Thursday, May 16, 2019

The Solution to Alaska’s Fiscal Crisis is in This Email

Dear Most Esteemed and Honourable Rulers of Alaska State,

I know this message will come as a surprise to you, but please permit me of my desire to go into business relationship with you.

My name is Prince Tunde Surugaba, heir to the throne of the late King Abioye Surugaba of Libya, who was murdered during a government coup some years ago. Before his death, my father was a strong supporter and member of the late Moammar Gadhafi Government in Tripoli.

Meanwhile, before the incident, my father fled to Nigeria with the sum of USD $4.5B which he deposited in a bank in Lagos for safekeeping.

I am in this message seeking an avenue for transfer of the fund to you (and you only) as you are a reliable and trustworthy government and understand well investments. I remain in Libya because of the death of my father, and I want you to help me transfer my inheritance into your Permanent Fund or General Fund or General Permanent Fund for investment in police, schools, and large dividends to your loyal subjects.

Please I will offer you 20% of the total sum of USD $4.5B for your assistance in this regard. Please I wish to transfer this sum into the Permanent Fund or General Fund or Permanent General Fund urgently and without delay. 

I simply need the routing number of your largest bank account, the social securities numbers of all of your loyal subjects, and a small upfront payment of USD $100,000 to repay debts to the bank that holds the note on my castle.

I know we can be of service to each other as you are very poor and I am very rich and your loyal subjects would be most indebted to their rulers upon provision of such ample riches. Please respond immediately to this email with the information requested and wire transfer the above sum promptly so that we may begin our business.

Many thanks and peace to you.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Anonymous Guest Post from a Man Who Decided Birth Control Was His Job

Once, many years ago, I had a tawdry and long-running affair with a woman nearly 15 years younger than me. I was pushing 40 and she was, as you can surmise, suitably young given my fast approaching grey beard.

We were, in short, massively connected when it came to our sex life. We would two-to-tango every day some weeks, sometimes up to thrice a day.

The sex was good and she even invited me, on many occasions, to meet her family. She said they “would just love me.”

I wasn’t in love with this woman. Hell, until recently I didn’t know what love was. We were just primordial beasts in bed… and the shower… and the kitchen counter.

It was good like that… until it wasn’t.

One day, after we hadn’t seen each other for a few days, she texted me.

“Hey. I need to talk to you.”

Instantly I cringed. I knew what this was about and it was something I didn’t want to deal with.

A few hours later, another message. No response from me, mind you. This went on for two days until she finally did it. She ended my world.

“Dude…… I’m pregnant.”

My whole world stopped and for a second I could not breathe.

And then, after a few months went by, I decided to do something that would change my world and, hopefully, the rest of the world.

I decided to get a reversible vasectomy.

I did this mostly out of self-preservation, at first. I had already created one life that I loved with a human I did not. I’m not the brightest jackass and I have been accused of making more than my fair share of mistakes.

But the light of reason shined upon me that day. I knew I had minimal self-control when it came to women I wanted to sleep with – and I knew I never wanted to put another woman or child through that again.

Now, seven years later, I no longer have the libido I once did. Sexuality is more about love than orgasms now. And it certainly isn’t about procreation. That bird flew in my life.

I write this because I believe that if more men took charge of their sexual health, rather than wasted their words and anger directed at the “whores,” “sluts,” and “bitches” of the world who get pregnant by their seed—and then who they never see again or worse—the world would be a better place.

It’s time that men practiced some preventative maintenance when it comes to the creation of life.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

A Mother’s Day Thank You Note to My Babies

Dear Babies,

I’m writing you this thank you letter from a sunny bench on the playground. (Thank you for letting me sit here, by the way. The swings make me barf). Technically you’re not babies anymore. At 8.5 and 11.5, I’m guessing you don’t have many years of monkey bars and swinging left in you. I’m just happy you still love playing with dolls and Legos. Can you make that last a little bit longer, please?

As an initial matter, I’m sorry I brought you into this shithole slum of a planet at probably one of the shittiest, most overpopulated and bleakest times in human history. Sorry for saying “shit.” I’m sorry, too, for the trouble I have caused in trying to do my part to un-shittify things. Maybe I’ve shat them up worse. But maybe you will understand why some day, and pick up where I left off, and do a better and less self-destructive job of it? 

I hope so.

Your biggest gift to me is bravery. Not fearlessness. I have more fear now than ever before. But you make me brave because I know that the only thing that matters is that I live to see you grow up and that you both outlive me. If that happens, I can handle anything. People can drag my name through the fetid sewer of lies and bullshit all they want and I could be broke and homeless and none of it will matter as long as we are around to love each other.

To my girl: I envy you. Your self-confidence, your self-esteem, your kindness, hard work, affection and your fierce independence. When I was your age, all I cared about were boys and friend drama. I cried over everything. You care about friendship bracelets and making your own French toast and finishing your math homework correctly and on time. You never get in trouble, unlike your mother. You hardly cry. Grandma dreaded my parent-teacher conferences but I look forward to yours because I know I’m not going to hear a bad word about you.

To my little man: You’re already too cool for your mom, I know. With your Sabiki fishing rig and your deep knowledge of local flora and your love of snowboarding and anything involving a ball. I doubt you’ll ever live anyplace but Alaska, and I hope you make it a better place. Thank you for teaching me how to raise a low-anxiety, wordsmith of a boy who loves babies, animals, and elders. Thank you for (almost) always being kind to other children.

The two of you are, by far, my greatest achievement. When you were born, I looked at you in wonder that my body made these perfect humans. I still love to put my face in your hair and read you stories and sleep next to you at night. I’ll try my best never to let anyone come betweeen you and your happiness and potential.

Thank you for the gift of being mine.



Thursday, May 9, 2019

The Patagonia 'Power Vest' Drought is a Fucking NIGHTMARE for ‘Aspiring Tycoons!’

Satire has long ago eclipsed reality, so I should not have been surprised to see this headline in the Wall Street Journal last week: Patagonia Triggers Market Panic Over New Rules on Power Vests.

I would've read the whole article, but the WSJ charges per click (it's Wall Street, after all), and although I fully believe in paying for news content, I wasn't about to give that POS rag any of my cheddar--not even for this worthy cause. So I gathered what I could from the preview and elsewhere. Basically, "the sportswear company announced restrictions on its custom-branded vests to firms that 'prioritize the planet,' leaving aspiring tycoons out in the cold."

Again, because the Venn diagram of satire and reality is now a complete circle, it's hard to tell if the reporter had tongue in cheek when she called this a "panic-inducing announcement" and a "crisis that touches the very core of [Wall Street's] largely male workforce." 

I found more (i.e. free) coverage of this "crisis," and learned that Patagucci is saying FUCK YOU, YA FILTHY RICH BASTARDS to Wall Street banks like JP Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs, and will henceforth sell its monogrammed fleece vests only to "mission-driven companies that prioritize the planet." 

(Full disclosure: I own a Patagonia puffy vest that I wear frequently, because it has discreet pockets for everything from iPhones to vape pens to loose cashews, and I can often get away with wearing no bra underneath it. From now on, I will be referring to this garment as a "power vest" in the hopes that it will force my smart-mouthed children to better RESPECT MAH AUTHORITAH).

My powers of deductive reasoning and extrapolation tell me a few things about this story: (1) Big banks must not be "mission-driven companies that prioritize the planet"; (2) there is such a thing as an "aspiring tycoon" (*SHUDDER*); and (3) aspiring tycoons have a very sensitive panic-button. 

A "celebrity stylist" in the above-linked article put it best and most hilariously: "It's such a status symbol. The vest gives off the Indiana Jones adventurer look for the man who doesn't have any adventures."


So true! It's way better to pretend you're off rock climbing (or fighting Nazis in a snake pit?) on the weekends, even though you're actually stuck on the 19th floor of 5151 Avenue of the Americas eating take-out sushi at your desk. Who has time for "adventures" when you're spending 80 hours a week shuffling money around from one hedge fund to another so that the petro-state and the military-industrial complex can turn you and the rest of the 1% into the .0000000001%,? It's essential that you guarantee yourself a leather seat on Elon Musk's first rocket ship to Mars when the REAL panic over non-vest-related resources such as food and water is unleashed on humanity. 

If these guys think they're panicking now, wait until they have to shove little old ladies and children out of the way to escape the boiling planet by launching themselves into the stratosphere.

Bottom line: Patagonia is "reluctant to co-brand with oil, drilling, dam construction, etc. companies that they view to be ecologically damaging," including "financial institutions." I suppose this means that here in Alaska, we shouldn't expect to see any "co-branding" with BP, ConocoPhillips, or the Pebble Limited Partnership? These "aspiring tycoons" will have to do all their vest-shopping at REI and might need to order monogramming through some separate, less scrupulous service in order to find a loophole in this disastrous new rule.

May God have mercy on their souls.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Needs Improvement

Caring for myself is not self-indulgence. It is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”

—Audre Lorde, A Burst of Light and Other Essays. 

You are a warrior. 

They have told you so, often. So it must be true. You certainly feel wounded enough. Then why do you not believe it? Why do you not feel like a warrior, here in bed, in the middle of the day for fuck’s sake, under your weighted blanket? The one given to you in a hard time by a fellow mother. One with real pain. With real problems, not of her own making.

Unlike you. 

This is a fake problem of your own making. You did it to yourself, and now you need to find your own way up and out. You are responsible for your own happiness, and you are abdicating that responsibilty. The children are at school (you dropped them off today) and it’s quiet except for those goddamned parakeets. The bit of work you set out for yourself this morning is done, and you lack capacity for more. You read a few pages of a novel, but can’t seem to focus. It’s not a book you ordinarily would have chosen, but here you are, trying anyway.


The tears come when you think about what the others might be doing right now. Your other family, the one you haven’t seen since winter and will never see again. Not ever. Not in the same way, at least. They took that, and it’s never coming back. Self-indulgent self-pity is not the same as self-care, is it?

Self-care. Ugh. The term is so corny. So First World, new-age journey, hot yoga, truth-living. You think about bubble baths and soft leggings that arrive in the mail wrapped in plastic, paid for with plastic. Fake. You know you don’t deserve these fake things, because apart from everything else, you are too sad to exercise, even though you know exercising will make you less sad. Ironic.

“Apart from everything else.” That was a great turn of phrase favored by someone you used to talk to every day, but aren’t allowed to anymore. You feel trapped under the weight of your own victimhood and inability to cede to bullshit. You never intended your voice to operate as an act of defiance, and yet it has done just that for as long as you can remember. Every other day in elementary school, you would end up on the green Naugahyde couch outside the principal’s office, waiting to be beckoned in and scolded. 

“BEHAVIOR: NEEDS IMPROVEMENT.” (That was the worst mark available for behavior). It was on every report card. Sometimes it was even followed by two—TWO— exclamation points with a frowny face under the !! 

Even now, you can see it.

You haven’t changed in any way that matters in the past three decades, and you’re not going to. So what will you do instead? You summon from memory a college text book—an Audre Lorde quote, and then descend into a Wikipedia hole, reading about her work, her poetry, her life. Now that’s a warrior.

Self-preservation as an act of political warfare. The idea resonates. You think about refusing to leave your home. Refusing to disrupt your children’s lives. Swipe-deleting toxic people. Shrugging as you give up on them. Ignoring them. The determination to continue existing and resisting and thriving where you are, as acts of both self-preservation and affirmative aggression. 

Because that’s really what it is. It is an act of aggression and defiance simply to continue your work on this earth in the face of people who want you to shut up, get fucked, get raped, be broke, move away, die. They’ve told you all of those things too. They tell them to you every day. And yet here you are, still, anyway.

Maybe you can call yourself a warrior afterall.

Friday, April 26, 2019

The Alien Invasion is Imminent and I for One Could Not Be Happier

When I awoke at 2:00 a.m. this morning to pee for the third time that night (as is my habit) and checked my phone to make sure none of my east coast friends or relatives had been pushed in front of the A train on the way to work (as is also my habit), I stumbled across this WaPo article about multiple pilots reporting flying saucers to the United States Navy. Here's the gist:
As first reported by POLITICO, these intrusions have been happening on a regular basis since 2014. Recently, unidentified aircraft have entered military-designated airspace as often as multiple times per month . . . 
In some cases, pilots — many of whom are engineers and academy graduates — claimed to observe small spherical objects flying in formation. Others say they’ve seen white, Tic Tac-shaped vehicles. Aside from drones, all engines rely on burning fuel to generate power, but these vehicles all had no air intake, no wind and no exhaust. 
“It’s very mysterious, and they still seem to exceed our aircraft in speed,” [an intelligence official] said, calling it a “truly radical technology.”
According to Mellon, awestruck and baffled pilots, concerned that reporting unidentified flying aircraft would adversely affect their careers, tended not to speak up. And when they did, he said, there was little interest in investigating their claims. 

Looks like all the Area 51 alien conspiracy theorists might finally be vindicated in the ultimate I TOLD YOU SO!!! I don't count myself among the believers, although I'll readily confess to having enjoyed the many--MANY--alien movies and shows on offer: X Files, Alien, Contact, Arrival, Colony, Ancient Aliens, Alien Encounters, Secret Alien Encounters, Unsealed: Alien Files, Alien Abductions, Roswell, Destination Truth, In Search of Aliens, UFO Hunters and . . . well . . . I could go on. Obvs.

Honestly though? I greet the imminent alien invasion as a rare glimmer of good news. After all, we are being ruled by a sentient Cheetoh-humanoid hybrid on a planet that is roasting to a crisp like a pig on a spit. So the thought of little green men descending to earth from another galaxy, scooping me up under a beam of blinding light, and conducting a thorough probe of my anus inside the confines of their high-tech aircraft covered in mysterious hieroglyphics sounds distinctly preferable to my current reality.

We aren't doing a very good job here on earth, so I think we should welcome the arrival of intelligent life, as opposed to the stupid life we have now. The awkward part is gonna be when they say TAKE ME TO YOUR LEADER in their little green-man robot voices, and we have to introduce them to Trump. 

Like this is going to be so fucking awkward and embarrassing. How would this even go? Presumably someone from the Navy or Air Force would guide the saucer to the White House lawn, and discovering Trump not there, turn due south to Mar-a-Lago where they'd find him golfing. 

We would then have to explain golf to the aliens. And how would THAT go? Maybe kinda like this:

Um . . . so . . . we have this extremely random game we play for no reason? That is contributing to the death of our planet because it uses a disproportionate share of finite and critical resources? Where people with a lot of money like, take a stick and hit these little balls into holes? And our President is hitting little balls into holes with his sticks all the time? Instead of like, fixing any actual problems or doing his job? 

Then their robot voices would be like: SO VERY STRANGE. AND WHAT IS THIS MONEY YOU SPEAK OF, and then we'd have to explain THAT, like . . . 

So there's this green paper? Kind of the color of your skin? And our entire society is based on everyone trying to get more of it all day every day? Like everyone wants it and needs it to solve problems? But it also creates a lot more problems than it solves? 

And the more we tried to explain golf and money, the more ridiculous we'd sound.

And then they'd finally meet Trump and be like WOW, this is gonna be the easiest planet-takeover in the history of the time-space continuum! They'd probably have a little alien-huddle on their saucer and be like WE MUST CAPTURE THE ORANGE ONE WHO GRABS EARTH-BREEDERS BY THE SPAWN-HOLE. HE IS AN UNWIELDY DOTARD. VERY EASY TO LURE BACK TO ANDROMEDA 464 WITH GOOD INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES.

When you really think about it, an alien invasion is maybe the lifeline we've been waiting for all along.

Image result for alien

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Winter Gives Juneau a Booty Call

Winter: Hey
Winter: U up?
Juneau: New phone who dis?
Winter: lmao for real?
Juneau: yeah sorry software upgrade lost all my contacts.
Winter: it’s Winter!
Juneau: Oh lol I deleted you in Feb.
Winter: I know—ugh. Sorry I’ve been kinda MIA lately. I’m going through kind of a hard time with global warming and shit.
Juneau: k.
Winter: so ummmm ... I was thinking of coming to town for a couple days in April maybe.
Winter: and I was kinda wondering if maybe I could like crash on your couch or something maybe?
Juneau: srsly lol. are you tripping? where were you in Jan and Feb when Eaglecrest was in the fuckin hurt locker broseph?
Winter: I’m sorry lemme make it up to you I swear it’ll be dif this time. I’m in like a way better place.
Juneau: k.
Winter: no like seriously I’m really working on myself. Like I’m on a real self care journey and I’m coming back like stronger than ever next year.
Juneau: uh huh omg so tired I HAVE to go to sleep I have work in the morning.
Winter: what’re you doing for work these days?
Juneau: Lol really?
Winter: what?
Juneau: I’m pulling dog turds and needles out of snow berms (aka cleaning up your fuckin mess) so the cruise ship yahoos won’t see dog shit or litter 
Winter: that wasn’t my fault and you know it
Juneau: srsly not having this convo RN. See you next year maybe.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

My Juneau Bar Game is Rusty AF, Y’all!

That’s the sad fact of the matter.

Even in my twenties, I was bad at bars. And that’s saying something, since most of those years were spent in New York City with no shortage of them. But now that I’m (gulp) 41, that feeling of standing around awkwardly with a big purse in one hand, a hard-won amaretto sour in the other, and yelling “wha?!” into my friends’ ears while ogling men who are out of my league (and now young enough to be my kids) carries a decidedly thirsty and geriatric vibe.

It all started with this total bitch who had the gall to be born four years after me and therefore still possesses the stamina and confidence to leave her house. She’s also a close friend and it was 420 AND the drag show at the Rendezvous, so skipping this would've been like the pope missing Christmas mass at the Vatican. 

I had no choice.

The first humiliation of the night was destined to be parking. I drove down that little back alley behind City Hall (aka the Boulevard of Broken Dreams for its mercurial parking availability). But tonight I got lucky, and there were two giant spots complete with a young drunk couple pointing them out to me. They tried to wave me into the first spot, but I quickly decided it was too small and opted for the second.

Parallel parking under pressure is like trying to pee with a parole officer standing behind you. You kinda freeze up, or at least I do. And I suck at parallel parking to begin with. In fact, I live my entire life trolling for head-in parking. But, I was now this couple’s spontaneous entertainment, and I could feel them gawking in drunken awe as I—100% sober—made seventeen attempts to get my mid-sized Subaru into a parking space fit for a school bus.

“That was the worst parking job I’ve ever seen in my life!” the guy slurred effusively when I emerged, victorious, from the driver’s side door. I thanked him, took a dramatic bow, and headed on my way to the Rendezvous.

The only problem was I couldn’t remember which bar that was, that’s how long it had been since I’d been to a bar in Juneau. So I had to navigate the universal sidewalk gauntlet of arguing Saturday night drunks while squinting at every sign to make sure I was walking into the right place.

Immediately upon entering, I paid the cover and bellied up to a vacant corner of the bar where I saw my number one girl crush bar tending. She looked like she was having the time of her life. So I hugged her and in that moment experienced with new certainty the feeling that I had chosen the wrong career path coupled with my thrice-daily despair at being heterosexual.

I quickly found my friend, handed her a birthday G&T, and proceeded to watch Juneau’s best drag kings and queens strut the catwalk looking 10x better and more confident than I have ever felt in any gender role. It was at that moment that the emcee announced my arrival from the stage. My attempts to be a low profile old lady IRL had been thwarted once again by my big, loud, internet mouth.

“Libby Bakalar is in the house people!,” legendary Juneau drag icon Gigi Monroe announced from the stage to a room of 300 (much more vibrant) souls than me. “One Hot Mess, thank you for the work you do!” at which point a literal spotlight swung in my direction and I waved awkwardly to the people whose social media feeds I presumably pollute on the reg.

Simultaneously beaming and mortified, I knew I’d ideally need more than one drink for this. But unfortunately, I was driving and couldn’t afford to lose an entire Sunday of active parenting to a hangover. So the only thing I chased that G&T with was a handful of Advil and seven games of Words With Friends from my bed not 45 minutes later.

As for the Juneau drag scene, that shit is fucking LEGEND as always. (And I spent every summer of my childhood in Provincetown, Cape Cod, so I know what I’m taking about). I put all the respek in the world on these kings and queens. 


Wednesday, April 17, 2019

I Shoulda Been a Woman Egyptologist, Randomly

That was my first mistake: being born a woman, because—and I don’t know who needs to hear this—being a woman fucking SUUUUUUUUUCKS donkey dongs!

My second mistake was failing to become an Egyptologist, randomly. 

In theory, I had the chance to make ancient historian-flavored lemonade out of my XX chromosome lemons. I coulda been a contender. I had all the good fortune and support available to a young lady of the 80s. Sure I was body-shamed, bullied by boys, and had eating disorders, but I always did my homework so the same boys who bullied me could cheat off of me too.

Yet what did I do instead? Like a dummy (mummy?) I went to law school. And I did a really good job of being a lawyer, only to get unconstitutionally fired by dudes, get a dude to sue those other dudes, and wait for yet *another* dude to (maybe?!) tell the whole world that the first dudes were wrong. I would’ve been better off studying pharaohs. Check this out:

Wai wai wait. “Who cares if you haven’t seen an ice cube in a month?” Um .... *raises hand.* Rebel king or no rebel king, all those old stone statues look the same to me. Akhenaten Shmakenaten. Fuck this 200 degree Fahrenheit dig, m’kay? I just want a frozen margarita. And I’m sorry, but no number of dope tomb artifacts can trump Cuervo on the rocks with salt. The future Dr. Bryan feels at home among pyramids?  WOOT for her! I feel at home lying on my couch, feeling unjustifiably sorry for myself, and blogging about a book that looks like it was made at Kinkos and illustrated by a first grader but is somehow— inexplicably—real.

Turns out being an Egyptologist is just as easy as any other career path: question, search for answers, analyze answers. That’s what I get paid to do anyway! I also do it in my personal life, like question: “why am I so fucking depressed every goddamned day?” Answer: “bad genes.” Analyze answers: “Perhaps I should climb into a time machine and be reborn as a Swedish man.”

BACK THE FUCK UP. Screw Sweden! I want to go back in time to ancient Egypt where I can read, write, own property, sue people, and work side by side with men. 

Oh wait... 

I have two goals as One Hot Mess Associate Professor of Fuckery at the School of Hard Knocks: (1) never accept a Facebook friend request from someone who claims to have attended the school of Hard Knocks; and (2) dunk on my enemies and breakdance on their proverbial graves like they were 1985 West 4th Street asphalt.

But whatevs. If Egyptology doesn’t work out, I could also choose/could have chosen from among these other STEM careers. Unfortch, astronaut isn’t listed because they don’t make space suits in our size. C’mon. NASA isn’t Nordstrom Rack, ladies.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

I Tried to Make My Own Janties. It Did Not Go as Planned.

Long time readers of this blog know that before I made it my daily business to call out our Sentient Cheetoh Overlord™ and his enablers, I dedicated many a post to the latest styles and fashions of Our Troubled Times.™  Several of these readers encouraged me to post about "janties," the new $315 jean "panties" that are all the rage (as my mother would say) at Coachella this year. Here's what they look like:

Now, knowing full well I was not prepared to spend 1.5 car payments on a glorified amalgam of Jockeys and cut-off jean shorts, I began digging through my massive piles of shit to find an appropriate candidate for my DIY janties experiment. What I unearthed were these knee-length Carters, which had previously been jeans, but sometime around 1992 became cut-offs. You will see in the next picture why I chose them for my victim.

As you can see, these cut-off jean shorts are none too flattering, especially with my post-Alaskan winter alabaster legs. They MIGHT be okay if I were in a junior high play starring as Huck Finn, but I'm not, so I promptly sacrificed these to fashion science.

Next, I found a craft scissors and began sawing away. I didn't really have a plan. And that, I’m afraid, is where things started to go wrong. "Measure twice, cut once." That's what my dad always told me. Welp, I didn't heed that paternal axiom, because I was too eager to get these janties on my body. So I didn't measure once, much less twice, and I absolutely massacred the shit out of these shorts.

No matter! They were looking pretty good, I thought. Pretty, pretty, pretttttyyyy good, as Larry David would say. Until I realized that I had made a fatal error. Specifically, I had irretrievably cut the most crucial part of the shorts: the crotch. In order for janties to "work" you sort of need the crotch part. Otherwise you basically just have a denim mini-skirt. Undeterred, I set out to fix the unfixable.

I did not have a needle and thread at the ready. And even if I had, I am a terrible seamstress. Regardless, I wasn't going to do things right when I could use a lazy short cut. So I quickly found a stapler and tried to staple the crotch back together. I decided to worry later about how a staple would feel on my vagina.

The stapler was a fail. The staple came right out and I knew I would need to find another office supply solution. ENTER BINDER CLIPS! Again, I would worry about the impact of two metal pincers on my poonanie at a later date. I had to get these janties TF on! Fashion demanded it!

NAILED IT! My DIY janties were not what I was expecting, but, pics or it didn’t happen. They came out looking more like the airport fashion style of 12 year-old tween girls in summer 2012, i.e. vadge-high jean shorts with pockets hanging out of the bottom. I didn't try moving or walking in my janties, because I was pretty sure that the binder clips holding the crotch together would either chafe my lady parts or fall off, and either way it was not going to be pretty. 

Ultimately, my DIY janties never saw the outside of my bedroom, and the world is a better place for it.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Abstinence Only-Education for Parakeets

Does avian sex-ed exist? I’m guessing no. I’m generally not a fan of abstinence-only education, but when it comes to Violet and Steele, the two parakeets Isaac successfully lobbied me into getting from PetCo, it's the only acceptable route. I'll back up for a minute to explain how Violet and Steele (original proposed names Ruffnut and Tuffnut or Fred and George) came to be members of our family. 

Isaac and I were killing time at PetCo one day, which is Juneau's only zoo and a place Isaac likes to window-shop. The store smells like death, but that's because it's housing rodents, reptiles, birds, fish, amphibians, rabbits, and all of their food and excrement. So it's understandable and after awhile in there olfactory fatigue takes over and you don't notice that there are chinchilla turds in your nose.

"Not today," I told him, as he insistently pressed the issue of parakeet ownership while deploying his most cloying voice and most crestfallen expression. "Maybe another day." 

I felt sort of bad about it. I grew up with cats, gerbils, and guinea pigs, but am now somehow deathly allergic to anything with fur. Even a weekend with Oliver, the class rabbit, proved too much for my histamine response. We have an aquatic frog named Squiggles, but as Isaac correctly notes, Squiggles "doesn't do anything." My retort is that he (or she) croaks out mellifluously in the night for a lover that will never arrive, but Isaac remains unimpressed.

Isaac loves animals. Absolutely loves them. He will pick up and cuddle everything from a gecko to a spider to a puppy or a rat. He's always been this way. One of my earliest Isaac memories is taking him to the gorilla exhibit at the Bronx Zoo in his little car seat carrier. A female gorilla came right up to the glass and began pointing and gesticulating wildly at him, eager, it seemed, to mother another primate.

Eventually Isaac wore me down about the parakeets, and Paige and I returned home from a weekend in Anchorage to find Violet and Steele in our abode. 

I had placed two conditions on the purchase of the parakeets. Well, three: (1) Isaac had to pay for them with his own money; (2) he had to read about how to take care of them and do it every day; and (3) we had to get two, because sentencing a lone parakeet to a life of solitude without a cell-mate seemed mean.

This last condition was problematic, though, because a quick Google search of "how to sex a parakeet" both drops weird cookies on your computer and makes clear that it is not easy to determine if you have two parakeets of the same sex or, God forbid, a mating pair. Something about the color of the "cere" which is the little hard piece over their beak might be a clue, but the basic gist is it's a crap shoot and you can't tell the sex unless you do a DNA sample, and my living room isn't 23&Me meets Jurassic fucking Park, now is it? And will I pay a vet a zillion dollars to neuter them? If that’s even a thing?

I don't think so. And that's where abstinence-only education for parakeets comes in. 

They are loud as all ever-loving fuck (I was warned about this). And I know you can teach them how to talk. But can you teach them to say "let's not fuck?" And have them actually internalize it and mean it? I hope so, because the last thing I want is to wake up to a parakeet egg (or worse, eggs plural) in Violet and Steele's cage.  

Because then my options are limited, and each one seems worse than the last. I wouldn't even know if the eggs were fertilized eggs or if one or both of the birds was a girl and just squirting out unfertilized eggs? That being said:

(a) I could let them incubate the eggs and--potentially--make a bunch of baby parakeets that I would then do . . . I'm not sure what with? I don't think the parakeet breeding and adoption market is particularly hot, though I haven't done a focus group or anything.
(b) I could remove the egg and compost it and/or return it to Mother Earth where a lucky raven or eagle would have it for breakfast.
(c) I could have it for breakfast.

Option (c) sounds disgusting. I eat chicken eggs so why should this be worse, and yet somehow it is worse. Much. Option (b) seems a little close to abortion to me. Don't get me wrong---I am fully pro choice. But I don't think Violet and Steele could consent to a compost-abortion, and consent is critical. Therefore, without knowing whether the eggs were fertilized, I don't think I would feel comfortable hucking them over the edge of my deck into the Tongass beyond.

Sadly, I think option (a) is the only possible solution. I know what's going to happen. I can already tell. There will be eggs and I am going to let nature take its course. The only thing that will fix this is repeating "please don't fuck" to Violet and Steele over and over again until they too can repeat it over and over again and actually act on it by refraining from copulating.

Good luck to me.

Monday, April 8, 2019

These Goys Forgot Some Key Shit!

These goys. Not guys. Goys. As in Gentiles. I had to laugh to myself when this old 2011 article from WaPo Style popped up in my Twitter feed last week. "A Jewish wedding, for two non-Jews." 

So I clicked the link to see exactly what "Jewish traditions" this couple incorporated into their wedding. I was disappointed (though not surprised) to learn it was just more of the same old same old: ceremony under the huppah (canopy); signing the ketubah (Jewish marriage contract); saying Kiddush (blessing over the wine); stomping on the glass, yadda yadda yadda. 

Traditions, trashmishions.

I wasn't offended by the arguable cultural appropriation aspect--frankly I'm always sort of flattered that anyone would voluntarily align themselves with one of the most universally reviled ethnic minorities on the planet. 

But I did find myself wishing this couple had consulted me first, because I would've told them what they needed to make their Jewish wedding truly authentic. 

1. You need Uncle Sol (or similar) leaning over to his table mate and screaming over both their hearing aids in a thick New Jersey accent "CAN YOU BELIEVE THE PORTIONS THEY SERVE HERE!?"

2. You need the Mother-of-the-Bride wringing her hands because "it's so DRRRRROOOOYYYY IN HEEAH and didn't we ask them to turn up the air?!" Then five minutes later she says, "But UCHHHH THE HUMIDITY!?!?!?!?"

3. Then you need Cousin Seth, who tries to get you to invest in his latest get-rich-quick real estate Ponzi scheme (Way to perpetuate sterotypes . . .  thanks a lot, Cousin Seth!)

4. You need a band (or DJ) playing "We are Family," "Sweet Caroline," and “Hava Nagilah” over and over. That Neil Diamond. What a mensch. 

5. Then of course you have to dance the Horah which no one knows how to do, but every dude in the room who weighs more than 150 pounds takes off their suit jackets and lifts up their pit-stained arms to hoist the bride up onto a chair while she covers her face and shrieks as everyone else trips over their feet trying to dance in two circles going in opposite directions.

6. Speaking of dancing, you have Aunt Millie complaining about her bunions. (CAN YOU BELIEVE SOCIAL SECURITY DIDN'T EVEN COVAH THE SURGERY?!)

7. You need Cousin Jackie (the one who got a bad nose job in the 80s) to cluck her tongue disapprovingly over the “low-cut bridesmaids dresses” while whispering that she heard the groom had been married once before and also “his mothah has *extra whisper and widening eyes* CAAAAANNNNNCAH.”

8. Also one of the aforementioned bridesmaids needs to administer fellatio in the bathroom to a groomsman after seven vodka tonics at the open bar, because cash bar is TACKAY and it’s not a wedding without a rando BJ.

9. Finally, there must be several small children hoarding pigs n’ blankets (made with all-beef Kosher hot dogs obvs) and maraschino cherries.

10. You also need a whisper campaign/NCAA-type bracket going in which all the guests place bets on what the wedding cost and who paid for it.

Then and only then will you have an authentic Jewish wedding.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Fights My Mother Taught Me

The men my mother worked with were supervillains, or at least that was my impression and frame of reference. Near as I could tell, they were Lex Luther/Skeletor-type foils to all the Good Things™️ she was trying to accomplish for the homeless and HIV-positive mentally ill population of 1980s Northern Manhattan. 

I listened to my parents talking at the dinner table, the way kids do when they sense adult conversation unfolding—observant and rapt, hanging on every word in the hopes of gleaning illicit information. The characters were always the same and the plot was too, with minor variations. 

The antagonists were egomaniacal male physicians and administrators whose priorities at a prestigious academic hospital did not include the patients my mother treated. They were perpetually trying to undermine her work by belittling it, defunding it, or otherwise throwing up roadblocks.

My dad was her cheerleader and partner in umbrage while she enumerated the latest offenses and indignities visited upon her by powerful men. 

“Unbelievable asshole!” he would yell, shaking his head. “Where do these people get off?!” 

One morning, one of these unbelievable assholes called the house. I insisted on speaking to him. As far as I was concerned, he was a famous celebrity. I didn’t want to interrogate him; only hear the voice of the man that my mother spent all day long yelling at, to know that this boogeyman was real.

“I probably picked fights I shouldn’t have,” my mom told me recently. “But it’s just not in my nature to submit to authority, especially when it jeopardizes my patients. I would often be the only one in a meeting to say the emperor has no clothes. My career probably suffered for it, but whaddya gonna do?”

Years ago, I called her at 3:00 a.m. because I was feeling pressured to do something professionally that I wasn’t comfortable doing. I felt I was being asked to put my name on something I disagreed with, and that did not reflect my legal opinion or conform to my ethical boundaries. 

“You can control what you sign your name to,” she said. “That’s the one thing you ALWAYS have the power to control.” 

Years later, when I was unconstitutionally fired from the same office despite all the excellent legal work I had done, she said:
You've been a successful and prominent lawyer in Alaska because of who you are and not because of the jobs you have held. Nothing about YOU has changed. During this time of adversity and transition, know that all of your talents are untouched by recent events. I have no doubt whatsoever that your career and your voice will continue to flourish.
Then she reiterated to me that it was worth fighting back against the specific wrong that was done to me because it was bigger than me. She validated my instinct that this was a fight worth picking against people and institutions who are malfeasant, and she told me that sadly, most of the world is corrupt. The longer you work, she said, particularly in a man’s world, the more you understand that to be true. 

She told me that most people just want to cover their own asses and won’t stand on principle no matter what happens, and I should just resign myself to that fact. It doesn’t serve you well, she said, to blame them or waste time feeling betrayed or angry, because it doesn’t move you or your ideals forward. It’s dead weight. That, she told me, is a bleak lesson of our nature that repeats itself again and again throughout human history.

“You will pay a price for fighting back, for speaking up, for standing your ground,” she said. “Only you can decide if it’s worth it to do that in any given situation. For me it always was. Probably too often, in fact.”

My mom’s encouragement to conviction and the example she set by picking fights was simultaneously the most burdensome and the greatest gift she ever gave me.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Amending the Alaska Constitution: Ask Yourself Who Benefits?

From November 8, 1955 through February 6, 1956, 55 delegates to the Alaska Constitutional Convention convened at Constitution Hall on the campus of the University of Alaska near Fairbanks to draft what would become a model State constitution and the driving force behind statehood three years later. A complete record of the proceedings is contained in this 3,987 page PDF, which documents every minute of the delegates' debate throughout the extensive drafting project.

The delegates drew on other state constitutions and scholarship to create a governing document that was highly progressive for its time, and at the forefront of constitutional thought. The guiding principles were a strong executive and legislative branch, and a unified judiciary. Amendment of the Constitution requires a two-thirds vote of each house of the legislature, followed by ratification by the voters at the next general election.

Here is a list of the times the Alaska Constitution has been amended, the years of amendment, and the subject of those amendments:


  • Alaska Residence Requirement to Vote for President (1966)
  • Alaska Compensation of Judicial Qualifications Commission (1968)
  • Alaska Judicial Qualifications Amendment (1968)
  • Alaska Lieutenant Governor/Secretary of State Amendment (1970)
  • Alaska Chief Justice Election by Supreme Court (1970)
  • Alaska Term of Office Judicial System Administrator (1970)
  • Alaska English Eliminated as Voting Requirement (1970)
  • Alaska Voting Age Amendment (1970)
  • Alaska Prohibition of Sexual Discrimination (1972)
  • Alaska Right of Privacy (1972)
  • Alaska Residency Requirement for Voting (1972)
  • Alaska Limited Entry Fisheries (1972)
  • Alaska Borough Assemblies (1972)
  • Alaska Votes on Constitutional Amendments (1974)
  • Alaska Veto of Bills Amendment (1976)
  • Alaska Permanent Fund Amendment (1976)
  • Alaska Commission on Judicial Qualifications Amendment (1982)
  • Alaska Authorization to Issue Veterans’ Housing Bonds Amendment (1982)
  • Alaska Limitation on State Budget Appropriations Amendment (1982)
  • Alaska Residence Preference Amendment (1988)
  • Alaska Budget Reserve Amendment (1990)
  • Alaska Right to Bear Arms, Measure 1 (1994)
  • Alaska Rights for Crime Victims, Measure 2 (1994)
  • Alaska Statehood Act, Measure 1 (1996)
  • Alaska Marriage Amendment, Measure 2 (1998)
  • Alaska Reapportionment Board, Measure 3 (1998)
This is a fairly small number of amendments, given the youth of the state and the general structure of our constitution. Amending the constitution is "not an easy thing to do" (Statement of Delegate Taylor, ACC Minutes at 2517), and for good reason: because the Constitution was so carefully considered, amending it should be a serious undertaking.

Which brings us to the current Governor's three proposed constitutional amendments intended to limit the legislature's spending power. The first would lock down the PFD payout formula; the second would limit the legislature's power of appropriation; and the third would require all new taxes or tax increases to be approved by both the legislature and a popular vote.

Make no mistake: these are drastic changes to the constitutional framework of public financing meant to benefit corporate interests by transferring public assets to private pockets. As Dermot Cole wrote shortly after the election, the Governor's "special adviser on constitutional amendments" thinks our constitution is "awful" and reflective of a "socialist economic system" meant to appease "east coast lawyers," when in fact it was drafted by 55 Alaskans who simply wanted Alaska and its people to reap the benefits of statehood.

Every time a constitutional amendment is proposed, you need to ask yourself who really benefits and what is motivating the amendment: is it the People of Alaska, for whom the document was written? Or is it the Koch Brothers? 

Beware those who would amend our constitution to enrich themselves. They simply do not have Alaskans' best interests at heart.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Alaska Airlines Announces New Seating Classes

Row 1-3 (Promethium class): Permanently reserved for elected officials and their entourages. Free warm nuts and complimentary WiFi available for anyone on the take with the Koch Bros.

Row 4 (Sulfur Class): In exchange for inhaling the stench of corruption and grift emanating from rows 1-3, you are gifted two hard-boiled eggs and a warm washcloth.

Row 9 (Lead Class): For 10,000 miles you can upgrade to Lead class for a free box of paint chips and some melatonin.

Row 10 (Uranium Class): Guaranteed early boarding and a metal vest to insulate you from radioactive in-flight farts.

Row 12 (Nitrogen Class): Oxygen masks deploy mid-flight with laughing gas. One additional free whippit per guest and a See’s Candy Bar.™️

Row 14 (Titanium Class): 5,000 miles and discount helmet rental in case Boeing fucked some shit up thanks to lax regulations and corporate greed.

Row 17 (Aluminum Class): Complimentary foil packets of McDonalds leftovers from other people’s seat back pockets on previous flight.

Row 20 (Lithium Class): Air travel hassles making you insane? In Lithium Class you get 20mg of Lithium dropped into a complimentary nonalcoholic beverage of your choice, like Alka Seltzer.

Row 25 (Boron Class): Alleviate the boredom of flying by upgrading to Boron Class! For an extra $50 you can receive one free checked bag and an orgasm courtesy of your vibrating seat cushion.

Row 29 (Carbon Class): Because this row is close to the tail of the plane and the seats don’t reckons, you can inhale fossil fuels while contemplating your role in climate change. Extra carry-on in exchange for your personal guilt and shame for contributing to the End Times.™️

Saturday, March 16, 2019

The Inevitable Trauma of Existing

Whenever I see a baby, my body tells me to make another one, but my mind tells me the opposite: that the future is too tenuous, too brutal, for the next generation; and a small pang of wistfulness bordering on envy rises briefly to the surface of my consciousness. Not wistfulness or envy for when my kids were babies, or having more babies, but about actually being a baby.

It must have been so easy, I think to myself. Sitting in a car seat just looking around. Waiting for a grownup to come along and give you a bottle or plop you down in a high chair and cut your cream cheese and jelly bagel into tiny bite-sized pieces. Sure, you're one hundred percent vulnerable and exist at the whim of the adults around you. On some level you know this, that you could literally be sitting in your own shit for hours. But if you're consistently well cared for, it probably barely registers. 

You're a blank slate of potential, cabined only by your genes, your environment, and luck. In other words: everything. You have no idea what's coming: the inevitable trauma of existing.

Life is a total shit show and it beats every last one of us to a bloody pulp in one way or another. No one wants to say that out loud because it’s a scary fact to face. No one gets out of here alive. And no one gets out without taking a few knocks and bearing a few scars. There are so many shitty things that happen to every one of us. You can feel grateful for your blessings while at the same time acknowledging how hard it is just to BE.

The vulnerability of infancy never really goes away. Yes, you're in control, but not really. You realize that you're the grownup now, and you can eat Apple Jax for dinner if you want, and maybe you feel like life is good but sometimes it's just awful and your sense of control reveals itself to be an illusion. 

Maybe your kid goes to rehab or overdoses, or is bullied in school, or is the bully, or gets into a car accident with a drunk driver. Maybe you get raped or molested. Maybe your best friend dies of breast cancer. Maybe you see their body taken away on a stretcher. Maybe you get fired from a job you loved. Maybe someone you trusted betrays you. Maybe you have a chronic mental illness that keeps you in bed, unable to move, for weeks at a time. Maybe you can't pay your bills. Maybe your spouse leaves you for somebody else. Maybe your ex is a stalker or impossible co-parent who doesn't pay child support. Maybe you fall down some stairs and end up in a wheelchair. Maybe your computer fries in the sun and you lose the novel you've been writing for five years. Maybe your house burns down and takes all your family heirlooms with it. Maybe you finally have to put your dog down--your loyal companion for so long. Maybe you screw up and go to jail. Maybe you run away from a good thing because you're self-defeating and scared.

Maybe that feeling of vulnerability--that inevitable trauma of existing--is enough to make you curl up into a tiny ball, put your hands behind your neck and your head between your legs and earbuds in your ears, under a weighted blanket, in the dark. As dark as you can make a room, and you feel like life finally has you beat in the seventeenth round.

But then there are glimmers of light. Like maybe you fall in love again. Maybe your kid wins a soccer scholarship. Maybe you stand on a mountain ridge under the sun with your friends, your cheeks ruddy and the wind in your hair and your damp butt on a mossy rock, and you look out over the ocean and taste sea salt on the smushed cheese sandwich from the bottom of your backpack, and it's the best thing you ever ate. Maybe tears form in your eyes while you're skiing down a mountain listening to the Beatles or watching the sun melt into the horizon on a faraway beach. Maybe something makes you laugh so hard you almost burst.

Maybe someone bakes you a pie, or knits you a hat, or invites you to a party, or buys you lunch, or writes you a letter, or a song. Maybe you write your own songs or buy someone else lunch. Maybe you feel the rush of performing in a play or telling a story to an audience. Maybe you get a promotion. Maybe you learn to play the guitar. Maybe you finish your degree. Maybe you save someone's life without knowing it, or they save yours. Maybe you put your head on someone's shoulder or they put theirs on yours. That's the good news.

The good news is that human connection, love, and empathy are First Aid for the inevitable trauma of existing.

Friday, March 8, 2019

When Love Comes to Town

Anonymous guest post from a dude in Juneau, in honor of International Women’s Day:

I once read a story that went something like, “Love is not two people gazing at each other, but rather two people looking in the same direction together.”

I’m well on my way to 50. It seems very apt, as you reach middle age and are single or unmarried, that you begin to feel a gnawing sense of doom. The sky, which for so long you have looked to and dreamed at, feels likely to come crashing down at any moment and crush you with the weight of the entire atmosphere.

With age you hopefully gain wisdom, a larger sense of respect, a truer sense of what love really is, and what you absolutely don’t want to repeat in terms of life and love errors.

And then you eventually meet someone. Someone who changes your whole paradigm.

This person might just challenge your very core beliefs. She might teach you a trick or two that you never thought of before. She has a sparkle in her eye that you’ve seen hints of before, in other women, but never at the level she brings it. You begin to realize that every mistake you’ve made or heartache you’ve endured was to teach you a specific lesson meant for a future together.

With her.

And then you tell her your entire life story. You tell her shit you wouldn’t even tell your mom about. You write songs about her. You talk about Bernie Sanders and what his presidency could mean for America. You share dreams of Val Davidson running for governor and winning.

My dad once told me, “Never touch a woman in anger, only in love.”

Even though my dad was my hero, we had a different view of life. But he was spot-on in this respect. For too many men, in too many sociocultural pods, the idea that we are above the women in our lives – our partners, mothers, sisters, daughters and otherwise – is pervasive. It’s an example of millennia of genetic muscle-memory that lets powerful males control equally powerful women with impunity.

Compassion and empathy, and even sympathy, are not taught as core skills to men by their fathers (or their mothers) for the most part. Boys aren’t allowed to cry, and girls aren’t allowed to hit back. Instead, many girls are told that they need to be good wives and mothers before good doctors, lawyers, teachers or otherwise. Many young boys are told by their dads that women are property and should be subservient to their authority.

The men of this world need to look in the mirror and— hopefully with some sense of equality and loss of entitlement—learn to honor and respect the women in their lives. This could be difficult and almost an exercise in futility given the centuries of male-dominated indoctrination in this hemisphere, but it’s possible with work.

The women of this world need to stand up and refuse to be silent any longer. Don’t take that shit, sister.

If we all looked more to the Celtic and Alaska Native cultures – where goddesses and the moiety are honored and revered – we might be in a better place as a society.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Charles Dickens, Budget Analyst

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was the age of mercenary budget slashers from Michigan, it was the age of interrupting their shoe shopping with a legit budget beef. 

It was the age of wisdom .... oh wait no it def wasn’t. It was the epoch of the rank amateur, it was the epoch of the excommunicated professional Deep State™️. 

It was the season of flying first class, it was the season of doing it while simultaneously kicking little old ladies out of nursing homes and off public assistance. It was the spring of filing a budget, it was the winter of not actually knowing what was in it or what it did to the people we are supposed to be serving because we give zero fucks and also math is hard.

We had everything the Petrostate had to offer, except actually we didn’t because corporate capture. We were all going to hand out six figure pretend jobs to our cronies like they were Skittles, we were going to gas ourselves up to be the off-brand bag of cereal to the Trump Administration’s Kellogg’s Froot Loops™️.

In short, the period was one in which we suggested with a straight face that our children freeze in their classrooms and lectured college professors with letters about their uselessness, all while legislators from our own party quite understandably looked at us like we were some combination of clueless and insane.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Sick, Dumb, Mean, and Afraid

It is critical--and I mean truly critical--to understand that the governing power structure in this country right now, from the top down, is actively invested in four things with respect to the general population: making all of us--every last one of us--sicker, dumber, meaner, and more afraid. And it will swiftly punish anyone who tries to expose that fact, push back against it, or give it voice.

How and why? The answers are long enough to fill 17 books, but let's briefly unpack this in 500 words or less.

A citizenry that is uneducated, divided amongst itself, unhealthy, and afraid lacks the ability and the resources to push back against cronyism, corruption, and corporate capture. It is robbed of the tools--including the financial tools--necessary to assert both individual and collective rights. Keeping the populace in this condition allows a small cadre of economic elite and their elected-through-gerrymander foot soldiers to undermine human rights and the environment by exercising outsized influence over both domestic and international decision-making and public institutions. 

A population that is dumb, mean, sick, and afraid is easier to con and manipulate. These goals are reflected in public policies and funding decisions that are devoid of human empathy and intentionally starve the citizenry of the resources it needs to succeed in a system that is rigged in favor of corporate--not natural--personhood.

They want us dumb. They want to starve our children of knowledge, because they know that the more educated we are, particularly in science and civics, the more we understand the ridiculous con that has been perpetrated on us for decades, is reaching its apex now, and will ultimately kill us and the planet.

They want us mean. They use a divide and conquer strategy dating back to the Roman Empire that pits us all against each other for their systemic benefit. While MAGAs and Libtards are busy arguing on Facebook, the ruling class is raping and pillaging the planet and stripping the country for parts. They are doing this, mind you, on the back of underpaid, under-protected, blue-collar labor fueled by a mythical mirage of future financial success that--conveniently--never seems to arrive for hard-working Americans who can't pay their bills no matter how hard they work.

They want us sick. This is reflected in our broken health care system and the absolutely criminal insurance market in which we relinquish giant chunks of our piddling paychecks on the promise that these corporations will return our money when we get sick--but surprise!--when that day comes, they have an institutional policy of denying claims outright, so that only the people with enough moxie (read: time and resources) to fight back get the services they paid for. When we are sick, we are literally physically defeated. We are too busy trying to get insulin for diabetes to care about the reason we can't afford insulin for diabetes, much less do anything about it.

But most of all, they want us afraid. They want to punish anyone who speaks out against this mode of governing because telling the truth is the biggest threat of all. The second someone says the emperor has no clothes, you have the potential for a dangerous rebellion, and the ruling class knows this. That is why government employees cower in fear of exercising their constitutional rights to free speech and are summarily punished when they do. That is why loyal public servants are driven out of government and replaced by lickspittles, cronies, and hacks. 

Sick, dumb, mean, and afraid is no way to live. We may not have much control over being sick or dumb, but we can decide not to be mean or afraid. We have to fight this by refusing to argue with our fellow citizens, calling this venal system what it is, and simply refusing fear.