Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The NFL Embodies Nearly Everything I Loathe About Society Right Now

It’s actually pretty amazing, when I stop to think about it, how a single organization can embody almost everything I hate about society right now in a single, odious jackpot. And yet, the NFL continues to level up this ignominious status. Let’s review:

Misogyny/Tolerance of Domestic Violence & Violence against Women

A detailed analysis of post-2000 data performed in 2014 by FiveThirtyEight shows that although arrest rates among NFL players are low compared to national averages for men of the same age, they soar above the average for similarly-compensated professionals. Domestic violence accounts for 48 percent of arrests for violent crimes among NFL players, compared to an estimated 21 percent nationally. And what is the NFL doing about that? Not too much! The NFL is a business, and their employees’ propensity for DV doesn’t bother the NFL or its fans enough for them to do anything about it at all. Generally, the NFL “investigates” these incidents, blames the victim, imposes a cursory suspension, and moves on. A normal employer would be concerned if a large chunk of its workforce was beating up their wives and girlfriends. Not the NFL.

Forced Jingoism

Somewhere along the way, standing for a song and saluting a flag became a more meaningful expression of patriotism and respect for the military than a basic knowledge of American civic and the civil liberties our military is sworn to protect and defend. The NFL has fully bought into hard-right and white bald-eagle goose-stepping brand of neo-fascist jingoism that our current President loves to propagate. Today, the organization announced a new policy mandating that players on the field “shall stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem,” or risk being fined. The NFL is a private employer and it can do what it wants from a constitutional standpoint. But if a government actor ever did something like this, it would be unconstitutional and un-American AF. Ironic, isn’t it?


Closely related to the above, the NFL’s forced jingoism has a manifest racist undertone. As the artist and activist Bree Newsome said on Twitter today, the NFL’s new policy “is codifying racism into the game of American football to suppress free speech. The NFL—which receives $ to promote the military—is creating a game rule that specifically penalizes Black athletes’ protest of racism & police violence. NFL athletes are majority Black.” She’s right. At the start of the 2014 season, at least, NFL surveys showed that the league is approximately 68% Black. Incidentally, according to 2015 research from the Pew Foundation, the active-duty military that the NFL is valorizing was 40% racial and ethnic minority groups as of 2017. Are they allowed to peacefully protest their government or nah?

Hollow Charitable Gestures as Public Relations Stunting

Who could forget the NFL “Pink October” breast cancer awareness scandal in which the league’s efforts to sell fans their pink merchandise only yielded 8.01% of that money toward cancer research, the equivalent of “couch change teams find after cleaning out their stadium suites,” as Julie DiCaro wrote in Sports Illustrated in 2015. The NFL cares about women’s titties when they’re bouncing on the sidelines and at strip clubs, but not under a microscope for cancer research. As with domestic violence, the NFL’s consideration of women extends only as far as its bottom line.

Terrible Labor Practices/Cover-Ups of Dangerous Working Conditions

By now, everyone knows about the 2017 findings in a Boston University study showing that chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is far more prevalent in NFL players (who are subjected to repeated hits to the head) than the general public. The irrefutable conclusion was that football has a big concussion problem, but it’s worse than that. Just like its fellow public health robber barons in the guns and tobacco industry, the NFL worked hard to hide the truth about concussions and brain damage in its work force. NFL-defenders like to rail against the high salaries of the players, but these are economies of scale. Player talent is so valuable because it is rare. Relative to the enormous growth in profits in the NFL and TV contracts, as of 2015, player salaries have not kept pace, because NFL does not revenue share in the way other professional sports, e.g., baseball, do. Yeah, football players make a lot of money for the short period of time that their labor is usable. But the NFL is just another big business that treats its labor like shit.

Glorification of Male Violence

Football is a violent game that promotes and celebrates aggression and violence, things that are already in abundant supply in America. That doesn’t make it too different from, say, boxing; but the NFL is unique in the sheer organized massive scope of its profiteering off violence and the promotion of the worst values in American society.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

The White House Sinkhole is the Sign from Satan America Has Been Waiting For!

Y’all. Y’ALL

Apparently, there is a SINKHOLE forming on the North Lawn of the White House, and all I can conclude is that this is the sign from Satan that America has been waiting for. FINALLY, the Dark Lord and Ruler of the Subterranean Underworld of Lucifer's Kingdom is going to answer the nation's prayers and reclaim his hellfire-orange prodigal son.

Don't ask me what a sinkhole is. What do I look like, a fucking geologist? According to this article in the FAILING NEW YORK TIMES, some Hollywood liberal elite scientician snowflake leftist cuck said that a sinkhole is simply "fluids interacting with solids" under gravity in the "legitimate swamp" of Washington, DC, and specifically NOT the "gates of hell opening."


As everyone knows, science is total bullshit and I call bullshit on this. 'Member just last year? When a sinkhole also just HAPPENED to open up at Mar-a-Lago a.k.a. "the Winter Whitehouse?" Are we supposed to believe that TWO sinkholes just HAPPENED to open up in front of BOTH of Trump's houses?

I. Don't. Think. So.

There's only one explanation for this:  Satan (which keeps autocorrecting to Stan, for some reason) wants his #1 bottom bitch back, and that is none other than Donald Trump. Satan/Stan keeps trying to draw Trump down into the ninth circle by opening the gaping maw of hell under Trump's crusty-ass fungus feet. 

Impressed with his work, Satan/Stan prob thinks Trump is simply going to waste on planet earth. After all, he's got all seven deadly sins rolled up into one gelatinous burnt sienna mass of curdled turkey waddle: pride (never admits he's wrong); greed (self-explanatory); envy (see, e.g., Jeff Bezos); gluttony (Happy Meals); wrath (You're Fired); and sloth (more golfing vaycays than any motherfucker alive, much less the dude who's supposedly in charge of the free world).

So while America coasts on fumes with this fuckstick at the helm, Satan is down in hell watching like WUT. GIVE ME BACK MY BOTTOM BITCH!

It's the only possible explanation.

Monday, May 21, 2018

David Beckham at the Royal Wedding is My Confidencespiraton

I continue to maintain that royalty in general—and the Royal Wedding in particular—is ridic AF, and that the level of public interest in it cannot readily be excused by “this is a welcome bit of good news” or “let’s enjoy some nice fashion” or “stop being such a grouch” or “isn’t it wonderful how Aryan aristocracy is sort of blunting their racism in 2018 a little” or whatever. 

Because in fact, royalty is just a bunch of entitled rich people making the world wax their proverbial car in public for no reason at all for centuries, and killing and colonizing people in the process; that is, before they became modern-day philanthropic cartoons of themselves in ridiculous hats.

That being said, David Beckham at the Royal Wedding is FULLY my #1 confidencespiration. 

I thought I invented this word, but then Google once again proved there’s no such thing as an original idea anymore, if there ever was. Whether I invented it or not, David Beckham at the Royal Wedding is my definitive consfidencespiration.

I mean, look at this guy. This is the face, body, and demeanor of someone with ZERO doubts about himself. And why should he have any? 

He’s a filthy rich Anglo-Saxon male professional athlete married to a fashion icon. He has a litter of children that he made with his tatted-up virile body, and he appears to have embalming fluid in his veins where blood should be. He is wearing a perfectly-tailored, double-breasted three-piece suit and, apparently, all of his natural hair. The way he’s holding those designer sunglasses and the look on his face basically say, “I dare you to make me feel even .000015% bad about myself for any reason whatsoever today.”

This is the vibe I want to project into the world every day of my life. I want to feel about myself the way David Beckham looks at the Royal Wedding. It’s hard to imagine—in the context of my simple, Plebeian peasant life—what it would take for me to exude this sort of confidence, but I imagine that day would go something like this:

6:50 a.m.: Wake up well rested without hitting snooze (on a regular alarm clock) even once, learn from NPR that Donald Trump resigned after being criminally charged with treason.

7:00 a.m.: Get on scale, discover overnight loss of 10 pounds and yet still somehow know I’m not dying of dysentery. Look at Prozac and Vitamin D; decide neither is needed because I’m too happy.

7:15 a.m.: Get dressed and look fierce AF (or as fierce AF as possible (AFAFAP) while working only with a wardrobe from Nordstrom Rack). Take perfect, uninterrupted crap at home.

7:30 a.m.: Achieve 100% compliance from my children in departing the house (e.g., no toothpaste on the sink, breakfasts and lunches made timely with no caterwauling over who got the last Nature Valley Almond Butter Biscuit).

8:00 a.m.: Arrive at desk exactly on time with no voice mails or emails awaiting me. Boot up computer without any updates or crashes.

12:00 p.m.: Am told I am absolutely right about everything by at least three superiors and one subordinate re: a myriad of issues, all before 12:01 p.m.

4:00 p.m.: Am told by my boss to leave work early because I am spectacular and deserve it. Check mail at home, find only checks.

5:00 p.m.: Get on treadmill without children saying a word to me because they are quietly doing their homework together at the kitchen table; bust out four miles in 30 minutes and finally achieve the long-elusive runner’s high instead of the more common runner’s suicide-instinct.

6:00 p.m.: Eat healthy dinner as a family, including many vegetables that everyone happily gobbles up before which both children are bathed and have homework completed and have not fought for even one minute.

8:00 p.m.: Achieve perfect bedtime compliance from said children, before which they have folded and put away their own goddamned laundry all by themselves and without being asked.

9:00 p.m.: Put iPhone in a gun safe; Get into bed and read educational nonfiction book about economics or world health before drifting off to sleep for a solid 9 hours.*

Then and only then can I bend it like Beckham at the Royal Wedding.

*In this scenario, Eddie Vedder is also my husband who goes down on me every night like it’s his second job after being a rock star.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Going Down With the First Wave

“It doesn’t hurt to have seeds,” my friend said tonight. 

Unlike me, he and his wife have a lot of skills. Skills that will serve them well in the zombie apocalypse or a nuclear blast or whichever comes first. Skills that lots of people here in Alaska have, which I do not. Skills like shooting your own hot dogs and growing your own peas and pickling your own carrots and driving a boat and fixing a gaping wound with duct tape. Skills like that. Skills I’m too lazy and old to acquire, and have zero plans to acquire.

“It doesn’t hurt to have seeds,” I said, but I don’t need to have seeds.” I assured my friends I had no plans to piggy back on their panic room or dry goods storage like some World War Z-era ant-and-grasshopper fable, because I am going down in the first wave.

Here’s what I mean by that: if we’re at a point where I find myself needing seeds to live, I just don’t want to be alive anymore. Like if I can’t drive to Costco to buy seventeen toothbrushes and a gallon of Adams Crunchy Peanut Butter, then I fold. I’m out. I am walking away from the table.

Yeah yeah, I know. This is how it used to be, but the fact is, I was lucky enough to be born in the era of indoor plumbing and 26 different types of mustard, and I’m not going back to caveman times or even Little House on the Prairie times when you spent six hours a day squeezing a cow’s titties for one glass of milk.

No thank you.

I have no interest in zombie and disaster prepping when I’m just going to surrender to the zombies or the radiation anyway, instead of scrapping with my fellow survivors for the last can of Spam and exist in survival mode until we die anyway. Everyone can count on me to just be done with existing when there’s no more drive-thru espresso stand, and therefore one less mouth to compete with.

BUT WHAT ABOUT YOUR CHILDREN, YOU SELFISH BITCH?! I’m glad you asked! THEY were born here and have pliant minds and ingenuity. They’ll be just fine.

As for me, it’s a hard pass on the second wave of the apocalypse.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Lord of the Seawalk, Hear My Prayer for Unity!

O Mighty Whale, Lord of the Seawalk, Hear my prayer! I knoweth not your name—is it Willy? Ishmael? Ahab? Wally? Whalie? Whatever it is—it’s actually Tahku, I just learned—you are a bronzed God among cetaceans! 

To suggest otherwise is heresy. 

May your regal tailfin rest in its infinity pool for eternity/infinity, until the very sky crumbles around you. May your nimble breach be forever frozen in place, receding only when the sun itself explodes and the Big Bang reverses itself into the Bang Big and everything that ever existed on earth is returned to the cosmos as infinitesimal particles of atomic dust.

May no living soul ever question the prudence of your existence; for to suggest that Tier One Millionaire Dollars™, among other dollars from the High Net Worth Community™, which funded you could perhaps have been put to a different, human-being oriented-use, or that your existence is perhaps .000000000001% imprudent, is to cast undue aspersions upon your beatific majesty.

May your very soul be vindicated through successful litigation with the cruise ship industry, which everyone knows is a greedy and litigious asshole, but which we all need to survive here because Juneau is the Northern Bahamas as clearly you know from your own migrations, or more accurately, that of your sentient kin. There is also something in there about the tonnage clause, I think, which I do not understand because I am not a maritime lawyer, and neither are you, because you are a whale and did not go to law school and also you are made of bronze.

May you be shielded from the slings and arrows of outrageous Facebooking, comment boards, Twitter, and any social media campaign intended to discredit you or suggest that the public will and resources reflected in your shining bronzed barnacles should have gone to schools or opioid treatment or homelessness or whatever because as everyone knows that is a different source of funding!

May your architects smile down upon you from their perch in Heaven and nod with approval, knowing that you are encircled with love by countless cruise ship passengers wearing down jackets in 70 degree weather with a Princess Cruise Line blue plastic poncho draped over them, because there is a single rain cloud over your head.

And to that end, may the only clouds over your metal blowhole be those borne of Divine Providence, and the shadow of the Mighty Eagle, which in its patriotic glory from 50 feet above releases from its cloaca a massive dump of eagle shit right into your baleen, which I must say is not very MAGA, and is deeply disrespectful, frankly, but makes for a good photo op to the delight of the aforementioned cruise ship passengers.

May no one again in your presence mention the word “school,” unless by “school” they mean “pod,” or perhaps a school of bronzed salmon, for which I will be commissioning and soliciting donations at the earliest opportunity right after I put your pic on my Insta. 

Flex for the 'Gram, Tahku, STUNT IT LIKE YOU OWN IT!

Not since the Great Fluoride Debate of ’06 has our Southeast Alaskan hamlet been so torn asunder by a public works project. We must take our lessons from the pages of history: the Nimbus, Project Playground, that historic clock on Front Street that was actually built in the ‘80s, and all swallow a giant fucking chill pill, because really none of this matters at the end of the day.

O! Would that the greatest thing ever to divide us be a statue, and may your indomitable marine mammalian strength and fortitude, gleaming in the sun or more often the rain, serve to forever unite the masses as One.

Forever and ever, Amen.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Walking with Isaac

Only within the past year or so has it begun to sink in that Isaac is pulling away from me; that I will never have him back again in the same way.

When he was nine months old, Geoff took both kids to California to visit their grandparents, as he does every spring break. As usual, I stayed behind because I had to work. When they returned, Isaac, wearing little footie-pajamas, greeted me with rage and upset and tears of betrayal. I felt a crushing pang of “working mother” guilt: Should I have figured out a way to go on the trip? Was Isaac too young to be away from me for a week, even with his dad and primary caregiver? Did I traumatize him for life? 

Something feels different about the mother-son relationship. It could be my kids' personalities and not their genders, but I think there is some sort of socialized gender-conformity or Freudian aspect to this too. I can feel the push-pull of Isaac’s resistance to intimacy in a way I don’t with Paige. Paige is freely affectionate and never embarrassed by me. Isaac wants to be left alone. He only wants hugs—NOT KISSES. Although he’s only 7 and a half, he doesn’t want me to wave goodbye or hug him when I drop him off at school or sports. Basically, he wants very little to do with me at this point. Or, more accurately, when he does want to be around me, he doesn’t say it directly and I have to intuit it.

That’s what happened last night when I came home from work and put on my running clothes. It was a rare warm and sunny day in Juneau; there was no way I was missing an opportunity to make my punishing after-work exercise less punishing by doing it outside instead of on the treadmill. Geoff was cooking dinner and Paige was walking around the neighborhood selling tickets to her dance show.

“Can I go running with you?” Isaac asked hopefully. I sighed inwardly, knowing that this would scuttle any real exercise I was hoping to get, but I responded with an enthusiastic “sure,” instantly recognizing an increasingly rare overture to hang out with me.

We started off down the hill from our house, with seven dollars scotch-taped into Isaac’s pocket and my iPhone playing music. The first person we saw was our neighbor, Bob, cleaning out his boat. 

“Heading out today?” Isaac asked as if he were a twenty-something deckhand on a commercial fishing vessel making small talk with a fellow fisherman. “Nope, I’m a long ways away from that still, Isaac” said Bob, engaging Isaac in conversation about his electric boat. “Most boats use gas?” Isaac asked incredulously. “Yes, a lot,” I offered. Then we saw Paul working on his garden. “I like your garden!” Isaac called out jovially.

The rest of the walk sort of went like that. Sun drunk and happy, we half-walked/half-ran down the hill. Isaac stopped along the way numerous times to make observations about the nature hiding in plain sight in our neighborhood. 

“Look! A cotton-foot!,” he said pointing to a little bird hopping around in the brush. “This is an invasive species,” he said a few minutes later, picking up something that looked like rhubarb but wasn’t. I barely know a sparrow from an eagle or rhubarb from a cactus, so it’s also increasingly obvious that Isaac is quickly outstripping my knowledge of Alaskan flora and fauna. 

"Wow, that's a big eagle," he said looking up at what indeed was a very big eagle riding thermals among the spruce trees. "I want to stop and watch him for a minute."

We arrived at the store and got a quick, sulk-inducing lesson in arithmetic when the items Isaac had selected added up to 31 cents more than the seven dollars in his pocket. He chose gum and candy instead of a spicy hot pickle, which he pronounced “too intense.” He held my hand crossing the street; I could tell he was feeling sad and frustrated about under-budgeting his purchases.

We began our walk back up the steep hill, and Isaac retrieved a long stick from the ground. “This is going to be very useful,” he announced, “for marshmallows and hot dogs, but also I want to put this bag on here like a bozo.” (He meant “hobo”). 

I filmed him for a minute and twenty seconds explaining how to clean and prepare fiddle head ferns for eating, and asked him if I could share it on my blog. He said yes, but then when we re-watched the video together, he asked me to take it down because he claimed he had “made a mistake” and didn’t want to sound ignorant. I tried to explain that no one would care, that people would be interested in hearing his botany lesson, but he was insistent so I honored his wishes. He asked me to explain a #Resistance yard sign in front of a house, mistaking it for a for-sale sign, so I told him to read it out loud and then explained what it meant.

I thought back to that moment 15 minutes earlier when Isaac held my hand crossing the street. I was conscious of the fact that he will not want to hold my hand very much longer, or very frequently. I’m 40 and Isaac is almost 8, and I know I’ve made a choice. The more time that goes by, the more I can blame the passage of time for my choices, but the fact is I am not having any more babies (if I can help it), and I’ll have lots of other chances to go for a run.

I’m glad I chose walking with Isaac.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

The President of the United States Called Undocumented People Animals Today

Let that sink in. I’ll wait. Of all the scary crazy that Trump has unleashed on us in his 1.5 years in office, calling undocumented immigrants “animals” is a new low, and one that should not go unremarked upon.

Let’s unpack this MoFo.

Trump made this terrifyingly genocide-friendly remark at an “immigration roundtable” at the White House with administration aides, California law enforcement, and political leaders. Even under the best of circumstances, roundtables, stakeholder groups, panels, and listening sessions are often futile and punishing. 

But an immigration roundtable led by Donald Trump? That sounds like a special kind of circus, which it was, because Trump once again revealed the lengths to which his racist ass will go to slander and dehumanize non-whites.

Let’s be clear about something: the dehumanization of humans is a fundamental ingredient—a prerequisite really—to genocide. It’s like flour in a cake. You can’t bake one without it.

In order to effectuate ethnic cleansing, internment, eugenics, and other evil and unspeakable violations of human rights, you need to convince those who carry out your policies that their targets are less than human. 

Most people aren’t sociopaths, so the architects of the transatlantic slave trade and of genocide in countries like Nazi Germany, Bosnia, and Rwanda had to convince participants in these atrocities that the targeted group were apes, rats, cockroaches—animals. Only then is it possible for most people to treat them as such. And more than that, genocidal lunatics also have to convince the populace that their actions are just and necessary for the good of the nation.

It might be 2018, but Donald Trump’s dangerous rhetoric has dark historical precedent. Dark, especially, because usually those who are not victims are bystanders, and those who are not bystanders are participants. Anyone in a government-issued uniform can convince themselves of anything. History has shown us as much.

We must not be bystanders in 2018 America.