger offering you entirely unsolicited, inconsistent, and unwelcome advice, but I'm confident this is some unique perspective you could get nowhere else, and certainly not in the aisle of this Whole Foods where we're standing now. Speaking of which, I don't see neonatal vitamins in your shopping cart. That could be a huge problem.

Have you decided what you're doing about breast feeding?

Let's Get Real About What "Politics" Is and What it Isn't

I do not write about politics on this blog. Let me say that again: I do not write about politics here. If you're a regular O.H.M. reader you might dispute that statement, but let me explain. 

Two recent conversations led me to this conclusion. The first was at a party last weekend. I was talking to a woman who, like me, works in a job where it can be ill-advised to express a personal "political" opinion. The second was with one of my best friends, an American living in Switzerland. She told me that all of Europe is on edge watching the 2016 election in the United States, specifically the "rise" of Donald Trump. She pondered what if anything there was to "do" about Trump, and noted the powerlessness of the average citizen to "stop him." She analogized the current American zeitgeist to Germany's after World War I, when that country was fatigued by sanctions and primed for a populist leader who would validate its national pride. 

I don't know that I totally buy the whole Trump-is-the-next-Hitler thing, but he is certainly the closest America has come to such a figure in a long time. And I do think he is an incontrovertibly dangerous person. Which led me to think about an important question: What is politics, and what really isn't? 

To me, politics is stuff like tax policy; how we develop our natural resources versus how we choose to conserve them; how we make decisions about legislative and executive priorities in a given governmental administration. To be sure, these decisions have an impact on people--often a disproportionate impact on historically marginalized groups of people. But they are fundamentally political decisions and choices.

Politics is not, in my view, so-called "social justice" issues. Politics is not fighting for gender or racial equality and parity, or even reproductive rights or so-called "immigration reform." To me these concepts bleed over rather distinctively from traditional political concepts into issues of human rights that we in our collective humanity should acknowledge as fundamentally different from "politics."

As my friend in Switzerland observed, Hitler's rise to power in Germany was aided and abetted by regular people. People who stood by and said and did nothing to stop him. People who decided to just keep their heads down and go along to get along. Any student of the Holocaust knows this.

Well, we saw where that got the world. 

That's why I have absolutely zero misgivings about using what little, tiny sliver of a voice I have beyond the ballot box to write about misogyny, anti-Semitism, Black Lives Matter, and similar so-called "political" or "social justice" issues on this blog. Not for one minute do I consider these writings to be an expression of a "political" opinion, and frankly, any insinuation that these are political beliefs trivializes their gravity.

Even if he never gets the nomination, even if he never becomes President, when we tell ourselves that what Trump is out there doing is simply political, as opposed to what it is--trafficking in hate--the more we can consider ourselves his accomplices. American corporate media (PBS, CBS, CNN, Fox, etc.), by whoring itself out for ratings rather than taking a hate-monger to task, is probably Trump's greatest asset. With a few notable exceptions, the media is committing what is quite possibly the greatest abdication of journalistic integrity most of us have seen in our lifetimes. That abdication is shameful. It's dangerous. And it has already had profound consequences.

I am a Jew. I am a woman. I am an American citizen. I consider myself an ally of LGBT people, immigrants, and people of color. But fundamentally I am a human being, just one of 7.2 billion on the planet. And I cannot in good conscience just sit down and shut up about Donald Trump and his so-called "political" agenda. Because that's not what it is. It's not "politics." It is hate, plain and simple. And it's a grave threat to human rights. Not just here, but all over the world. 

Anyone who says or thinks otherwise either accepts that and/or endorses it, or is lying to themselves.

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