Monday, July 31, 2017

20 Things That Lasted Longer than Mooch as WH Comms Director

1. An episode of conjunctivitis.
2. A brutal menstrual cycle.
3. The shits in Mexico.
4. Many vacations.
5. Literally every job I've ever had.
6. A Russian novel.
7. A single season of the Sopranos.
8. My Alaska kids' temper tantrums about east coast heat.
9. 50% of all celebrity marriages.
10. My crush on Eddie Vedder.
11. Poison Ivy.
12. A cold sore.
13. All types of pickles.
14. The average Alaska kayak trip.
15. Snow in my driveway.
16. Socks on my living room floor.
17. Dishes in my drying rack.
18. Jack-o-Lantern on porch during Halloween.
19. A cut and color.
20. A quinoa salad in my parents' fridge that was there 10 days ago and is still literally there right now.

BONUS THING #21: One of Sting's tantric sex orgasms.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

I Feel Like This Living Tombstone Thing is Kinda Cray, No?

Far be it for me to speak ill of the dead. Actually . . . scratch that. Truth be told, everyone dies, plenty of dead people were assholes when they were alive, and I see no reason to pretend otherwise.  

This is a moot point right now though, because the couple on this tombstone is not dead yet as far as I know, and yet here is their joint gravestone with their pictures airbrushed in stone and (it's hard to see) their birth dates with a "--" blank for when they eventually die.

The "living tombstone" monument thing would be a little weird in a cemetery, though less surprising. But this thing (can I call it a thing? I'm not sure what else to call it) was installed on the property in Maine where we were staying last week, and I guess these are the owners. 

The owners who want you to know (a) exactly who they are, and that they shall rock 80s hair and glasses for all eternity; (b) that they will someday be buried together; and (c) that their mortal bones will rest next to a basketball court and overlooking the lake where you just took a standup paddle board out for a spin. (Side note: I kind of secretly crushed it at my maiden standup paddle boarding voyage).

Anyway, this seems pretty fucking cray to me. To not even be dead yet, but set your gravestone up with your spouse on your property which you open to the public so everyone knows you own the place and will be buried there? 

But what do I know? I plan to be cremated and DGAF what happens to my ashes afterwards. In other words, you can place me squarely at the very opposite end of the death rite spectrum from this conspicuously macabre display.

Simply put, I don't get it and don't want to.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

At the Other End

For better or worse, many things in our lives are impacted by decisions other people make; it often requires a fight, or at least assertiveness, to advocate for yourself and for what's right.

When I find myself (not infrequently) doing that, I try to remember one simple but crucial fact: there is always a human being at the other end making the decision. 

Maybe it's a judge, an insurance agent, an airline representative, or a senator. But regardless, it's always just a person. A person who is nuanced and subject to all the vagaries of human decision-making.

This week, Alaskans and the rest of America saw this principle in action when Senator Lisa Murkowski refused to strip health care from millions of Americans for political expedience. 

It's impossible to know if all the pressure that her constituents applied over the past few months made a difference, but I like to think it did, and I expect others do as well. Certainly, it makes us all feel less impotent and hopeless at a time when the only thing Americans can seem to agree on is that our democracy isn't working properly.

It helps that Senator Murkowski is smart and compassionate. I don't always agree with her, and she is a canny politician above all else. But she respects her constituents and the fundamentals of governance. Sometimes--even often--this yields decisions I disagree with, but other times it ends up with a human being simply doing the right thing on the back end of a decision.

Alaska has a tiny population and by accident of Congressional design, an outsized influence over national issues at times. Many of us have met Senator Murkowski or even know "Lisa" personally. It is at these times that we can and should aggressively leverage our civic influence for the common good.

None of us can read Senator Murkowski's mind, and people are complicated. But there is no doubt that a combination of intellect and compassion--two critical qualities of good leadership--led to Senator Murkowski's decision on health care this week.

That we got to the point where millions of American lives hung in the balance for a one-percenter tax break is another and much darker problem. That democracy worked because people applied pressure when and where it mattered is a beacon of light and hope. 

In this particular case, people's lives were saved all over America because of many voices and three smart, compassionate decisions.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Fuck! Now We Have to Win a War on Slugs?!

You guys. I am supes overwhelmed right now with the number of wars I need to win. 

There are all the big ones, like the war on drugs, the war on terror, and the war on poverty, all of which I think are best left to the experts who seem to be losing spectacularly on their own.

And in Alaska there are already a bunch of other wars, like the war on mold, the war on icy sidewalks, the war on shitty cell service and wifi, and of COURSE, the war on redeeming our reputation with the rest of America ever since the Palin-Discovery-Channel-Bridge-to-Nowhere PR shit storm. 

Fortunately, Lisa did us a solid this week in advancing that particular war with a few en fuego COME AT ME TRUMP AND ZINKE BRO chess moves, so we are doing okay on that front for now.

But now I see that we have to win a war on slugs?! This is just too much.

I mean, truly I hate slugs as much as the next guy or gal. But what is a slug, even? It's not an insect, right? Is it a mollusk? A bivalve? Just a snail without a shell? I'm not a slugologist for fuck's sake, nor do I intend on becoming one. This is a problem, because the first rule of war is KNOW YOUR ENEMY.

Which means that in order to "win the war against slugs" (which rhymes with drugs, so a lot of propaganda merch could easily be repurposed for the slug war) I'm going to need to do more than screech and gag violently when I touch one by mistake.

Do I even need to defeat slugs, though? Like I'm a shitty gardener as it is and I can't really blame the slugs. Mostly slugs and I exist in a delicate truce in which they eat the kale that isn't growing anyway, and I throw them as far as they will go the second one touches my skin while screaming like an idiot. (They've been around a lot longer than me so you kinda gotta respect their survival of the fittest skills).

Between Alaska's fiscal crisis, climate change, the declining supply and demand of oil, brain drain, and DC treating our congressional delegation like mafia hits, are slugs really the war we want to fight right now? Especially since they were around for eons before us and realistically will be here long after we extinguish ourselves from the face of the earth?

Welp, I guess you gotta start somewhere, right? Pass the salt, and vive la slug resistance!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Reclaiming Light and Patriotism

My family trip to Maine has been a good overall break from 24/7 internet and a decent mental health reboot as well.

I still don't feel 100% better, or the "best version of myself" that I can usually count on Prozac to deliver. I'm still feeling hung up on memories and elements of my past, missed opportunities, and roads not taken. I am convinced, though, that I needed more books and sun, less Trump and Congress, and quiet time to think.

I've also had time to reflect a bit on the difference between substance and superficiality in the context of patriotism.

I've been reading a book about Louis XIV and seventeenth century France, which was deeply entrenched in the Sun King's monarchy. It made me think about the revolution that was to come 100 years later, and false notions of patriotism.

I suspect there is only so long that Americans will continue to tolerate the income inequality and effective corporate oligarchy we all now live in. There are only so many times the Trump administration can brandish flag pins on the lapels of their Italian suits and only so many jingoistic air-brushed pictures of bald eagles we can ingest before the people will feel compelled to reclaim American patriotism on more substantive terms.

Because of course, there is a big difference between the America Trump wants us to see, and the America that actually is. Eventually even his most ardent supporters will realize this and turn on him when he inevitably fails to deliver the economic relief he promised.

I don't believe in vilifying Trump supporters, and I also reject the idea that failure to support the Trump agenda evinces a lack of patriotism. The fact is that all Americans, whether they support Trump or not, are deeply endangered by his naked greed and stunning ineptitude, and will be harmed by them and their attendant chaos.

I think eventually, if perhaps only in hindsight, resistance to the Trump agenda will be seen as the patriotic pushback that it is. Our constitution is the bedrock of our democracy and Trump has absolute ignorance of and contempt for it. No amount of flag waving can distract from the fact that Trump has no idea--and does not care--what's in the founding document of the nation he is leading.

This of course is a very dangerous thing, but fortunately it is also unsustainable in the long term. 

At least this week, senators like our own Lisa Murkowski--a Republican I have voted for many times--showed us true patriotic governance through fidelity to her constituents with her health care vote and refusal to be cowed by Trump's twitter bullying and threatened reprisals against our state. 

Personally, I think she made Alaska and America proud this week.

As we continue to trudge together through this dark slum of an administration, there are a few bright lights that continue to shine. We would be well-served to acknowledge these real lights of patriotism when we see them, and continue to be our own light whenever we can.

Monday, July 24, 2017

I am Jealous of Jared Kushner and His Hairless Baby Face

Just look at that face. 

Does this look like the face of a 39-year-old-who-looks-like-a-14-year-old and who was dumb and bold enough to collude with Russia to steal a presidential election in order to "make deals" and end up in federal prison like his daddy? 

That I couldn't tell you.

What I CAN tell you is that I am green with envy over Jared Kushner's baby-bottom smooth face and chin dimple. Just look at that perfect skin with not one single whisker poking out of it!

There is not a doubt in my mind that I could grow a full moustache and beard before Jared Kushner ever could. If I added up all the time I spent lo these many years plucking and tweezing and waxing and squeezing just so I never went out in public with any visible hairs sticking out of my face, I guarantee you it would be longer than Jared Kushner spent ineptly planning the downfall of American democracy in service of his insatiable, hereditary greed.

When I look in the mirror at 5:00 p.m. each day, I think first of Richard "Tricky Dick" Nixon, the last American King to be dethroned in a criminal debacle of his own making, and who was famous for his five o'clock shadow.

Not Jared though! 

Whatever the FBI ultimately concludes Jared Kushner's role was in the Trumpian tragi-comedy of errors presently unfolding on the world stage, one thing is certain. He did it without a single hair on his face.


Sunday, July 23, 2017

Off the Grid and Re-Centering

I've been in Maine, aka Vacationland, aka the land of spotty WiFi (that's a good thing I think) and will be here through the end of the week, so O.H.M. will be on quasi-hiatus (or at least in non-daily status) for awhile. 

It's actually been nice to disconnect and absorb sunshine, which I didn't realize I needed so much. It's also been nice to consume less mental real estate than I usually do with Trump's insane tweets and the self-inflicted bad feelings that the Internet so reliably delivers like pellets to a lab rat.

My kids are at a good age for quasi-independence and the adult-to-child ratio is strong. There's a heavy contingent of energetic millennials (you know I love me some millennials) and current/future grandparents at my baby cousin Matt's wedding, and they have a lot of energy to do things like take Isaac fishing in a canoe and teach Paige new card games.

I am a little (okay, a lot) dark, so even when I am in a moment and enjoying myself, I think about the future when people will be old, sick, and dead. I try to shift my mindset and kind of freeze-frame these moments in time with my parents and extended family, all of whom live far away from Alaska and who so rarely have a chance to be together.

The highlight reel from the wedding weekend includes me playing drunk whiffle ball in stilettos; adding Isaac's chewed up melon rind and strawberries to my drink; accidentally capturing Isaac on film being all like, "heeeeey guuurl" to the flower girl; and watching Matt and Liza, both of whom I love so much, dance at their wedding.

Yay for semi-off-the-grid quasi-re-centering. (That's a lot of qualifying, but I'm nothing if not a realist).

Friday, July 21, 2017

Good Luck Tone Policing Yours Truly!

Lately, I've been getting a lot of heat about the use of "profanity" on my blog, specifically from people in my parents' generation. 

More specifically, folks who seem to lack any sense of irony about the fact that one of their contemporaries is committing treason in the Oval Office as we speak--grifting us all on the back of an oligarchic economy and decimated planet left behind by their well-cared for generation.

Of course, it's #NotAllBabyBoomers and I won't indulge in the old canard of vilifying past generations. AND NO (because it has to be said I guess?) membership in a particular generation is not the same as race, gender, or sexual/gender identity. 

So I'm not over-generalizing but neither am I inviting a defense of this or any particular generation. 

love my parents and nearly all their friends. Take my mom for example. She will be the first to admit that her generation had it pretty damn good. She was an orphan in foster care, and still has the kind of pension that simply does not exist anymore. And it's a good thing too, because my kids need all the help they can get, and who knows what they'll say about us someday?

I'm not a millennial, and I have worked in one job or another almost every day since I was 17. Yet you will never hear me rank on millennials. So what if they got "participation trophies?" They also got no amazing pensions, no good-paying job without a college degree, a shit economy, and a mountain of student debt. Of course they have to live in their mom's basements.

I recognize this fact, and so do many Baby Boomers, like my parents. You'll never catch my mom getting on my case for cursing, which is where my issue comes in. After all that, you're going to tone-police and-word police me when I try to complain about it?

LOL, as the kids say. I don't think so. 

Not when being told not to curse, is, frankly, the linguistic version of being told to act ladylike, cover up, wear more or less makeup, or smile more. It's about demanding complacency and conformity where the exact opposite of both is warranted.

Can I write beautifully without using a single curse word? Of course I can. I can also wear a J.Crew dress, ballet flats and smile. But that's not me, and that's not what I do here.

And I reject the idea that anyone who tells me not to curse, or how to write, is in ANY FUCKING POSITION TO DO THAT AT ALL.

Y'all are a mess.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

12 Things That Happened Within 12 Hours of Landing at Newark Airport

1. I stepped outside of the terminal in Newark New Jersey and straight into a fucking sauna.

2. I wanted to leave immediately for the week in Maine, where we are headed for a family wedding and vacation.

3. I wrote a long blog post about the caloric content of jizz, and then thought better of it.

4. Isaac said it smelled like rotten smoked salmon on the New Jersey turnpike, asked if there was "good fishing" there, and complained about a 45 minute car ride when there are three 6 hour car rides in his immediate future.

5. I noticed that my parents replaced the curtains in their Bronx apartment for the first time in 40 years, thanks to a 25-year-old gay Mexican-American interior designer who is married to a friend of my mom's, and he is now my best friend for saving my parents from themselves style-wise.

6. I drank two enormous iced coffees to compensate for 20 hours of lost sleep.

7. I began to stress out about all the people I'd failed to tell about this trip and my face exploded from pollen.

8. I once again took grim stock of 40 years' worth of junk in my parents' apartment.

9. I got into an argument with my parents about why they insist on using a standalone GPS when Google Maps is blatantly superior.

10. My New York accent came back in force as I apologized to the people on the hallway of my parents' building for standing there half naked in my pajamas as I watched Isaac scooter up and down the hall on a rusty Razor Scooter.

11. I put my head into an air conditioning unit in an attempt to cool down.

12. My dad dressed up like Jeff Goldblum in The Fly, and my mom left for Boston with the keys to the car Geoff and I need to pick up Paige at camp in New Hampshire, and had to drive 2 hours back to give them to us.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Kind of a Bummer That I am Not Going to Die in an Asteroid Strike

I mean it. 

It's dark, I know. And I don't want anyone getting the wrong idea. I don't actively WANT to die, and I certainly don't want to kill myself. It's just that dying in an asteroid strike would kind of solve like, a LOT of problems at once.

Know what I'm saying?

From small to large, I wouldn't have to worry about anything anymore. Everything from "I have to poop on an airplane that hasn't even taken off yet, this crossword puzzle is way harder than it should be, and why are they playing Muzak Nirvana" to "I wonder if something bad will happen at work while I'm away" to "I hope my children outlive me" to "What if I never really know non-familial love in its purest form?" will be a moot point.

To say nothing of the YOOGE favor an asteroid strike would do for the whole planet. Sure it would destroy a bunch of species, but hopefully the little roaches and mice and shit would survive and the asteroid would just rid the universe of the scourge of humanity forever.

I don't even know what the Daily Wire is, so my only remaining hope is that this "assurance" of my NOT perishing in a fiery cosmic event is FAKE NEWS.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Green Parent Magazine Exists and Goodbye Cruel World

If you don't believe me, here's their website. The always-hilarious Gabriella Paiella over at New York Magazine's The Cut already tore this mag a righteous new asshole, but I can't help myself. I need to jump on the snark bandwagon too. 

You see, the very fact that U.K.-based The Green Parent parenting magazine exists makes me want to get the EVER-LOVING FUCK UP OFF THIS PLANET, Y'ALL!

There is sooooooooooooooo much to work with here, just on the cover alone, and it's not like I've seen any more, since I do not have now, nor will I ever have, the print edition. It's overwhelming, really. 

Like Where. Do. I. Start?  Deep breath. NAMASTE. I think the only way to approach this is to take every cover line one at a time and break it down to its true essence of punishing insufferable-ness. 

Let's take it from the top:

Share Joy!: This is so vague. What does this even mean? Like I feel joy when I find a crumpled up $20 in my ski pants that I didn't know was there. Am I supposed to share that with my kids? Doesn't that send like, a totally capitalist message or something?

Raising Kids With Conscience: I totally told both my kids Trump is a YOOOOGE asshole and that's as far as I got with this. Now they repeat it to anyone who will listen. This counts, right?

Win a Child's Bicycle: This is literally the only thing that makes sense on this entire cover.

Reignite the Passion: Ways to Heal Your Relationship: Ah, the old "re-ignite the passion advice." I can't tell you how to reignite passion, but I can tell you how to un-ignite it: eat a shitload of kale salad and Brussels sprouts while you're on your period. Works like a charm every time!

Awaken Joy: Raise Happy Children!: How is this different from "sharing" joy, exactly? Like what do I do to "awaken" it? And how do I put it back to sleep when it becomes annoying? For example, Fidget Spinners have awakened joy in my kids, but they've awakened profound irritation in me, so I'm ready to put my kids' joy back to sleep if it means my joy gets to wake up again. See the paradox?

Self-Sufficient Mother: "I Will Write Three Poems, Organize a Protest, Email the Prime Minister, and Do All Our Farm Chores.": OMG. Okay. Let me start with at least one poem: Roses are red, violets are blue, "self-sufficiency" is not Protest Brunch, Online Slacktivism, and cleaning up some chickens' poo. THE END, Emily Dickinson.

Share Your Heart's Calling: Start Your Own Blog: DERP. GUILTY AS CHARGED.

Bake Love: Satisfy Your Cake Craving!: The last time I tried to bake a cake, I mixed all the dry ingredients together by mistake and had to throw it all out and start over again. It was then that I realized the best way to satisfy my cake craving was to go to a store and buy a cake that someone else made.

How to Get Kids Into Comedy: Step 1: give them a subscription to The Green Parent.

Create a Love Nest:
 Here's what's in my love nest: Peed-in PJs, a sharp plastic sword, and a mini rubber basketball. I have a feeling that's not what's envisioned here.

Plant Medicine: Get the Best Night's Sleep: If they're not talking about bong hits before bed, I don't want to hear about it. If that's what they mean, BAM, already on it.

Inside: Free Guide to Natural Beauty: I hope this is a blank page, because natural beauty means NATURAL BEAUTY, right? I am so confused.

10 Reasons for Dads to Babywear: Okay, I got this. (1) Woke; (2) Bae; (3) Beard wax; (4) Kombucha (my friend's four year-old son literally said "MOMMY, OPEN THE KOMBUCHA!" at dinner last night, not kidding); (5) sanctimony; (6) craft beer; (7) maximum sleeve ink exposure; (8) daddy blog fodder; (9) dadsplaining opportunities; (10) make everyone who sees you want to punch you in the dick.


Monday, July 17, 2017

Is it Just Me, or is Julytober Next Level Depressing This Year?

Talking about the weather is boring AF, I know this; and I used to dismiss the impact of the weather on my mood. But after 12 years of living in Alaska, I'm starting to see the connection. 

The changes in light between winter and summer definitely impact my sleep cycles dramatically—I’ve always known that. Now I’m starting to think “Julytober” is taking its toll on my mental state as well.

I keep searching for explanations for why I have been so depressed the past week or so: missed life experiences; difficult relationships; professional and parental frustrations and shortcomings; generalized self-hatred; Alaska’s fiscal crisis; the collapse Democracy as We Know It™ etc.

It’s probably all of those things, but it’s compounded by this shit-ass late-June and July we’ve had with endless rain and cold temperatures. Several Juneau peeps separately mentioned to me—perhaps in solidarity—that they are in an epic funk right now, and Julytober seems a likely culprit.

There’s something about looking out your window all day into a cloud from the minute you wake up to the minute you go to bed, with no discernable change in light or weather—and staring into a never-ending blanket of gray. 

I realize it’s trite and stupid to complain about the rain when you’ve chosen to live in a rain forest, but really I’m not complaining so much as observing the fact that the monotony of gray can make a person feel genuinely crazy.

I realize, too, that I’ve grown pretty desperate for and dependent on at least a few decent weeks of real winter and summer each year, and when those don’t come along, I experience some genuine malaise.

A friend suggested drugging the water supply with antidepressants, and that even folks who objected to fluoride in the water a few years back are at this point so bummed out by the incessant bleak that they’d welcome a municipal intervention. Personally, I'd push for something stronger—like MDMA maybe.

Regardless, I think the time has come for me to get a S.A.D. light and make some sunny lemonade out of this trashass lemon of a July.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

May I Invite You to Facebook Messenger?

Good Evening Fine Sir or Madam!

It is my deepest honor to extend a very special invitation, made only to my closest, most treasured social media friends. 

Please know that I do not make this invitation lightly, although you could be forgiven for suffering under that particular delusion since all I had to do was click "invite" with my thumb next to your name when prompted.

I assure you though: you will NOT want to miss this. Surely you are in need of one more electronic distraction with a distinctive BING! that offers yet another excuse to stare at your phone feeling bad about yourself and society.

Along those lines, Facebook Messenger has a special feature where you can see who has seen your messages, so that when that person does not respond for several weeks, you can let yourself imagine every conceivable scenario as to why, ranging from innocuous neglect to sadistic ghosting. 

Your guess is as good as mine!

Only the most VI of VIPs receive an invite to Facebook Messenger. While the plebes seem content with mere texting, the true Brahmin participate in the most exclusive community on the internet, consisting of a mere several billion elite individuals.

I'm sorry for the delay in letting you know about Facebook Messenger, which undoubtedly you had not heard of or considered joining before I so graciously invited you. You see, Mark Zuckerberg himself must personally approve each and every new invitee to Facebook Messenger, and not everyone makes the cut.

I hope you'll accept this invitation and, upon confirmation that we are now connected by messenger, send me a sticker of a vomiting cartoon face or a GIF of Drake in ironic ugly glasses cheering at a basketball game.

The First Lady of France is Basically a Race Horse, According to Trump

Happy Sunday, fam! Six quick things first:

1. Isaac is on his fifteenth episode of Ninjago on Netflix and has probably lost 900 brain cells by now. 
2. It's raining to beat the band (again). 
3. All of Juneau is inside a permanent cloud. 
4. I am marching steadfastly toward day-drunk on my second cup of First World dairy-free, gluten-free, almond-milk Bailey's. 
5. Geoff is playing Skid Row and Paula Abdul songs on an acoustic guitar.
6. And finally, I just upped my Prozac by 10mg in an attempt to claw my way back from a brutal depression-spiral of my own making.

What better time, then, to comment upon the news du jour out of Paris, in which POTUS took the world stage only to treat the 64 year-old First Lady of France, Brigitte Macron, like a race horse at the Kentucky Derby when he told her she was "in such good shape." 

Trump then turned to Brigitte's cougar-cub, President Emmanuel Macron, 39, and said to HIM--as if to confirm the observation--"She's in such good physical shape. Beautiful." It's a miracle Brigitte didn't drop a gallon of piss on the spot!

For those who haven't followed their Mary Kay LeTourneau-esque romance, Emmanuel Macron, the President of France (who bee-tee-dubs is two months younger than me and therefore presents me with a major challenge in terms of life achievement catch-up), married his high school drama (!) teacher who is 25 years his senior.

Now of course, a 25 year age dif is NO BIG when it's the distinguished gentleman who's 25 years older.

But upon learning of the Macrons' December-May romance, the whole planet basically went into a collective wide-eyed, jaw-dropping shock that a man of Emmanuel Macron's age and station in life would go anywhere near--much less MARRY--a wretched, menopausal hag like Brigitte Macron.

For as everyone knows, women are to be discarded after age 29 like old chewed-up Juicy Fruit gum that you stick under the seat of the Bronx 7 bus on your way to Inwood. They start to get gray hair and wrinkles and their titties sag like wet beef jerky. They are deadass trash, and must be put out to pasture to play canasta far away from offended eyes.  

There is simply no point to their existence.

Melania Trump, who at 47 is 24 years younger than her repulsive benefactor, is an exception because of how hard she works to maintain her "ten" status.

Trump knows this important matter of state, and in representing Our Great Nation, made sure to let the world know as well. 

As Trump's gray matter continues to deteriorate into sun-downing dementia, his brain is being reduced to a primordial ooze in which he lacks any semblance of a filter. So the first thing he can think of to say to THE FUCKING PRESIDENT OF FRANCE is that his grown-ass wife is in "such good physical shape," like she was a thoroughbred on auction at Belmont Stakes.

Ladies and gentleman of the United States, YOUR PRESIDENT! 


Saturday, July 15, 2017

Juneau Could Really Use More Dog Shit Wait No Juneau is Actually Fucking CRUSHING it on That Front!

When I posted yesterday on Facebook the sarcastic (and, I thought) relatively uncontroversial statement that Juneau could use more dog shit--especially wet dog shit--I didn't expect the lively debate that followed. In retrospect I should have, because even the most innocuous statements seem to trigger debate in the comments section of any online forum.

One friend leaped to the defense of dog shit by saying that it was just as bad as wild animal shit (Maybe? No idea. I do know that Bears don't routinely eat Purina), and that there was way worse stuff than fecal matter in municipal water runoff like steroids and drugs and diesel fuel and mine tailings. 

While I don't dispute any of that, this line of reasoning doesn't QUITE tackle the question at the core of my post yesterday, which is whether Juneau could use MORE dog shit, as opposed to how the EXISTING dog shit stacks up against other stuff you probably don't want in your morning shower or coffee.

So I will address that question, less sarcastically this time, by saying that Juneau is definitively CRUSHING it at dog shit. 

Dog shit is everywhere! It's in little piles on the sidewalk in front of businesses downtown, it's on the trails in little baggies (or not), it's at your kid's school, it's in your yard whether you own a dog or not. 


Let me get out in front of this one and say I love dogs and would have one myself if not for two things: allergies and shit. 

Their fur makes my face explode and leak snot and tears, and their shit makes me just leak tears. Kids are no better than dogs, I realize, although dogs in Juneau have happier and better-attended lives than kids in many parts of the world. And in terms of their carbon footprint, human children are much worse. But still, if all goes according to plan, kids do stop needing you to manage their assholes, and that's a huge plus for me.

When I woke up at 4:25 this morning light was streaming under my bedroom door. I thought someone had left a light on overnight but it turns out it was the SUN.

Since I was already crying for no reason, I figured I would wake up my sister wife who does triathlons and she picked up her cell phone out of a dead sleep with a groggy "hey dude" and is now coming to pick me up for a hike.

My main goal now is to feel less depressed, get home in one piece and before anyone misses me, absorb some Vitamin D, and step in dog shit with my sneakers that have the extra deep grooves in their soles.


Friday, July 14, 2017

Time to Break Up With My Ego

I’ve been giving a lot of thought recently to common denominators. Not the kind in grade-school fractions; the kind that form a common thread.

It’s critical to identify common denominators when you’re trying to get to the root of multiple fronts of unhappiness. I now know that the biggest common denominator to my unhappiness is my ego and self-esteem, and the ongoing mismanagement of both.

I think we have more control over our emotions than we realize. That’s not to say that depression, anxiety, and obsessive thinking are not real. They are very real. 

But I also think there are certain cognitive-behavioral strategies a person can use to rewire their brain in order to soften the blow of depression, anxiety, and obsessive thinking on self-esteem.

I like to think about this in terms of a physical condition: take diabetes, just for example. 

If you have diabetes, you can moderate your blood sugar with diet and insulin management. Eating a giant bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch is not on that program. For me, my ego is like Cinnamon Toast Crunch to a diabetic. It’s harmful and dangerous. It's not something I should be consuming if I want a well-balanced self-esteem.

Sadly, it's harder to “break up” with your own ego than it is to simply not eat Cinnamon Toast Crunch. 

Interacting with the world is all about negative and positive feedback, the neuropathways that feedback loop establishes, and the ultimate despair when you realize how empty it all feels in the end. How love and attention, for the most part, are just like any other dirty, street-grade smack cut with baking soda.

It’s time to break up with my ego in four major areas of my life. How successful I'll be at doing this, I don’t know. What I do know is that it’s critical to my mental health and self-esteem that I do it ASAP.

1. My Physical Appearance: I need to stop caring about how I look, physically, to other people. It’s really that simple. No more selfies. No more squeezing and scrutinizing my face and body from every angle. It’s time to let go of 40 years of misogynistic, societally brainwashed beauty standards and trying to live up to them. If I still like cute shoes, clothes, and makeup now and then, fine. But having fun with that stuff needs to feel artistic and healthy, totally inner-directed, and divorced from external validation. Anything short of that is bullshit.

2. My Work Life: This is probably the one area in which I’m already succeeding in letting go of my ego. I am halfway through my career with no plans to do anything else if I can help it. My dad called me “unambitious,” but I think it’s time to acknowledge my strengths and weaknesses—my lane. It’s time to recognize the value I can add to a given situation, versus when it makes sense for me to step back based on my limitations, without trying to prove to everyone around me that my limitations don't exist. It’s time to stay in my lane. It’s a good lane, I drive well in it, and I’m happy there.

3. This Blog: O.H.M. started as a creative exercise and to a large degree it still is. Writing is, was, and always will be my refuge. Apart from the writing itself, the best thing about the blog is the people I have met and the relationships I have built because of it. But the dark truth is that I have become overly invested in its reception. I have lost sight of the joy in the process and pressure myself every day to say something new and clever for external validation. I end up caring whether my blog got shared or liked or tweeted or re-tweeted a lot more than I should, and it’s really unhealthy. That needs to change. I hope it doesn’t mean the end for O.H.M., but if it does, I guess I will just keep a diary. 

4. My Personal Relationships: Probably my biggest strength is being a good listener and a responsive friend. The flip side is that I struggle with boundaries, and with the crazy-making, intermittent reinforcement psychology that comes from back-and-forth, hot-and-cold, retreat-advance dynamics of toxic one-way, one-dimensional friendships and the drain they exert on my mental energy. That depleted feeling takes a toll on my marriage and my kids, which is where my attention belongs. My ego is way too wrapped up in being a good friend and worse, being acknowledged for it.  It's not good. This is my biggest work in progress.

All we can do is control our own reactions to ourselves and the world. We can't do anything about how anyone else reacts or responds to us. 

Right now, I know I am my own worst enemy. I know my own ego is my biggest impediment to happiness and a healthy sense of self-worth, and I fucking hate myself for it. 

Hopefully, that won't always be the case.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Juneau-to-English Dictionary, A-Z

Amalga: A harbor and also a new place to get day-drunk.

Baranof: The Watergate of Juneau.

Capitol: A building so steeped in dysfunctional, bureaucratic mediocrity that it’s easy to believe it used to be a post office.

Douglas: A quaint bedroom community and theater enclave full of charming pubs, where the locals go to get away from it all.

Egan Drive: The place where you most often scream GAAAAAHHHHH! (See "G").

Facebook: A place you go to visit public community pages for local blocking-wars, social media drama, and to confirm that everyone had a better time on their boat in the sun this weekend than you did crying in your dark bedroom on dry land.

GAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!: What you scream in your car every time a driver turtles out of their driveway, or refuses to take the right of way, or crawls up your ass as you’re parallel parking, or drives 35 mph in the left lane on Egan Drive.

Hell: Three straight weeks of rain with two kids under 10.

60 people who come to the Capitol each year to tromp about imperiously and flirt with their subordinates, while trying to convince their constituents that things will be different this time.

Jocular Sarcasm: Something that has proven incredibly difficult for an ex-pat New Yorker to communicate (See "I").

Klinkit: The 100% wrong way to spell Tlingit.

Libraries: A true local treasure.

Mold: A living, breathing, organism that will silently eat your house from the inside out until your biggest life investment is worthless.

Nissan Leaf: A giant, silent smartphone that will get you into a wrestling match with the drivers of 1,000 leaves over a power outlet.

Out the Road: A place you never feel like driving even though it’s not very far by normal American standards.

Projekt: How the cool kids spell “Project.”

Questioning Your Entire Life: What Juneauites do every August through November.

Rain Forest Farms: Intermittently available retail weed.

Sucker Hole: A quarter-sized swatch of blue sky that leads you to harbor the brief delusion that it will ever stop raining.

Taxes: Cheddar from cruise ship passengers that built a plank and a whale whose flipper is now permanently streaked with bald eagle shit. (I know, the whale was privately funded, so let me head that “actually” off at the pass).

Upper Nordic Loop: That part of Eaglecrest that you’re technically supposed to have a ski pass for, SHAME SHAME SHAME!

Violin: Something every child in Juneau is required to play for some fucking reason.

West Juneau:
A part of Douglas that isn’t called Douglas for no apparent reason.

X-Ray: Something you or someone in your family ends up getting six times each winter.

Yukon: The place that is so-close-yet so-far, and beneficently ruled by Woke Bae™ Justin Trudeau instead of maliciously raped and pillaged by hideous Donald Trump.

Zootz Alors: A cleverly named bongs n' dongs store with no weed, but don’t worry the weed is (sometimes) right next door (See “R”).

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Stay in Your Lane is the New Reach for the Stars

Stay in your lane, they say, like that's a bad thing. Why is that bad? Quite frankly, at this point in my life I relish the permission to stay in my lane instead of being told to reach for the stars.

I don't mean to sound sad or cynical, but I'm closing in on 40 and it's time to get pragmatic and real about shit. 

For me, at least, my 20s sucked. Everyone said they were supposed to be amazing, which only made them suck harder. I had zero self esteem. My 20s were all about making decisions of which I would then reap the consequences (good, bad, or inbetween) in my 30s. 

My 30s were the lived-out fallout from the decisions of my 20s, and the fact is that mostly good stuff happened. At least on paper, if not in my own fucked-up head.

Now that I'm about to be 40, I feel like it's time to come to terms with the fact that certain things just aren't going to happen for me. 

I'm not going back to medical school to be just like my mom. I'll never weigh ten pounds less unless I get Ebola. I'm not going to be a great artist or an astontaut, or take some huge emotional or financial risk in the name of love or money.

Basically, I'm going to be a mommy blogger, a decent lawyer with some strengths and weaknesses, and a good friend. I hope to be a good friend and a mommy until I die, but I am not sure how much longer I will be a blogger. 

This blog started as a creative therapy outlet and has brought me a lot of joys, both quantifiable and not. On the other hand, it's led to a need for external validation that is dizzying in its lows and highs, and which in the final accounting likely bodes ill for my psyche. 

A metaphorical self-ghosting might be in order.

For now, I'm done reaching for the stars, and since I am preternaturally risk averse, there is no need for anyone to move over. 

I am staying in my lane, and I've never been more sure of anything in my life.

Bouncy Balls and the Three Pillars Theory

Have you bounced a bouncy ball recently? Not a big one, necessarily. Even just one of those little red rubber balls that come with a set of jacks and that you can buy for 39 cents at a convenience store or get out of a gumball machine for a quarter. If you have kids, you probably know how annoying bouncy balls are and how much damage they can cause.

They are so small, and yet they are incredibly compact and powerful.

I have to hide them from my kids because of the havoc that they wreak indoors. Yet my kids find them anyway, and they appear to be irresistible. BAM! There goes a glass picture frame. BAM! There goes a bottle of liquor. SLAM! There goes someone’s eye.

Once launched, the bouncy ball is very unpredictable in terms of where it ricochets and the damage it can do.

I’ve noticed that sometimes, people will throw metaphorical bouncy balls into my life. They don’t do it to break my shit on purpose, but they also don't reeeeeeeeeeeeally care if something gets broken. 

They do it to play with the bouncy ball, because the bouncy ball is fun. 

I don’t know if you’re familiar with this phenomenon, but it ties into something I call the three pillars theory. I don’t think I made this up, or maybe I did. I don’t know. But that’s what I call it and here’s what it is:

There are three pillars to every relationship: physical/interpersonal chemistry (physical if it’s a romantic relationship, interpersonal if it’s platonic); intellectual compatibility; and emotional security. The three sort of orbit around each other and can make or break friendships and relationships, but in my experience, by far the most difficult pillar to find and maintain is emotional security.

Emotional security is a sort of dependability. It’s the idea that the people in your life are, on some level, fundamentally reliable and consistent. And not just reliable as in they don’t flake on drinks or fail to meet you at the airport. Sure there’s that, but true emotional security with another human being is more than that.

It’s knowing that you can expect the same level of emotional investment over time on a consistent basis, be it a lot or a little. That a person will not run hot and cold and make you insane with intermittent reinforcement of human connection. That they will not withdraw and retreat and reemerge at will with an expectation of responsiveness and an abdication of boundaries. 

That they will not pick up a bouncy ball and fucking BAM the shit out of it just to see where it lands.

I am turning 40 this fall. I feel like I am done letting people throw bouncy balls around in my psychological living room just to see where they land, and I am ready to start cleaning up all the valuables I have let them break.

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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Donald Trump and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Decision to Run for President

I went to sleep with my unsecured Android in my tiny hand and now there’s a tweet that says “covfefe” and when I got out of bed this morning CNN was broadcasting FAKE NEWS about me and by mistake I sat in the tanning bed too long and didn’t put enough hairspray in my toupee and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad decision to run for President.

At breakfast at the G20 summit Angela Merkel didn’t want to be seen with me and the whole world was laughing at us for pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord.

I think I’ll run away to Mar-a-Lago.

At the bottom of the stairs of Air Force One there was a giant limo I was supposed to walk right into, but instead I just wandered around on the tarmac until someone redirected me and it made me appear senile. Wait . . . am I senile? I said I could make bigly deals. I said I could build tremendous, beautiful walls and make Mexico pay for them. I said I was going to create JOBS JOBS JOBS out of dying industries. No one even answered and very few people believe me because I am a YOOGE liar.

I could tell it was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad decision to run for President.

At work my inauguration crowd was bigger than Barack Obama’s even though the FAKE NEWS said it wasn't.

At lunchtime there was no KFC or taco bowls. At handshake time President Macron bested me at handshakes and Justin Trudeau is younger and more physically attractive than me and women love him. At bedtime I couldn’t fall asleep because Hannity didn’t come on yet. I could tell it was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad decision to run for President.

I could tell because Don Junior conspired to commit treason and then tweeted out a confession in writing. His lawyers told him to be quiet but he wouldn’t. He’s a quality person, I told them. I hope the next time YOUR son commits treason with a hostile foreign power and tweets about it you have to pay for so many lawyers you go bankrupt and have to sell all of your hotel properties in Turkey and to make yourself feel better you call a meeting where you get two scoops of ice cream and everyone else gets one and your scoop falls on the floor and lands in Mar-a-Lago!

Climate change is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese and no one believes me, I keep saying ObamaCare is imploding but really my entire administration is imploding and I’m starting to have difficulty with basic word recall.

It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad decision to run for President.

That’s what it was, because when I left the private sector to be the King of America they told me that actually I could no longer act with total impunity because this was the United States Constitution they were talking about. Take it up with the Supreme Court during expedited appeals next week, they said.

Next week, I said, I'm running away to Mar-a-Lago.

On the way out of the White House Melania slapped my hand away, I forgot Frederick Douglass was dead (even though I never knew he was alive in the first place), and then I started yelling at the TV because the news on NBC was a big nothing-burger. And while I was watching cable I remembered I had never released my tax returns.

I made a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad decision to run for President, I told everybody. No one even answered. Not even Steve Bannon.

So then I went to Bedminster to play golf and look at beautiful women. There were fives. There were twos. There was Rosie O’Donnell. But there were no tens. They were all too grossed out by me. They can make me look at a five, but they can't make me pee on one and ask Russia to tape it for future blackmail collateral.

Then speaking of tapes, I lied about the Comey tapes and I realized I forgot the Scotch tape for my extra-long tie back at Trump Tower, but by that time Ivanka was subbing in for me in a major international meeting again, the liberal elite media was hanging me out to dry, Pepe Nation was MIA, it turns out half my Twitter followers are Russian bots, and I lost the popular vote.

It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad decision to run for President.

There was rare steak for dinner and I only eat steak well-done. There was Rachel Maddow on TV and I hate Rachel Maddow.

My TRAVEL BAN is tied up in litigation, so is my Voter Integrity Commission, I can’t find my favorite red #MAGA hat, and I had to wear my too-small bathrobe. I hate my too-small bathrobe.

When I went to bed Melania was in a different zip code because she hates me and I lost my place in a six page board book and my mind started obsessing over all the germs I probably touched today. I can't believe Hillary Clinton and John Podesta basically got away with murder and here I am the subject of a WITCH HUNT! I am repellent to women and Melania wants to sleep with literally anyone else but me.

It was a terrible, horrible, no good very bad decision to run for President.

Vladimir says some days are like that.

Even at Mar-a-Lago. SAD!

Honest Out of Office Replies

There's no such thing as an original idea anymore. Even the idea that there's no such thing as an original idea anymore is, itself, unoriginal.

Still, although you'll find plenty of "honest out-of-office reply" spoofs on the Internet, honesty is in the eye of the sender and recipient.

For what it's worth, after 20 years of working in offices, here's what I think the truly most honest out-of-office replies look like:

Thanks for your message! I am out of the office until Thursday. If you're using Microsoft Outlook (and you probably are), you likely saw that pale green auto-fill thingie telling you precisely that in advance of you hitting send, thereby begging the question why you chose to hit send anyway. If you need immediate assistance, please find someone whose name comes up in black and not green.

Thanks for your message! I'm out of the office on personal leave, and won't be checking email. That is a lie. I will be checking email every ten minutes because the thought of things happening at work without me gives me a heart attack and crippling anxiety. Also, my extended family is making me insane. Unless this email is about carpet cleaning or time sheets, you can expect a response within 30 minutes. Thank you for the excuse to escape from my vacation.

Thanks for your message! I literally had to take the day off from work to clean my house. You wouldn't believe how disgusting it is. There are still cold scrambled eggs on the floor from yesterday! Can you believe it? If this is a so-called urgent matter, please call my cell phone at (123) 456-7890 and I will promptly attend to your so-called urgent matter in order not to have to fold a mountain of laundry.

Thanks for your message! Am I cc:d or bcc:d on this email? If so, could it not have waited? Why are you doing this to me? Does this happen in Europe? I've heard Germany has like, an actual law against off-hours work emailing. That said, my insecurity, responsiveness, and lack of personal boundaries all but assure a response to your email within the hour.

Thanks for your message! If you look at your iPhone you will see that it's sunny in Juneau so good luck reaching anyone in cell range, much less me. I will reply to your email when the monsoons return 12 hours from now.

Thanks for your message! My kids are home with Pink Eye, which means they aren't allowed to be in school, but still feel well enough to make me crazy. I'll respond to your email sometime between monitoring the crumbling of the Republic in real time on Twitter and breaking up a fight over whose turn it is to play Crossy Roads on the iPad.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Someone Please Make a Trump/Putin Remix of This My Buddy Doll Ad from 1985

Attention video editing and animation nerds! 

I have the vision, but not the know-how, to script a reboot of that commercial from 1985 for Hasbro/Playskool's My Buddy doll, starring Vladimir Putin as the kid and Trump as the doll. 

For those too young or old to remember, My Buddy was a doll intended to "appeal to little boys and teach them about caring for their friends." The toy was considered controversial at the time, because dolls were for girls, and the wokeness factor on non-binary gender and tolerance for gender nonconformity was zero. 

My Buddy was also the inspiration for the demon doll Chucky in Child's Play, which is quite possibly the most hilarious and classic cult horror movie of all time.

Anyhooooo, My Buddy's TV commercial was straight fire, and you can view it here: 

For whoever takes this project on, I am proposing new lyrics as follows:

Thanks in advance, fam!