Newsletter #4: Recall, Do You Recall?

I saw a great meme this evening that encapsulates exactly the way I feel about life right now. What a goddamned shit show we are in, you know? I’m starting to really wonder how this is going to end for us. If you aren’t as well, you clearly aren’t paying attention.

Around the World

If you didn’t know: California had an astoundingly stupid 9 months that has finally concluded, and that is the special recall election of our governor, Gavin Newsom. I say 9 months, because before the election was put on the calendar, we had months of these bat shit ass crazy GQP fucks gathering signatures. For some reason I am still unclear on, they were allowed extra time by a judge to gather signatures… I guess the judge was pissed about the whole French Laundry dining experience back in early 2020 too… in any event, for 9 months, we were held hostage by these right wing nut jobs.

Yesterday, the recall was resoundingly shot down.

It wasn’t just resoundingly shot down – making Newsom the first governor in California history to beat back a recall, though. He actually outperformed his landslide election in 2018. He outperformed Biden’s 2020 election, making the path for 2022 and beyond a lot -the-fuck- brighter.

There were so many crazy things about this recall election though.

  1. Caitlyn Jenner – formerly Bruce Jenner, who also killed someone with her car on PCH several years ago – was originally the GOP frontrunner. This was a colossal joke, Caitlyn having absolutely no platform, and not doing much actual statewide campaigning (preferring national media like Fox And Friends, instead).
  2. Angelyne – single name – from my own county ran. Again. She ran in the recall against Gray Davis (and lost then too); the one where we got Schwarzenegger. The crazy part about Angelyne is that her day job is “Adult Entertainer.”
  3. A YouTuber from my county ran also. This guy who campaigned with a literal bear, and later an 8 ton ball of trash, made the news quite a bit. And from all over the state, we had an alarming number of Kevins on the ballot.
  4. The real threat was radio personality Larry Elder. This guy is described by Conservatives as “to the right of Trump.” We are talking GQP insanity in this guy. He believes the minimum wage should be $0. Not $5. Not fixed. NOTHING. He’s black and he doesn’t believe in institutional racism. His solution for homelessness is that the homeless pull themselves up by the bootstrap. His plan was to overturn all COVID measures, including masks and vaccines (the very things keeping California as the only state in the country currently seeing a decline in cases from High to Substantial transmission). Most alarming: last week, he said he hoped Roe would be overturned. The night before the election, it was leaked that he had already started developing a website to claim voter fraud… straight from the Trump playbook. You just cannot imagine how bad things would have been if he were elected governor, but he wasn’t so *phew.*

Well anyway, the recall was overwhelmingly defeated. In 41 minutes, making it a $276 million side show that didn’t even last an hour’s worth of election night coverage.

Fundamentally, I think the solution to this is to reform California’s election laws. California could be much further on COVID, the climate, and a lot of other problems that the governor could have been focusing on, had he not needed to be out on the unexpected campaign trail for the last several months.

And anyway, on the end of the day, it’s unconstitutional. Think about it: a minority of the voters for California – a nation-state comprised of 40 million people, 1 in 8 Americans – can gather their signatures to force a recall vote. It doesn’t matter how stupid their cause is, if they get enough signatures the vote goes forward. The options are then No, or Yes… and if Yes, then who? As many people that want to throw their hats in the ring can, and do, so you could have more than 50% vote to recall, but a candidate slides in with in some cases an alarmingly low percentage of the vote. But because they won by ranked choice… they become governor. You could have a candidate win only 10% of the popular vote, and that person still becomes governor.

How. The fuck. Is that right? It ain’t.

Around My World

Remember when I said my new hobby is bullying the mayor? Well…

First of all, it’s not “bullying.” It’s calling out, or arguing with. There’s a difference.

Second of all, it’s well beyond just the mayor. Turns out it’s mayors of neighboring towns, school principals, and local journalists.

The Mayor Next Door

Another thing that happened in California in the last several weeks was a couple of housing bills were passed in the state legislature that would expand- like immensely – affordable housing. If you didn’t know, housing in general and affordable housing at that is at an inflection point in California. These two bills came with hard work and dedication by state legislatures reflecting the will of their constituents. Hands. Down.

But local cities are not so happy about it, the leaders that is, because they in effect lose local control as a result of the language of these bills.

To be fair: the city leaders are the ones that created this crisis, so they don’t very well deserve local control anyway… but that’s a conversation for another day.

What is astounding to me is that they send these letters on behalf of the cities to the governor asking him to just abuse his gubernatorial powers and veto those bills. No plan to fix affordable housing – really – in any sort of substantive or authentic way. Just veto them: WE WANT CONTROL!

The mayor of my neighboring city – who also happens to be running for county supervisor next year, and may end up asking for my vote when post-census redistricting is done – posted her letter on Twitter asking for this gubernatorial veto (as if it was something everyone should be proud of). What was so glaring about it was that she claimed that the “majority of Californians oppose this bill.” That was, at the end of the day, a lie which she could not prove with any sort of factual studies or unbiased polling, as well as without any kind of logical reasoning or explanation behind her claim.

The real egregious part, though, was when she replied to me and said “I don’t usually engage in these things on social media…” Um. Really? You want people to vote for you but you won’t answer their very calm and reasonable questions? You just always think you are right and everyone else is wrong? You seriously just make shit up, can’t back it up with legitimacy, and just expect people to accept it?

Definitely lost my vote with that one.

The High School Principal

As most of you know, my kids homeschool. But I am watching all of the area high schools as my 8th grader decides on what she wants to do for high school… public, charter, private, at home still? Decisions, decisions.

At one of our local high schools last Friday, I happened to see a post on social media about a section of the football stadium by the principal of the high school, himself. Initially what I was actually taken aback by was the unmasked crowd of kids, tightly packed together, standing and screaming. I mean… we are still in the middle of a pandemic, right?

But then I read the caption, and that was when my head really exploded: “Check out these kids in their 9/11 pride!”

Excuse me? What exactly is 9/11 pride?

What exactly about the hijacking of planes and reigning terror on the country, and the world, was there to exhibit pride over? What exactly about September 11th as an anniversary of the day America changed forever are we proud about? How exactly are we to interpret this, on this day that we mourn the loss of thousands of innocent human beings?

September 11th is a day for remembrance and mourning. It’s a day to recommit to democracy, and denounce the terrorism and religious fundamentalism that threatened to destroy our country.

It is not a fucking day for American flag t-shirts, beer cozies, and red-white-and-blue face paint!

Local Journos

I had a little tiff with a local editor of a local paper last week, which turned into a shocking public display of his lack of journalistic integrity, respect for community members, and concern about the misinformation that permeates our society.

Long story short: the paper published a letter to the editor that made several unproven, false, baseless, and dangerous claims about masks. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know you are all like “not the fuck this again!” People are still complaining and arguing about masks though, and this particular letter was filled with misinformation.

Now I have had times where the editor of a local paper I wrote a letter to contacted me and asked me to back up a claim, or to warn me they would be putting a disclaimer at the bottom. My daughter had this happen to her just last year too, and most glaring is that it was from the same parent organization this local paper is a part of (same publication, different city).

On this letter full of dangerous and deadly misinformation about masks and kids, though… nothing.

A former elected official posted something out there on social media about how disappointed she was that there was no fact check note on the bottom, as is customary; and I backed her up: the letter, itself, was not only shockingly wrong, but dangerous.

Instead of admit a wrongdoing though, this guy from the newspaper fires back and tells me, in a nut shell: tough shit. There are two sides to every story, you all have different beliefs. Shocked, and bewildered, I simply said: but these are facts we are talking about, to which he said there was evidence “on both sides” we have available to us.

No. We do not. Sometimes we do, but in this and many other instances, facts are facts. Alternative facts do not exist. They just don’t.

There is a fine line between allowing for free speech, and amplifying misinformation. I believe journalists can allow the one, while making sure that reality is still reflected in the subtitles. Now almost a week later, I am still shaken to think that in my own community, even journalism operates under the guise that we can live in alternative universes where in one up is up, and in the other up is down.

STFU Fridays

Today, I commented on a post by our county about business grants, and someone replied to me the following:

“You are a vile and disgusting human being. We dodged a bullet when you lost the election last year.”

Ah, the joys of having run for city council and not either immediately moving away, or dying, upon defeat.

I wish I could say that this is abnormal and – dare I say – a little strange for the people that live around here. But no. Since I even announced my run for city council over a year ago, now, I have heard just about everything that could be said to, at, or about me. I’ve also had people throw McDonald’s cups at my front door, had people follow my children to the local public tennis courts and then post about it on their public Facebook pages, and right after the election was told that if I thought the harassment before November was bad, “just wait.”

(And to be fair, I was warned by several former city council candidates that this would happen. It’s just… how things are here…)

Here are just a few of my favorites that I’ve received over comment, email, and text since losing the election:

“You lazy slut you don’t belong in this city.”

“My pet hamster is more qualified to be on the city council than you are, and he’s been dead for 12 years.”

“Die and get fucked, in that order.”

“By saying a white woman was unqualified to be mayor, you showed yourself to be a racist and I want you to know I have let everyone know so that you never hold a position in this town ever again.”

“Kamala is a cunt and you sound about as cunty as her.”

“You don’t belong here you commie, leave while you know what’s good for you.”

To these people, who cannot seem to get over the election even though it was almost a year ago and – again – I LOST… shut the fuck up. Honestly. I am getting so tired of this. Beyond feeling threatened, and not really welcome in my own home community anymore; now I am constantly being forced to relive that failed experience by way of these mean comments that, well… what is the point of them? Why email me out of no where to tell me your dead hamster is more qualified than I am? Probably right, I don’t know. Why text me after months of not communicating with me, after no campaigning has been done, and I’ve moved on and just gone about my life, to call me a racist?

Something about this ain’t right, and frankly I don’t give a fuck what it is. Shut the fuck up. Shut the fuck up with the nastiness and the meanness and the rudeness. Shut the fuck up talking about my kids! They’re CHILDREN! And anyway… I. Lost. I fucking lost! Handily, too! You all got what you wanted! I don’t really go anywhere, don’t spend money in the city, don’t go out to eat around here anymore… we live our lives largely elsewhere. I don’t attend city council meetings. I’m certainly never running for office again (at least not around here)…

What more can I do to get ya’ll to shut the fuck up?!

I know. Nothing. Because that’s the thing: I violated the code of this community, which is that I asked questions, I talked about change, and I dared to suggest that everything is not perfect. And even though I don’t go to events and keep my finger on the pulse of local politics much anymore, I still do those things. Why? Because my kids have lives here, believe it or not, and I want them to grow up to a place they are happy and proud to continue to live in. And no matter how many threats or mean words are hurled my way, I won’t stop standing up for those people that did vote for me, and those that couldn’t, which means I’ll have to continue to thicken my skin until these worthless, local-yocal inbreeds finally shut the fuck up.

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For more election and recall talk, from last night’s recall… check out this podcast I was on as the results came in astoundingly fast:

STFU Fridays: And the award goes to …

GO FUCK YOURSELF!!

The other night we watched this movie called Goats. It was actually a pretty good flick, although the mother of the main character was into this New Age free-spirit thing. She did mental cleansing. She’d talk about her inner energy – very annoying.

That said, there was one scene towards the end where she was just screaming out all her anger and hostility and stress. She just screamed and screamed until she felt better.

Imagine me doing that now – standing outside in a hippy, New Age outfit. Screaming GO FUCK YOURSELF. This is called the B(itch)Log for a reason, right? Guh…

And the award for biggest a-hole of a husband goes to …

Is this the first time I’ve talked shit about my husband on this blog? No. Will this be the last? Probably not.

My husband started carpooling just under a month ago, and since he began the carpool has been … turbulent. By turbulent I mean that at least once a week (of the four days out of the week that they carpool), the woman is late. Her track record at present is extreme lateness 25% of this past 3 weeks. I have the text messages to prove it.

The most egregious has been when she showed up at 7:30 pm (instead of 6) to pick him up a few weeks ago; and, worse, yesterday when she asked him to wait from 6 until a whopping 8 o’clock at night to pick her up.

The reason why this makes him the a-hole, though, is that if it were something we did he would be all over my ass about it. He’d be yelling at me and arguing that I’ve done whatever it was I did wrong. If I had even requested him to go out of his way for me – it would be an offense worthy of divorce. But this bitch gets to just ride. I just don’t understand the complicated nature of being an editor. The demands on her – I should be sympathetic. She really is trying to get into a better situation at work!! He is just trying to save some money!! The Pookies should just accept the fact that he is never home.

Fuck. That. And shut the fuck up, husband. If people are not in a position at work to abide by some basic carpooling etiquette (the biggest one being the “five minutes or find your own ride” rule), then they shouldn’t be in a carpool. I understand wanting to save money, but that is only one part of life. If you cannot manage everything – you have no balance and your life is about as meaningful as the fly that has no reason for existing other than to die 15 minutes after it was born.

My life does not need to be dictated by a complete stranger’s career.

And the award for rude people who thinks their shit smells like daisies goes to …

People that do not have the common courtesy to graciously decline an invitation.

I mentioned in my blog the other day that we are having a birthday party for my dad – a surprise party. I was stressing the other day because quite a few people canceled their RSVPs, but then in the last few days quite a few more have said they are coming. It’s all evening out, but what isn’t evening out are the people that cannot even give the common courtesy of a “thanks for the invite, but we can’t make it.”

My mother in law told me a few weeks ago that common practice now is that if you say nothing it means no. That is SO FUCKING RUDE. What in the hell happened to a basic commonality of respect? We all know you opened the invite. You open mail when you get it, don’t you? You opened the email – Evite and Facebook told me so! Is this to say that your lack of response really means that you think you are too fucking busy, in your all important life, to just hit “reply” and say “sorry, can’t make it?!”

I’ve got news for you: rude, two-bit motherfuckers that think your shit smells like daisies. You ain’t all that. That’s right, I said ain’t! And that you ain’t it!! Get the fuck over yourselves! You are just as important as the rest of us (which, sadly, is pretty unimportant). Shut the fuck up with your pompous arrogance, and send a regret.

And the award for breeding stupidity goes to …

Apple! WHAT THE FUCK, Apple.

Imagine my brain this morning when I opened Safari to see they had launched their new “funness” campaign. That’s right, motherfuckers – you read that right. FUNNESS. As in a lot of fun, only in a stupid fucking word that doesn’t exist.

This reminded me of Gain’s Gooder campaign. Remember that bullshit? I contacted Gain and those fucking assholes responded that their customers liked the word Gooder. I bet they did, motherfuckers. I bet they did. Then the other day I saw a McDonald’s billboard that said their McFish bites are “epic-er.” While I’m sure the diarrhea those nasty little fish fuckers produce is epic, my eyes went crossed when I saw the word and I almost veered off the road.

Shut the fuck up, Apple! Stop making people stupid, advertisers! It is possible to be grammatically correct and still have a catchy ad. Dumbfucks.

Untitled

Clearly I’m in a mood today. Everything is pissing me off, we’re going to be watching the Academies on Sunday (which always makes me angry with that gratuitous back-patting), and as I said before – I really am ready to go postal. I gotta’ get out of here. Get some air that isn’t filled with California smog and narcissistic tendencies. For now it’ll be a Valium. And some wine. I’m going to go have a Merlo-lium cocktail and shut the fuck up. You should too.

There is no room for literacy at my local pub…

Sadly, my local pub is apparently among those that prefer idiocy and ignorance to intelligence and education. Gladly, I don’t care if  anyone’s feelings are hurt that I honestly share my experience in coming to this conclusion. If you’re ever in California, don’t waste your time at Brendan’s Irish Pub and Restaurant (Camarillo, CA) if you think reading is important. Because there is no room for literacy at my local pub…

Some time ago, I was terribly disheartened by my own experience as a writer trying to seek out publication, and as an avid reader desperately searching for like-minded people who love books as much as I do. To say “I love books” is probably understating it. I am obsessed with books. I read all the time. The only thing that I love more than books are words, which always gets weird looks when I tell people this. I think a word is one of the most beautiful things in existence, and no one can ever take them away from you. So when I was disheartened a while back, I did some research and learned some startling statistics, which I reported on this blog. Among the most startling of things I learned when writing that blog was that as many as 33% of people that graduate from high school never read another book again after graduation, with 42% of the remaining never reading past college. Additionally, on a daily basis the Pew Report estimated that Americans spend an average of 4 hours watching television, 3 hours listening to radio or music, and no more than 14 minutes reading (usually in a magazine or news online). Every, single day – no more than 14 minutes. I came to the conclusion that in a world like this, there is no room for good literature.

But then you have a rare event promoting literacy, such as happened today across the country – an event that lifts your spirits and gives you hope amidst all the statistics and stupidity. Last year in Europe a movement began called World Book Night, which spread to the United States this year and created an unprecedented movement of people encouraging others to read. The idea was that the 501(c)3 would get (through contributions from individuals, organizations, and publishing houses) 30 books distributed in large amounts to volunteers who would then give the books away for free to members of the community. You could give them away anywhere – the mall, senior centers, the library, the grocery store, restaurants, bars … whatever you wanted, you just had to give them away for the event, and for free.

So I signed up and got my first choice for books – The Poisonwood Bible. I got twenty copies, specially printed with a letter on the cover about World Book Night and a list of all the contributors that made the event such a success. A book club I’m in had some ladies that were interested in participating as well, so we organized a meet up at the local watering hole to give away the book (and other used ones we had collected) to passers-by.

When I walked in, the hostesses at the front door welcomed me and my box of books with open arms. They each took one and said they were so excited we would be there. We had communicated with the place about the event, so this seemed only natural. The others in our group showed, we ordered drinks, and set out the books on the two tables we occupied. We gave out a few more books. We snapped a photograph. Then I saw our waitress talking to the bartender and looking at us, and as she walked over I knew things were going to go downhill. The conversation went something like this:

Cocktail waitress: “So, what exactly are you guys doing?”

Us: “We’re participating in World Book Night. It’s a national event where we have been given free books to distribute to people in our community at local hang outs.”

Cocktail waitress: “Hmmmmmm… who did you speak to about doing this? Did you talk to Chuck?”

Us: “We sent an email and also communicated on your Facebook page.”

Cocktail waitress: “Huh. I’m trying to figure out how to say this without being rude. We really can’t have you approaching people to solicit them.”

Us: “Okay, can we stay seated here with our books on the table?”

Cocktail waitress: “Oh sure, you are welcome to stay and drink but you can’t approach people.”

Us: “Can we move somewhere that more people will see this.”

Cocktail waitress: “I’m really just trying to say this without being rude, but no – you see none of us even know what the book is about, having never read it. If someone walks by and asks what you have on the table, you are welcome to give those away.”

She came back a few minutes later to make it clear that we could still give people the books if they walked by and asked, and when we asked if we could put up a handmade sign she said “no.” That was the end of our World Book Night as we thought it would be. Disappointing, but we had to move on.

After finishing our drinks and getting out of there, we ended up walking around the rest of the mall and distributing the books (mostly) to employees of the other shops and fast food restaurants in the area. Some of them were very appreciative, a few looked like they just wanted us to leave. One guy acted surprised that people were giving out books and actually acknowledged that illiteracy in our country is a big problem that things like this will really help fix. In the end, we successfully got all of our World Book Night books distributed and had a good time, but that really isn’t the point.

Had my local pub not been in a complex with other places, they could have ruined our efforts for the night. I get not wanting people to bother their patrons. I get not knowing what the book is about and being worried we might represent something they don’t believe in. But had they taken the time to look into it, or had they considered even just letting us set the books up in such a way that passers-by could see and inquire, this wouldn’t have made me so mad. Instead of doing that, though, Brendan’s Irish Pub and Restaurant let us show up and order drinks, only to shoot us down. Because the people working tonight had never read the book. Maybe they’ve never read any books, or they don’t believe that reading is as important as making money and discouraging anything but drinking at their establishment. Do I really believe that it was some grand conspiracy theory on the part of the place to actively discourage intellectualism? No. But it still is true that if their patrons decided to read more, they’d likely spend less time glued to the bar stool with their eyes on the many big screen TVs that cover the place.

In the end, it’s just a big disappointment in a locally owned restaurant and bar, and a reminder that for the majority of our present society, there really is no room for good literature. We weren’t selling things. We weren’t trying to convert people to any religious or cult-like groups. We weren’t interrupting people’s meals or breaking up their attempts at love. We just wanted people to see what we had to offer, and to have an opportunity to read and expand their minds.

It’s too bad that there is no room for literacy at my local pub… is there room for literacy anywhere anymore?