Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The Apollo 11 Landing of Self-Owns

I wish I’d come up with the title of this blog post myself, but that honor belongs to one of my readers from Cardiff, Wales named Phil Dore (YES, O.H.M. is WORLDWIDE, BITCHES!) And it could not be more perfect, because who Jacob Wohl is, what Jacob Wohl did, and how spectacularly Jacob Wohl failed at doing it is a feat of rocket science that only NASA could actualize.

Obviously, I spend entirely too much time trolling the President of the United States on Twitter (oh hi, 2018!), so I knew who Jacob Wohl was and hated his smarmy ass long before last week when he flew, Icarus-like, too close to the cyber-sun and melted his little alt-right wings trying to take down Robert Mueller. And how did he do that? Welp, by allegedly paying women to make false allegations of sexual assault against Mueller via a website linked to . . . wait for it . . . . HIS ACTUAL MOM’S PHONE NUMBER.

This is what passes for good news these days, Fam.

A 20 year-old Alex P. Keaton-meets-Logan Paul-meets your-straight-out-of-central-casting-young-federalist-MAGA-troll-dickweed trying to--and ACTUALLY BELIEVING--that he can frame one of the most experienced, serious, respected, ethical, and talented prosecutors in America with bullshit pussy blackmail traceable to his fucking MOM.

Madeleine Aggeler over at The Cut has a good breakdown of the entire sad, sordid story of the baby-faced hedge fund wunderkind whose main talent and raison d'etre is groveling at Trump on Twitter, self-promotion, and falling ass-backwards into a federal criminal investigation because YA DONE FUCKED UP THIS TIME, SON!

One of the things I find most amazing about wee little MAGAs like Jacob Wohl--whose most difficult life experience is a tie between losing Call of Duty to a girl and a dropped WiFi connection in his aforementioned mom’s basement—is how little they actually know compared to how much they THINK they know. 

Whether you’re talking about science, economics, elections, or blackmailing one of the smartest men in America with a slug of Trumpian lies generated in a dark web test tube with a half liter of Mountain Dew by your side, the gulf between those two metrics is wider than the distance between planet earth and the titular moon landing of this blog post.

Indeed, the moon is about 238,900 miles from the broiling little rock we call home. Coincidentally, this is the same distance between the IQ and competency of Jacob Wohl and that of Robert Mueller and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to which Jacob Wohl’s seventh grade-level prank has now been referred. 

An alternate headline for this scandal is “Bitch Who Thinks He’s Playing Three-Dimensional Chess is Actually Playing Candy Land and Just Got Sent Back to Start.”

This stunt is legitimately one step above a kid I knew back in the day who slashed the tires of a school bus and thought he wouldn’t get caught, because . . . No school bus, no school! GENIUS, RIGHT?! Same deal. Mueller grabs pussy during the MeToo era, Trump stays out of trouble! Like that’s the basic logic-level of the jackass we are dealing with here.

So when you look at the moon rise over the horizon tonight, I implore you to gaze up at it and smile as you remember the biggest, roundest, brightest self-own of the week.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Safety First! Checking Your Privilege

Check your privilege. BLAH BLAH BLAH. That’s all anyone ever says anymore! We’ve gotten so politically correct in this country that you can’t do anything without offending someone! Too many people are told to “check their privilege." That's why I put together this little safety/privilege check to see if you might be someone who needs to do that:

1. When you leave work to walk to your car in an empty parking garage at night alone you:

a. Carry your keys in your hand for use as a weapon
b. Keep your head down and walk as quickly as possible
c. Go into fight or flight mode when you hear footsteps behind you
d. What are you talking about I’m listening to music and texting my girlfriend.

2. When you’re driving down the highway and you hear a police car pull up behind you, you:

a. Question whether you will emerge from this transaction with a bullet in your head
b. Quickly try to determine what broken headlight or expired tag has led to this moment
c. Hope that dude's body cam is working and put that cell phone on video just in case
d. Wonder if the cop is your kid’s soccer coach and plan how to small talk your way out of a speeding ticket.

3. When you wave to your neighbors in the morning you:

a. Wonder if they would hide you in a barn or loot your house and make a lamp from your dead body
b. Wonder if they think you killed Jesus
c. Contemplate whether they believe that maybe you have horns
d. Forgot that you told them you’d get their mail while they were out of town.

4. At Halloween, you like to:

a. Wear blackface because you love Michael Jackson
b. Dress up like a Geisha because you love Japanese culture
c. Dress up like an Injun because you loved cowboys and Injuns when you were a lad!
d. All of the above, why the fuck is everyone so sensitive now?!

5. At work, you don’t get a promotion and are convinced it’s because:

a. Reverse sexism
b. Reverse racism
c. You weren’t qualified
d. Both a and b.

6. When you’re shopping and you hear someone behind you, you automatically assume:

a. You’re about to be accused of stealing
b. You’re about to be called a racial slur
c. Someone complained about the sound of your voice and/or called store security on you
d. A helpful sales clerk is about to ask if you’ve found everything okay.

7. When someone tells you they’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted you:

a. Instantly believe them.
b. Offer words of support
c. Give them information for a Rape Crisis hotline
d. Lecture them on the burden of proof, the rules of evidence in a criminal trial, and tell them to chill the fuck out.

8. Every July 4, you:

a. Google various immigration processes so you know where you can maybe go the shit goes down
b. Realize it doesn’t matter because the world is so globalized now
c. Feel like you’re thisclose to having your citizenship revoked
d. Deck out your pickup truck with bald eagles and flags and scream WHOO HOO AMERICA FUCK YEAH!

9. When you go to a restaurant with your partner you:

a. Wonder if you’re going to be called a homophobic slur
b. Make a calculated decision about what bathroom to use for fear of harassment
c. Take a careful account of your surroundings before holding hands
d. Order the chicken Ceasar salad because that’s what you always get here.

Hint: if you answered (d) to any of these questions, you passed the safety test and must check your privilege on the remainder!

Sunday, October 28, 2018

The Barn Test

The morning after the 2016 election, I remember having this thought distinctly: Who is going to shelter my family in a barn, and who's going to just turn their back on us and loot our house when I get hauled off to a concentration camp in a few years? 

I knew I was being ridiculous and hyperbolic and hysterical. But that's honestly what I thought. And I cried, because I knew when I went into work that morning that there were people IN MY OFFICE who had voted for Trump and who had therefore failed, to my mind, the Barn Test. They walk among us, I thought and wrote that day.

The woman that raised me, a Romanian Jew, lived the first five years of her life with her mother and two older sisters in a concentration camp in Eastern Europe. All of her stuff was gone when they finally returned home (their neighbors had taken it). My husband's grandmother fled the Nazis and hid in a barn in Poland at age 17. I, on the other hand, had the good fortune to be born and raised in the United States with white skin during a period of relative peace and prosperity, and I was told my whole life that it couldn't last forever.

Of course, not everyone who voted for Trump viewed their vote through the same lens of white supremacy that I did. 

White women voted for him in droves because his misogyny could be excused and ignored in light of his elevation of White Power. Some people thought he'd make us all rich. Others hated Hillary. But for me, it was very black and white, and it felt like a betrayal. A vote for Trump, it felt to me at the time, was a vote to sign my death warrant and that of so many other marginalized people. The presence of two Court Jews in Trump's family didn't make me feel any better. Not one bit.

After awhile, I abandoned my resentment of "Trump Voters.™ I realized that they had been conned and that resenting my fellow citizens, arguing with them on the internet, allowing hate to infiltrate my heart was both a waste of time, a stain on my soul, and the dirty work of fascism. I set it aside and practiced using my time and voice in affirmatively positive ways. 

I now genuinely harbor zero ill will towards people who voted for this mess because it's a waste of my time and energy and it doesn't change anything.

After yesterday's synagogue shooting--really just one more and particularly heinous affront in two years of newly-bold affronts against women, immigrants, LGBTQ people, people of color, and indigenous people--I came back to the Barn Test.

Fortunately, it's pretty easy to know who passes and fails the Barn Test. 

FAIL: A lot of people on the internet, especially community Facebook pages and comment boards. The girl who lived in my dorm at an Ivy League college and asked my freshman roommate if Jews had horns and questioned her decision to date a Jewish boy because their children would be devil children. People who proudly display confederate flags on their vehicles and wear MAGA hats in public.

PASS: People who come out and stand for hours in the rain to defend immigrant families staying together. Strangers who engage with people on my social media pages about these things because they know I lack the capacity to do it. The women from Alaska who I met in DC lobbying Senator Murkowski on Kavanaugh. My friends who show up for me in ways big and small in my everyday life.

There are a lot of depressing things about 2018 America, but because Trump has given everyone the permission to "speak their minds," at least now I know where people stand. I know who I can count on, and who I should just shrug my shoulders and give up on.

There is serious value in the Barn Test.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

On Baseball and Joy

October baseball is the best baseball.

Whether you like baseball or not, it’s impossible not to love the pure, unadulterated joy on the face of a major league slugger when he slams a clutch three-run homer into Fenway’s Green Monster during game one of the World Series.

That’s what Red Sox infielder Eduardo Nunez did in the bottom of the seventh inning on Monday. And as much as I hate the Red Sox, it was beautiful to watch. That kind of joy is primal in its authentic spontaneity. You can watch a child’s lifelong dream distilled down into a single moment on the face of a grown man, and unless you have ice in your veins, it will make your heart explode.

My relationship with baseball is kind of involuntary, by which I mean I’m a Yankees fan by birth and osmosis more than by free will. I’m a third-generation Bronx-born, only-daughter of a hardcore Yankees baseball fan. My dad has written books and articles about the sport, pores over baseball statistics, and brought me to several games a year at “The Old Yankee Stadium,” where the seats were sticky with gum and the only available concessions were peanuts, hot dogs, beer, and maybe cotton candy.

In our apartment, baseball was always on in the background: Don Mattingly and Willie Randolph in their prime, drifting off to sleep next to my dad, watching every game on an ancient Zenith TV with an analog dial and the volume turned off. (My dad liked the radio announcers better; he had no patience for the TV guys).

I didn’t go out of my way to watch the Great American Pastime™ or learn about it. In fact, I was pretty indifferent to baseball and found it a little boring, even. It was just something that was around me all the time, and continues to be. (Both my husband and son are baseball-obsessed). 

Given that, I really should know a lot more about the game than I do. I’m not a stats nerd and I don’t know the finer points of calculating an ERA. I can’t keep up with trades and free agency, or who’s on or off the DL at any given moment, and it frequently takes me a minute or two to figure out what just happened on a double play.

After 9/11, Yankees baseball unified a grieving city of 8 million souls. Baseball tracks emotions and seasons in a way that feels bigger than the sport itself. Yet for every action there’s an equal and opposite reaction, which in the case of the Nunez homer, was L.A. Dodgers pitcher Alex Wood’s grief at having choked; he let a pinch-hitter go yard off his knuckle curve ball during one of the most important games of his career.


I keep coming back to that unmitigated joy. Now more than ever, we need it in our lives.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Apparently Trump Has Michael Bolton on the Brain So I Rewrote this Classic Song for Him

When a man hates a woman
Can't write his tweets ‘bout nothin' else
He'll grab her by the pussy
And move on her like a bitch
If she’s a five, he will say it
He’ll call her horseface or a pig
Turn his back on his first wife
For a second or third

When a man hates a woman
Spend his very last dime
Trying to win the Presidency
He'd give up all his comforts
And sleep in that dump the White House
If Putin said that's the way
It ought to be

When a man hates a woman
He’d give it everything he’s got
Trying to put Biff the Boofer
On the Supreme Court 
(Baby please don't “inadvertently kill” me)!

When a man hates a woman
Deep down in his soul
He can bring her such misery
If he
 sues her for breaching an NDA
And incites violence all the time 
He’ll pretend it never happened 
Cuz he’s crazy

Yes when a man hates a woman
Trump knows exactly how you feel
'Cause baby, baby, baby
He’s gaslighting misogynist trash
When a man hates a woman

Friday, October 19, 2018

Nonconsensual Footsie is a Game and Here are the Rules

A Southwest flight was forced to redirect this week after a male passenger wouldn’t stop harassing a woman aboard the flight with an attempted game of footsie . . . Justin Riley Brafford, of Denton, Texas, was arrested after attempting to “play footsies” with the woman, kicking her repeatedly, and grabbing at her sweater. . . .  Brafford later claimed to authorities that the woman came onto him and he felt a connection with her. 

Players: 2

Ages: 18 &Up

Setting up the Game

1. Take your assigned seat on a commercial flight.

2. Players take off their shoes and set them aside. If you're not wearing socks, you might want to reconsider playing this game because nonconsensual barefoot footsie with anyone (much less a stranger) is gross and risks fungal infection.

3. Nonconsensual footsie is a two-player game, so designate the third person in your row as the referee. The referee is not considered a player; during the game, the referee will act like they're asleep, wear noise-cancelling headphones, but secretly monitor the game play.

How to Play

Player One (typically but not always a man) gently pokes the toe of Player Two (typically but not always a woman) with his toe, and then awaits a reaction.
  • If Player Two moves her foot away from Player One's foot, a safe assumption is that Player Two thought it was maybe an accidental nudge, given the close confines of the airplane aisle. Nevertheless, Player One must persist.
  • Player One then rings the call bell to summon liquid courage, and after the flight attendant delivers his third Jack and Coke, continues to poke and prod Player Two's foot with his.
  • At this point, Player Two becomes acutely aware that this is no accident, and moves as far away as possible (which is not very far) until she is almost in the lap of the referee.
  • If Player One continues to nudge Player Two's foot with his foot in a flirtatious manner, Player Two screams at him to stop and then re-rings the call bell to summon that flight attendant with the big boobs who will totally get it.
Strategy: Try traveling with someone who wants to fuck you.

Being Eliminated

If Player Two has to call a crew member to report nonconsensual footsie on Player One, Player One is immediately out of the game. If the flight has to be diverted, Player One loses all the turns.

How to Win

Player One wins nonconsensual footsie by avoiding arrest. Player Two wins by obtaining a cash settlement for counseling plus several thousand frequent flier miles from the airline.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

25 Ways to Celebrate Alaska Day

It’s Alaska Day! We’re a real, honest to God STATE OF THE UNION! We’re not owned by Russia anymore! SUPPOSEDLY! 

Here are 25 ways to celebrate:

1. Fix your car bumper with duct tape.

2. Call your friend to see if she’s heard from your husbands who are socked in on an island somewhere in the middle of nowhere hunting ungulates.

3. Go to a store that should be open, but isn’t for some reason. Order the thing you were looking for. Pay twice its value for shipping.

4. Treat yourself to a new pair of Dansko clogs or Xtra Tuffs.

5. Get into a fight with a neighbor over Ballot Measure One.

6. Listen to some crappy bluegrass while cleaning your guns.

7. See if you can get Alaska Airlines to give you 20,000 miles for no reason.

8. Chop wood like you’re the goddamned ant in that Ant and the Grasshopper fable.

9. Brush up on your Russian. You might need it again sooner than you think!

10. Log into your bank account and marvel that your PFD went out as fast as it went in.

11. Believe a woman, maybe?

12. Visit the Post Office just because you can.

13. Vacuum up 16 lbs of dog hair with a shop vac.

14. Use every power tool in your garage.

15. Murder some slugs.

16. Declare something to be Skookum.

17. Indulge in opioid crisis-related ennui.

18. Sign up to bring juice or mixed nuts to your office potluck.

19. Chew some tabacky.

20. Eat weed; reorganize your chest freezer.

21. Go check your crab pots. Find nothing but rotting hot dogs.

22. Read the comments on the ADN. Smash your keyboard with your forehead.

23. Argue with a climate change denier. Yell, “DO THE MATH!,” even though you suck at math.

24. Contract giardia. 

25. Two words: burning pallets.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Feminist Tableware Line?!?!?!?!


O.H.M. turns four this month, and if it’s one thing I’ve learned in 1,460 days of writing this blog, it’s that “putting yourself out there” will pay unforeseen dividends. 
Some of these—like meeting new friends and making new connections in the world—are wonderful. Others—like being called a hideous, reprehensible cunt who deserves to be raped and should commit suicide—are less so. 

Diamonds and turds is what you can expect, my friends. Diamonds and turds. (Fun fact for Trivia Night: Diamonds and Turds was the original title of the Prince song, Diamonds and Pearls).

Por ejemplo, just yesterday, someone whom I believe generally agrees with the four basic premises of this blog--(1) Trump is an asshole; (2) Parenting is hard; (3) Nutella is good; (4) Alaska is cool—called me a “back-stabbing mean girl” who is “angling for viral status daily” and who “thinks I’m funny” because I questioned the wisdom of Elizabeth Warren’s DNA test (and subsequently conceded I should probably have kept my big fat mouth shut about that).

The same thing happened when I dared to question the wisdom of non-retaining judges for bad but legal decisions, to the point that I had to delete stuff due to a relentless fusillade of shit-posting from people whom I know for a fact actually agree with me most of the time, but for some reason demand a bizarre level of irrational ideological purity or else hell hath no fury. Which in part is why, some might argue, that the left wing of this country can’t have nice things.

Anyway, I clarified on Twitter that I definitely think I’m Kanye West-level funny and shamelessly angle for viral status on the daily, but I don’t think I’m a mean girl. And the reason I point this out, is because I think some things MUST be mocked, which doesn’t make me mean or “shaming,” per se. But the thing of it is, fam, if you’re going to “put yourself out there,” you’re asking for it. I’m asking for it. DAILY. And I certainly can take what I dish out.

So if you’re putting yourself out there in the real estate section of the New York Fucking Times, bragging about your gigantic East Village closets and your FEMINIST TABLEWARE LINE you should rightly anticipate a wee bit of shit to come drifting your way. Because truly, you are BEGGING ON BENDED KNEE in full genuflection for a flotilla of shit. 

And that is where I come in.

Alleged “mean girls” like me derive no small modicum of satisfaction from dragging lawyers who publicly defend the honor of superyacht owners and well to-do, trust fund babies who work at Facebook, spend $7,000+ a month on a Manhattan apartment, insist on profiling themselves in the New York Times about it, and therefore have approximately zero self-awareness. 

It’s not what Kendra and Jared have. It’s how Kendra and Jared talk about what they have. And how Kendra and Jared talk about what they have can be helped. And—I hate to say this—if it can be helped, it can be shamed. And should be. In short: I simply cannot resist giving Kendra and Jared their internet comeuppance, and if that makes me a mean girl, so be it.

But I just cannot with this.

This is a Cinderella story of a young couple who made the brave pilgrimage from the depths of a basement apartment in the Mission District of San Francisco (near where they also own a $700,000 “fixer-upper” somehow) to a brand new apartment building in the East Village. In the same neighborhood, I believe, where my family first landed in a tenement off the boat from the pogroms of Eastern Europe to pluck chickens and let karp swim around in a bathtub, but where now stands a half-empty luxury apartment complex built by Russian oligarchs and rented for $7,000 a month by a couple-plus-their-roommate with a French Bulldog named PacMan who has back problems and a Peloton bike next to their salvaged drift wood headboard.

Despite being born and raised in New York City, I don’t live there anymore, and Kendra and Jared are just two of many reasons why. 2018 NYC is laughably unaffordable, teeming with insufferable douchebags, and gentrified to the point that every bodega is now an artisanal mayonnaise co-op or a Bikram yoga studio. 

And every time I go home to my parents’ cluttered, vaguely depressing, senior-citizen outer borough ninth floor apartment packed to the rafters with 45 years’ worth of old newspapers and coffee mugs full of decommissioned subway tokens, I tell them it’s time to do Swedish Death Cleaning. And all I can think about is who in Williamsburg will redecorate their loft with this quirky crap when they die and I unload it in an estate sale; and will I hate whoever it is enough to just decide to burn it all anyway? Or will these subway tokens end up underneath a sheet of glass on an “upcycled” coffee table in SoHo?

Kendra and Jared (those are their names, if I didn't make that clear) first looked at a “pristine and lovely two-bedroom floor-through in a charming three-story brick townhouse” in Little Italy for $6,500. “But the stairs were a deal-breaker for Pacman.” 


I don’t even know what a “floor-through” is, but Kendra and Jared ended up foregoing one. Instead, they moved into a brand-new building called “EVBG” which stands for “East Village’s Greatest Building.” 

With its “boutique industrial aesthetic,” EVBG is meant to be a “nod to the storied rock club CBGB,” but actually sounds like something Donald Trump himself named on his Twitter feed (WE HAVE THE GREATEST BUILDINGS)! Ironically, the vast majority of East Village dive bars like CBGB, where I spent most weekends in high school, can’t afford their rent anymore because of Kendra, Jared, and EVGB.

But the best paragraph of this article by far is where Kendra brags that “as conservationists, they decorated almost exclusively with secondhand furniture.” And the large closets are “the biggest I’ve had in my life” with "enough storage space for craft materials she uses for her FEMINIST TABLEWARE LINE."


So here we get to the point of this profile, which I think, was to compare Kendra’s life history of closet sizes and low-key promote her “feminist tableware line,” oddities, which aims to “elevate your meal time conversations with female anatomy, original art, and upcycled dinnerware.” I checked it out and these are plates and bowls with boobs and vaginas on them which, cool cool cool. I’m here for that. I’m totally going to get some of this and wear my $900 vulva scarf by Fendi to dinner.

The article wraps up by noting that “the building has more amenities than [Kendra and Jared] can use, including a 19,000 square-foot roof deck and a two-level gym.” Kendra “bought goggles, thinking I’d be all about the pool,” and she “intends to use the sauna on weekends” but always forgets. I guess she’s got titty-plates on the brain? Kendra and Jared do, however, somehow remember to “make use of the bocce court on the roof.”

For perspective, the last time we lived in Brooklyn, we made use of the fuse box in the basement of my aunt’s old rental in Prospect Heights to avoid getting electrocuted, and jury-rigged the shower with dental floss so that you didn’t have to choose between hot OR cold and could maybe sometimes get warm. 

We’d also sometimes call the landlady—Mrs. Daniels—when the radiator clanged in at top heat in mid-August. She’d answer, sometimes, in a thick Trinidadian accent, “BUT IT’S DA SUMMAH! DA HEAT NOT SUPPOSED TO BE ON!” And I would say yes, that’s the problem. Also mice. Also a drunk homeless guy wandering up to my front door late at night and teetering in my doorway. Also old Fudgecicle sticks my aunt left behind on the loft bed. We bought quarters, because we spent a lot of time in a laundromat, and also a tie-dyed sheet for a “door” between the bedroom and the living room which was actually just one big small room without the sheet.

So Kendra and Jared, I’m sorry to shame you for “living big,” as you call it, but honestly, you asked for it.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Superyacht Investing: The Struggle is Real

In this era of commodified outrage and wealthy white male victimhood, nothing should surprise me. And yet, something did! What was it? I'm glad you asked. 

It was this apparently non-satirical column by a lawyer named—because of COURSE—Quentin Bargate, on a website called Not to be confused with Superyacht Quarterly, Superyacht Monthly, Superyacht Lifestyle, or any of the other countless trade publications targeted to superyacht owners and investors.

Quentin Bargate--who for some reason is wearing stripes and plaid together--titled his article “Separating Morality from Legality—and Why Yachting Has the Moral High Ground.”

I’ll give you a minute to re-read those dozen words a few times and absorb them before I send this entire column to the burn unit sentence for sentence. Ready? Not yet? I’ll give you a few more moments. How about now? Okay.

Let’s go.

I don’t believe lawyers should write too much about morality. 

CAN CONFIRM. I'm a lawyer myself, so I should know. If you have a law degree, refraining from moralizing is DEF best practices. Just ask Michael Cohen. 

But following the disclosure of the ‘Paradise Papers’ in 2017, an onslaught of misguided moral righteousness resulted, villainising the wealthy for using perfectly legal means of investing their wealth in offshore corporations in order to achieve tax efficiency. 

Wow wow wow. So true. We are all so misguided in our moral righteousness and resistance to disgusting, unfettered capitalism run amok. It's a veritable tragedy how the "ultra high net worth community" felt villainized for using "perfectly legal means" of sheltering their jillions overseas to dodge the fuck out of their debt to society. For as we all know, if it's legal, it must be right! (See, e.g., slavery, segregation, and prohibition).

In the process, many August journals blurred the lines between entirely legal tax avoidance and illegal tax evasion.

Dude. Your clients are billionaires--not just yacht investors, but SUPERYACHT investors (side note: what's the dif between a regular yacht and a superyacht? Kryptonite?). So ostensibly you should be able to distinguish between "august" with a lower-case "a," which means reputable, and August, with a capital "A," which is the eighth month of the year. Unless your'e referring to the slew of journals which just two months ago villainized your clients for being the greedy bastards that they are? Avoidance, evasion. It's all semantics. EVASION = bad. AVOIDANCE = good. TAXES SCHMAXES!

It was regrettable that we saw yacht owners who choose to flag their vessel with an offshore flag state being pulled into the debate in the ever popular pantomime of the evil Superyacht owner who hides his wealth and avoids paying tax.

SO REGRETTABLE! It's a regrettable stereotype harbored by the unwashed masses that people who own superyachts are probably YOOGE dicks. It's certainly more regrettable than, say, the "ever popular pantomime" of "Black boy holding Skittles as armed assassin” or "Gay man as pedophile" or "brown toddler in cage for no reason, signing their rights away in Crayolas on an immigration form" or "woman in politics with opinions as screaming, actively-menstruating bog witch?"

Many of the these flag states are BOTs, such as the British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands. They support seafarers and do vital work alongside other “Red Ensign” (i.e British) flags, but you hear little about that.

Ah, that's right. We don't hear enough about the "vital work" that a small cabal of James Bond wannabes are doing in the Bahamas. This is totally under-reported. To just assume they are idle assholes devoid of principle and drowning in inherited wealth stolen via British colonialism is FAKE NEWS.

The choice of flag state should be considered one of the most important decisions in yacht ownership . . . The benefits of registering a vessel under a recognised offshore flag state are clear and considerable.

Guys, in case you were in the market for a superyacht, please remember how critical it is to choose the right flag state. It's the most important decision you'll ever make in yacht ownership. Quentin Bargate stands ready to assist you when you’re ready to take the plunge.

This is legitimate tax avoidance. Who benefits? Not just the yacht owner but also the economies of the European countries, whether for ship repair, bunkering, victualling, restaurants, marinas and several support services.

Ohhhhh . . . I SEE. Good old trickle-down economics of late-stage capitalism. This is so 80s. Both 1980s AND 1880s. How Dickensian. I don't know what "victualling" is, but it sounds like "drinking Absinthe on the bow of a superyacht after a polo match?" This is NOBLESSE OBLIGE, you see. Yes, we Anglos stampeded across the globe, colonized land that didn't belong to us, killed everyone with our filthy diseases, and made ourselves stinking rich in the process. So now everyone should be THANKING us for doling out a non-living wage to some 45 year-old with black lung and seven kids turning bolts under the hull of a dry-docked superyacht on 12 hour shifts at a shipyard near Plymouth. M'kay.

I cannot personally think of a film where a superyacht was not used as the lair or getaway vehicle for some disreputable character. 

Yes. For good reason.

Granted, playing the villain is often the best acting role. 

GRANTED. It's good to be bad! Even when we’re portrayed as assholes in the media, we rich people always get THE BEST ACTING ROLES. Just ask ya boy Trump!

The more we can dispel this misleading association between yacht ownership and dodgy behaviour, then the more new individuals we can encourage into this fantastic and unique world.

Finally someone is speaking up for the little guy, aka, the deeply marginalized and misunderstood community of FUCKING SUPERYACHT OWNERS, Y’ALL! Yes, let's all work to dispel these unjust myths, because that is an excellent use of our time and energy in civic messaging. The misleading association between yacht ownership and dodgy behavior is totally unfounded. Take to the streets!

With increased security risk, it is beneficial that these superyachts are able to respond to aid the government in detection and prevention of threats.

Wai wai wait . . . are you suggesting that there's a cozy (or as the Brits would spell it, cosy) relationship between extremely rich people and the military-industrial complex/police state? I don't believe you.

There is a good story to be told, but it is not being repeated often enough. It is a story of high standards, increased safety and crew welfare. It is also a story of wealth generation across Europe and beyond, and the enhancement of our own security.

Right on. This story is not being told enough. So let me give it a shot: Once upon a time, in a land far far away, there was a douchebag named Quentin Bargate who made his fame and fortune defending the good honor of European superyacht owners. And they all lived happily ever after, drowning in their swollen stock portfolios. The End! Now repeat that story in the bathroom mirror 13 times and Warren Buffet will appear and write you a seven-figure check.

Now, the pressure is on for publicly searchable beneficial ownership registers. No longer will the wealthy enjoy any meaningful financial privacy, their security will be compromised and the aims of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will be entirely lost. How ridiculous!

Noooooooooo! How RIDICULOUS!!!!!!! We must ensure that the wealthy enjoy meaningful financial privacy. This is like, a basic human right. But first can we maybe make sure that children in the global south enjoy meaningful access to running water devoid of parasites as opposed to shitting themselves to death before the age of five? Let's enjoy making that happen first, maybes.

We should not let the tabloid press or leaks such as that of the Paradise Papers, obscure the bigger picture. It is the duty of all of us that know of these many benefits to get out there and tell that story.

PREACH, KWEEN! We must NOT let the tabloids take control here. IT IS THE DUTY OF ALL OF US. We must wrest this narrative back from the plebes. Quentin Bargate, you are doing God's Work. GOD'S WORK, I tell you!

Friday, October 12, 2018

Seriously What the Actual Fuck is Even HAPPENING Right Now?!

Sometimes I just need to step back, duck out of the proverbial storm for a minute, and ask myself the following question: Seriously, what the ACTUAL FUCK is even happening right now?!

Fortunately, I have some ME TIME™️ today to contemplate the answer. My Me Time™️ will not now, nor will it ever, involve yoga or errands. Rather, my Me Time™️ = lying in bed, eating toast, dozing intermittently, and shaking my head in abject disbelief while staring into this glowing rectangle of doom until it’s time to pick up my crotch fruit from school and Make Memories™️ while pretending they’ll still inherit a livable planet.

It will also involve ruminating on exactly how fucking CONFUSED I am. Like ALLLLL of the time. 

This picture of Kanye and Sarah Huckabee Sanders chillaxing in the Oval Office is the Maraschino cherry atop the giant shit sundae of American dystopia that we’ve been shoveling into our collective faces since 11/9/16. 

And all it serves to do is further cement my confusion.

I mean, I’m given to understand that all three branches of our government have been seized in a silent coup led by a hollowed-out decorative gourd-headed crypto-Nazi, catalyzed by white grievance and its slavish devotion to the police state, and enabled by civic apathy all to the exclusive benefit of an elite oligarchy of filthy rich latter-day robber barons who plan to strip the earth for parts before escaping to Mars in a spaceship and leaving the rest of us to quite literally burn to death.

That much I get. It’s all the OTHER stuff that’s so confusing.

Like what is the meaning of Ambasador Kanye? Do you think Sarah Sanders hates herself as much as the rest of us do? How is the fact that the President of the United States is a self-confessed sexual assailant and intellectually and financially bankrupt unindicted white collar criminal like WAY below the fold news?

Who do we believe? Where does the echo chamber begin and end? Is my break from reality all Putin’s fault? Is this what psychological warfare looks like? If there’s another Civil War, will I have to eat hard tack and homegrown snap peas or can I still go to Costco for those organic chicken skewers?

My grip on reality is at “freehand ice climbing on a frozen waterfall” level right now.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

For the Juneau Gonna Juneau Files: Leftover Shrimp Pad Thai for Sale on Craigslist

I stumbled upon this many months ago, and almost lost my ENTIRE shit when I saw it, but I’ve been saving it for the right time.

As it turns out, that time is a few days after returning home to Alaska from a failed diplomatic mission to our nation’s capital to save democracy from an irascible dry-drunk frat boy who just swore on a bible to uphold the constitution with the same hand he used to smother a 15 year-old girl at Beach Week?

But, I digress, because this post has nothing to do with newly-minted Justice Biff “Rage-Stroke” Boofington, and everything to do with the most Juneau ad ever posted to Juneau Craigslist.

Please let’s take a moment to appreciate and unpack this anonymous gem un-ironically selling leftover Shrimp Pad Thai for the original retail price of $15.95 or “interesting trade offers”:

Like what even IS this ish, Y'ALL?!?!? I legit have ALLLLLLLLLL the questions about this ad. 

For starters:

1. Why did you buy two orders of Shrimp Pad Thai for one person?

2. Would you really be “honestly sad to see it go?” I mean, this is language typically reserved for the retirement party of a valuable accounts receivable tech, not tomorrow’s lunch?

3. If you could “use the $15.95,” couldn’t you have used it an hour ago when you ordered twice as much dinner as you needed?

4. Again, being “willing to negotiate” is something you offer for like, a car or a bike or maybe a couch. Not a styrofoam container full of luke warm rice noodles and peanut sauce?

5. What are the chances that someone is going to happen to be looking at Craigslist and be hungry and be willing to buy leftovers from you in God the fuck knows where when they could just go to the restaurant and buy NEW Shrimp Pad Thai for the same price?

6. The phrase “interesting trade offers” is both obscure and vaguely troubling. You have to imagine that someone who seriously tries to sell their leftovers on Craigslist has ...  erm ... an unconventional idea of what constitutes an “interesting trade offer?”

7. What do we think “interesting trade offers” are? Like this could be anything from an innocent deck of cards or a sleeve of Oreos to a blow job or a happy ending or even your liver with fava beans and a nice Chianti. HARD PASS.

I mean ... this whole thing is so much WTF, I don’t even know where to start. Or end. 


Tuesday, October 9, 2018

New Viral Hashtags Now That Mitch McConnell Killed #MeToo


Friday, October 5, 2018

A New Sisterhood and the Meaning of No

Last Saturday night, I received a Facebook message from an Anchorage attorney I didn’t know, asking for my personal email address. We had several friends in common and Alaska is a tightknit legal community, so I gave it freely. 

Five days later, I was sitting three feet away from Senator Lisa Murkowski at a small conference table in her DC office, looking her squarely in the eye and asking her to please vote her conscience on Brett Kavanaugh. 

What happened in between was one of the most intense and memorable civic experiences of my life.

The woman who’d messaged me wanted to write a letter signed by Alaskan women lawyers opposing Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court, and in order to gather as many signatures as possible, created a Facebook group to begin drafting it. The group quickly began to accumulate members, several of whom subsequently composed a succinct and dispassionate plea to Senator Murkowski to reject this appointment.

Shortly after the group formed, a woman named Susanna—whom I also didn’t know and whose husband had passed away only three weeks prior—posted there that the ACLU would be supporting 100 Alaskan women to travel to DC that week to meet with our Senators on Kavanaugh.

I didn’t even consider going on the trip. It was late Sunday evening by now, and my family needed me at home the following week. I have a full-time job as the primary income earner in a four-person household. My 10 year-old daughter and 7 year-old son were mired in school and activities; flying all the way to the east coast on such short notice was a non-starter.

But the next morning, the attorney who’d originally emailed me posted that she was going to DC, and urged others to do the same despite their busy lives as lawyers, spouses, and moms.

“Here’s what I want for my birthday this year,” I texted my husband, and put in for three days of personal leave at work. By 5:00 a.m. Wednesday morning, I was at the Juneau airport on my way to Washington.

Thursday was a whirlwind, and most of us barely ate or slept.

Our group met with Senator Sullivan in the morning and Senator Murkowski in the afternoon. In both meetings, we carefully echoed the points in our letter—which by this time bore the signatures of nearly 400 Alaskan women lawyers—on why we felt Brett Kavanaugh was a grave and irreversible mistake for our nation’s highest court. The meeting with Lisa (her small population of constituents often refer to her by her first name) felt especially critical. 

We knew she was undecided on Kavanaugh, and for good reason. An Alaska bar member herself, we knew she would absorb the legal and ethical reasons—as opposed to the policy leanings—to vote no on Kavanaugh. 

We made the pitch that this wasn’t about policy. We hadn’t flown down for Neil Gorsuch. It was about the public’s faith and integrity in the judiciary itself. It was about credible allegations of sexual assault that arose during an interview for a lifetime job that would affect millions of American lives for a generation, most notably the majority of women who have experienced sexual violence. It was about the applicant’s entitled and intemperate response to these allegations, his perjurious answers to questions, his disrespect to a female Senator, his combative demeanor, his conspiratorial rantings, and the naked partisanship and vows for retribution that “what goes around comes around.”

Even as I sat at the table, listening to my new sisterhood explain these points with trembling poise, and doing so myself, I was acutely aware of how lucky I was. This was a unique, quiet, and historic moment, and I was immeasurably grateful.

I’ve been given so many blessings in life. Healthy children and a supportive spouse. Professional mentors and mentees alike. The ability to process my thoughts in writing and entertain people in the process. The recklessness, I suppose, to speak my mind frankly and irreverently about things that matter to me. Loving parents who provided their only child with an education that brought me to this room and enabled me to articulate myself.

Tears streamed down my face in the Senate Gallery during the cloture vote on Friday morning when Senator Murkowski whispered “no” and her vote was confirmed on the roll call. That one word—“no”—meant so much to so many. Because our Senator wasn’t just saying “no” on her own behalf to a single nominee. 

This was much bigger than one judicial nominee or one woman’s assault.

That soft, quiet “no” was heard around the country by millions of women whose own “nos” were and continue to be ignored in college dorms, bedrooms, and workplaces every single day. 

That “no” was the denunciation of a culture that silences women and elevates privilege and entitlement over their sworn testimony and bodily integrity. 

That “no” was the rejection of the idea—so deeply entrenched that millions of women cheer and promote it against their own interests—that nothing in America deserves more coddling, reverence, and ferocious protection than a wealthy white man’s ambition and “reputation.”

All throughout my 60-hour trip, I heard supportive words from back home that drowned out the countering jabs of harassment, cruelty, and even my own ample cynicism. And I shared them with my new sisterhood of Alaskan women, most of whom I hadn’t met before. 

I am leaving Washington knowing that we all said “no” together, even though it feels futile. And that we helped Lisa—acting alone and yet with millions—do the same.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

This is the Letter Hundreds of Alaskan Women Lawyers Who Oppose Kavanaugh Will Be Signing Shortly

Dear Senators:

We are Alaskan women attorneys who work in a variety of settings, including public interest organizations, government agencies, and private practice. Among us are Republicans, Democrats, Nonpartisan, and Undeclared voters. We ask you, as your constituents and as fellow lawyers, to vote against confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh as Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

Our opposition to the confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh is not a matter of policy disagreement or political affiliation. As lawyers, our focus is on the Constitution and the law. The ongoing legitimacy and public confidence in our nation’s highest Court requires that we hold the Justices who interpret those laws to the very highest standards. Judges in state and federal courts, and the United States Supreme Court in particular, must uphold and promote the independence, integrity, and impartiality of the judiciary, avoiding even the appearance of impropriety. The rule of law demands nothing less.

The press and some of your fellow Senators have presented the confirmation process as something like a criminal trial. But of course, your critical constitutional role to provide “advice and consent” on the suitability of a judicial nominee should bear no resemblance to that process. The question the Constitution asks you to consider is not whether Judge Kavanaugh could be convicted of a crime, but rather, whether he has demonstrated over the course of his life and his career—including during the confirmation process itself—his suitability to serve for a lifetime on our highest court.

Judge Kavanaugh's conduct during his confirmation hearings fell far short of our standards as citizens and as lawyers. He displayed uncontrolled anger, sarcasm, and open contempt  for Senators—particularly female Senators—and he made numerous unapologetically partisan statements.This response to admittedly difficult circumstances exhibited poor judgement and a temperament unsuitable for a Supreme Court justice. His answers to Senators’ questions were frequently evasive, incomplete, and combative. This behavior raised serious questions in our minds about his credibility and trustworthiness. His performance diminished public confidence, and our confidence, in his ability to uphold the independence and impartiality of the Court.

Our opposition to Judge Kavanaugh also reflects our deep concern for survivors of sexual harassment and sexual assault. Like far too many of our fellow Alaskans, many of us and many of our clients and others with whom we work professionally are survivors of these traumas. Sexual assault survivors nationwide are watching Judge Kavanaugh’s response, and the response of the Senate, to Christine Blasey Ford’s sworn allegations of sexual assault. In his testimony, the judge displayed no appreciation that this seat on the Court is much larger than one man and much larger than Dr. Ford and her story. His focus rested entirely on himself and his own outrage; his words and actions were not those of the dedicated public servant this country deserves.

This appointment will affect the legitimacy of the Court in the eyes of legal practitioners and the public for decades to come. We can, and we must, do much better than Brett Kavanaugh. We respectfully urge you to vote “No” when Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation reaches the Senate floor.

Alaska deserves better. The nation deserves better.

Clarification: I didn’t draft this letter. It was drafted by a committee of Alaskan women lawyers opposed to Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation. If you are an Alaskan woman lawyer, you should be receiving an email shortly on this with info on how to sign on. Check your spam folders in case of filtering. Thanks.