Monday, November 27, 2017

The McDa Vinci Code

Thanks to the New York Times, we now know that Panera Bread is the preferred fast-casual dining outlet for heartland Nazis.

Where the Elite to Meet to Eat
and Also Interview Neo-Fascists

Now, it's not the fault of the good folks at Panera that their restaurant was name-checked in an article that treated a bona fide white nationalist like the second coming of Wally Cleaver.

I mean, you can't actually spell "Aryan" without using most of the letters in "Panera" and adding a Y and then having a few letters left over.

But I digress.

Still, it seems the New York Times, in the course of writing a puff piece on someone who blatantly despises Jews and refers to dark-skinned people as "coloreds," may have stumbled upon a link between some of America's favorite chain restaurants and some of its darkest secrets.

Perhaps casual dining establishments have for years put out subtle clues to attract a certain clientele, one that considers itself more, shall we say, "pure" than the masses? One that is open to a little bit of blood-n-soil with its In-N-Out. One that knows that freedom fries are always on the menu, no matter what pussy globalist name they're called on the drive-thru sign.

I'm not saying. Also, I'm not saying that patronizing any of these establishments makes you part of its shadowy inner circle of true believers. I'm sure most of us wander into our local fast-food restaurant (in moderation) completely oblivious of the secret language that encourages like-minded "patriots" to commune there.

It's not your fault. You just haven't picked up on the almost imperceptible signals of what I call...

...the McDa Vinci Code.

Behind many a clownish exterior
lurks a diehard alt-right acolyte.

For instance, you've been known to enjoy a melt-in-your-mouth glazed donut from Krispy Kreme, haven't you? You do love the occasional Krispy Kreme. In fact, you're...


See how it would be so easy to miss that if you didn't know exactly what to look for?

Similarly, I bet you've been to Fridays to enjoy one of their endless "fifty cents worth of fried condiments for only $9.99" appetizers. Who hasn't, ha ha? Cholesterol is so American.

But you may also remember that Fridays used to be known as T.G.I.F. It's whispered that the name was changed to Fridays in hopes that people would think the original acronym stood for Thank God It's Friday, instead of its actual coded meaning:

Again, totally not your fault if you never recognized it.

Still not convinced? Consider these alt-right establishments that operate under seemingly wholesome names while attracting their extremist (but still endearingly American) target audiences:

Luftwaff(l)e House

IHOP (Imperial Haus of Purebloods)

Potbelly  Gas Stove Sandwiches

Subway (to the Gulag)

White Castle (self-explanatory)

Godiva (aka GOD Is Very Angry [at Liberals]) Chocolates

Wendy's (a Slut Who Should Stay in the Kitchen)

Jimmy John's (honestly, this is a sandwich place run by an asshole who murders endangered species and then posts animal-porn photos on social media. No overt ties to Nazis, but still a total asshole who shouldn't make a penny off your hard-earned junk-food dollar.)

You may have additional insights. Feel free to share.

Here's another link to the New York Time article that inspired this, just in case you missed it.

Me? Not a fan of fast food or goddamn Nazis, myself. Thanks for asking.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Probably I'm About to be Out-Adulted

In just a little over 24 hours, my Precocious Daughter turns 18.

I'm staring at those words on my computer screen, hardly able to comprehend them.

Feeling a bit old, obviously.

My beautiful little girl, who was nine years old when I started this blog, is on the cusp of adulthood. Which means I've been doing this blogging crap for almost half her life.

OK, that's a little depressing, given how much little I've accomplished with it. Bleah.

So instead let's focus on her.

PDaughter was in fourth grade back then. Now she's applying to colleges.

She loved riding her Razor scooter. Now she's bugging me to buy her a car (hilarious, since her top two school choices are in New York City and Berkeley, where she will never, ever drive).

She chewed with her mouth open, making gross chomping sounds. She...totally still does that. It's a terrible habit. And it's not like I haven't tried to break her of it. Lord knows I've tried.

Hey, she's almost a grown-ass woman. She can chomp if she wants, and let the crumbs fall where they may.

Good luck winning a Nobel Prize like that, young lady.

I think it was on her tenth birthday that I first exclaimed, "I can't believe you're (age)." I've said it every year since. A teenager? Sweet Sixteen? Old enough to see an R-rated movie without me?

An actual adult?

PDaughter's voter registration card arrived in the mail a few days ago. She just missed the last local election, but she's all set for the midterms next year. My daughter can vote.

I bought her $18 in lottery scratch-offs as part of her birthday gifts. She's loved scratch-offs for years, but now if she wins she'll be able to cash them in herself. My daughter can play the lottery.

If a Hollywood talent scout or modeling agent discovers her this weekend, she can sign her own representation contract, without getting my consent.

But NOT without getting my approval. I'm still Tiger Mom, and I will protect my cub from the sleazy operators of the world as long as I can. Grrrr.

I said, hold still.

I'll never stop being her mom.

And even though she'll no longer be a child, she'll always be my child.

That's exactly the kind of treacly cliched shit I never understood until...right about now.

So tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day here in the U.S. And the day after that is PDaughter's 18th birthday.

I know I can do this, because Bestest Friend did this less than eight months ago.

As of Friday we're both old bitches with grown-up kids.

Maybe once she's out of my goddamn hair I can concentrate on growing this writing gig into something significant.

JK...she'll never be out of my hair, and if I want to grow this writing gig, it's on me as a writer to stop playing the mom-card.

Did I mention I feel old as shit to have a grown child?

Wagging finger, threatening wooden spoon, and all.

Those of you who know: How is it done? What should I do?

Happy Birthday, Precocious Daughter. I love you with all my heart. Even when you chomp.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Let Me Know What You Love to Smell. Seriously.

My fingers smell like lavender, you guys.

That's not weird or anything, is it?
Let me back up a bit.

Precocious Daughter and I have a bit of a moth problem in our apartment. We frequently encounter tiny, greyish, tissue-thin moths fluttering about. They're not aggressive, they don't bite or sting; they're just annoying as hell to have around.

No one asked you to join us, you sumbitch.

They're called pantry moths, and they commonly join one's household via packaged grains, dried fruit, pet food, or powdered milk, all of which I have in my home. NO ONE INVITED YOU, YOU STUPID MOTHS.

I did a bit of research and discovered that, once potentially infested foodstuffs have been removed, one of the best natural ways to prevent and avoid future moth propagation is to employ lavender.

It so happens that I love the smell of lavender. Mostly because it reminds me of the scent of sandalwood, and being a hippie soul in a GenX body, I totally dig that shit.

Yes, I was born in the wrong decade,
thanks for asking.

Anyway, I ordered some lavender essential oil from Amazon, and it arrived today.

My plan is to create sachets by infusing cotton balls with the oil and tying them up in mesh drawstring bags, then deploying them in various spots around the apartment.

But having not yet purchased the mesh bags, I did a trial run by dousing a cotton ball in lavender oil and setting it out on a dish.

I'm pretty sure I now understand the effect of catnip on kittehs.

What now who?

I don't know what it's going to do to the moths, but the lavender essential oil on the cotton ball (and my fingers) has got me mellowed out in a way I haven't felt in...months? Era? Who even knows, man?

What a wonderful, therapeutic scent. I'm pretty sure that even if our moth problem intensifies, I simply won't give a shit. Because lavender.

It's entirely possible that the scents that most soothe/entice/arouse me - lavender, vanilla, Calvin Klein Escape for Men (raaaaaawwwwwrrrrr) - don't have the same effect on you.

Just as it's likely that the olfactory stimulants you prefer lack a strong influence on me.

The sense of smell and its connection to our physical and emotional cores is a fascinating subject.

I urge you to explore that connection.

My point is, for me, lavender is a moth repellent with an eminently more complex emotional backstory.

And for you...?

I'd love to learn which scents float your boat, as it were. Maybe I'll learn something new.

Links to sources are most appreciated.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

That Family

There's a payoff to tonight's winding tale, you guys. Stay with me.

Precocious Daughter's Fine Arts Trip, her last one as a high school student, is next April. The band, orchestra, and choir from her school are going to Colorado Springs. And it sounds like they're going to get to do some amazeball things, from touring the U.S. Olympic Training Center to visiting Garden of the Gods Park to performing at the U.S. Air Force Academy.

The coolest thing I did in April of my senior year was meet Douglas Adams and have him autograph my Hitchhikers Guide trilogy.

Not gonna lie, that was pretty damn cool.
PDaughter is very excited about this trip, and I've already promised her she could go. Possibly by selling a kidney. I mean, it's not an exorbitantly expensive excursion, considering that the price covers transportation, lodging, several meals, and all the fun things they have planned. But for me personally, it's almost three payments on Benedict Cumberhatch.

Eighteen more payments and he's mine, you guys.

Now, the band is doing a fundraiser that, if successful, will help defray each family's cost to send their little Snooky-Wookums on the trip. It involves a program called Shop with Scrip. I'm not going to dwell on it, but basically Shop with Scrip provides rebates to school programs every time participating members shop at any number of popular retailers, from Amazon to Target to Walmart.

(If any of my Drunkards are interested in participating in a fundraiser that costs them zero dollars and helps support PDaughter and her totally deserving school, let me know and I'll help you sign up. Beyond this brief plug, no pressure. Sincerely.)

Anyway, considering how convenient and rewarding the Shop with Scrip program is, a shockingly low number of families of Fine Arts students are actually signed up. I admit, I'm among the slugs. I'm a slug, what can I say?

Me, IRL.

So at tonight's Trip Meeting, we parents/families were treated to an entirely deserved guilt trip about why most of us were too goddamn lazy and selfish to participate in an easy-peasy means of funding the Fine Arts Trip.

While the handful of families who have embraced and used the program all along were acknowledged,  thanked, and given a pass from the WTF Is Wrong w You 101 lecture the rest of us (totally legit) received.

By the time we left the meeting, PDaughter and I were both fully fired up about registering to use Save with Scrip.

We signed up tonight, yo.

Because basically the Band Booster Mom (who is a lovely person) effusively praised those families using the Shop with Scrip program and guilt-tripped the crap out of the rest of us.

Not going to lie, I'm more than happy to participate and reduce my own (and everyone else's) out of pocket costs for this trip.

PDaughter is also happy. On the way home from the meeting at her school, she said to me...

...and I quote...

"We're going to do this. We're going to be That Family."


We've never been That Family.

That Family that organizes the school carnival, Literacy Night, and/or any Show That You Love All the Children activity.

That Family that gives more than its fair share because it has piles of The Contributions laying around waiting to be donated.

That Family that is recognized as Making a Difference, as opposed to the slackers that just clapped and smiled when the real contributors were recognized.

That Family that is immune to guilt trips because we already form the backbone of our children's (and all their friends') Positive Secondary and Post-Secondary School Experience.

PDaughter is excited at the prospect of being That Family for once.

And if participating in this program will help, then dammit, we're all in.

Because...That Family.

Again, I'm not going to push, but the program is Save with Scrip, and PDaughter's high school is an easy and deserving subject of help.

Or help some kids local to you. That would be just as good.

Goddamn kids deserve all the help we can give, is what I'm saying.

Thanks, Drunkards. You rawk.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Land of the Armed, Home of the Drunk

There's a Constitutional amendment that gives Americans the right to own guns.

There's also a Constitutional amendment that gives Americans the right to drink.

Let me say from the outset that two rights
can most definitely make a wrong.
Few question either right, although some strongly disapprove of one, the other, or both. But everyone gets to choose to exercise or abstain from their right to bear arms or knock back a cold one. That's how America rolls.

Yet despite the Constitutional mandate, the right to get your drink on is far from unrestricted. You have to be the right age. You have to be in the right place. And you definitely have to refrain from certain behaviors while under the influence.

Like driving. Or harassing/assaulting others. Or serving on jury duty.

And don't even think about combining these two Constitutional rights. IT'S A VERY BAD IDEA.

Please refer to my earlier caption.

Literally no one balks at the idea that drivers should be licensed, insured, properly trained, and subject to extensive regulation of their behavior behind the wheel.

But merely float the idea that perhaps gun ownership should incorporate similar public safeguards, and certain supporters of the Second Amendment go apeshit.

Shown here: Literal gorilla poop.

I personally don't get this. I mean, if I drink 12 shots of vodka and subsequently threaten a similarly drunken stranger with physical violence, I totally expect to be held accountable for my behavior. That's how law and order works.

According to the 57 shows bearing that name.

But if one person with a gun encounters another person with a gun, I'm supposed to have faith that one boasts moral superiority because they're a "good guy" and also because somehow their aim is automatically perfect because they believe they're John Wayne?

Yeah. So. I'm as wary of gun owners with a marksman complex as I am with drunks who insist they can "handle it."

I don't want to take away any American's rights.

I simply want to be confident that my personal right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness can't be destroyed in a split second.

I promise not to piss and moan that I can't down a handle of Smirnoff while driving down the freeway if 2A folks promise not to pretend that only pure-hearted, law-abiding citizens are able to obtain/use assault rifles.

Hi! The ability to shoot an assault rifle WAY outweighs
the lives of your loved ones! Signed, the NRA.
Right here, right now, gun people:

Tell me why the Second Amendment is inviolable to the rule of law but the Twenty-First Amendment can be abridged all to hell and gone.

Tell me why you pay a tiny group of people to advance the interests of gun ownership over all other American rights.

Tell me why you stubbornly believe that Americans have a right to self-defense, while simultaneously pushing the false narrative that a "good guy with a gun" is somehow the answer to preventing/thwarting crime in any and all settings, regardless of the danger posed to people by an untrained private citizen attempting to affect justice via a personal weapon.

Tell me why killing innocent people because I'm drunk driving is a terrible offense, but killing innocent people with a gun is somehow the price of freedom.

I'm honest to God listening.

I await your intelligent, reasoned responses.

For as long as it takes.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Weekend Update

I had a pretty incredible weekend.

Drummer Boy, Precocious Daughter, and I got to see an amazing night of music by co-headliners and iconic 90s bands Everclear and Toadies at a free music festival that happened to be a three-minute walk from my front door.

Occasionally life is awesome like that.

We're somewhere near the center of this photo,
rocking our asses off.

The three of us watched Everclear together, and godDAMN but Art Alezakis and his band have still got it.

Then PDaughter ended up meeting a friend in the crowd and watching Toadies from a spectacular front-left-corner-stage vantage point. Drummer Boy and I stayed in the middle-front-center and took in their awesome set.

PDaughter had a blast. She knows good music, what can I say? And DB and I had a blast. We met up afterwards and walked home, and everyone was so damn happy.

Vaden Todd Lewis and company gave a fantastic set. They opened with "I Come from the Water," which happens to be my favorite Toadies song, and finished with a literally spine-tingling cover of "I Put a Spell on You" with a mind-blowing vocal from Vaden.

It was a great night.

And then Drummer Boy slept over, and we spent Sunday together. And while PDaughter watched the Cowboys game with her dad, DB and I watched it together and made yummy cheeseburgers and fries. After the game PDaughter came home, and the three of us watched several episodes of "How I Met Your Mother."

(Backstory: HIMYM is being pulled from Netflix on November 13, and we're currently near the end of Season 8 and trying to make it to the end of Season 9 in the next eight days. [In best Robin-speaking-to-Patrice voice, I don't want any SPOILERS YOU GUYS.])

There is so much shitty stuff taking place in the world right now. The Pentagon is threatening to invade North Korea. Some random asshole gunned down 26 people in a tiny church in Texas. The President of the United States continues to be a sociopathic narcissist who has no clue how to conduct diplomacy.

So you've got to concentrate on the little things that affirm the goodness of life.

Like the love of a good man and an exemplary daughter. Like a shared sense of community. Like the power of peace, love, and rock and roll.

Neither DB nor I slept well Saturday night. He found my fold-out couch terribly uncomfortable, and I was plagued by bad dreams. On Sunday I told him I had had nightmares that we had gone to a sort of indoor/outdoor mall/educational facility, and he had been not just angry or disappointed but contemptuous of the way I interacted with the people and exhibits there.

He said, "That sounds more like the way (my ex-spouse) would react." Which was exactly what I was about to say.

Projection is a thing, you guys.

Don't ever blame someone else for the demons sent to you by the past.

Love each other, and love life.

That's all.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

It's Not About One Celebrity

My thoughts on Kevin Spacey, you guys.

Full disclosure: I adore Kevin Spacey as an actor. From The Usual Suspects to American Beauty to Glengarry Glen Ross to House of Cards to Baby Driver to his famous imitations of celebrities like Christopher Walken and Bobby Darin, I think he is a monumentally talented person.

But Hollywood...and America...and the world...are having a moment right now.

A moment about finally acknowledging that the human experience - the business realm, the religious realm, and especially the entertainment realm - revolves around sexual discrimination and abuse.

Even if we could put aside for a single damn moment that the current President of the Goddamn United States is on record as boasting about his ability to grab women by the pussy...

...there is still the sobering reality that millions of men in power see fit to get their ugly, misogynistic, misanthropic rocks off by intimidating and exploiting people they perceive as beneath them.

I've experienced this in my own life...thankfully, to a degree less blatant and obstructive and violent than many others have endured.

That doesn't for a minute mean I downplay or dismiss the experiences of others. I accept and acknowledge the good fortune that has blessed me in this and many regards.

We all suffer in our own ways, which does not in any form diminish the sufferings of our fellow humans.

And I think if more people accepted that, we'd all be a damn sight better off.

Anyway, the flood of women (and men) coming forward about their experiences of sexual harassment/intimidation/assault is profoundly disturbing.

Also, profoundly inspiring.

And while everyone is innocent until proven guilty, I think we all should agree that it doesn't matter...

...what their name is...

...what their job is...

...what their reputation is...

...what their power is relative to anyone else's...

Wrong is wrong.

Abuse is abuse.

Silence is damning.

Complicity is immoral.

Assault is assault.

And protecting the reputation/career of any individual is less important than vindicating a victim of predatory behavior.

Maybe you don't agree.

You're wrong.

Protection of abusers at the expense of victims is so outdated. So pathetic.

Innocent until proven guilty, yes.

That's the American way.

But slut/whore/weakling until proven victim?

Let's shutter that nonsense right now.

If we can do nothing else to preserve what America is supposed to be about in 2017, let's show compassion and empathy to those who need it most, and stop automatically giving the benefit of the doubt to rich white men in power.

Full disclosure.

I am in love with a middle-aged white male. He is kind, respectful, and empathetic toward everyone he meets. I've seen that in action many times.

So don't even fucking say it can't be done.

We can all choose to be good. All of us.

Like or share if you make that choice.