Friday, June 30, 2017

Self Doubts and Milestones

It's no secret that I have a lot of self-doubt/self-consciousness, which actually is the entire reason for this blog. 

This week, I've been feeling insecure and weird about a big expensive decision I made. One that's hard to justify to my husband, even, much less my friends here in Alaska.

A week ago, I sent my 9 year-old daughter away from the Alaskan wilderness, into different New England wilderness, by herself for an entire month, at great personal expense and effort. It's not something most parents do on the west coast, although it's common back east. Fortunately, Paige had a month of Alaska summer here before we flew to Boston last week, but I definitely questioned what I was doing. 

Why were we doing this, again? It all seemed a bit ridiculous.

Then I remembered that I was just trying to give Paige something that is hard to put into words, and impossible to pin down on a map. In truth, the thing that was the most important aspect of my entire childhood: I wanted Paige to go to the sleep-away camp I went to as a kid and had worked at as a young adult.

Being there gave me a sense of self-confidence and made me feel like I could do anything. I made some of the best friends of my life there and fell in love there. I had structure and freedom at the same time, with no electronics except music, all day every day, for two months a year. Camp gave me a love of hiking and being outside that is probably the reason I live in Alaska in the first place. (Paige doesn't need that last part, of course). 

The rest of that stuff isn't, necessarily, quite as easy to come by just anyplace. 

In the internet age, the camp posts photos online, and each day I look for proof of life. I find more than that. Paige looks genuinely happy in every picture. I feel like I can tell the difference between a real smile and a fake one, and her smile is not FAKE NEWS.

I feel weird and awkward about sending Paige to New Hampshire from Alaska for such a big part of the summer, but when I see her face, I genuinely feel like it was the right thing to do.

Squiggles 2 is a Survivor!

I have interacted with my last anus, and I refuse to deal with the feces or anal orifices of vertebrates anymore, at least on purpose.

What does that have to do with Squiggles 2 the frog, you might be wondering? Well, wonder no more—I’m about to tell you.

We don’t have “real” pets for three reasons:

  • (1) I’m deathly allergic to everything with fur; 
  • (2) I don’t want to be a slave to anyone’s asshole anymore. I had this unenviable job for the past decade on and off, and at this point, I am done. I’ve wiped my last butt and handled my last turd, and that’s all there is to say about that; 
  • (3) I have a hard enough time keeping the human beings in my care and custody alive. The last thing I need is to be responsible for yet another life.
And so it was that we settled long ago—on Isaac’s fifth birthday, to be exact—upon mail-order tadpoles as the perfect pet.

Grow-a-Frog will send you tadpoles of indeterminate species and origin in a bag (not even PetCo sells tadpoles—they just give them away for free if they show up with other creatures). Some were dead on arrival, and some were hearty survivors.

Squiggles 2 was in the latter category, and best of all, he doesn't shit. Well maybe he does, but I don't know it, and that's the point.

Squiggles 2, as Isaac named him, has been squiggling around in his habitat for going on three years now. He’s endured the benign neglect of a poor filtration system and the indignity of a giant finger tapping on his tank, periodically, to check for signs of life. 

But not until yesterday evening was his amphibious mettle truly tested.

It started out as an ordinary bi-monthly tank cleaning. This task is Geoff and Isaac’s joint responsibility, as I made quite clear when we ordered Squiggles that I would not be held responsible for his well-being. 

Geoff put Squiggles 2 in a ceramic cereal bowl of water, as usual, while he cleaned out the habitat. Isaac was shellacking me at Uno on the living room floor, when all of a sudden I heard Geoff cry out:


He (or she?) was not in his bowl on the kitchen island where he’d been temporarily stationed during his routine cleaning! Apparently, he’d outgrown this vessel, and not knowing that the world was an even crueler place than his underwater plastic catacombs, leaped out impetuously.

Isaac immediately began to howl in grief-stricken agony as Geoff and I launched a panicked search for our charge. Geoff carefully studied the wet trail of slime and water, and within moments, Squiggles 2 was located inside the folds of a paper airplane and deposited back into his home. Relief was short-lived, however, because an odd white film was oozing from Squiggles 2's back.

“Google 'my frog has a weird white film coming off it,'" I demanded of Geoff. “DO IT NOW!”

Geoff demurred, reasoning that such search terms could drop unwanted porn cookies onto our devices, but I was panicking for Isaac’s sanity, and needed a prognosis regarding the ramifications of Squiggles 2’s misadventure on terra firma.

Google yielded a partial answer: the oozy white film was perhaps a routine molting of frog-skin, but I wasn’t convinced, especially because we were missing critical information, such as Squiggles 2’s actual species of frog.

Imagine my surprise and relief this morning, when we went to peek in on Squiggles 2. The white oozy film was gone, and he responded with as much vim and vigor as ever to my index finger flicking the plastic shell of his home.

No matter what happens from now on, one thing is clear: Squiggles 2 is a survivor.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

5 Self Care Tips for Your Lady Parts Now that Congress Has Told Them to Shrivel Up and Die

The “self-care” trend could not have come at a better time. 

The President of the United States is tweeting about a television journalist’s sanity, low IQ, and her bleeding face-lift. Meanwhile, an all-penis-having cabal of Congressmen is poised to snatch health insurance from millions, thereby indirectly murdering innocent American citizens for the sole purpose of obliterating a black man’s legacy while giving their corporate overlords a giant tax break. 

In short, there’s no better time than now to take control of your health! 

Here are five tips for self-care now that Congress is poised to make sure your lady parts shrivel the fuck up and die if they have anything to say about it!

1. Breast Cancer:
Get in the shower and press your fingers in concentric circles around your breasts, working outward from the nipple, feeling for lumps. If you find one, just ignore it and pray it’s a dried-up milk duct or an ingrown hair because guess what? You don’t have health insurance and chemo is expensive!

2. Birth Control: Who needs birth control? The pilgrims who built this great nation did fine without it, and so will you. Anyway, do you really expect the rest of hard-working America to subsidize your ho-game, you entitled slut? I don’t think so. Viagra will totally still be covered though, so a 75 year old man with a rock-hard dick can rape you, evade prosecution, and you’ll be forced to have his baby because no abortions. Yay!

3. Postpartum Depression: Got those baby blues? We all know depression and mental illness is just a bunch of hysterical made-up craziness, so if you’re feeling sad, try calling a friend or family member or indulge in a scoop of your favorite ice cream. Maybe post something on social media about how life is meaningless, even/especially with a brand new infant. Failing that, swallow a bottle of Tylenol or jump out a window. Don’t forget to leave a note that says you would have gotten help if you could’ve afforded it! That’ll show ‘em!

4. Heart Disease: Heart disease is the leading cause of death among women in the United States. That’s why it’s important to eat right, stay fit and healthy, and never get heart disease even if you do all of that, because it’s super expensive to go to a cardiologist. One day you will drop dead on the treadmill and that’s just how the cookie crumbles! We all have to go someday, right?

5. Asthma: Meditation and deep breathing exercises are great for asthma and other respiratory woes when you can’t get your insurance to cover your inhaler anymore. Who needs western medicine when you can just relax and breathe through the suffocation. It's all in your head, as opposed to your constricting bronchial tubes. Harness the positive energy of the universe and ignore that tightening in your chest. It’s just the toxins leaving your body.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Open Letter to My Reproductive System: We Need to Set Some Boundaries Here

Dear Reproductive System,

Look. I’ve been meaning to talk to you about this for a long time now, but we really need to set some boundaries.

I’ve known you since I was 14 years old, and things were fine between us. At first. At first, I was excited about you. Like, “Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret” where’s-my-period-already-everyone-has-their-period-but-me type shit.

But the bloom came off that rose pretty fucking quick, because I then spent the ensuing years up until age 29 spending unbelievable amounts of time and money on you, resenting your existence, and trying to prevent you from making a baby by mistake.

Then at age 29, I took you out for a spin and I have to say you performed beautifully! You made two healthy babies. SLOW CLAP. GOOD JOB. I am eternally grateful to you. For reals.

Let's be honest though: that was pretty much the one and only time you were useful and fulfilling the purpose you were meant to serve, and to be frank, your job here is done now. Pink slip, shut down, all jobs shipped overseas. 

You're the new rust belt, and I have zero plans to make you great again. 


I will be 40 in less than four short months and yet. And YET, every single month without fail, you tell me to make a baby. I’ll be sitting at my desk at work, like MAYBE I SHOULD HAVE ANOTHER BABY. WOULDN’T THAT BE FUN?!

Or I will see a baby on the street in a stroller or at the airport eating Gerbers Graduates Puffs out of a little plastic snack cup and say to the mom/myself WHAT A CUTE BABY ITS HEAD SMELLS GOOD AND ITS TOES ARE CUTE I WANT TO PLAY WITH THAT BABY’S TOES I SHOULD GROW ANOTHER BABY RIGHT NOW.

Then I will call Geoff say LET’S MAKE ANOTHER BABY WHEN I GET HOME FROM WORK TODAY, and he will ask me if I’m crazy, which of course I am, because when I look at the calendar, I discover that it wasn’t my idea at all! 

It was YOURS!

It was my ovaries planting evil thoughts of a third baby in my brain, and all the miserable sleeplessness, arguing, beauty of pregnancy, bodily destruction, destroyed nipples, financial ruin, and enormous carbon footprint putting another primate on the planet and under my roof would entail.

Then when I don’t do what you say, you get PISSED, apparently, because two weeks later you wake me up to a fucking BLOODBATH that looks like a still from the set of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, with debilitating pain, three extra pounds of water weight, and the need to eat Cinnamon Rice Chex out of a mixing bowl for dinner.

Yes, I know there are all sorts things I could do to get you to step off. 
Like intrauterine doo-hickies and pills and shit, but my skin and boobs can’t really deal with any of that, and my cervix is a one-way street, as I learned the hard way during labor with baby #1 when they tried to manually dilate me (you?) and I cried from pain for the first time since I was seven, probably. 

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want you to like, “go away” entirely because of some disease or even retreat into menopause forever, because I realize there are some benefits to your ongoing existence such as thick lustrous hair, for example. (Granted, I wouldn’t miss thick lustrous hair on my face as much as I would on my head, but that’s a different topic).

I just need you to chill out, is what I’m saying. Like I just need some space and some boundaries. I really need you to lay off the throttle with the MAKE A BABY MAKE A BABY MAKE A BABY stuff, and then I especially need you to dial back the “wake-up revenge massacre” when I refuse to do it.

It’s not that much to ask, is it?


Your Owner

Okay, But His 1989 Bar Mitzvah Swag Game is Tight!

Say what you will about the current occupant of the Oval Office. 

Sure, he's a clinical narcissist, a demented sociopath, and a semi-literate racist misogynist with the impulse control and attention span of a toddler, the civics knowledge of a fourth grader, and the means to blow us all to the next galaxy with the push of a button. 

BUUUUUUUT his 80s bar/bat mitzvah swag game is on LOCK!

I didn't have a bat mitzvah myself, as I was raised by atheist hippies who believed organized religion is bad for society and that big bar/bat mitzvah parties were a vain, conspicuously consumptive waste of money that went against all they stood for. 

Still, I probably went to no fewer than 40 such parties of kids whose parents felt precisely the opposite, and I have ALL the swag to show for it.

That's how I found the first nice thing I could say about Donald Trump yesterday, when REAL NEWS came out that he was decorating his golf resorts with a FAKE TIME MAGAZINE COVER.

His 1989 bar mitzvah swag game is fucking ACES!!!!

I made this exact same thing at half the bar and bat mitzvah parties I went to in 1989-90. Given that, I suspect Trump is ALSO sitting on the following, which any reporter worth his or her salt should be able to suss out at Mar-a-Lago:

1. Boxers and T-shirts that say "I had a blast #MAGA, 11/9/16"

2. A giant foam board with the signatures of his whole cabinet under a cartoon set of golf clubs and balls.

3. Steve Bannon going table to table and drinking all the sand-bagged liquor the grownups left behind.

4. Donald and Melania slow-dancing awkwardly to Forever Young by Alphaville.

5. A bunch of red, white, and blue glow sticks and sparkly plastic fedoras from Oriental Trading Company.

6. An arch of red, white, and blue balloons at the front entrance to the whole Winter White House compound.

7. A DJ who keeps playing Poison by Bel Biv DeVoe, Baby Got Back, We are Family, and Celebrate on loop. (I LIKE BIG BUTTS AND I CANNOT LIE!)

8. Whole cabinet playing Coke & Pepsi in scrunchie socks.

9. Kellyanne Conway, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and Omarosa whispering in the girls' bathroom about Melania's pink taffeta dress with puffy sleeves and a matching bolero jacket.

10. Three words: pigs in blankets.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Senator Murkowski: Please Do the Right Thing and Vote NO on This Disastrous Health Care Bill

Dear Senator Murkowski,

Your constituents know it, and deep down, so do you: Trump Care is a DISASTER for Alaskans.

According to the 6/26/17 report from the Congressional Budget Office, 64,500 Alaskans will lose access to health care under the Senate version of the AHCA, including 17,200 on Medicaid and 47,300 in the individual market. 

That's almost 10% of our population, many of whom voted for you, not that it should matter.

I am fortunate to have good health insurance here in Alaska that is not jeopardized by Trump Care, at least for now. But this battle is not about any one individual. It's about the morals and ethics of letting people whose welfare you are sworn to protect suffer and/or die on your watch as a result of this unconscionable legislation.

It's good that you are reportedly working with Senator Collins of Maine to ensure ongoing funding for Planned Parenthood, and presumably opposing cuts to Medicaid and opioid addiction programs. But it's not enough. Please stay strong and push back full throttle against Trump Care and any attempt to sell out the health of your constituents to tax breaks for millionaires.

I know you are facing outsized pressure given the powerful position you hold, but you work for us, not Mitch McConnell or Paul Ryan or other men in Congress, whose only real goal is to kick down Obama's tower of blocks in a childish vendetta that will cost your constituents their lives. 

Please remember people like me: people who voted for you, who have met you in person, who know you are smart and reasonable and ultimately want to do the right thing by the Alaskans who send you to D.C. again and again to do exactly that.

Look to your conscience. Please put our lives ahead of partisan games, make us proud, and join the right side of history. Alaskans--and the whole country--are counting on you.

Libby Bakalar
Juneau, Alaska

Monday, June 26, 2017

The NYT Fashion Section HAS to be Trolling Us With This Story of Millennial Socialites Trying to Contact Leonard Bernstein in a Seance

Full disclosure: I don't believe in ghosts. In fact, I got into a heated debate about the spirit world (or lack thereof) this weekend with two of my oldest and closest friends. 

I think they're both nuts for believing in ghosts, and they both think I'm a stick-in-the-mud cynic who isn't tuned into and open to the right spiritual energy frequency. I'm willing to entertain this possibility, but it would take a pretty dramatic personal experience to change my mind.  

Let the record show that this experience would not be attending a seance in the Dakota on Central Park West, hosted by two 20-something sibling socialites, a millennial Persian princess, and the alleged ghost of Leonard Bernstein.

I'd like to think that even if Leonard Bernstein's ghost were lurking within summoning distance, the musical genius composer of West Side Story would not stoop to appear before a Steinway piano flanked by Toby and Larry Milstein, two rich-to-the-point-of-it-should-be-criminal-but-never-will-be-because-America-is-an-oligarchy-masquerading-as-a-free-market-capitalist-democracy children who are dressed for the occasion in a "striped Fendi halter dress with matching booties and Gucci fur-lined leather slippers with a Club Monaco top."

Toby, 24, took a break from her job as a "business developer for a tech startup that makes interactive photo albums" to let the NYT fashion and style section into her parents' 8-zillion square foot apartment on behalf of its former occupant: a long-dead Broadway legend who almost certainly would find them repellent. Not deterred, Larry, 22, implied that hosting a seance was a great use of everyone's time because surely Leonard Bernstein would appreciate Larry reaching out toward his "vibrations."

Then there was this, which I will just leave here without comment:

The author of the Times piece seemed distinctly unimpressed with the seance, noting that by the end, all the assembled living souls had to show for their efforts in terms of "spirits" was Jack Daniels whisky and the rumbling of the A-Train.

Even though the Milsteins intended this spread as a promotional effort for their "philanthropy" (read: tax-sheltered redistribution of wrongly-acquired wealth) it didn't quite come off that way. These two aren't impressing anyone, living or dead.

As the also-dead Leonard Cohen would say, "everybody knows."

Sunday, June 25, 2017

I Have ALL the Questions for Donna SueMa, Alaska Family Man and Drag Queen

Steve Suewing and I have been social acquaintances for years here in Juneau, running into each other at kids' sports games, birthday parties, and on the streets during the week in our state-worker professional attire.

I've always known that Steve has a drag queen alter-ego--Donna SueMa--and have chatted with him briefly about performing in drag, but didn't get around to seeing him perform until this year's Glitz drag show.

It was epic, and I finally worked up the courage to ask Steve ALL the questions I had long been harboring about Donna SueMa, which he enthusiastically answered and agreed to let me publish on O.H.M.

Q: How did you first get interested in performing in drag? In other words, how did you become a drag queen?

A: I dressed as a woman for parties in college a few times. In 2002, I was in Skagway and up for trying almost anything. A fabulous Queen had an idea for a drag show and was looking for volunteers to perform. What could possibly go wrong? The show was super camp, but I really enjoyed the process of transformation and felt a huge rush from being someone else for a while. I enjoyed the attention from the multiple reactions and those that thought I was courageous for putting myself out there. I did not really think about whether people would wonder how I identified sexually and I really didn't give a damn. I still don't today. If someone wants to label me then so be it. I don't see myself as a drag queen. Yeah I dress in drag and perform, but I feel like I am still trying to earn Queen status. I call myself a Queen in some circles, but still not comfortable enough to use the title all of the time.

Q: What was your first big drag show and how did it go?

A: My coming out of my drag closet was in 2015 at the locals show/competition at Femme Fetale. This was my first "big" show in Juneau. I don't think that people knew I had drag in me and I surprised a lot of people. My make-up was really crazy now that I look back on it. I can also see some progress, which feels good. Glitz 2016 was my first huge show. 600 peeps in Juneau, Alaska is a big deal. I have spoken in front of a crowd this big, but worrying about a bulge, my tights slipping down, or my wig falling off is a whole different deal. I did trip down the stage, but saved myself. That was super scary for a moment.

Q:  How do you "identify" along the LGBTQ gender/sexuality spectrum?

I don't identify. Fact: I am married to a woman. Almost every one of my drag family in Juneau are friends with me on social media and know my partner is a woman and that we have sons. None of them have ever asked about how I identify, and they just give me space to be who I am and I give them the same. It doesn't matter. Life is too confusing for me to worry about someone else's identity, and mine is mine.

Q: How did you pick the name Donna SueMa for your drag alter-ego (is that what they're even called? alter ego doesn't sound correct).

A: I was struggling to find a drag name. The kick ass pediatrician that is our son's doctor gave it to me. At first I was pretty lukewarm about it, but I have grown into it. Yes it's a play-on Don't Assume and with the SueMa it makes a nod to my real name and Chinese heritage. It's fun I get to keep this when I am a woman too. 

Q: How much work is it/how long does it take to get into the full Donna SueMa getup?

With hair removal operations, probably 2.5 hours. It's work for sure, but every time I get a little better with it and/or learn ways to be more efficient. I can do it in two hours if pushed, but almost always stress hard at the end. I actually paint my nails at the end just for a calming activity.

Q: You have a wife and two little boys ages 9 and 5. What do they think about Donna Sue Ma and what is their overall attitude about it?

I usually do a lot of prep at home so they have seen me in drag pretty frequently. I wouldn't say that they have met Donna because she is who I am when I leave the house. "Dad do you have show tonight?" is their usual question. Dad getting ready for a show and dressing as a woman has been normalized for them. I have done 8 shows in Juneau in the last 22 months and they are used to it. I did take the 9 year old to a drag show recently, but they have not seen Donna out or performing. I think it will be fun when they finally get to see Donna doing her thing.

Q: What about your extended family, friends, and colleagues? Are they supportive of Donna Sue Ma or are they confused about why you do this or supportive, judgmental, or . . . ?

My parents have seen me in quasi-drag for a family super bowl party we had a couple of years ago. They made no comment. As conservative Christians, I am sure they were freaked out but it's not the first surprise I ever gave them! They are not on social media, so that is a blessing in that I don't think they have ever seen glammed-up Donna. If they know they haven't asked, and I haven't told. Most of my friends have either been supportive or they don't say anything. I have seen some comments on social media about it being "gross" or "go back to being you" but not enough to think it was harassing. This was early on and now I think they just ignore Donna if they don't like me being her when she pops up on my feed. Sometimes I like to change my personal profile to Donna to fuck with everyone on Juneau Community Collective or other pages. I do it less often now but I do get a wild hair now and then.

Q: Have you ever faced hostility, discrimination, or judgment of any kind for being a drag performer?

If people are judging me, it's behind my back and I like it that way. Joke! With so many Kings and Queens in Juneau, we usually travel with one another when out in Juneau. I think it's our safety net. I feel fortunate to say I have not experienced any hostility, discrimination, or judgment. I have experienced a lot of old and drunk guys groping me, but I think it's probably just the realities of a woman in the scene.

Q: What motivates you to continue performing in drag?

I want to be a Queen and this is what motivates me. There is so much to work on. My make-up game, better costuming, better performances, etc. What motivates me is that I know I can do drag at a certain level, but I want to hit that next level. Now that I have some idea what I should be doing and have such a supportive network of drag brothers and sisters, I am gaining even more confidence and enjoy myself even more than I have before. For example, this last show was my first show with some boom-curvy hips. It felt different but it felt good. Now it's time to get more used to them and move on to the next drag challenge.

Q: What has been the most fun/rewarding thing about performing as Donna SueMa?

I am still surprising people that I do drag and that I am OK at it. That's rewarding. One of the most rewarding moments was when Donna appeared at home to head to a show, and my sons didn't skip a beat about how I looked and what I was doing. That felt rewarding. Just finishing a number is rewarding and having a crowd happy to see me and cheer for me still feels really good. Getting pats on the butt and compliments from my drag family feels really good too because they are so talented and they know where I started from.

Q: What has been the most difficult?

A: In-grown 
chest hairs! I am a hairy dude and the amount of hair removal that needs to happen before a show is a pain but it's getting close to routine. I am still not super comfortable with my make-up game the learning curve has been steep for me. I look forward to be able to be consistently good with it. I think that may be the most difficult thing for me.

Q: Do you ever dress in drag other than when performing as Donna Sue Ma?

Getting Donna ready is at least a two-hour process. I wish I had other opportunities and time to take her out, but I haven't yet. Unfortunately, it would need to be scheduled with my current life commitments.

Q: Are you an exception in the drag community---like a family man with a wife and two kids is not what one thinks of as the typical drag performer. Have you met others "like" you?

A: Daphne DoAll LaChores is married to a woman. I am not sure if they have kids. We have connected about our similarities. I think we have a kinship of sorts. Maybe I am an exception in the Drag Community at large, but it's not something I think a lot about now. I love doing drag. Drag makes me feel good, special, and honest with myself. I am not hurting anyone. Drag queens are just not typical. Unlike other people, they just show their human complexity differently. I have so much respect for people that drag. It's hard but so rewarding if it's what someone wants to do.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

This Takes Commitment

A friend of mine went to Chareston with her husband for her 40th birthday and came back with this pic which is just like, so ... I don't even know what. 

Amazing? Confusing? Committed? What's the word? I don't even know.

Just imagine being SO committed to your identity as a confederate ... Fan? Descendant? Superfan? Stan?

I don't even know what to call it--but whatever it is, imagine being so committed to ANY identity, that you're willing to risk your life (and the lives of others) by covering your entire back windshield with stickers commemorating that identity.

Like that's already bad enough. Then add to it that the identity in question is a traitorous militia of slaveholders that the rest of the world isn't supposed to criticize because it's some wackass version of "heritage" that includes HUMAN FUCKING CURRENCY!


Okay, leave that aside. Let's pretend this isn't confederate swag, and it was just maybe like, Seahawks stuff, or Beanie Babies, or like a collection of stickers of Calvin pissing on a Ford sign or something. 

It's just so fucking over the top.

I feel like maybe ONE Calvin pissing or Seahawks sticker is enough. We get the idea. Do we really need enough to cause a car wreck?

It's like we get it. We get it dude. You're a big rebel with a huge cock who's trying to take it back to 1861. Fuck black lives matter and watch out because you're gonna shove a gun up the ass of the first person who looks at you funny.

Like ONE of those stickers, I think, would be sufficient to get this message across. To let the world know where you stand on the Union versus the Confederacy. And yet you're in the Union now, so maybe just LAY OFF THE THROTTLE like the tiniest bit?

Even I, who could easily cover my entire vehicle with unflattering stickers of Donald Trump's face merged with the poop emoji know better than to dial it up to this level.

This takes some serious commitment (or at least a serious commitment to advertising your commitment) to a cause, and a distinct failure to master the art of subtlety.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Paige Has Been on the East Coast for Less Than 24 Hours and Has Complained About Heat 490 Times So Far

Although this photo was taken in the Seattle Airport, it accurately coveys Paige's feelings about east coast heat and car traffic in Boston, where as I write this it is 88 degrees on a Friday at rush hour.

Not gonna lie: I'm straight up worried this Alaska girl is going to fail to adjust to real summer, even in slightly-cooler-than-most-of-the-lower-48 New Hampshire where she will be away at camp for a month. 

Whether Paige's intolerance for heat is the result of some genetic predisposition, her Alaskan roots, or some combination of the two, the end result is intermittent bitching--from a kid who in all fairness rarely bitches about anything--about how hot it is.


It's really quite dramatic. 

It's moments like this that I realize what it means to be born and raised in a temperate rain forest where, global warming notwithstanding, 45 degree days in July are the norm and the mercury rarely even hits 75. 

We did, however, spend the hottest part of the day in the air conditioned Boston Science Museum where Paige convinced my septegenarian aunt to go on a mini roller coaster and built a huge tower out of Jenga blocks. 

For science. 

Paige did experience her first ever planetarium show and announced that she was going to be a rocket scientist. I told her not so fast, homeslice. 

It's REALLY hot at Cape Canaveral.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Are You Here for Man Bun Ken?

Because I am, bros n' bitches!

Man Bun Ken is one of several new Ken Dolls Mattel introduced to the world in order to deal with the fact that regular blonde Ken is 80s AF, and no little girl wants to play pretend Barbie sexy fun times with Blaine from Pretty in Pink or the water skier from the Juicy Fruit commercial anymore.

As you can see below, there's also a Justin Bieber, a Bruno Mars, and a Taylor Swift boyfriend with nerd-chic Buddy Holly glasses.

But by FAR--by FAR--the best new Ken is "Man Bun Ken." The creation of Mattel Man Bun Ken™ is the canary in the man bun coal mine. But before the man bun goes the way of Flock of Seagulls hair, let's pretend that Man Bun Ken has a little computer in the back where you can press a button and he says like 10 different man bun things.

Twitter already had kind of a field day with Man Bun Ken, but no one so far--I think--has put words in the mouth of Man Bun Ken other than someone who claimed he looks like he would interrupt her and say "Bernie Would Have Won" which is just . . . MWAH.

Anyway, here are 10 things I think Man Bun Ken would say if he could talk:

1. "There's a great new brunch spot in Silver Lake."

2. "I am CRUSHING Tinder."

3. "OMG. I am SO OLD."

4. "I'm moving to an organic farm for the summer to do their creative."

5. "Please engage with my brand."

6. "I'm DJ'ing at Kompromat tonight." (Kompromat is the name of a made-up bar in Williamsburg)

7. "I'm doing a multi-media performance art installation at Kompromat tonight."

8. "Follow me on Instagram."

9. "I love your aesthetic. It's so authentic."

10. "My hair products are locally-sourced."

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Fucking Really? Why Do Mass Murderers Always Wash Up in Alaska?!


According to the Juneau Empire, four people possibly "connected" to the execution style-killings of 8 people in Ohio "took a vacation to Alaska" in "recent weeks" and authorities "believe the family has now relocated to Alaska, but would not be more specific." 


DUDES. Alaska is  663,300 square miles. So for Ohio authorities to imply that the public should be on the lookout for a family of four murderous rednecks is a bit of a needle in a haystack proposition, at least initially. (Then again, there's hope, see below).

Further research reveals that a child traveling with the wanted fugitives is named "Bovine," which speaks to questionable judgment (though not necessarily homicidal behavior), since it's kind of mean to name a kid after a cow and it also makes you pretty conspicuous if you register for daycare while on the lam (or lamb? BOOM!) 

Even in a state where naming children after mountains, trees, and weeds is common,"Bovine" sticks out.

For some reason, sketch-ass fugitive motherfuckers have this delusional fantasy that Alaska is going to be like their secret haven where they can just hide out forever. 

couple problems with this myth:

1. It's not as easy to hide out here as you think. Alaska has a very small population (738,500) and the lowest population density in the U.S. So everyone is six degrees of separation from everyone else. Newcomers are duly noted everywhere.

2. There's plenty of wilderness to hide out in. But the average fugitive who is dumb enough to shoot 8 people and hit the road is unlikely to survive here very long without Alaska kicking their ass to the point of serious injury or death.

In sum, there's good news and bad news to this story. 

The bad news is that homicidal rednecks still run away to Alaska and the myth of escape.

The good news is that the myth of the Alaska escape is just that, a myth, and people and sketch who live and belong here know how to flush out the people and sketch who don't.

Tick-tock, motherfuckers!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

I Think I Speak for Most Women When I Say I Wish There Was a Safe and Clean Way to Catheterize Myself Every Night

"Too lazy to pee" are four words I would have hoped I'd never use to describe myself, but welp, here we are.

And I think I speak for most women when I say I wish there was some way to safely (and painlessly) catheterize myself overnight, for the simple reason that my bladder won't last through the night on its own. It wasn't just the kids. I've always been like this. It's just that now, I can't go back to sleep again, because here's what happens:

I suddenly worry I haven't set the alarm so I go double check. But whoops!

Since my alarm clock is also my calendar, maybe I should take a quick peek just to see what meetings I have tomorrow.

And then because my calendar is my weatherman, I need to look at the weather to figure out what to wear to the meeting.

And then because my weatherman is also telling me that the weather is going to be unusually warm, I start to get nervous about climate change and open my newspaper, which surprise surprise, is also my weatherman.

And once I open the newspaper, all bets are off, and I might as well check my email which is right next to my newspaper.

And I'm wide-awake and mad at the world at 4:00 a.m.

I know what you're going to say. Why are you sleeping with a smart phone next to your bed? Don't you know that's the EXACT thing that every expert in everything since smart phones were invented tells you not to fucking do? 

And that if you do it you are seriously the worst person on earth, and might as well be smoking 800 packs of cigarettes and eating Junior Mints by the bucketful every single day?! And how but no, seriously though, you shouldn't do that it's terrible sleep hygiene.

To that I say: PISH-POSH! I might come up with a good idea for a blog post, (and often do from dreams). And also, how will I know when something horrible happens to a relative on the east coast?

You can see the problem. 

And, at the risk of offending someone who actually needs a catheter for medical reasons, this is why it all comes down to wanting a catheter simply to avoid losing three hours of precious sleep to Donald Trump's early morning tweet-storms.

Not Equipped

I am not equipped for this task. That’s what I thought, for months after he asked me. His message sat in my in-box, blinking, criticizing, reminding. I see you, it said. I see you not doing this thing you promised to do.

He didn’t ask again, but I knew he wouldn’t. My disappointing failure to do this was going to be just that: My own failure and my own disappointment.

I wrote to him and told him I was halfway there. I had read my friend Ishmael’s book of poems, Rock Piles Along the Eddy, but I couldn’t do the second part. I couldn’t write about it.

Sorry it’s taken me so long. I haven’t forgotten, I promise. But I’m not equipped to do this. That’s what I told him, in so many words. I thought your poems were beautiful, but what do I know? What does a Jewish woman, born and raised in New York City, and an Alaska transplant/intruder/interloper know about the poetry of an Inupiaq and Tlingit Alaska Native man?

Moreover, I’m not a literary critic. I write about farts, nipples, Cheetos, and Donald Trump's spray tan for tweets, shares, and viral laughs. I don’t know anything about poems. Or if I do, I’ve forgotten. And when I did know, it was the classic western kind. Keats, Yeats, Walt Whitman. Norton Anthology stuff. I have nothing to say.

He assured me that I did have something to say, which is why he had asked me to say something. And over the course of some back-and-forth, I realized he was right. The problem was not that I had nothing to say. To the contrary, I had plenty to say. I was just afraid to say it.

The night before, I’d asked Geoff what my “angle” on this post should be. He said “don’t go there.” By “there” I knew what he meant. He meant The Things We Don’t Talk About. For us, maybe why we chose to circumcise our son and why we don’t have a Christmas tree. The Holocaust, slavery, genocide, diaspora, assimilation, competing in the historical trauma “suffering Olympics.” As if there could be a Gold Medal in such a thing. 


But, Ishmael said, this is the crux of dialogue. It is the crux of my blog, too, though the medium seems trivial, petty and ephemeral. To explore and probe with authenticity and sometimes vulgarity, and hopefully some depth, the things we don’t like to face. The Things We Don't Talk About. To stare into the blinding sun of those things, open my eyes wide, and let them burn my retinas.

What does it mean to do that in this particular instance? Well, I think it means to acknowledge that there is a reason I do not like to wear my Alaska Native jewelry and why my lavender kuspuk stays buried in a drawer, out of sight. It feels dishonest and appropriating to adorn myself with these objects. 

It means “passing” as “white,” and collecting all the prizes—big and small—awarded for the genetic happenstance of white skin. Being in, of, defending, and benefiting from the systems erected and imposed amid the ruins of a very recent and evident cultural genocide, the reverberations of which are felt, seen, and heard everywhere, every day, in this state. 

To concede the point that it is more than “white guilt” or “white tears.” Or being “woke” or "calling people out" for being “not woke.” It is those things, of course, but above all, it is white complicity.

A few lines from one of Ishmael's poems in RPATE (my invented acronym for this, Ishmael’s second collection of poems) reminded me where the rubber of my reluctance met the road of necessity to do the simple thing Ishmael had asked of me:

This is Native land.
Until you recognize this, there is no justice.
Until you act on this, there is no justice.
Until you dig deeper than empathy, there is no justice.
Until you give up what you never should have had in the first place, there is no justice.
Taking up the space, the land, the airtime, the mic, the profits,
the recognition, the dialogue, the conversation.
It’ll never feel right.

Steps Toward Dismantling Collective Psychosis on Colonized Land is the title of the poem from which this excerpt is taken.

In Alaska, we live in the wake of a massive cultural genocide perpetrated with surgical, devastating precision on a complex and rich culture. This is a fact. To acknowledge it as objective reality—and not a matter of subjective perception—is, just maybe, one tiny step toward dismantling the collective psychosis that none of it ever happened.

Monday, June 19, 2017

This I Spy Junk Board is a Hard-Won Trophy of Short-Lived Sibling Harmony

If I'm honest (and I usually am), a full 70% of my kids' interactions with each other are hostile. Scratch that. It's more like 80%.

This statistic defies my only-childhood fantasy of sibling bliss. Despite being forewarned by veteran parents, I had naively assumed that my kids would be best friends at all times. Now I realize they're just two people who got stuck with the same parents and chromosomes. Under more primal circumstances, they would surely try to kill each other in the wild in a Darwinian quest for resources.

The deflated expression on Isaac's face in this picture provides a glimpse into the tempestuous evening that led to the creation of this "I Spy" junk board.

I'd come home from work in a mood. A bad one. My eczema was flaring up again after I'd let myself believe that an expensive magical medicine had cured it forever. The state legislature was marching grimly toward the fiscal plank of a devastating shutdown that would put a serious cog in everyone's financial works. And natch, because it was a day ending in "Y," Vladimir Cheetos was barging through the China shop of American democracy like a raging orange bull.

In short: My data limit for the intolerable had just been exceeded, which is my kids' cue to go into roll-over minutes.

I tried to go to my "happy place" of adult coloring on the couch as I listened to Paige and Isaac devolve into pointless conflict over nothing.


"WELL SHE SMALL-PINCHED ME AND CRUSHED MY NUTS!" ("Small pinching" is exactly what it sounds like, and so is "nut crushing").

I just sat there ignoring them both, slowly rolling a magenta glitter gel pen around and around inside the petal of a pen-and-ink flower, pretending I was somewhere--anywhere--else. 

Somewhere I didn't have to hear my kids arguing with each other, for the sound of my kids arguing is even more unbearable to me than Nickelback and/or the sound of Donald Trump saying words, which is really saying something. 

Finally, I played the "no screen time or sugar for a month if you don't quit fighting" empty threat card. Fortunately, my kids still fear my making good on this threat, notwithstanding all historical precedent to the contrary. They fell into line. 

Under Paige's able (if slightly despotic) leadership, my kids cooperated to both get rid of junk AND use their imaginations!

Of course, this "I Spy Board," as Paige called it, was itself destined to become the object of a future fight. But for now, it was a hard-won trophy of short-lived sibling harmony, and it would be documented for posterity.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

My Face Hurts from Glitz-Related Smiling

The Rocky Horror Picture Show on Waverly Place, a few blocks from Stonewall. Boys Night at Twylo. Provincetown in summer. The AIDS Walk. Gay and lesbian couples in my familial orbit. 

These were all staples of my very straight, very cis-gendered childhood in New York City. So I'm certainly no stranger to drag. And all I can say is Juneau fucking BRINGS it when it comes to drag and Pride.

It was only by the grace of a friend whose husband was performing as one of the queens that I scored a seat to what I didn't realize (but will certainly note for future reference) was the hottest ticket in town. (P.S. to note to self: DO NOT WEAR JEANS, WOOL SOCKS, AND CLOGS, K?). I couldn't stop laughing and smiling watching all the drag queens and kings just fucking kill it up there.  

And I honestly teared up looking at all the people who had come to see this flagship Pride week event. Because it's one thing to celebrate Pride and the LGBTQ community in NYC, where tolerance abounds, and it's quite another to do it with so much love and so much enthusiasm in the capital of Alaska.

Everyone has a different story. I'm not LGBTQ myself, and I don't pretend to know what a lot of the people in that room and on that stage have been through.

I was reminded of it, though, when the emcee who was down from Anchorage mentioned that there were protests planned against Anchorage Pride, and called on the audience to just love one another.

I have to confess it's hard for me not to be repulsed by (much less love) people who would take time out of their day just to show up and rain negativity on fellow human beings who have nothing to do with them, and are just trying to celebrate their own humanity.

Then I decided that if I couldn't dig up any love, I could at least find sympathy. Because really, you have to feel sorry for people who are that sheltered, damaged, and afraid. You just have to feel compassion for someone who can't find it for others. For people with that kind of misguided, clueless hate in their hearts. It must suck so hard to be them, and hopefully love and Pride will drown out their sad, tiny, shitty little voices.

To end on a lighter (grosser?) note, I had an insight tonight about "test-farting" and gender-neutral bathrooms. 

Test-farting is what I do when I have to fart and I'm not sure what the fart situation is. Like is it a mild one-off? Or is it about to be like the kind of thing where I just need to go home?

That's when I realized what the bathroom wars were really all about. I AM afraid of gender-neutral bathrooms! Why? Because I spent my entire younger life trying not to be the girl who accidentally gave up the biggest secret of her entire gender.

One of the drag kings was wearing a tank top that said "GENDER IS OVER," which is all well and good. But that doesn't change the fact that in a post-gender society with gender-neutral bathrooms, a hot guy might hear me fart.

Now THAT'S something to protest, motherfuckers!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Juneau DJ and Radio Personality Angel Montgomery Could Make the Garbage Dump Sound Like a Trip to Disney Land

Because I have a nine year-old girl, I end up listening to a shitload of Top 40. Ugh, who am I kidding. I would totes listen to Top 40 anyway, because I am 100% here for Coldplay, T-Swizzle, and Drake.

Regardless of whose fault it is (mine or my kid's), I listen to Mix 106 in the car a lot and I must say, I am in awe of local DJ and radio personality Angel Montgomerey's ability to make ANYTHING sound AMAZEBALLS.

I can only surmise that she is named after the John Prine song, Angel from Montgomery, but either way, the thing I love about this DJ is that she is obviously really great at her job. Like, watching someone who's really good at their job is always fun. Whether they're a lawyer, a fisherman, a mechanic, a musician, a teacher, or a carver, there is a unique pleasure in observing someone kick ass at their job.

Part of Angel's job (can I call her Angel? I don't actually know her), is to set up shop with her radio gear at various locations and events around town and advertise and promote them. 

Over the years, Angel and her perky enthusiasm have convinced me to bring home a spicy tuna Poke bowl, get my tires checked, and eat a 16 oz. cup of raspberry frozen yogurt with gummy worms on it, when truth be told I needed exactly zero of those things. I would die of exhaustion if I had to sound that happy about anything for even five minutes.

Just this very morning, I heard Angel promoting Gold Rush Days, where I know for a fact it is pissing down rain, and yet Angel made it sound like a beach bonfire in Maui with an open bar that you'd be crazy not to hit up immediately. 

In fact, Angel could make Juneau's garbage dump sound like Disney Land. I'm not kidding. You would flip a U-turn and book it right to the dump if Angel told you to go there, because this is what it would sound like:
Howya doin' folks!? Angel Montogmery here, and we're broadcasting live this morning from Juneau's #1 garbage dump in Lemon Creek! And let me tell you: It. Is. AMAZING. DO. NOT. MISS THIS! There's liquid sunshine just STREAMING down out of the sky right now onto mounds and mounds (we're talking TONS) of the best junk in town! And the eagles, Omigosh. The eagles are just EVERYWHERE. They're circling around, and those majestic birds are going to snap up all the old fish heads and rusty tire irons if you don't hurry up and get out here NOW. AND, while you're here you can put your name in to win an all-expenses paid trip to see Lady Gaga in Las Vegas!
Serious props to Angel Montgomery who could make the garbage dump sound like the biggest party ever.

Friday, June 16, 2017

That Time You Thought it Was Summer in Alaska But Then Were All Like Wait, No, Never Mind. It is Fucking Snowing in June

1.That time you went out in your friend’s boat and caught an 80 lb. halibut under a bluebird sky: Nothing says summer in Alaska like fishing on the crystal blue waters of the Inside Passage. It really felt like summer that day! Almost 70 with calm winds, and a self-satisfied sense of AAAAAAAAAH! This is THE LIFE! Only problem is that now it’s 45 degrees, raining at sea level, snowing in the mountains, and windy AF. That’s when you were like wait, no, never mind, remind me why I live here, no one told me to live here, it’s fucking snowing in June.

2. That time you roasted caribou hot dogs on the beach and wore sunglasses while watching the sun set at 11:00 p.m. with some mountains you can't name in the background: A reindeer hot dog roasted over an open fire under the Midnight Sun. It’s Insta-Instagrammable eco-porn! You snapped that pic, posted it, were like #SummerInAlaska, and watched the likes and the wows just POUR the fuck in. BOOYA! But the very next day it was like, oh wait, never mind, I left my phone out on the deck and now it’s dead because monsoons. #SnowingInJune #BuildTheArc.

3. That time you ran on a trail with your friend at lunch in short sleeves:
 Alaska is totes all about work-life balance. Alaskans consistently have the highest life satisfaction on that index of life happiness thing that was going around that one time on Facebook. On beautiful sunny days at lunch during the work week you’ll be like, Hey guuuuuuuuuurl, let’s go for a run, it’s like soooooooooo nice outside, riiieeeeeght? And your friend will be all like, YAY! SUMMER! Fer Suuuuuuuure! Meet ya on the super bright corner across from the Capitol Building where nothing’s happening anymore in 10! And then the next day you’ll both be like uhhhhhhhhm, wait, never mind I’m wearing my puffy coat to work again kill me now every moment I live is agony, m'kay?

4. That time you went on a 12-mile hike up on that ridge: It felt so great to beep-boop-bip-bop yourself and your FitBit and hydration pack up to the alpine, get up on that ridge, take a deep breath of fresh mountain air, and gaze down onto the celestial fjords below. You fucking BLEW up the ‘Gram with pics that day! Too bad/so sad the next day you were like, What mountain? There's no mountain there. I can’t even see across the street for all the fog and sideways rain, but you know what I can see? MY FUCKING BREATH, Y'ALL!

5. That time you realized that the first four times were actually all during the same three-day period: 
Deep down you know summer in Alaska only lasts three days, if you’re lucky. In retrospect, all four things just described above happened over the course of three days in May. THAT’S when you’re like, OMG forget it. Fucking forget summer. Let me just see what fucked up shit Trump did today, and when I take a break from that, let me watch the Alaska Legislature hurl feces at each other and foam at the mouth online like two warring bands of rabid gibbons while the ship of state sinks like the Titanic.

Suggested Gavel to Gavel Playlist for the Next Floor Session of the Alaska Legislature

Last night’s acrimonious house floor session left little hope of a budget deal between the two houses of Alaska’s Legislature. Fortunately, music heals all! Here’s a playlist—to be piped in on Gavel to Gavel—to help the House and the Senate come together to avert a government shutdown on July 1.

Come Together (The Beatles)

Let’s Stay Together (Al Green)

Baby Come Back (Player)

I Won’t Give Up (Jason Mraz)

Two of Us (The Beatles)

Can’t We Talk it Over in Bed (Olivia Newton John)

In Your Eyes (Peter Gabriel—for this one, the House or Senate stands outside the chamber of the other body with a giant boom box over its head).

I Want You Back (The Jackson 5)

We Can Work it Out (The Beatles)

Love the Way You Lie (Eminem feat. Rihanna)

Right Here Waiting (Richard Marx)

Reunited (Peaches & Herb)

With or Without You (U2)

Together Forever (Rick Astley)

We Don’t Talk Anymore (Charlie Puth/Selena Gomez)

We Are Family (Sister Sledge)

Wrecking Ball (Miley Cyrus)

Trainwreck (Demi Lovato)

We Belong Together (Mariah Carey)

We Are Never, Ever, Ever Getting Back Together (Taylor Swift—on second thought, maybe this one isn’t such a good idea).

Photo: Nat Herz, Alaska Dispatch News

Alex Jones is a Bitch and So is Karma

It takes a special kind of scumbag--like really Grade A scum--to hawk conspiracy theories to a desperate and gullible tinfoil hat-clad audience of two million bigots.

It takes an EPIC scumbag to make one of those conspiracy theories that a mass shooting that killed 20 kindergarteners was a hoax.

And it takes quite possibly the deepest bottom-dweller ever to bury itself in the sands of the Mariana Trench to use as a defense--in their own divorce proceeding--that they don't really believe any of it and are just "playing a character" for ratings.

Welp, what's good for Alex Jones' goose is good for Megyn Kelly's gander, because Alex Jones is a bitch and so is karma.

There's more than enough blame to go around for the state of the nation right now, but at least some of it belongs squarely to TV networks who pimp scum for ratings. After all, isn't that how we ended up with Trump in the first place? Didn't a network executive famously say during the campaign that Trump was bad for America but good for ratings?


Here's what happens when you pimp democracy and your morals for TV ratings. America ends up in the shitter, and karma fucks you in zole.

Seriously, karma just strapped on a huge latex purple dildo and rammed it right up the ass of everyone involved in this entire thing.