Sunday, March 18, 2018

Tupperware or Rubbermaid. I Don't Have Room to Care.

I bought a set of Tupperware from Amazon. It wasn't Tuppeware - it was Rubbermaid. But I don't  know the word for the things that I call Tupperware but aren't tupperware and I can't be bothered to find out or even whether it should be capitalized when I'm using it as a generic descriptive noun. Anyway, it looks like this:

I opened my fridge tonight to put the leftover pasta away and there it sat in its clear plastic container with a red top, right next to 6 or 7 other fridge things in the same, albeit differently sized plastic containers with red tops. It was beautiful. The order and sensibleness of all my fridge things stored in tidy, dishwasher-safe containers that all look the same, albeit differently sized? I enjoyed a palpable, authentic frisson of pleasure.

(This is not my beautiful wife.)

I almost never write in this blog anymore. I haven't played my piano in months. I had this plan to finally turn my novel into a proper eBook and even realized how it should begin (that only took 10 years or so). But I haven't done any of it.

Instead, I spend all my free brainspace stuffing it full of information about L'il Duce and the chaos he's engendered.

I don't want to know who Andrew McCabe is. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, that liar and sociopath, doesn't deserve the space in my brain she takes up. Fuck Jefferson Davis Sessions, that racist old ferret.

God, I loved it when I only sort of knew who Eric Holder was.

I'm so angry at the people who live in that Fox News bubble (or, worse, just liked the cut of Trump's jib or something) who gleefully slouched us into this Bethlehem.

I had a Republican friend who really hates Trump tell me recently that she likes Paul Ryan. How could ANYONE LIKE PAUL RYAN!?!?!  Paul Ryan cares about nothing nothing nothing but increasing the wealth for the thinnest sliver of already wealthy Americans. He has no other policy position. No other guiding moral principle. He is a nice p90X body casing an absolutely depleted morality. There is nothing of substance about him at all.

But he says he hates abortion. He doesn't hate abortion. He doesn't care about abortion. But he knows he'll get votes from people who do and so people vote for him. The same people who, sorrynotsorry, can't be bothered to wrap their heads around the manifestly obvious truth that the only real way to reduce abortions is to increase access to birth control and sex ed.

See also the gun people, who just don't care that our children are being massacred at the altar of their gunny cult. They like it when Mitch McConnell fellates an AR-57 so much they don't care that he's the guy who keeps you desperately tethered to a corporate health care policy that couldn't give a shit about keeping you alive. Their concern begins and ends and how grossly they can profit off poor and middle-class people. The same people who keep fucking voting for them!

I don't want to know that Rex Tillerson laid waste to the state department that Hillary Clinton and John Kerry (but especially Hillary) spent eight years laying solid diplomatic ground on. HRC jetted around the world and worked her ass off to keep us safe. But to the folks who love Trump, she's Cruella DeVil meets Lady MacBeth meets an Ugly Stepsister, or some other bullshit sexist trope that the stupidest among us use to organize their lives.

I'm just so mad all the time. Aren't you? How does anyone have time to do anything but refresh Twitter and be mad (and be terrified and then mad again... mad is easier than terrified).

I soothe myself with bourbon, escapist tv and the calming, consoling, palliative joy of matching tupperware. Or Rubbermaid. I don't give a shit.

What has the American monster tweeted tonight?

By the way, don't give me any advice. Please. I am not soliciting advice. I'm venting. I'll give you advice instead: buy matching tupperware and fake orderliness in a terrifyingly chaotic world.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Still Banging This Drum

After every mass shooting, my Facebook lights up with arguments about guns on social media.

Let's not anymore, OK?

First, and you know this: you're never going to change their mind. If a person's first response to the murder of 17 people in a high school is to defend the weapon, to "well actually" your grief and anger, to make sure you know that their right to own a gun is more sacrosanct than the lives of your kids, then that person is either too stupid or too morally bankrupt to have a conversation with. I know David Brooks disagrees with me, but he's a person whose opinion I can no longer be bothered with.

Much like Ms. It's Not Guns, It's Mental Illness. Ignore her (it's ok, she doesn't really give a shit about mental health care). She's beyond help.

There's a little dopamine rush that comes from these arguments, though. I know. I've had a million of them. And I know this is pretty rich coming from Ms. Shouting Down a Well, but I'm pretty sure Wayne LaPierre is delighted to have you expend your energy trying to expose the myriad logical fallacies coming from Mr. We Need to Arm The Teachers. Every argument you have with Ms.We Just Need To Enforce the Laws We Have, is one less argument you're having with someone who can actually do something about this.

The NRA is not powerful because of the money. Thinking that it's just the money kind of liberates us from responsibility, right? How can we, with our little incomes, hope to do battle against the billions coming from Big Gun.

But it's not the money. Big Gun isn't Big Pharma or Big Wall Street. Big Gun is successful because they've corralled a large, intractable, single-issue voting bloc. But, remember, while it is large and it is loud, there are more of us than there are of Mr. What's Next? Outlawing Cars.

So stop arguing with people on Facebook or Twitter. Rather, spend that energy letting your congressperson (via CALLING) know that you will never again vote for anyone who has more than an F rating from the NRA. I'm going to do it, and my senators and congresspeople already DO have F ratings from the NRA.

I'm not here to lambaste social media. I love social media. Keep on sharing great pieces like this or this. Follow, post, and retweet those amazing kids like Emma Gonzales who are ready to fight. Keep talking about the racial disparities in reporting on these things. Social media is a powerful organizing force. But it is not a place where minds are changed.

Look, you don't think Mr. But Chicago isn't calling Ted Cruz when the devils at the NRA gin him up about losing his guns? He is. And, you guys, I haaaaaaaate Mr. But Chicago. You have no idea the force of will it takes for me not to argue with Mr. But Chicago. But, I'm not gonna. Instead, I'll let some poor staffer for Dick Durbin know that this is the issue I care about this the most.

Hey! Did you guys know that the NRA PAC website has voter registration and polling place info on its front damn page.

Call your congress member and senators and ignore Mr. Good Guy With a Gun. And if you want that dopamine rush, remember this, ignoring that guy is going to irritate and frustrate him way more than any response you can give him. And that's fun!

Also, give money to Everytown, if you've got some.

Monday, January 15, 2018

On Aziz Ansari (Y'all Were Dying to know My Take, Right?)

This is going to be a super quick one because it is 9:00 pm which is bourbon and The Crown time. But I find the various hot takes about Aziz Ansari are spinning around through my brain and I feel compelled to add my two cents (because that's just what this debate is missing: another middle-aged white lady's opinion!).

When I first read the Babe article, my first inclination was to go "oh, come on! We've all been there, honey." And that's how rape culture works - we're all bred in an environment where male desire is coddled and privileged while female comfort is left standing outside the window, in the snow, tentatively waving like "can I come in for a second? Or is that too much of a bother? I'll just stand here a while longer." We're all steeped in "oh, he just did what men do" and "she needs to learn to manage the situation and her reaction to it."

That's not right. Right?

And then later I read another hot take all about how we're RUINING AZIZ ANSARI'S CAREER! And I was, "um, it's been two days. Are we really sure we're ready to bury Aziz Ansari's career? After two days?"

I read a tweet today by a twitterer called Wikipedia Brown (come on! is that the best twitter handle ever, or what?) in which she used the word "unlearning." We all have a lot to unlearn about the way sex and sexual politics and gender relations go.

I'll start: there are degrees of #MeToo. There's rape, there's gross abuse of power, there's groping and masturbating at, there's unsolicited dick pics, and, yeah, there's privileging your own orgasm over her comfort. Men have to unlearn their right to behave this way and women have to unlearn their inclination to accept it. I'm pretty proud of Grace for telling him the next day how he made her feel. When I was 22, I'd just have been ashamed of myself for going to his apartment without the expectation of having sex in exactly the way he wanted to.

I have a lot to unlearn.

Next: I'm not gonna avoid season three of Master of None. I looooooove Master of None. I think Aziz Ansari is brilliant and hilarious and thoughtful and, basically, a decent person who needs to unlearn some shit. In other words, I'm not studying on exiling Aziz Ansari off to the island of misfit men.

But I'm also not mad at the idea that he's going to have to spend an uncomfortable few days thinking about his sexual expectation and his behavior. My fondest hope from #MeToo, is, well, that there will be a lot less rape. That's really number one on the list. But right up there too, I hope that the men of the world (many of whom, I'm sure, are guilty of exactly Ansari's behavior) will spend some time thinking about the times they may have made a woman feel unsafe and violated and learn to start doing what women do all the fucking time: pay attention to how the person they're with is reacting and feeling.

It's not that hard. Women really do it all the time.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Quick Lil Bloggity

I'm doing a little work as I watch the Letterman Obama interview on Netflix. Sigh.

I liked President Barack Obama. This is no hagiography; dude made big mistakes. But at the very least, you got the feeling that he cared. That he set his rather substantial intellect to every task and gave a shit about the effects of the decisions he made.

It's tragic to have gone from someone so clearly thoughtful as president to someone so clearly thoughtless; to have gone from someone with clear moral compass, to someone clearly amoral; to have gone from someone brilliant to someone so fucking stupid.

But an even more baseline tragedy of having gone from Obama to Trump is the vision. Obama's vision of American exceptionalism hews equally pragmatic and optimistic. The promise of America, in Obama's worldview, is to continually strive to be more perfect. Not perfect (because that's impossible) but more perfect. Obama thinks we as a nation can keep getting better.

And the way that happens is by opening America up to the people who've been historically excluded from it - people of color, LGBTQA people, disabled people, women, etc.

So we bounced from a leader with a worldview of pragmatic optimism, who believed in the generosity and expansiveness of American culture to a leader who recklessly longs for the day when he and people just exactly like him were the only people America was for.

But, you know what? Fuck that. Fuck Donald Trump and his ugly racist, misogynist worldview. In a word:

First things first, we're all gonna get on the phone on Monday and call our MoC and tell them DREAMers get to stay. If you're lucky enough to be repped by a Dem, tell them "no continuing budget resolution without protection for DREAMers." If you're repped by a Republican tell them that if the government shuts down because they couldn't come to an agreement on keeping the DREAMers here, you'll hold them responsible and not the dems.

Why? Because those 800,000 Americans make America better.

Next things next, we're gonna do everything we can to rid Congress of the blight of Republicanism. That is no longer a functioning party. They are all of them, every single one, enabling the Racist-in-Chief and his doddery, reckless path to recreate an America that was terrible for the majority of people who lived in it.

Every last one of us is gonna walk out of the voting booth in November just like this:

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Resolutin' 2018 Style

As has been stated here in the past, I believe in resolutions. I resolve all the time. I believe the primary purpose of life is to keep doing better, to keep challenging yourself to do more - despite the human propensity to fuck up. I'm not super great at it (I'm pudgier than I'd like to be, I drink more than I ought to, and I only kept up my volunteer work for half the year)  - but I resolved to cook more last year, and I did. I resolved to stay involved, and I did. I resolved to stay mad, and, hoo boy! I did!

So for 2018, I'm gonna keep on keeping on with what I'd planned on for 2017, but here are a couple of addenda:

Lean Into Optimism

I cannot recommend enough that you all join the Crooked Media nation. These guy have saved my sanity so many times throughout the year. They're smart, funny, and explain things in a way that makes sense, keeps you motivated and is always 100% bullshit-free.

Back in July (before Ralph Northam had won Virginia, before Doug Jones had won Alabama), Jon Lovett tweeted this:

And I was all:

I get how "everything is terrible and we're all gonna die" can be a defense mechanism. But I can never understand how anyone who lives like this gets anything done. When I read that we're on the verge of WWIII or that our institutions are doomed to failure under the oligarchic assault of President Pussygrabber and the establishment GOP fuckwits that enable him I want to put a rubber nipple onto a bottle of bourbon and crawl under the bed with a stuffed animal and a soft blanket.  

But when I see how engaged and involved everyone is, when I think about the victories we've had and remember those literal millions of folks taking to the street for the Women's March? Well, that makes me all:

Optimism gets shit done. Not blind faith that everything will work out. I mean, if you're a praying person, I think you should go right on praying; but this atheist is churched enough to know that Jesus would tell you also you need to get to work. Believing that I have some control over my life and my country gives me the energy I need to carry on the fight. I know this isn't for everyone. I know that I'm built for it in a way that others might not be. But the nihilistic fuckwits on the right are counting on us to give up. I'm not gonna. We're gonna beat those motherfuckers with a blue wave in 2018 the likes of which has not been seen.

But only if we work real hard to make it happen.

For a little extra inspiration, follow Barack Obama's twitter - it might make you sad to think of how hard we've fallen. But he's posting stories of people fighting the good fight and I want to be one of them!


Look, it can't be all American politics all the time. Self-care, bitches. Self-care. I am an intermittent stretcher. But I am also middle-aged and I want to bring this body into old age with some mobility and flexibility and control. So I'm going to keep going to the gym, keep standing up at my desk and add a 5 minute daily stretch routine to the mix. I am taking suggestions. Do you have any? Also, I'm thinking about implementing a twice daily 90 second plank to my work day. Anyone want to do this with me and keep me honest? Come on, let's be embarrassed at the office together! I know I work from home, but the dogs will look at me funny. 

Love all of youse!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Hooray for all the Girl Stuff

I stayed up last night until 2:30 a.m. in the morning. I know 2:30 a.m. in the morning is redundant, but I am using redundancy for emphasis because I cannot remember the last time I was up so late! And why, you might be asking, was I up so late? Was it existential-dread-induced insomnia that so many are suffering from?  It was not. As yet, I am an excellent sleeper and would likely take gold if that were ever to become an Olympic event. Which it should.

I stayed up so late because I started (finally) watching One Mississippi on Amazon and I could not stop. One Mississippi is so wonderful, you guys. I had to stay up to see it through because I was entirely charmed, enraptured, entertained and moved.

Earlier that lazy day after Thanksgiving I was trying to think of what I wanted to watch. The Friday after Thanksgiving is built for binging something on Netflix in sweatpants while eating leftovers. This is as the Pilgrims intended.

I tried with Netflix's Mindhunter, which came highly recommended by a friend with good taste. In the opening scene, a man in the throes of a profound psychotic break literally blows his own head off, following which a hostage negotiator is tortured by his failure to stop the suicide. It looked really good! But, you know what? It was a guy show. And I'm just not in the headspace for guy stuff these days.

There's nothing wrong with guy things! All my life I've liked guy things - Mel Brooks, Monty Python, things written from a male point-of-view, for masculine sensibilities. I adore Monty Python and Mel Brooks (but have always thought that Madeline Kahn was the best part of any of his movies (probably because she was)).

And, since this blog has turned so confessional of late, I might as well admit that I probably got into adoring all these guy things because I wanted guys to think I was cool. In the 80s and 90s, there was no quicker way to Cool Girl than being a cute girl who quoted Blazing Saddles. But confess a passion for, say, Madonna or Bridget Jones Diary, and you were just another silly girl. And Madonna was great! Bridget Jones' Diary was great!

These days. the landscape is chockablock with stories told by women and for women. One Mississippi and Better Things are a couple of examples of shows that can make me howl with a laugh one second and then make my eyes fill up a second later (side note: fuck Louis C.K. and fuck him for getting any credit for either of those shows). I can't wait for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel to come out on Amazon next week (!!!!!!) and Crazy Ex Girlfriend is fucking genius.

This is a shitty year. But at least, finally, there are women's voices out there making art, telling our stories and telling them so well. But even better, and maybe the best part of this terrible year: if some guy thinks you're a silly girl because you like to fall asleep to Gilmore Girls or you've already made your way through G.L.O.W. twice? Eh, who cares. You're too busy watching Call the Midwife to care about impressing some dumbass who liked Batman vs Superman more than Wonder Woman.

At long last the presumed universality, or, at least, supremacy of the male point-of-view is going away. And to that, we can all give a hearty:

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Some Things I Will Tell You

My own sins:

When I was 25, a Chicago Congressman was found having a sexual relationship with a 16 year old girl. I said, "Oh, she is 16 going on 45" and brushed it off. If you'd suggested that my surmise was maybe racist (after all I didn't know that girl at all), I'd have said, "But Mel Reynolds is black!" and remained totally unconcerned with one of the more toxic ways of racism informs rape culture: Black girls are treated as grown, sexualized women when they are still children.

I used to tell this joke: "What do you tell a woman with two black eyes?" "Nothing she hasn't already been told twice!"


How about all the times I questioned some girl's motives? Assumed she was a slut? Assumed she was taking unfair advantage of her own attractiveness?

How about all the times I assumed the man had more credibility? Assumed his authority as sacrosanct and hers was poached?

How about the sins done to me?

The first time I got cat-called I was 11 and I felt so ashamed to have let myself be seen outside in shorts. There was the time I was walking to school (7th or 8th grade) and the man gestured to me from a car, asking for directions, and then showed me his gross hard penis under his flabby belly and I felt like an idiot for walking over there.

What about all the times men wondered within my earshot about the color of my pubic hair, and I felt like a cheat for having dyed my hair blonde?

How about all the times a boy told me I was being cruel for saying no, and I believed I was cruel. Worse - how about the hands holding my head down and it never occurred to me that I was allowed to spit or bite or punch. How about when I really didn't want to but it wasn't rape because that only happens when it's a stranger and you haven't had anything to drink.

The men yelling at me from cars, looming over me to in line to make sure I knew they were stronger. Being a woman is being scared a lot of the time. Or, maybe, it was?

Look, it was all fucked up. I have said this many times, but it bears repeating: I am knocking at fucking 50 and it's just now occurring to me that assault and harassment aren't just the cost of doing business as a woman. My failure to recognize this doesn't make me a doe-eyed victim. Or it doesn't make me just a victim; I am also a huge fucking super complicit dumbass as I have been game for making other women feel bad for the way they are women.

It's all tied up and mired in a rape culture that we're just now, finally, having a reckoning for and, lord, it is a painful reckoning. Still, as we pick through the gross, slimy, toxic icks beneath the rape culture rock we've turned over, I can't help but insist that we find a way to be OK with admitting that some things are worse than others. We just have to. Because if we can't, we are going to throw the baby out with the bathwater and that baby has potential to grow up as, like, Channing Tatum or Terry Crews or some other stalwart, shining excellent example of doing man well.

It is worse to groom and stalk a 14 year old than it is to grab an ass at a State Fair. It's not NBD to grab an ass at a State Fair. It's gross and disgusting and these things need to be brought to light. The ass-grabber should feel embarrassed and ashamed and he should apologize and he should fucking mean it.

But it's not as bad as grooming and assaulting a 14 year old.

Especially when the ass grabber is all "I am ashamed and you should investigate me" and the child molester is all "LIBRUL CONSPIRACY!"

Especially when the ass grabber will continue to advocate on behalf of women and use his legislative might to make sure we retain control over our own bodies and the child molester will say "Jesus wants me to put all the Muslims in prison."

Ideally, we could rid ourselves of all the ass grabbers; of all the people who've trucked in the notion that women's bodies are public property or that male hegemony is the natural order. But, the problem with that is that I think we're talking about getting rid of about 70% of the people who were born before 2000.

We're just going to have to learn to stop separating people into Good and Bad (Millennials, I don't shit on you guys a lot, but you are TERRIBLE about that). We're going to have to be better about saying "He is bad but also he does good and so let's call him on the bad and keep him honest about doing good" or "He is bad and wants more power to be worse so let's not give him that power."

To wit: Joe Biden will stare at your boobs. That's bad. He blocked Anita Hill from a fair hearing and gave us Justice Pubic Hair on a Coke Can. That's worse. He is a Catholic man who is staunchly pro-choice. That's good. He wrote and agitated for the Violence Against Women Act, which he got passed. That's better. Everything I just wrote in this paragraph is true. And we have got to see all of it.

Also, at the risk of being totally cliche: vote for women. More women in government. Women, especially women of color, at higher and higher and the highest positions in government. Men, I'm not throwing you out - but you haven't been exactly kicking moral ass over the past few hundred years.

Step aside.

And, Jaysus, stop grabbing ass! It's not yours!

It's so sad how long it took so many of us to realize that.