The Queen died! I get it: everyone has a different relationship with the tabloid family. The memes, of course, have been amazing and on point. The British were colonizers, I think we all need to remember that. But I also can accept that a lot of people have a complex relationship with GB, and also many family that way so… if you’re sad, I’m sorry. If you’re glad, well that’s great.
Well we had a whole ass revolution to not give a literal shit who was Queen, when she died, and who followed her. I just don’t care.
What I will say, though, is that her address to the world at the beginning of the COVID 19 pandemic was – I believe – one of her most important addresses. It urged calm in a time when people looked to baboons like Trump and Johnson to restore calm and order. I know I appreciated it, and many others did as well.
As for the tabloid family and what is next under Man Baby Big Hands? Only time will tell…
More around the world: today, in an interview, Trump apparently argued that he could declassify documents as president “telepathically.” And, in a similarly idiotic statement, Biden – with no qualifications or data to back his claim – said the pandemic is over.
Buzz kill: neither of those bone heads was correct.
Around My World
As I started this newsletter: ugh. I am feeling like absolute garbage, physically and emotionally. Physically the hay fever is hitting me hard. I sound like I have a smoker’s cough, spend all my time trying to itch my throat with my thoughts, I’ve gone through about 50 boxes of Kleenex, and there seems to be no end in sight. Other than that, my classes in college are relatively unfulfilling – including my 600 level Public Governance course which I am starting to think is taught by AI. No one ever responds to my discussion posts, I’m receiving an A+ for a grade, and the one time I communicated with the professor she responded “I do trust you…” and that was it.
Another pretty crazy thing happened in my world that probably has set all of this off: we found out that friends of family and family friends moved in to our old house. You know, the one we were effectively evicted from with no cause? After living there and caring for it as if it were our own for years? Yeah…
The short of it is that my daughter was on a long walk with the dogs, and we live on the other side of the same subdivision so she made it almost all the way there. She said the people were outside and they were in a big screaming match; so I finally looked up who is living in the house now. A couple searches over on Facebook and I discovered: it’s the family members of my soon-to-be-ex-sister-in-law’s step sister’s partner. Confused? Yeah I am too, but let’s boil it down to this: my brother in law, soon-to-be-ex-sister-in-law, family friends, our former nanny, the soon-to-be-ex-sister-in-law’s step sister and her entire family, also family friends, and a host of other mutual connections are “friends” on Facebook with the people and their extended family that now occupy the house.
Many of them believed that during my campaign I wanted to defund the police. Rather than act like civilized human beings who have known us forever and consider us family or close family friends and – oh, I don’t know – ask me about it personally, they instead decided to rip up my campaign signs, campaign for my opponent, and never talk to us again. Now, I guess I have to wonder if they were all instrumental in getting us the boot for some people not even remotely related to our former landlords moved in.
Or, at the very least, if any of them ever saw anything about these people moving in to our old house… on the Internet? In person? go to a 4th of July BBQ there and think “hey I know the people that used to live here…”? … and, what… just not say anything to us about it? Who else knows?
So. Many. Questions.
Pretty sure that’s also kind of illegal now in California, but that’s neither here nor there. Kick in the gut, and makes me feel even sicker about the tens of thousands of dollars this has cost us. Not to mention all the trauma.
In honor of that, I decided to do my podcast episode this week about Truth and Post-Truth. I didn’t really talk about my personal situation in the pod, but it’s still a fun philosophical listen. You can get it on any podcast platform, or just listen here:
You Can’t Unsee This
A literal representation of me at this time:
I was trolling the Internet the other day, looking for mom blog type posts to comment on and stir up some shit. For one, I was bored. For two, this is how I gain new followers. Every once in a while, someone clicks my profile and makes their way here, and *poof* I have made another connection in misanthropy.
Scary Mommy had posted this thing about kids budgeting for toiletries. I really don’t want to get into it, because I sense some of you will disagree with me (which is that I think that making small children budget for necessities like soap, regardless of the parameters, sets up an unhealthy relationship with money and personal care products early on… teach to budget with something else)…
ANYWHO, so I basically said that and boy did the mean mug mommies of the Internet go after me in the comments!
One thing that came up though was on the topic of small children squeezing out toothpaste, and how this budgeting technique would eliminate a small child from doing that. I remain skeptical on that, but I made the egregious mistake of saying I couldn’t relate – my kids have never done anything like that. And it’s true! We brush our teeth together, always have and always will. There’s literally no reason for anyone to go in to the drawer and get that toothpaste otherwise. Problem solved, no toothpaste wasted and squeezed out everywhere!
Well apparently, on the Internet, you are mom shaming others if you openly state a fact of your own household. The mean mug mommies then went after me for saying that my own children have never squeezed toothpaste everywhere – how could I shame them and their parenting styles and their little heathens like that?! HOW?!
You know: not everything people say about themselves is about you. I know that in this hyper-narcissistic and self-interested world we live in, it’s tempting to think that. And I certainly don’t want to turn into one of those people that comments on every single post another person makes, turning it all into an opportunity to talk about themselves. But really… sometimes when someone says something about themselves or their situation… that’s it. It’s not about you. It’s not an attack on you. It’s not meant to shame you. It’s not anything other than a simple statement that ultimately has nothing to do with you.
So you know what you can do if you take other people’s experiences personally?
Well, it’s Friday. You can just shut… the… fuck… up…
Anywho, happy weekend everyone! It’s not quite the weekend yet, but… close enough!
I don’t typically title my newsletters, but for some reason this one felt necessary. For the last several days, the news cycle, and my own interactions with regards to it, have been a complete de-evolution into absurdism.
Yes, I’m talking about Biden.
Yes, I’m talking about Trump.
Yes, I’m talking about the ongoing pandemicS.
Yes, I’m talking about all of it.
We need to get our heads on straight here, folks. We are missing a once in a lifetime opportunity to undo all the wrongs of the last several years, and we’re unironically doing so by falling into the same traps and patterns that created the situation we find ourselves in today.
So let’s talk about it.
Around the World
Unless you live under a rock, you know that last night the President gave a fiery speech in front of Liberty Hall, on the problem of fascism and the MAGA culture. It was, unequivocally, a political speech. There’s no way around that.
I’m perhaps from a more old school thinking: that politics is politics, and government is administration of government services. There is a time and a place for both, but not together. That said, we should demand a number of norms when our government leaders go political; and more importantly we should hold them accountable for politicizing aspects of the government that should not be.
There’s also something to be said about governing by meme, and involving people that should otherwise not be involved in that.
This is why, after the president’s speech, several people went on to criticize the choice of backdrop: Marines, standing at attention. I’ve talked to a lot of people about this since, many in a variety of sectors of the military. Some thought it was gauche. Some didn’t see the big deal. Others said it was politicizing the apolitical. A lot of people highlighted the long time practice of Presidents doing so.
For me, it’s about the venue: it was a political speech using colloquialism and political rhetoric, invoking the Dark Brandon meme. So, pretty tacky to have the Marines involved. But, that’s just my opinion, and something I am *entitled to* without fear of personal attack.
Not what the biggest and loudest Blue MAGA Democrats believe, though, because immediately after CNN journalist Brianna Keilar Tweeted her own disappointment in the move – Brianna Keilar who is married to a man that has spent his entire career in the military, people went for the throat. And this is what I largely observed all over Twitter and other social media platforms as the night wore on: very strong and strident Biden supporters launching disgusting and vile attacks on anyone that is Republican, Centrist, Independent, Progressive, or simply had a disagreement with any aspect of the Biden speech, or frankly anything Biden has said or done.
This style of political and public discourse though? This was completely antithetical to the speech the President gave. While calling for unity he asked people to stand up to actual fascism, which includes the idea that dissenting thoughts and opinion should be tolerated and encouraged, and that nuanced conversation about the issues without personal ad hominem attacks and mudslinging should resume at the policy table of America.
What I’m saying is that the people ripping down anyone that even remotely disagrees with or criticizes any aspect of anything the current president does are just as fascist as the ultra right MAGA fucks that… well, do all the same shit. It isn’t less fascist if you’re doing what the fascists do, just because it’s for your guy.
I discussed this last week on my podcast, actually; so the timing is perfect. If you haven’t had a chance, you can listen to it here:
And to that end, there’s been another growing trend over on social media: the White House’s official government account being used for more political posts about MAGA. Here are two, recent examples:
Now to be clear: I am not saying I disagree with these statements. I’m again highlighting the venue in which they are being made.
Perhaps I’m more sensitive because I happen to be in a 600-level Public Governance class right now, and ethics in public administrations – of which the White House one – is at the forefront of our conversation. For decades, administrations at all levels of government have operated on a code of ethics. This is nothing new, and it is not a foreign concept. If the White House Chief of Staff actually paid attention to the replies he receives in these, he would know that my response was spot on: that ethics training is something they perhaps should get going, given the very fine ethical lines that whomever is in charge of this account is walking.
To be clear: Tweeting about political issues, even ones rooted in fact, using political colloquialisms and rhetoric, is not the job of an official government podium. This is not official government business, and we can accept that and hold them accountable for this while at the same time agreeing with the sentiments – the two are not mutually exclusive.
And last, but certainly not least, on this episode of Shit Show, America: this morning, the full list of items that were removed from Mar a Lago in the FBI raid was released by a federal judge, and it included the notations that several folders labeled CLASSIFIED were removed, although all that was found in them were newspaper and magazine clippings.
A lot of people jumped to ask where those documents were, and that may very well be the case – that the DOJ and Merrick Garland moved like the snails they are, and gave Trump et al more than ample time to sell it all off. Smoking gun is therefore gone, as are the prospects of ever holding them accountable. To be clear, that may very well have happened.
But it’s also equally as likely that this was all a well orchestrated stunt, combined with more of a grift. My thoughts?
Surely we all have not forgotten that time Mike Lindell left the Oval Office and was carrying a document in exactly the right angle so that the media could Zoom in and blow up its contents… these people are professional con artists, there’s no way around it.
And to be frank, I voted to never have to hear about them again. Let’s stop giving them oxygen until it’s either to announce the man is in jail, or dead.
Around My World
I finally decorated the outside of my house for fall the other day, and immediately got a ration of shit from people who neither pay my bills, nor do any other things for me. As I said above, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but there’s also something to be said about the concept of: if you don’t agree with someone’s personal choices that in absolutely no way, shape, or form affect you: keep scrolling.
Nevertheless, here are my outdoor fall decorations outside, and I put them up just in time for California’s unprecedented September heat wave:
Other than that, you guys know the drill… I’m just living the dream of every other stay at home mother who is expected to raise her kids, manage the house, keep everything looking Pinterest-worthy at all times, cook three meals a day and eat completely healthy, while also being charitable to others, help ailing and elderly family members, pursue their own dreams, undergo routine self care and physical and mental health, all while pleasing extended family and friends for the sake of keeping the peace, all on a strapped budget because – again – you are a stay at home mom and have no real steady income except your spouse’s… even if all of this is rapidly escalating to a total and utter mental breakdown from the pressure…
You Can’t Unsee This
Please take into consideration everything I said above, listen to my podcast on fascism, take a deep breath, and consider this meme I made:
There has been an increasing trend of doctors and people that should otherwise know better at this stage of the pandemic, downplaying the measures needed to end the pandemic.
I am by no means advocating for more lockdowns or ZERO COVID strategies. But there’s something to be said for paying attention to the governments that still do… they are, and have always been, the experts on SARS and all of its potential negative outcomes. And, to be clear, a lot of physicians and immunologist – epidemiologist types – understand too. What’s even more concerning are the number of other diseases surfacing, and easily spreading, as a result of the hit that our immune systems are taking on the whole to unmitigated coronavirus spread. The CDC and NIH know, and have published papers, on the impacts of SARS-COV-2 on our immune systems, and yet their policies or even their recommendations to others (not them, of course) do not reflect the realities of “new normal.”
And as the pandemic heads into its final stages of the third year, I get it that people are weary, and more than anything they’ve become compromised in their position on certain things. Bottom line is, though, that if you’re going to go on social media platforms and tell people to wear masks… you maybe just should be consistent in your recommendations. Wear a mask yourself.
Moreover, expect our leaders to.
Last night, I was doomscrolling through Tik Tok and came across a post making fun of Trump for his COVID infection versus Biden’s, posted by an immunologist. This woman is a prominent and well respected scientist, and she is also – sometimes – pretty funny. Of course it’s not exactly fair to describe the two infections – one was before vaccines were even available, and one was after the man had four doses of vaccine, with more treatment options, and with a more attenuated version of the virus… but I digress on that issue. It did point to the efficacy of time, science, advancement, and it was silly.
But one of the comments from another doctor on the platform stuck out to me, saying he would never forgive the former president for removing his mask and making a mockery of it. To that, I agree, but I will similarly not forgive the current president for doing the exact same thing. Biden has had more antimask rhetoric and moments, claiming he would wear a mask at all times after exposures and infection, himself, when he then was immediately seen having taken it off around others.
The whole point about living with COVID is that we have to actually learn to live with it and not act like selfish and ignorant fools. Our community members are depending on us to do the right things, including reducing their risk of harming them if we have COVID, have recently had COVID and could still be contagious, are otherwise feeling unwell, or have been exposed.
And we elected Biden to be the leader on this, to which he is failing. Instead he sets an ableist and anti-mask example, with absolutely no one – apparently – with any integrity left to expect better.
So I responded with this comment, and the immunologist – the original poster, the woman who constantly asks people to wear a mask and to be the example for others… she told me to get a grip.
Get a grip.
The most disturbing thing to me, again the overarching theme of this newsletter and why I decided it was important enough to give this one a title, is this idea that people cannot hold anyone accountable for their actions now, simply because the other guy did it first. We should be demanding better of our leaders, and holding them accountable.
And it’s a simple fact that if someone was elected to handle COVID and is now outright refusing to handle COVID, even in his own actions that directly influence the behaviors of millions of Americans (including vulnerable ones)…
Get a Grip?
GET A GRIP?
GET A GRIP?!?!
Get a FUCKING GRIP?!
I get it. We all experienced a lot of trauma with Trump. But it is a fact that the current president is doing worse on COVID at a time when he should and can have opportunities to do better. He preached up and down during his campaign about being a leader and setting an example. And now, he’s doing anything but. We could all live with this if he would do better – it would, at the very least, convince some (and would go a long way to getting more funding for needed tests, treatments, and vaccines from Congress who have all but capitulated to the virus and its ongoing damage).
Instead, it’s easier to look the other way, point fingers, and tell people that have a higher standard of accountability to “get a grip.”
You know what the real grip is that we need though? The one where we are sober to the fact that we have entered this absurdist and morally bankrupt daily reality where everyone thinks standards be damned, norms be fucked, and fascism – even if it’s the lighter version – is the way to go.
The only way out, folks, is if we hold them all accountable for every mistake, all the time. If we get our heads on straight, again. If that is what it means to need to “get a grip,” so be it. In the meantime: if you can’t take the heat of a dissenting opinion, shut the fuck up.
A week ago, a friend messaged me late on Friday. She said “we made it through to the weekend!” And I was like “I mean yeah except those pesky kids and all their bullshit.”
Well folks, here we are on a Friday: you made it. You made it through the week. That is if you aren’t a parent, or you aren’t working odd jobs, odd hours, or multiple jobs.
But nevertheless… you made it. So let’s get to this week’s newsletter.
Around the World
Fascism is on the rise, folks. So much so that I talked about it in my podcast next week (you can preview it on Youtube, or below). I’m really starting to feel like I belong to Fox News though on this topic, because the more cancel culture grows, the more I feel that Democrats have just as much a tendency to fascism as Republicans do.
Think of it: every time they try and suppress viewpoints, suppress information, cancel someone for being against the “vote blue no matter who” mantra, or claim that anything they simply don’t agree with, don’t like, or haven’t read the up-to-date information on… they call it misinformation, or a threat to democracy.
But do you know what the biggest threat is to democracy? Suppression. Censorship. Cancel culture.
What is most disturbing to me is in the case of local media, at least where I live. There is an argument afoot that “both sides-ing journalism” is harmful to democracy because it gives a mouthpiece to an objectively grotesque underbelly of society. But at the same time, if journalists do not offer the perspective of all views, what is to be gained?
One, singular, view that then becomes suppression of other whatever-it-happens-to-be out there. This is not a reflection of America, as a whole.
And I hate this with my whole being, because it offers the perspective that racists should be allowed to spew their racist hatred; transphobia permissible in the public space… and so on. Is what they say right? No. But the principles upon which this country was founded allow for those hateful things to be said, no matter how grotesque or abhorrent.
The Constitution does not save anyone from consequences from their words and actions, this is for certain. So consequence-away. Combat with love, sue people… whatever.
But outright suppression? That shit is wrong. It is anti-democratic. It is fascism, defined.
More on my perspective in next week’s pod, again you can already listen to it in its entirety here:
Around My World
School is back in full swing over here. I’m taking a course in Public Governance, and growing more skeptical of the concept of the “national deficit” by the day as a result. My kids are back at it too. I designed three, entire curriculums over the summer for my five year old, all based around projects in history, STEM, and art. My high schooler is at it, and also dual enrolled in classes at the community college. And my oldest daughter deferred a year to have surgery later this winter, but is taking classes at the community college as well, and playing tennis for their team.
As it turns out, my kids are taking two of their classes at community together, and they invited me to take their painting class with them. Of course, they were probably just being polite; but I graciously accepted, and let them turn my office into their painting space for these 15 weeks. Because wasn’t that nice of them to humor me like that?
You Can’t Unsee This
I mean… is it entirely wrong?
My big pet peeve right now are people complaining about the ongoing availability of Telehealth services. I’ve heard it from a couple doctors, some family members that are nurses, and a hell of a lot of people on social media that work in a variety of areas of healthcare.
The complaints run the gamut, but very few of them have actually boiled down to actual serious reasons related to health. Most of them are things like “the wifi never works,” or “I cannot figure out how to do audio,” or – my favorite – “patients take it as an opportunity to spend too much time discussing their issues, because they’re in the comfort of their own home.” The audacity. The audacity of patients wanting to actually be able to have conversations with their doctors without being herded out like cattle.
I can certainly see there are some issues that are harder to address over Telehealth, like a rash or something that really does require a hands-on, fingers-up approach (barf). But there are so many things that can be addressed over Telehealth, and with the rapid expansion of it due to COVID it not only makes it safer for people while the pandemic still rages, and it gives access to people to see their doctors that otherwise do not always get to go.
For myself, I am a mom with very little support system, at times (most of the time). Because of this, I am rarely able to see my doctor; once a year if I’m lucky. The pandemic opening Telehealth, though, has allowed me to have regular visits with my primary care physician and really start addressing my allergies and asthma in ways I could only dream of doing with my 5 year old in tow at the office. Both issues are now much better off in terms of their management than they have been in over a decade (think about that for a minute), and I am able to see my doctor more frequently to do this simply because all I have to do is log in to Zoom. I don’t have to fight with my kid to wear his mask or stop opening and closing drawers, I don’t need anyone to drive my older kids to their school and sports activities… I can literally do the appointment from anywhere. This has been an absolute game changer for me, and I am certain it has been for others.
So to the people complaining about Telehealth without understanding the circumstances under which it really and truly has changed lives, and possibly lengthened them? Well y’all just need to shut the fuck up. Quit being lazy, quit being stubborn, and start remembering why you got into healthcare to begin with.
(And again, I recognize the instances where a hands on approach really and truly is needed… this is why both modalities need to be available.)
…on that note of availability, I do have to say that if appointments were more readily available in person, Telehealth may not be so widely needed still. Four times in the last couple of weeks I have called and been offered in person appointments literal weeks from the time I made the call. The Telehealth visit over Zoom? The next day.
Have a good weekend, everyone! That is… if weekends are a thing for you…
This has been a weird week, for me personally and for the world. If you don’t think it’s weird, you are likely in the position of being both simultaneously privileged and unknowingly oppressed. Welcome to Capitalism.
Around the World
So how about that Trump raid?
I’m still weeding through all the details on why Mar-a-Lago was raided, and what the potential or definitive consequences of it will be. And I have a lot of mixed feelings about it myself. From an accountability-standpoint, anything that criminal has done should be held up against the law like any other citizen of the United States. But something I learned in my own personal experiences with family law, and our kids, is that oftentimes the law will not always err on what is morally right, but what is (a) prosecutable, and (b) not going to cause an undo burden on the public good. and there is something to be said for understanding the incredibly sensitive and delicate balance in this country right now. National security, and the possibility for an all out Civil War, is very likely a part of the conversation on this at some stage.
We should save this one for another conversation, perhaps a blog I’ll post next week on the topic, alone.
In the meantime, here are just a few of the thoughts circling around in my head, in no particular order:
Andrew Yang is, yes, a piece of shit, but he is right in the sense that if nothing major comes as a result of all this news cycle, the FBI raid, and the investigation, then it will have been political and the consequences could be – not to be hyperbolic, but: catastrophic to the country. Is he trash for saying it when he did and the way he did? Sure. But he may not be wrong. We’ll see.
Many high level Democrats, including Congressman Eric Swalwell (famous for telling Susan Surandon, a woman, to sit down and shut up about women’s rights…), were calling for Trump to release the warrant. When he leaked it to Brietbart, they began to complain because it was not redacted. Again, am I defending that the idiot didn’t think to redact names of agents on there before he leaked it? Maybe. But he did what they asked; that they expected the guy who suggested we inject bleach to cure COVID to know to redact names from a sensitive document before leaking it as they requested is… well…
I honestly do not see this resulting in anything, and if it does I do believe the consequences will call into question if it was worth it. Back to point one, time will tell. To be clear: this is not a reason to withhold accountability. Trump, we all know, is a criminal, on many levels and for several reasons. But defining “accountability” in this case may require people to consider way more than just the people that did the crime, but the people who will suffer for the fall out. I don’t know, again maybe a conversation for another day (and again, to be clear, I am not defending Trump.
Fundamentally, one of the main reasons I – like me personally – voted for Biden in 2020 was to not have to hear about Trump anymore. At this point, I don’t even care if he goes to prison, flees the country, runs for president again and loses, or simply bides his time quietly on his golf course. I just don’t want to hear about it. All the Jon Coopers of Twitter post daily, ad nauseam, about him. I think the Republicans are right: liberals are absolutely obsessed with him. Sometimes it feels like we are collectively checking our ex-boyfriend’s Facebook page to see what he’s up to; it’s exhausting and I voted to be rid of it.
As is, there is already talk about Biden pardoning Trump in the name of unity. I wouldn’t be surprised at all, and in fact as I was talking to a friend about it, this popped up in my Instagram feed. So yeah…
Then, of course, there was the whole CDC COVID update, which made headlines even though it hardly changed much in the way of public health policy that was not already changed or observed, starting back in the beginning of the year in the middle of the Omicron wave. However, what distinctly sticks out to me is some of the language the CDC is using now. They’ve completely redefined not only disease, but everything, to being about personal responsibility; the individual’s obligation to themselves and themselves, alone. This is the antithesis of “public” health, but moreover I believe it sets the precedent to deny claims of public liability for injury caused. In other words: oh, you’re now permanently disabled by long COVID (as is happening to as many as 20% of people that catch it)? Well that was your fault for catching it, disability claim denied.
But it goes beyond that. Some of the language seems to cite numbers inconsistent with actual reality. Many many Americans continue to have avoided COVID infection, and both the vaccinations and previous infection are not useful against circulating variants, and yet the CDC claims that as many as 90% of Americans have “existing levels of immunity.” They also discuss avoiding punitive measures against students that choose to continue to mask, as if kids have been punished prior to now for wearing them. Something doesn’t seem right about anything that they cite, and to release the guidance in a time that 93% of the country is in areas of remarkably high transmission, and daily papers come out citing the profound and extensive damage reoccurring SARS infection is causing… well something just does not add up to me.
Again, maybe a conversation for another day.
Around My World
I’m trying not to get stressed out by the fact that our new property manager seems to be in it to get his money with as little work as possible Our move in walk through yielded several things that needed to be addressed. The excuses for none of them being done continue, a month and a half later.
The other day we woke up to a sprinkler that was broken, spraying everywhere. It took a while for the landscapers to show up and fix it (if you can call what they did “fix”), but in the course of all of this it has become all the more clear that gardening – included in the lease – is also not going to actually happen. Today we raked up probably years worth of begoniaville petals, many decomposed and putrid smelling. Tomorrow we’ll be cutting the grass and weeds out front as well.
How am I dealing with this stress?
Well, it’s past time for me to decorate so I started getting going with my fall decorations. Every year I have a system: August 1 – September 15 is for Fall decorating, with Halloween to follow. So – technically – I’m late. It’s already the middle of August, so finally yesterday and today I kicked it into gear. The great part about moving was that we had to get rid of so much, some needs replacing. So I guess that’s fun.
You Can’t Unsee This
In regards to that Trump raid, the memes have been on point, I will admit that.
Alright, this is a bit of an obscure one, but we need to talk about the bakery cookies at the grocery store.
You know those soft sugar cookies that start to pop up in the bakery section around this time of year. They usually vary the frosting and sprinkles for whatever holiday is coming up. Right now, because Labor Day is around the corner, they have blue with red, white, and blue sprinkles. In October it’ll be orange and the brown, yellow, and white sprinkles. Then it’ll be straight to Christmas, with Valentine’s Day colors in the new year, closing their annual stint at the grocery store off with Easter colors.
People are so divided on these cookies, but I have to say to both sides: shut up already. Honestly. The cookies are fucking good, and even if they’re not what is this thing people have where because they don’t like them, that means no one can have the pleasure of eating them? We live in a society that is so heavily controlled as is: we have to work where we’re told, live where we’re told, do what we’re told; stop trying to control what fucking sweets people have access to with your weird online petitions, and obsessive bitching at grocery employees. As if Bob who works in check out can fucking control the inventory, you pedantic, anti-cookie, fucks.
So have a good weekend, and leave people alone to their cookies. And by people, I mean me. I’m with Brian on this one.
I wish I could write one, fucking newsletter without starting off with something like: welp, what a mess this world is. But we’re 12 issues in, and sure as hell nothing has gotten any better.
In fact, I’d wager, it’s gotten worse.
I’m starting to find myself looking at things going on in the world – shootings, violence, crime, and the like – more as evidence that people are starting to snap, than anything else. Sure, gun safety reform and legislation is absolutely necessary; so is more adequate access to mental health services. As are a host of other things that create an insurmountable amount of pressure that, for some, just ends up being too much.
I do not condone anything that is happening in that space, but I have to say that I understand. I really do.
People can just only take so much. So much pain, death, disease, hardship, and lack of care.
In any event, let’s get to it.
Around the World
Dr. Oz won his primary this week, in the same general vein and district patterns that Trump did.
In other words: we’re fucked.
Not that authoritarianism isn’t already kind-of sort-of going on already. To be more clear: it is. The Biden Administration has taken the road of doing what they think is best, even though it is antithetical to even some of the fundamental principals and mandates upon which they were voted in. And I’m not even just talking about areas in which they are strapped, and their hands are supposedly tied (which they are not, and we’ll get to in a minute). But when an Administration makes as many blunders as this one has, and keeps cow-towing to the Republican and corporate demands that are not in the best interest of the people, while having essentially a blank check for a foreign war that the majority of people did not co-sign…
Well Houston… we have a problem. This is how you invite hyper-nationalistic fascism to the dinner table.
It is my belief that the Democrats have rendered themselves impotent in the name of old-timey bipartisanship and, well, capitalism. Not only has Joe Biden failed to hold true to many of his campaign promises in 2020, his Administration has largely failed to meet the moment on a number of crises that have occurred around the country, and world, since. Have they been an abject failure? Well no, but on the areas in which they have had a mandate, they continue to fall short.
What does not make sense is being elected to do those very specific things and then just … not…
Democrats, and the Admin, are great at pointing the finger, except for when it comes to pointing it at themselves. As I see it, a number of factors are getting in the way of them achieving any of their promises, and securing enough wins in the fall to hold the majority. Oftentimes, they remind me of one of my old boyfriends who would defeat himself with inaction and procrastination; it was easier to point blame and feel sorry for himself than to actually try and be successful. Because once you’ve been successful, well how will you win the next round (in the case of the Dems, what will you campaign on?).
But, if we’re being frank here: I don’t see the Democrats doing anything with the majority anyway (they always, invariably, find an excuse not to). Now they’re on some grand campaign to gaslight America, to try and make people believe that their material conditions aren’t actually worse, that things aren’t really hard right now, that inflation and housing and jobs and everything in between isn’t really affecting them… that we all just don’t understand, which – in my own personal experience – is the D’s traditional line when they’re pinned up against the wall. And this is, sadly, exactly why the vast majority of people in America see them as elitist assholes who, frankly, do not serve anyone but themselves.
The bottom line that hardline Democrats are failing to understand is that average Americans – the people that vote only when they care about something – are not party line voters. They will not Vote Blue No Matter who if Blue doesn’t do anything for them before the next election. Republicans get it, they give their voters the things that they explicitly are elected to do (often times, judges and an elimination of government control). Numbers of non partisan or so-called Independent voters have grown in exponential numbers, around the country, for decades, and it’s why so many of our elections are unpredictable, and communities are largely a purple swath of people that sway with their conditions at the time the ballots are cast.
Blaming people is an ineffective tool if but only because of all those factors I mentioned getting in the way. Among them are: a refusal to reform the filibuster, a refusal to utilize the bully-pulpit of the Presidency, an Administration that is both ignorant and incompetent on important issues until it is too late (see: Omicron, baby formula), a President that is living in the past (the days of bipartisan deals and being good friends with Mitch), and, well, capitalism.
Even on issues like the economy, Joe Biden has a fiscal policy that is politically to the right of Nixon. Just think about that for a minute. President Nixon – a traitor to democracy – did more for economic stabilization to stave off inflation and recession than Joe Biden will. His plan for the economy is laughable, at best. Beyond the fact that average Americans are largely unaffected by the deficit (an arbitrary and made up concept to begin with), the bulk of his plan to deal with inflation and the economy is all the talking points of that failed piece of legislation – Build Back Beyond, or whatever it was called – that Manchin vetoed, they promised to break up, and haven’t talked about since. They’re empty promises, just like COVID funding and calling on Congress to do something about guns. Rather than flex the powers of the executive branch that Biden actually does have, he’s making remarks, letting his Administration correct them, saying he didn’t see pretty much everything coming (including the formula shortage, which is unforgivable as I see it), then heading home for a three day weekend in Delaware, seemingly just as much as Trump used to golf. It’s insanity!
(And I say this all as a Democrat, with absolutely no skin in the game. Think about that one too…)
Around My World
Welp, the lesson I’m learning now is that when you go through hard shit, you learn who your real friends and family are.
We’ve been looking for a rental since January, and shit just gets uglier and uglier by the day.
We’ve now spent $3,960 on non-refundable application fees, and the rejections are getting stupider by the day. Today, after being effectively approved on a home, we were then told “sorry, a military family contacted us we’re going with them.” This is the second time this happened in the last two weeks.
My daughter who is 14 went with my husband to one viewing, and the realtor showing the home thought she was his girlfriend. I guess not getting selected for that home was a blessing in disguise.
We are now at three homes that we are waiting to hear back on. This is how it goes. It’s 3 then 5 then down to 2; it got so confusing at a point that I had to make a spreadsheet for us to keep track, which is a depressing sheet of just strikes through addresses and notes like “probably not going to work for us too small,” and “has 117 other applicants.”
So as of now we’re at three, one is ideal for our family, another sort of ideal but outdated, and the third was a scene of a crime today when, three doors down, a man was arrested after the chopped up remains of his mother were found in the community dumpster.
Meanwhile, we’re still in our temporary rental. It has dampness and mold, no ventilation, an outdated circuit breaker that could catch fire at any moment with all the lights around the house flickering, and no emergency exit that will open. The dampness has caused me to have a sinus infection for 4 weeks now, and I am covered in hives; but God forbid I mention that in casual conversation, then – it’s becoming more and more common – I never hear from whomever I’m talking to again.
It’s not that I mean to just complain all the time. It’s just that this is a pretty big thing going on in our lives right now, and when people ask how things are going, I take that to mean they actually want to know…
Because that’s the real lesson in all of this. Not that California’s housing crisis is greater than anyone not experiencing it could ever imagine. Not that 45% of the state is a renter and virtually no one in public office on any level is doing anything to represent them with the urgency of this unprecedented crisis. Not that landlords are literal scum, and your house can literally harm you physically.
No, it’s that when these types of things happen, a lot of people in your life just… disappear. Because it makes them feel bad to talk about their vacations when they know you have to spend your spare cash on application fees, and an $800 a month gas bill so your kids can still go to their activities after you had to move out of town.
To them I just have to say: I am very sorry that my personal predicament makes you uncomfortable in your privilege.
There are also those that themselves contribute to the problem by hoarding empty homes, or subjugating the middle and working class into uninhabitable conditions as landlords. I’m not saying that all landlords are bad, just that if you are a landlord or employed somehow in this line of work, and find yourself justifying (or attempting to justify) ostensibly horrible conditions and situations… I don’t know, maybe you’re just a horrible person. I’ll never forget the conversation I had with a friend about mold in the kitchen cabinets; a friend who herself works as a property manager for a relatively large company in Los Angeles County. She said to me “well you know you can’t expect to have a home AND have it be livable all the time,” and that – ladies and gentlemen – was the end of our friendship.
You Can’t Unsee This
Sorry to burst your bubble. This is the current rate of COVID transmission in the US. You are being lied to if someone is telling you it’s over. It’s not. COVID is still very real. Living with it does not mean just infecting people all willy-nilly (more on that in a post next week…).
Get your masks back on, at least in situations where vulnerable people may be present. Consider scaling back on gatherings.
And if this monkeypox thing blows up…
I live in Southern California, but the truth to the matter is that all over the world people are experiencing the changing climate. A part of that is that droughts like we have never experienced are cropping up all over.
The effects this will have on crops, life in general, is a more serious conversation for another day. For now, I’d like to talk about people with grass lawns, and golf courses.
In So Cal, we have been restricted to only water once per day, and who-boy have the crazies come out.
One group is asking why we are building more apartments and houses if we don’t have enough water infrastructure to water our palatial lawns and take 2 hour showers every day. Well, first and foremost, all those people that are living in RVs, in homeless encampments, in tents in people’s backyards, in their cars, in local motels… they have a right to live in a home too. They exist. They are more important than your fucking grass yard and 1970s ol’ reliable washing machine, Janice. Unless they all just up and die (which, to be frank, I’m sure many of these NIMBY fucks would be fine with), they need a place to live. This doesn’t have a single thing to do with watering restrictions. So shut the fuck up to them.
But also, and this is going to blow all of your minds, the people defending the watering restriction and conservation guidelines need to shut the fuck up too. I know! Crazy, right?
In California, as an example, only 10% of water usage is attributed to people’s homes. Brushing your teeth a little less, taking shorter showers, washing your clothes less frequently, and only watering your lawns once or less a week, is not going to do a damn thing to really make the sizable dent in the water reserves that will be needed for the long term. So the people going after those complaining about grass lawns and their plants dying for real need to shut the fuck up. Because who you need to really go after are the golf courses, high schools, businesses, and agricultural sectors not doing their part.
There is absolutely no reason why golf courses and high school football fields should be exempt from water restrictions, and yet they are. More to the point: Big Ag could make substantial changes to their watering processes to irrigate more efficiently and with less run off, but they won’t because – duh – Big Money.
Rather than go after someone reasonably pissed that all the investment they’ve made in their yard – whether you agree with that investment or not – is about to die (because watering once per day is honestly not going to keep a damn thing alive), why not focus your anger at the politicians and the golf course and agriculture lobbyists that are passing the ultimate burden onto the rest of us? Because they are the enemy, and until you recognize that I think it’s time to just…
So much is going on in the world, and in my world: it’s a little bit of a whirl wind. I’ve been trying to post more in general, keep up on my social media following; and to keep up on this newsletter too. So let’s get to it.
Around the World
Somehow I got sucked into the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard trial. I’m never into these types of things – like ever – but then I see it streaming live on my For You page on Tik Tok, and I’m hooked.
One thing I think that I’ve noticed above all the details, the commentary, the cutting off the middle finger thing – all of it; is how authentic Johnny Depp is. Between his clarity on specific details of conversations, his bizarre hair dos, facial hair, and attire/accessories, to his remarkable pride in having quit using opioids, Depp – in all his weirdness and classically Depp deadpans – is unapologetically himself. Does that make sense? Regardless of the trial, or how it all turns out, that is what I take away from this.
Of course the other big obvious going on in the world is that COVID is going masks off-balls out, and yet the government is scaling back its efforts and funding in ways we probably never saw coming, no matter how bad things have been. (Just remember: it can always get worse, right?)
With variants upon variants cropping up that are just, to many of us, terrifying, it’s hard to really know what to believe. And yet, the doctors of Twitter and the mainstream media seem to have also flown the coop. Some, like Leana Wen from CNN, have gone batshit crazy, blocking major figures in public health, and even Marked by Covid (the largest national advocacy and lobby group for survivors and families of victims from COVID 19) from viewing and reacting to her comments on social media, all the while accusing the world of bullying and harassing her for having unpopularly eugenic views; while others, like Jeremy Faust, have decided it’s time to monetize.
I find the latter to be, frankly, stunning. This guy started writing a newsletter less than a year ago, and has fewer email subscribers than little old me, and yet he’s still thinking it’s a good time to grift. For $5 more a month than your favorite 99 cent game app on your iPhone, or regular emails from WaPo, you can get, as Faust describes it: “…after I publish, I realize that there are more considerations worth sharing for people who want to go deeper…”
Whenever I criticize this, people say “running a website isn’t free, Heather.” Sure, yeah, I definitely know that. As evidenced by the website I run, here. But if you are doing something for the sake of public health, monetizing a website that can be thrown together, maintained, used to host your email server, and give you a unique domain, for around $100 a year or less, when you’re a doctor that also makes high dollar media appearances… well, I don’t know… monetizing your very important medical information and advice seems sort of grossly capitalistic.
But America is a capitalism, and our healthcare is for those with the means only, right?
One more thing that is absolutely bananas to me going on in the world, of course, is this:
Around My World
It’s a bit of a shit show in my personal life. We really are not adjusting to the new house well at all. My kids and their entire communities are around 30-45 minutes away from home (depending on the day and traffic). This isn’t a situation where we are like the military, where moves and changes are expected and a part of life. We will continue to get our kids back to our old city to be with friends and their sports and social stuff, it’s just … really really stressful to juggle it all (and the cost of gas doing so).
Meanwhile, at our new house, I’ve recently discovered that across from our house is a home that I am 90% sure is occupied by squatters.
The people that own the home live in Texas for the bulk of the year. They just keep this home to use casually when they visit their adult children in town. Now we’ll save the fact that people that own multiple homes only for one to sit empty most of the year, while the rest of us scramble for any slum we can find to pay 46% of our monthly take home pay to live in, are making me more upset by the day, because these types of practices (their right, or not) have irreparably harmed my family, I still feel something of an obligation to … at the very least investigate.
I’m finding myself become more and more like Tom Hanks in The ‘Burbs, by the day. I’ve camped out on the living room couch for about two weeks now, waking up in the middle of the night, taking photos of the lights on, searching around the gated and upper-middle income community in which we live for any signs of something amiss… I even considered buying binoculars.
I’ll keep you guys posted.
You Can’t Unsee This
Presented without comment:
Again, with the masks.
I know, I know, but hear me out: even if you don’t give a shit about masks, you only care about yourself and what you feel in terms of protection, and you are just done with this whole pandemic…
… you could still keep your fucking mouth shut to those that still mask.
Monday the mask mandate for travel and public transportation was lifted by some dumb-dumb judge with no public health experience or expertise whatsoever, and the world cheered. (I wrote about it HERE.)
Within a day, accounts of people being shamed and bullied for still wearing masks cropped up.
The highest profile person I saw post about it was Trump’s Surgeon General, Jerome Adams, who has – oddly enough – become the voice of reason these last several months. You really know things are bad if any of Trump’s folks are the voice of reason, but we can save that conversation for another day. Adams went to board a flight, and a Delta pilot made some snarky comment about how he should take off his mask and breathe the fresh air. Adams posted about it on Twitter, and the anti-maskers went WILD on him.
Really? Just shut the fuck up. The fact that these people got what they wanted, but did not stop it there, indicates – at least to me – that it was never really about freedom or their personal choice. It was about an ideology and what the masks represent: weakness, fear, and probably a little bit of racism towards cultures in which face coverings are the norm.
So to them, I say: shut the fuck up. Just shut your fucking mouth, and cough all over people all you want. You won! At least for now. We’ll all still be there to empathize with you when COVID bites you in the ass, because the data doesn’t lie on the promise that sooner or later, it will.
One more thing…
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The pandemic is still raging, and so is my neighbor’s daughter’s nasty case of crotch rot (I wish I was kidding, but I’ve heard the stories told over… and over… and over again as she squawks about it loudly over the phone in the backyard…more on that in a bit…), but Halloween season is here.
You guys know I love fall. LOVE. Fucking love. I love it so much I blogged about it HERE, and HERE, and… HERE. The funny part about it is that in Southern California, fall is when it starts to get FUCKIN HOT. I mean like 100 degree heat waves, fires burning down half the town, and air quality that looks like the inside of a smoker’s lung. Nothing says “it’s autumn” like your kids going trick or treating in tank tops and booty shorts because it’s still 90 degrees out by the time it gets dark, and a random fire breaks out in the mountains so you have to cut trick or treating short to go home and pack *just in case* (this happened two years ago).
Anyway, I’m not being smarmy and sarcastic. I really do love fall. I’m not sure what about it – maybe the nostalgia of what fall represented when I was a kid; maybe it’s spending time with my own kids doing stuff with them; maybe all the delicious flavors… don’t know, but I love it.
Around the World
Nevertheless, the pandemic rages on, and while kids are now being promised a vaccine “sometime this fall,” (supposedly by Halloween) I remain skeptical. They just keep pushing the timeline back, and moreover, I just don’t know what to believe about any of it anymore. This is NOT to say that I’m a COVID skeptic. I am merely cynical of the prospect that this shit is going to end and get better some day.
There’s all this buzz about boosters too, and while I am usually critical of people saying that the messaging is “confusing” (it’s usually not, unless people are all just dumb…), this time, I have to agree. If you’ve ever seen Eric Topol on Twitter, he puts it perfectly here:
Of course none of this has stopped football stadiums from packing it in again, high schools from getting back to dances and rallies, and – you know – everyone sort of being out for themselves at this point. So I say we should all just do what we have to do to protect ourselves, plain and simple. As my grandma used to say: sometimes, it is what it is. For now, it seems to be a bit state of nature, figure it out on your own, let’s hope we all survive… in the end, though, what can any of us do about it? Shrug, and go on about our daily lives I suppose. Do what we can to protect ourselves and those we love.
It is what it is.
Around My World
Well back to fall and Halloween, my two oldest kids and I have been watching a lot of scary movies lately. I’m not sure what sparked it, but I have to say I’m happy we’ve taken this turn with our Netflix/Hulu/Disney+/Amazon viewing.
The best part, though, is that now… finally after all this time… I get the memes.
The Conjuring(s) and Annabelle
Admittedly, I really only liked-liked the first Conjuring. The second was still pretty good. But from there? I don’t know…
Still, what is particularly eery about these films, as well as Annabelle, is the devil-made-me-do-it, religious aspect of it all. Probably because I’m Catholic, and while I certainly don’t practice, I still bow my head and genuflect every time I go near a church… because habit.
Of them all, Annabelle had the most hair-standing-on-end moments, as well as me yelling “why would you do that?!” repeatedly at the main characters, because what is a good horror film if not for a main character that makes stupid choices?
I let my teenagers watch Malignant, and I knew it was a gamble and probably – definitely – not recommended by Common Sense Media. But we watched after my four year old was fast asleep (so no chance he would come running into the room), and I just knew it would have a campy-Evil Dead-Army of Darkness vibe to it. In that department, it did not disappoint. (My kids also watch Supernatural, Vampire Diaries… all that crap, so blood and guts is pretty much streaming on their iPads on the reg).
What I certainly wasn’t expecting – campy expectations or not – was to laugh so hard. There were just some moments that were just so over the top (jail cell scene anyone?), who couldn’t help but laugh? I have no doubt in my mind that this will go down as one of the all-time great cult classics.
This is the one I am particularly happy about, because when the remake of it first came out there were Pennywise memes everywhere and I did not understand a damn one of them. Then, when the second film came out – just a few years ago, right before the pandemic – down the street from my husband’s office there was a pop up It experience. I remember scoffing at the enormous line of people down the block to get in, simply because I had no idea what the hubbub was about.
So we watched the first It last night, and are planning to watch the second tonight. I. Get. ALL. Of. The. Memes. Now. Wow. Just wow.
And, in the end, I thought it was a pretty good movie. I was particularly impressed – not to get all “Industry Wife” snooty with the discussion here – with the way the characters were fine tuned down to the T. Like when Beverly’s dad comes on screen for the first time, you look at him and you just know he’s a child molester.
Needless to say, I’m looking forward to the second movie and… for COVID to settle down and for that pop up It experience to come back to California.
So as I said in the beginning of this week’s newsletter, my neighbor’s daughter has – what they call – “crotch rot.”
A little backstory:
So my neighbor is a hard and fast believer in QAnon. I mean she is legitimately in the group. She talks about Q all the time. Not to me, I don’t talk to her – except for the one time she came over and banged on my door to let me know that a piece of paper had fallen out of our trash can on trash day. I mean that I hear her talking about this shit on the phone, which she spends probably 6 hours a day on while running an at home daycare, with absolutely no young children of her own. She is also hyper-Christian, though does not go to church… and by hyper-Christian, I mean it’s cult like. But I guess it’s a cult of one, because – as I said … no church.
So her oldest daughter is 20 and her youngest is 18, just graduated high school. The oldest now lives with her boyfriend at his parent’s house – he, a real winner by my estimation (imagine: my eyes roll into the back of my head until I seize) – and they went on some couples trip.
To a motel down the street.
When I heard the daughter, over visiting several weeks ago describing it, she called it romantic. I called it the Motel 6.
Now I’m not naive about these things, and I don’t think my neighbor is either, but long story short the girl now has some sort of smell coming from her vagina. It has persisted over several weeks, and apparently nothing is helping.
I learned this when QAnon lady squawked about it over the phone to her sister in New Mexico, on several occasions. They discussed possible causes. They discussed holistic treatments. And then – today – the daughter came over, and I heard the mother say the following:
“Look… I’ve been thinking about your crotch rot – hahaha – okay okay, your vag-i-nal o-dor, and I think it’s time you stop letting doctors and such force things on you, and you let the power of Jesus flow through you to fix this.”
What. The Fuck.
Jesus is not a solution for an infection of the vagina, Q. The power of God flowing through your vagina is a recipe for immaculate conception, not a resolution of bacterial vaginosis. For fuck’s sake, a tampon soaked in Greek yogurt would probably be more effective than calling on the Holy Spirit to fix this problem.
Where is this shit coming from?! This is the same reasoning these religious nuts are ignoring signs of cancer, refusing measles vaccines, and who fall for that *cut open purple onion and put it in your bedroom to prevent the flu* meme that goes around every year. The power of Christ compels you to ignore all common sense and modern scientific medicine; but if that doesn’t work, here’s an anti-parasitic for farm animals you can try!
This has certainly gone off the rails, and while it’s none of my business in the end, they make it my business by screaming about it into their cellphones – on speaker – for hours on end every day. I live in California. We are stacked on top of each other like sardines to the point that I could vomit – not even the projectile kind – and some would splatter on their deck chairs. Certainly, I sympathize with her daughter’s vaginal issues. Really… I do. But it’s about time they shut the fuck up, and if any of you are this open and talky about your medical problems, you need to shut the fuck up too!
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.
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).
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.”
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.
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!
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.
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:
Well, this isn’t exactly around the world, but it’s certainly national news: Texas effectively overturned Roe versus Wade. I feel as though we live in this fucked up, dystopian reality, only there are only some of us that get it.
Between climate change and the disasters literally flowing (or, in some cases, burning) from that; COVID and its ever-evolving descent into state of nature society, and now these bat shit ass crazy laws that keep getting passed around the United States, I can’t help but feel as though we’re on the brink. Of what? I’m not sure. I just know that this feels eerily familiar to Handmaid’s Tale, and moreover my worst nightmares.
As for myself, here in California, I’m relatively safe – for a variety of reasons. One is that I’m married and already have three kids, so ain’t nobody gettin’ pregnant around here (if you know what I’m saying). But also… I’m in California. Not Texas.
The only thing itching at the back of my neck, though, is the possibility that on September 14th, the governor will be recalled and replaced by Larry Elder. Larry Elder is like if Greg Abbott and Donald Trump had a baby – which of course would be stoned to death, because the Republicans hate gay butt stuff. Larry Elder is so bad, though, he wants the minimum wage to be $0. Can you imagine that? He’d also make damn sure to use every legal tool in his box to bring on exactly the same thing here as has just happened in Texas.
So I don’t know. Scary times I guess around the world. I’m just ready for the day when the news is boring again.
Around My World
Welp, I told you guys that I was going to talk shit about the locals, so don’t say I haven’t warned you.
For those of you unfamiliar: I live just North of Los Angeles, in a coastal, suburban community full of right wing nut bags, and Democrats who would be Republican if it were more socially acceptable to do so in California. They get away with it by registering as “No Party Preference,” or some other obscure political party no one knows about, but is an option as an official ballot designation. Or, they register as Democrats, then support all these crazy, local, right wing cronies, because they’re good friends, and they vote “because he seems like a nice man.” (Side note: cronyism is so endemic in this community, we have a local chain of bars named after it.) As issues voters, they typically blast hard line Democrats for being too much. They ALL hate AOC (not saying I particularly like her either). Their brand is Conservative with just the slightest hint of a purplish-blue streak, once in a while. My county went around 60% to Biden, which many of them say is evidence that we are irrefutably a blue county… yeah, sure. A county that votes 40% for Trump, and for whom 5% of all registered voters signed on to the recall petition for the Democratic governor is not, and will never be, Blue anything. In the Presidential elections we vote for the lesser of two evils, who happens to typically be a Democrat. But overwhelming in down ballot elections, state and local initiatives, and in public policy running the gamut of issues, we are as deep red as a bad period.
I find that the people that tout voter registration statistics and trends on the national level have only a thin grasp of reality as to what really goes in to making a particular geographic area tick. To really understand whether it’s Conservative or Liberal, you have to look at who is running the local appointments, elected seats, and what kind of public policy you have. Our county is – overwhelmingly – Conservative on this level. When I ran for city council last year, my opponent was described by many as “the local version of Donald Trump.” One of my biggest supporters once told me: “he is the most manipulative, psychopathic, and right-wing people I have ever met.” And it was true.
Conservative isn’t just how they vote, it’s how they live. There’s a reason a lot of people call us the Florida of California, and the problem is that now – because of COVID – it’s killing people. And the most glaring part about it, is that in the most conservative of places… there is zero accountability for it.
A few weeks ago, one of the local high schools caught a football player coming to school and practice with a known COVID positive case. The kid was unvaccinated, and had tested positive; the parents knew, and they sent him to school. That week, the team was grounded from playing (obviously), but by the next Saturday they had all gotten back on the field to win the game for the week. Here’s the crazy part about it: the day before the winning game – exactly one week after the team was placed on quarantine because of the kid that had come to school knowing he was positive – the same high school’s softball coach DIED OF COVID 19.
They dedicated their win – their win that was just a week after they found out a player had been coming to school knowingly carrying and possibly spreading COVID 19 – to the man.
I have yet to hear about any accountability, or even what local public health citations or consequences there are for doing something like knowingly breaking one’s COVID isolation. The spoiler, I’m sure, is that there are none.
A week later, another local high school was featured in the local paper for the acts of their heroic football coach. You’re probably all saying to yourselves: well surely this can’t be about COVID too, can it? It can, and it is. The paper did a feature article about how the coach was quarantining for a COVID contact… but was still coming to the team practices, parking just down the street, and coaching via drone. He could have been carrying COVID 19. His car could have broken down on the way home or whatever, and he could have spread to an unsuspecting, vulnerable tow truck driver. Talk about what’s wrong with this? Nope. We venerated him in the paper.
This is the problem with hyper-local communities with conservative values, and conflicting ideologies. They live under this veil of not really taking a side on things, and then do nothing when it comes to actually addressing issues that are at hand. Rather than hold people accountable, they look at the positives: oh sure, the kid maybe killed people by coming to school knowing he had COVID, but isn’t it nice that the team won and dedicated the game to the dead softball coach? Very special.
Well anyway, on a lighter note: today I started decorating for Halloween. I know what you’re all thinking: it’s only the beginning of September! Well my response to you is: shut the fuck up.
Who gives a fuck what other people do when it bears absolutely no impact on you or your life in any way? Why are we in this weird place where everyone seems to think they can send their kids to school with a deadly virus and possibly kill people, but that others are not within their rights to put an artificial pumpkin in their rose garden before October? If you don’t like the spider webs on my front porch, and the Halloween tree in my bay window, shut your trap, and move along.
Shut the fuck up with your kill joy negativity that is only there if it suits your suburban narrative. I don’t need your approval to put up my “the witch is in” sign, and I don’t give a fuck if you are judging me for already putting a candy bowl out with an animatronic zombie hand on my kitchen counter.
I’ve got news for you motherfuckers: I’ve had my “oh my gourd” sign on my front porch since August.
I don’t give a shit if it’s 89 degrees and sunny out this weekend, I am going to start using my skull mugs and skeleton bone silverware.
Here’s the thing: life fucking sucks right now. For everybody. If your life doesn’t suck, you live in some fantasy land where nothing is wrong and the shittyness of the world doesn’t bother you one bit until it affects you personally, and for that I feel sorry for you. You must be quite lonely in your glass house that will surely shatter to pieces one day, and likely soon.
If putting up Halloween decorations in September, or – fuck it – Christmas decorations back in July, makes you feel better about the shittyness that is the world and humanity right now, well cheers-the-fuck to you.
I am tired of the pandemic. I am tired of shitty people making it worse. I am exhausted beyond belief with the political news cycle, the chaotic state of our world, and the fact that every single fucking thing is a million times more difficult to do now because we live in this dystopian hellscape.
This is why I am just done. I’m done giving a single shit what people think of me. What people think of my plans. What people think of my parenting, and what people think of my potty mouth. Done.
To the people judging me for putting up my Halloween decorations early, or to the people judging you if you’ve done the same: judge me when you are perfect. And until then, shut the fuck up.