Friday, August 18, 2017

Sugar and Screen Justice Shall be Served!

In these trying times, the one beacon of light has been my two children and their strong sense of social and civic responsibility. Now you're probably thinking:  How does she know for a FACT that her kids are two woke AF mini-citizens of the world? 

Now I don't mean to brag, but it's because they fight for justice, of course! And by "fight for" I mean "fight each other for." And by "justice," I mean sugar and screen time.

As two First World children with all their basic needs (and nearly all their gratuitous wants) reliably and consistently met, Paige and Isaac are blessed enough to have time to focus on what really matters in this world:

Who got more sugar and/or iPad during any given span of time. 

You see, sugar and screen time are valuable household resources to which neither of these kids necessarily has equal access at all times. Their draconian overlords only let them have the iPad on the weekends--not out of virtue or sanctimony--but simply because the iPad turns them into punishing, insufferable assholes. 

No, we save the iPad for when we, their overlords, need it: at 6:30 a.m. on a Saturday morning or a transcontinental flight to the east coast.

Sugar is a bit tricker because it's less predictable, sprinkled into our food supply, and almost unavoidable in sickening quantities. Corn syrup is its own food group in 'Murica, and every activity is followed by a fucking snack made out of sugar and you're like the worst Grinch ever if you point this out.

Anyway. 

My kids expect sugar justice and they will settle for nothing less: You finish the first day of school? BAM! Ice cream time. You were good in the supermarket and didn't nag for a bunch of shit? BOOM. Here's a donut. I'm pretty sure there are a lot of books that caution against doing EXACTLY this.

So that's the demand. Whether it will be met is anyone's guess, which I guess is what makes it all such an exciting emotional roller coaster. Because God help you if one finds out that the other secretly got Tic-Tacs on an errand the other was absent for.

These grave miscarriages of justice are added to the running tally of statistics in a long, ongoing sociological study being conducted by Paige and Isaac, to see who is truly more loved and cared for, as measured by the amount of screen time and sugar they each receive.

One day not far from today, I hope my kids are so busy marching in the streets along with their mother that they've stopped thinking about screen time and sugar all together. 

But for now, sadly, Tina Fey's mildly funny and majorly tone deaf #sheetcaking movement has nothing on our family.


American Depression: The Struggle is Real

Last week, I went to Minneapolis to meet up with my mom and spend a weekend with three cousins Paige and I had never met before. We did a bunch of touristy things around the city, and took a sunset boat ride on the Mississippi River, where I snapped this picture. 

The elephant in the room all weekend was Donald Trump. He was (and is) ever-present in everyone's mental landscape, if only because he wakes each day determined to make a spectacle of himself at the expense of everything else, including national security and unity. 

They knew we couldn't stand him, and we knew they'd probably voted for him, so we just didn't go there, which is fine. I think it's destructive to engage in arguments with my fellow Americans (much less my family) about President Trump (God, it still hurts to type that). Pointing fingers, blaming each other, attacking each other: It's self-destructive. It's unproductive. And it serves to yank on threads that further unravel us.

But the depression and the struggle is real. 

We have long ago crossed the Rubicon from "politics" to a genuine civic crisis, and we need all hands on deck to resolve and survive it. Yet there must be a balance between staying informed and active, and not completely burning out and crawling into a hole of depression over the tone Trump is setting in America and the utter havoc his administration has wreaked on us in less than a year.

Scholars of fascism and authoritarianism warned us this would happen, and as it all unfolds it still feels impossible. I know I think about this too much and it feels unhealthy. But I am a Jew, a woman, and a human being in this body, on this planet, with two children.

I can't help it. 

I wake up every morning and the first thing I do is open Twitter to see what sort of crazy Trump unleashed on the world from his Android overnight. I spend much of the next hour panicky and sad, until I distract myself with the mundane machinery of everyday life: helping the kids get ready for school, getting out the door, sitting down at my desk and burrowing into my work.

Everyday life goes on, as it did (and does) for the citizen-victims of every country that was ever squeezed in the abusive grip of a dangerous megalomaniac. Except now it's us, and finding an anchor of sanity and purpose amid chaos and misery feels harder with each passing day, and with each affront to our democratic norms and our national moral fabric.

American depression: the struggle is real.


Thursday, August 17, 2017

Empathy and a Moral Compass are Fundamental to Real Leadership. Trump Lacks Both.

It’s taken me the better part of a week to crystalize my thoughts on the events that unfolded in Charlottesville and our President’s response to them.

What I’m about to say isn’t new or original. It’s all been said before by people smarter than I am, in more articulate terms. But I think it bears repeating and reiterating, if only because failure to articulate and identify the moral rot now at the center of our democracy serves to condone and thus perpetuate it.

It should go without saying that Nazis and white supremacists and those who oppose them are not morally equivalent.

It should also go without saying that the white supremacist movement—which is dedicated to retaining power, control, and a eugenics-based superiority over “inferior” races and cultures—is not equivalent to movements by the targets of white supremacy (e.g. Blacks, Jews, LGBT, Feminists), that seek recognition of their humanity and equality under the law.

It should also go without saying that the confederacy, represented broadly by Robert E. Lee, for example, and our democracy, represented broadly by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, say, are not historically equivalent.

The confederacy was an illegitimate band of traitors that lost an attempted coup against our democracy. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, slave owners and flawed human beings to be sure, founded that democracy and drafted its guiding documents, and Abraham Lincoln steered the country through the confederacy’s criminal attempt to undo their work.

So no. 

Removing statutes of confederate “heroes” is not the same—intellectually, historically, logically, ethically, or morally—as removing statues of the founding fathers. Nor is that removal “erasing history” any more than removing a statute of Hitler at a Holocaust Memorial or of Osama Bin Laden at Ground Zero would be.

But there is a deeper issue at play in Trump’s self-destructive and all-around insane response to Charlottesville, reflected in these eight words: “I’m not putting anybody on a moral plane.”

That’s what he said in his near universally-panned press conference at Trump Tower, when asked pointedly whether he would put white supremacists and neo-Nazis on the same “moral plane” as their liberal and leftist resisters.

In those eight words, Trump once again revealed his core deficiency and the true mark of a sociopath and clinical narcissist: lack of empathy and a moral compass. This void has been clear and present throughout Trump’s life and career: in his personal life, in his business dealings, and now in his public policy in ways too numerous and too well-documented to name.

Trump has no empathy, and he has no moral compass. You have never seen him laugh. You have never seen him cry. Indeed, you have never seen him express any genuine emotion at all—only an apish simulacrum of human expression and feeling. 

So of course he's not putting anyone "on a moral plane." He can't even put himself on one.

True modern leadership requires, at a minimum, empathy as defined on a poster hung in the hallway of my child’s elementary school. All hope for the future of our democracy now lies with a Congressional willingness to recognize that, and act accordingly.




Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Let Us All Take a Moment to Acknowledge that My Children Started School Today

What a time to be alive!

I graduated high school before the Internet, witnessed 9/11, and have now seen Neo-Nazis infiltrating our government thanks to a sociopathic, treasonous, greedy lunatic while our planet burns to a cinder.

But the world keeps on turning, as Stevie Wonder (and Galileo, among others) have so wisely said. So I think it's more than appropriate at this point to publicly acknowledge that my two little bone-prizes started first and fourth grades today!

In the age of social media, everything that happens is "pics or it didn't happen," nothing more so than children's milestones. Short of Halloween and their actual births, the first and last days of school each year must be assiduously documented for posterity in order to torment the rest of the planet, who gives a shit somewhere on the spectrum of ... not much, if at all.

But I believe in civic duty and doing my part for society, which is why I am putting the scholastic progress of my uterine issue on blast.

As usual, we were too lazy and disorganized to make our testicle trophies dress up and hold signs, so after doubly-decontaminating their heads of a previous bout of lice, we let them wear whatever the fuck they felt like, and asked them to hold up their grimy little fingers to indicate their new grade.

In these uncertain times, it pays to know that you will see my children on Facebook whether you want to or not, and will be subjected to their pithy "bon mots," such as Isaac's comment this morning that "crab lice live on a grown man's penis hair," which I feel compelled to assure my readers was NOT knowledge he obtained first-hand.

In any event, please take a moment to acknowledge the perfectly mundane and yet apparently 100% necessary-to-advertise fact that today was my loin discharges' first day of school for the 2017-2018 school year.

You're welcome, and God Bless.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

George Washington Issues Press Release Dragging Donald Trump

MOUNT VERNON

Statement for Immediate Release

Although I am dead and buried some 220-odd years, I was nonetheless much chagrined to read today’s dispatch from New York City.

Specifically, I was perplexed and dismayed that the 45th President of the United States—a ruddy-faced ignoramus with a wig and dental veneers to rival my own—questioned whether my statue would “be next,” after civil disobedients removed the traitorous confederate general Robert E. Lee’s likeness from a park in Charlottesville, Commonwealth of Virginia.

First let me say I know not of which statue the President speaks, as there are numerous monuments commemorating my noble visage and life’s achievements in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington DC, New York, and South Dakota.

But let me assure our at-present troubled nation, which I so conscientiously labored to found and which Divine Providence deigned to bless with His glory: I would care not one shilling if every one of these statues were exploded into smithereens with gunpowder this very instant!

Not if it meant that a complete buffoon the likes of which has never darkened the doorway of our nation's capitol were removed from office by the Congress entrusted to such lofty and somber matters.

Neither I nor my Good White Christian colleagues, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, could have anticipated that our names would be so sullied and our vision of the American Experiment so clouded to opacity by a failed casino magnate and unrepentant sociopath.

To be sure, I was a big “dick” whilst alive, to coin a modern phrase. A misogynist, a slave-owner, an adulterer, and landed gentry not easily distinguishable at first blush from the current occupant of the office I once held in such esteem.

And yet I was a lot smarter. Like, a lot. 

Because along with the other men currently adorning metal and paper currency, I spent a good deal of time studying the innermost workings of democracy and the human condition, carefully crafting through this study a nation that would sustain the blows of a tyrant and a fool, whose total ignorance and craven greed none of us could fully have anticipated.

And so it is that I answer Mr. Trump’s question of the day: No, I am not “next.” And if I am, may he follow swiftly thereafter, forced by a principled Congress to skulk back to the ignominious, cloistered gold-plated tower in midtown Manhattan from whence he came.

Done this fifteenth day of August at Mount Vernon, Commonwealth of Virginia, in the Year of Our Lord two thousand and seventeen.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Sports Romance is a Genre of Bodice Ripper, Apparently?!

I'm taking a break from all the feel-good news about Nazis in America to deliver a report from an alert O.H.M. reader about Julie Brannagh, USA Today's "bestselling sports romance author." 

Before I get to what that means, lemme just say I lied about Nazis. This post isn't totally a break from Nazis, because apparently the way we discovered Julie Brannagh--and in turn the existence of the sports romance bodice ripper--is through Nazis.

I'll explain.

My friend was reportedly going down an internet rabbit hole, researching brands that are distancing themselves from Nazis (as you do in 2017) and stumbled upon the whole New Balance and Trump sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G controversy. 

This in turn led to him finding Julie Brannagh, who decided to use her awesome brand power for good: to declare she would no longer continue to walk her chocolate lab, Moose, in New Balance kicks because Trump. In the now-seemingly innocent times of 11/6/16, Julie tweeted: 

I have been wearing New Balance shoes (at $160/pair) for the past 10 years. If they support Trump, I've bought my last pair.

And good for Julie! 

Make no mistake: I am by no means dragging Julie Brannagh, as the last thing I would do is drag someone--particularly a fellow sister in Trump hateration--from living her truth in writing and making a respectable living at it to boot. I'm more just confused and amazed at the sheer specificity of a literary genre that was heretofore totally unknown to me.

Naturally, I immediately followed Julie on Twitter and set about doing my own deep dive into her life and bibliography.

The first thing I discovered is that Julie Brannagh does NOT have a Wikipedia page, and after "the President of the United States firmly denounces Nazis and actually means it," this is the number one thing that needs to change in 2017.

So I then followed Julie on Twitter, where she self-identifies as a football fan to the ninth tenth power, and went to her website. 

There I discovered she is based in Seattle (Go Seahawks), has an agent, and has published "Blitzing Emily," "Catching Cameron," "Covering Kendall," "Holding Holly," "Chasing Jillian," and "Intercepting Daisy," among others.

I confess I don't even know what even one of those football terms mean. I barely even know the difference between a linebacker and a quarterback. I'm not even sure if linebacker is one word or two. So needless to say, the combination of football and panty-moistener bodice ripper romance novels is not exactly one I would have come up with myself. 

But like the maple-bacon donut, sometimes the whole is better than the sum of its parts, and helping a strapping tight end (tightend?) out of his shoulder pads in the shadows of a steamy locker room shower doesn't sound half bad, TBH.

If you think I am not ordering ALL of these books from my local independent bookstore TO-DAY, taking a pint of low-fat chocolate fudge brownie Ben & Jerry's out of the freezer, and warming up the vibrator, WELP, THINK AGAIN, FAM!

In the meantime, you'll find me strategizing how O.H.M. can become the (now sadly bankrupt) "Alaska Dispatch News' Most Ridiculous Terrible-Parenting, Trump-Mocking, and Vulgar-Feminist" blog.

Now that's genre-specificity!









https://twitter.com/julieinduvall

Sunday, August 13, 2017

So Much Winning

You guys. There is SO much winning. I can't take all the winning. 

It feels like America just got 8 gazillion gold medals in every Olympics ever held since the first Olympics in Ancient Greece. It feels like Oprah just gave us each a brand new car as a reward for winning the Nobel Prize and the Pullitzer in the same year. 

If America could win a MacArthur Genius Grant at presidenting, it totally would based on the amount of winning Donald Trump is doing for us right now. What? You haven't noticed?

Your 401K is winning and that's all to his credit. Also immigration is good and crime is down and there are JOBS JOBS JOBS because Trump said so!

What? 

Haven't you noticed that all the coal miners in West Virginia just got their jobs back from transgender Mexican drug dealing rapists who were recently deported over a big, beautiful wall?

Or were you too distracted by Neo-Nazi rioting terrorists and a bloated megalomaniacal toddler and senile cantaloupe threatening to annihilate us all into cosmic dust, all while making America the pitiable laughing stock of the entire globe and two thirds of our own citizens?

Wow you guys. WINNING FEELS AMAZING.