Jokes and Sass

So you’re gonna watch a Hallmark Channel Christmas movie

November 30, 2020

TO BE CLEAR: I love these. I am ride or die for Hallmark Channel Christmas movies, and you can kindly go off to your home on Sadness Island if you’re gonna make fun of me for enjoying them. I get to poke fun because there’s an element of the ridiculous in them, but this is very much a “no one can make fun of ______ except for me” kind of post. This is the same way in which I get violently defensive of the Fast and Furious movies: they’re silly, but they are certainly not the canary in the coalmine signaling the fall of civilization. They’re ridiculous and harmless at worst and they are THE MOST AMAZING THING IN THE WORLD at best. (*sitting impatiently waiting for F9*)

Back to Hallmark movies: I love them. They began in actual October, because the Hallmark Channel does what it wants, and on the Hallmark Channel the Christmas season would begin in June of the previous year if the fates allowed. Hang your monthly streaming bill upon the highest bough. Did I make Andrew add Sling so I could watch these for 2 months? You bet your ox and lamb keeping time I did. I wanna watch as many cable-knit, twinkly-lit, perfectly-coiffed people as I possibly can fall in love in extremely odd circumstances using a formula.

“But they’re all the same!” I hear you cry. Right, yes. Yes, they are. They are pretty and chilly and sparkly and cozy and they will not hurt me, which is more than I can say for the rest of this year and like, life in general. I love the formula. The formula works. They’re all the same and that’s what I want. And I want it for all of you, too. So here it is: the Guide to Every Hallmark Channel Christmas Movie.

This outline is also, to be fair, no longer completely accurate. The channel has been making an effort to show gay couples and black couples and multiracial families and increase diversity across the board, and while it is far from perfect, the effort is there. But I am **feelin’ sassy** and where’s the fun in mocking a wholesome channel striving for equality? Nowhere. There isn’t any fun. So hop aboard the Willful Ignorance train while I give something I love a hard time. There’s a new movie nearly every night and definitely on weekends. BASICALLY EVERY. DAY. J O I N MEEEE

The guy

Straight out of the L.L. Bean holiday catalog, Mr. Tall, Medium Brown, and Handsome is the bergamot-scented, cozy-sweater’d smolderhunk that Hallmark thinks we want and okay they’re not entirely wrong. They come in two main varieties: Earnest Goober and Very Serious and Important.

The Earnest Goober is smiling and happy and generally into Christmas-type things, and will almost certainly be found playing in a snowball fight or other kind of youthful merriment before the end of the film. A patterned scarf is guaranteed, and an ugly Christmas sweater or hat or antlers headband or Rudolph nose or some other festive accoutrement is almost guaranteed.

The Very Serious and Important is a professional profession who works workingly all the time and Cannot Be Bothered with This Holiday Nonsense, as he has Things to Do Right Now. Definitely owns a patterned scarf as well but in a more muted plaid. Not a big smiler, until and unless the heroine is around, and then he smiles like smiling is his new professional profession.

Regardless, he is warmth, he is plaid, he is Kind Eyes, and he is going to help his true love decorate something at some point. Usually a tree, sometimes a baked good (gingerbread house, cookies), sometimes an entire event space.

The girl

An actual Sugarplum Fairy of Christmas Cheer or a model for Gucci’s suiting line who probably moonlights as a knife thrower or something; there is no middle ground. The heroine is either full-bore sparkle princess or a sentient pencil skirt who cannot remember her own birthday and would take a call from work during her niece’s Nativity play when her niece is baby Jesus. She’s in no way bad, though: like, if she took this call, she’d make up for it by depositing twenty grand into the kid’s 529.

She either is the meaning of Christmas or is going to find the meaning of Christmas, and sometimes both; do not ask me to explain this sentence any further as I SHAN’T. She does not have short hair, and she will do something absolutely bananas during the course of the movie like bake a batch of cookies in her work clothes, or wear high heels to babysit three children. Her apartment is the size of Grand Central Station and it is clean and gorgeous and no I don’t hate her why would you say that. She’s at least partially made of sunshine and in all seriousness I’d absolutely hang out with her, she’s nice to people and at worst she’s just very busy and at best she’s sugar and spice and skating on ice.

The guy’s best friend

Or roommate. Or coworker. Or brother. Just some vaguely manly presence whose existence we do not analyze in depth. In one Hallmark movie I watched this year, “The 12 Dates of Christmas,” this man’s wife went into labor in the first ten minutes of the film, and we did not hear from him again. Ever. I am hoping everyone is okay and they didn’t name the baby Khrynzleigh, but I must become comfortable with disappointment. Another one was a firefighter at the same station as our hero, who was with our heroine working on electrical safety for an event. The friend dropped “so you’re saying that there’s an opportunity for *sparks to fly*?” with the smuggest grin ever and reader I fell in love with a Hallmark Channel SIDE CHARACTER.

This dude is here as an exposition factory to ensure we know what our Mr. TM-B&H is about, and whether that thing is 1. work or 2. who am I, Hedwig? what am I? I feel kind of bad for these guys since they nearly always seem to have lovely, functional families and want the best for our hero and will at least never call our hero asking him to support their small business that is just Herbalife. I’d watch a movie about the best friend in a second. Sometimes they are allowed to be funny, but usually this is reserved for our next person.

The girl’s roommate

Could be roommate, coworker, sister, friend from college, cousin, whatever. This person is the funniest and best human on Earth and is somehow not the star of the show. She does, however, make the heroine do stuff she doesn’t want to, so actually? No, I lied about her being the best, she’s out here making people **improve their lives** and shit who wants that? A friend who wants what’s best for you even if it makes you uncomfortable? Gross. I am kidding, I love every one of my friends who has made me a better person except for when it’s against my will like every time.

My personal favorite was a girl’s roommate who dunked on her for her attendance at a kids’ fundraiser for their music program – not because it’s bad to be there, but to pretend like she’s not there for the cute dude is just lies. Another one kept her friend from returning to her shitty fiancé who told her three weeks before they were due to get married that he wanted “to put a pin in it” re: the wedding. These women are Good People.

Both of their families

First, I have to point out that there is nearly always a tragedy of some kind that explains the absence of at least one family member. Probably only Disney has a worse track record of “the mom’s gone” because holy God why are all the moms gone???? And families can look any kind of way that they are but it is just like a weird removal of a person in a lot of these. This was a sad paragraph and I will stop. The guy and girl usually have their parents (or a parental-type figure) floating around somewhere. And by “somewhere” I mean “in the movie for a weird amount of time.” They are going to mention how proud they are of the hero or heroine “no matter what” at some point and while I don’t always buy it, it is always consistent.

There are also a lot of grandparents, and the grandparents are pulling some Benjamin Button shit or something because they are all like “oh my darling I missed you!” to the late-twenty-something main characters while looking like they just came from the spa and being born in 1970. Millennial grandparents are not young, stop lying to us, Hallmark, even people in their late twenties now look fifty because of this year.

The designated adorable

There is a character in the movie whose job is to be cute beyond all sense. Sometimes, this is a dog; it might be the guy’s dog or the girl’s dog, or just a dog that shows up whenever the spirit of Christmas needs a boost, or something. His name is probably Jingle. (This goes without saying, but I would die for Jingle and any other Jingle-esque iterations.)

The character could also be an elderly neighbor: this one is usually male, and they are consistently sunshine and do something like run a reindeer farm or harvest sugar cookies directly from the ground idk. They’re very cute but also make you anxious in a “let’s not ask for their opinions on Black Lives Matter or the whole thing is ruined” way.

But the most common and most popular designated adorable is a kid. Either the hero or heroine might have a smol angel as their offspring, but more frequently this is a kid or kids that they can just be like vaguely orbiting for festivity and Zuzu’s petals or something. They are usually just shy of “this is unrealistic and unbearable precocity” and are always well-behaved.

The setting

Okay, this one has some variation. There are some bigger cities that have been featured in these films: New York is the obvious one, but I’ve also seen Chicago and (I think?) Atlanta or another bigger Southern city. And I watched a movie this year that took place in Vienna. It was called “Christmas in Vienna.” It was Christmastime, and they were in Vienna. I wanna go to Vienna. *****vIeNnA*****

HOWEVER, nearly all of these bad boys end up in a flippin’ adorable small town in a quadrilateral-shaped state, and everyone in them is nice, cute, and well-moisturized (hashtag couldn’t be me) and I resent them all for having nice hair and glowing skin and apartments that are clean all the time even during the holidays. The whole place looks like Small Business Saturday, and it is somehow always snowing or has recently snowed (snown?), yet everyone can wear their coats open and their scarves unwrapped and just dangling from their necks like a fashion accessory rather than a hypothermia-preventer.

That last part is true of the big cities, too, and while I haven’t been to Chicago in the winter, New York in December is frequently just gray and sad and cold. Not always, it’s frequently gorgeous, but definitely not snow-globe pretty every day, and PEOPLE BUTTON THEIR COATS, DAMMIT.

The traditions

*Tevye voice* exposition

There’s at least one, usually like a half-dozen, sometimes like twenty, things that the characters’ families do every year. And there’s a definite sweetness to it, like their grandma makes them an ornament every year because she loves them, or they have recipes that involve everyone, or they went to pick out the tree together and let the kids get one that’s like way too big for the house. Earnest, heartwarming, festive shit that I adore.

However, they do tend to get really specific with some of these, and the emotions associated are also specific and intense, and somehow the tradition replicates itself in the movie a lot? And it’ll be something like “we’d always drink hot cocoa with 4 (four) marshmallows and sit on the floor in the position of the cardinal directions at exactly 5:37 on December 12th and sing ‘Good King Wenceslas’ but not the right lyrics just ones we made up” and that’ll somehow happen in the movie so our hero and/or heroine will be in their feelings about it. In their defense, I’m in my feelings about everything all the time, it doesn’t take much, so I support this weirdly specific nostalgia.

The empty coffee cup/mug


every. single. movie. has this: they get coffee or cider or hot chocolate from a stand on the town square or whatever and then they wave around the cup and it is so, so clear that there is nothing in that cup and it makes me so upset. Put something in it, anything, anything with mass, water, sand, the receipt for the film’s sweater budget, ANYTHING, PLEASE. Just make it look like a cup with something inside of it.

My anger at this one thing really sums up my experience with Hallmark Christmas movies: yes, sure, this wedding planner has to fly to Alaska to get her bride “jingle bell flowers” and gets stuck there but falls in love and saves the town and Christmas and I buy it like the last scarf in the store, but you’d better put some damn hot chocolate in that cup.

Jokes and Sass

Comprehensive list of face masks: a 2020 guide

September 4, 2020

In case anyone would like to read into this as “ooohhhh look how difficult it is to wear a mask, we shouldn’t have to, see, she agrees with me,” lemme just cut you off right there, she does not agree with you, wear a dang mask, we live in a society

But I will allow this: there are infinite kinds of non-medical face masks out and about, and I’ve tried to identify most, like a very odd ornithologist, and I’ve done this by wearing them, like a very odd… ornith. Bird. Whatever, I have a pretty prominent nose and every mask on earth likes to remind me so I feel both like a toucan and like a scientist who studies toucan plumage.

No, I also don’t know what just happened there BIG NOSE WEIRD MASKS MOVING ON

I haven’t worn all of this list but I’ve worn quite a few, and I’ve definitely observed them all in some fashion, and I don’t even know where I was going with this other than to lie down for the rest of 2020. Be good to each other.

the “slow down there, McDreamy”

This mask is one that looks like, vaguely medical, but you’re not at all associated with the medical profession and everything else about you shows that, because you’re dressed in a sleeveless Eagles tshirt and you’re messing up the lines at the grocery store, Seattle Graceless. Stand on the goddamn stickers on the floor, bruh, it’s not hard. Did this sound personal? It was. The mask has that kind of light blue-green color and a fabric that looks like a tarp and they always seem to be worn by someone you’re frantically praying is not actually in charge of anyone’s health.

baby’s first mask

This mask was probably donated to you or given as a gift or ordered from Etsy in the same way Dick Cheney fires a shotgun (the first thing you see; aim for the face), and it is either still pretty pristine because you used it for a day or two uncomfortably and then discarded it in favor of masks you picked out, or it looks like the skirt of a Les Mis barricades extra at the end of a six-month revival tour because you took way too long getting any other masks and wore only one until the mask was more makeup and dirt than mask.

definitely didn’t happen the second way for me haha nope absolutely not lol (it was light gray once yeah I still have it)

the vaguely inappropriate one

This doesn’t mean that the mask is TV-14 or anything, or that it looks like you bought it for a bachelor/ette party (I HOPE YOU AREN’T HAVING THOSE RIGHT NOW OH MY GOD), it’s just that it’s a little too… something, for everyday use. My personal example is unfortunate, because I love the dang thing so much, but it is a Fiona the Hippo mask. It is soft, and comfortable, and a friend sent it to me, and I cannot wear it at work because the front is designed to make you look like Fiona the Hippo. This is not Fiona’s fault in any way, she is a flawless big baby who can swim and doesn’t let anything stop her because she is fearless and who run the world? girl hippos, but if I’m at work, a client at some point could be like “why do you have a hippo on your face” and then I’d have to fight them and that’s just not good for anyone. Especially not Fiona. She’s a blubber, not a fighter. My perfect large child who has the little ears doing the wiggle thing!!!

Wilson from Home Improvement

Yeah, I remember this show, I’m old, shut up. Yeah, the dude at the fence, whose face you never saw. Yes, him, okay, I made the reference, let’s move on.

This mask doesn’t have anything structurally flawed but it is very, very much the wrong size for your face. The top edge of the mask is attempting to protect you in the same way you applied eyeliner in 7th grade (“on your waterline, until it hurts”) and the bottom edge basically hits your collarbone. No one knows who you are. And yes, I know, don’t threaten you with a good time, but the downside is that you frighten kids and dogs.

the glasses-fogger

No, you know what? I’m not even gonna talk about this one any more. My glasses have looked like that car window in Titanic for months now, and I’m grumpy about it, and I tried the soap thing, and I didn’t try very hard, and I don’t wanna hear about your product recommendations, and I would prefer to remain annoyed rather than exert any effort, and I’m gonna stay grumpy. I lied, I do want product recommendations, but only if they’re like, newborn-level effort because I’m tired. I’m so tired, you guys.

the bank-robber

Not that this one has to be a gaiter, as bank-robbing can be done with any face accoutrements available to you (I encourage the overthrow of banks through whatever means necessary, I’m kidding if law enforcement is reading this, or am I, anyway), but gaiters seem to be the big one here. The darker the color, the more robber-y, in general, although I have to imagine a deep red would have fun Elektra vibes and could feel glamorous. Please do not read that article as “gaiters are worse than no mask” as that is not the case, it is not what that article means, wear the thing until we get an actual comprehensive study with more than one data point, I’m not even going to link to it in this post because then you will read it and decide bad things and I’m not gonna be responsible for that.

Gaiters have been great for me while hiking and doing vaguely athletic things, but even though my go-to one is a nice periwinkle with a fun pattern of shapes, I still feel very much like I’m on a casting call for The Town. That’s what you look like, too, I’m sorry, I don’t make the rules, whose cah ah we gonna take?

the ear elastic made of steel wool

For this one, the mask itself is okay, like the fabric is fine and no issues, but somehow your poor delicate ears are red and wrecked by the end of the day because the manufacturer had leftover garroting wire and used it for the ear loops. Sometimes you don’t find out that the loopies are made with leftover Lasso of Truth until you’re out and about with no other options and that big time sucks.

“Couldn’t you just buy one of those that ties around your head?” Yeah, I could, but then I’d have nothing amusing to complain about, and this site would get as dark as the world around us. So loopies complaining it is and was and forever shall be.

the mid-life crisis

My guy, you are a partner at your marketing firm, you own a BMW 4-series, your Black Sabbath mask is fooling no one.

You’ll sometimes see this one with new-ish fathers too, where they are pushing the stroller through the dairy aisle with a Slipknot t-shirt and a black mask with a mandible on it, and like, dude, just go watch Paw Patrol or whatever, it’s a pandemic, we are literally all at home listening to the saddest and angriest music we can right now, you’re not special.

Jeremiah was a bullfrog

This mask might be one of your favorites. It’s light, it’s soft, it’s not giving you horrible chin zits, you’re not conscious of its existing every waking second, maybe it’s even in a color you like. But it cannot withstand the force of air that comes in and goes out of your body. The fabric constantly moves in and out even when you’re not exerting yourself, and despite the fact that you are doing nothing more difficult than sitting on a Zoom call, you look like an angry toad.

wyd? nm, just buccal pumping, it’s whatever

and did the beginning also sound like this is a personal one for me? it is, the mask is a nice dark teal, and I look like a very elegant, jewel-toned amphibian but an amphibian nonetheless.

the all of them

Apparently the same makers of skin care face masks have decided to overrun the world with similarly-small-nosed models and I am sad about it. I’m speaking here mostly to my fellow Cyrano de Bergeracs who could drive a freight train through the space between your face mask and your inner zygomatic bone (Roxane / you don’t have to listen to Christian) but there’s plenty of other issues that people are having with this one-size-fits-all-poorly thing. Ears in a different spot, a thinner or wider head, your chin doing a thing, the mask sliding down or sideways, we’ve all got our nose to bear. Sorry, this got weird; if you find a mask or gaiter or bandanna or diving bell that works, get like a thousand more of them. You don’t know you’re beautiful. Yes you do. What am I saying. Faces are weird, bodies are weird, when can I upload myself to the cloud, the hardware sucks.

well that’s a choice

Just not a mask, it’s not a mask, and you’re wearing it as a mask, and I don’t know why. Like, that’s a snorkel, or it’s a Halloween costume head, or it’s just your t-shirt pulled up over your mouth. That last one is one you see so flippin’ often, and I have no idea why people are doing it. It’s inconvenient, uncomfortable, and makes you look like a Yip-Yip. Okay, that last one is a plus, my mistake. But people are giving masks out for free, and you’ve still chosen to look like an absolute buffoon. Like, Old Navy is selling masks, fire up your laptop and do it. Or better yet, go outside, and walk in a straight line until you end up at a business that is selling them.

And for the love of 4th-grade science class make it go over your nose. Your chin doesn’t breathe. We live in a SOCIETY.

Jokes and Sass, The heavier stuff

Transcript of Gov. Tom Wolf announcing the new mitigation measures in response to increasing numbers of COVID-19 infections

July 17, 2020

****author’s note: some of the Wolfie words are actually what he said so if they look familiar that’s why, I’m not his speech writer or anything, anyway, I’m being a little punk because I’m tired and the governor is tired and we’re all tired, enjoy

****author’s second note: if you don’t live in PA, you might not know about the Wolfman: he is a Dem in a split state, he put us on lockdown early and seriously, he’s not a particular fan of DT, and I like him, which might tell you nothing or everything idk

July 15, 2020 press conference

background murmuring and sounds of photographs being taken

Gov. Tom Wolf walks out to the podium, adjusts microphone. Gov. Wolf is wearing a non-medical mask with a plaid pattern like a jaunty Scottish clan’s tartan.

GOV. WOLF: Good afternoon, everyone. This press conference has been called to announce the two new state Orders that are being put in place today, one from the Governor’s Office, and one from the Department of Health. Dr. Rachel Levine, our Secretary of Health, is here with me today.

Dr. Levine nods to the crowd.

GOV. WOLF: During the past week, we have seen an unsettling climb in new COVID-19 cases. When we hit our peak on April 9, we had nearly two thousand new cases that day, with other days’ cases hovering around 1,000. Medical experts looking at the current trajectory are projecting that this new surge could soon eclipse the April peak. With our rapid case increases, we need to act again, now.

Gov. Wolf looks over to the back right corner of the press room, eyes narrowed

GOV. WOLF: I’m sorry, Dave, was there something you’d like to share with the rest of the class? Yeah, are you shocked I heard you? The mask goes over my mouth and nose, not my ears, but sorry, that might be too much **science** for you. Yes, Dave, we need to act again NOW. If it’s all right with you, I’m going to continue governing the Commonwealth? You’re done? Thank you EVER so much.

The governor takes a deep breath in and out

GOV. WOLF: As I was saying, in April our cases reached unacceptably high levels, and if we don’t put immediate restrictions on certain industries and behaviors, we could see infection rates surge even higher than our April peak. This is of course very frustrating to have to do so soon after we reopened the state, but the science supports our actions and these measures will hopefully save lives.

Gov. Wolf steps back from the podium, shakes out his arms, and rolls his head in a neck stretch

he then returns to the podium; the microphone picks up a mumbled “I hate this”

GOV. WOLF: Beginning tomorrow, all nightclubs must close, and bars that do not offer sit-down, dine-in meals must close. …okay, did you all seriously just go “awww man!” like a bunch of college kids getting told the rager at PhiPsi is cancelled? Shut up. Anyway. Oh, restaurants and bars must drop to 25% capacity for indoor seating as well. …yeah, no, okay, stop doing the “awww man!” thing, none of you even OWN a restaurant?! And I see, in the grand tradition of my being unable to have a moment’s peace, that we have a question already. Yes, you, with your hand up on the left, here. Go ahead.

PRESS: Governor, is outdoor dining and takeout food still permitted?

GOV. WOLF: …thank you, whoever you are. I’m sorry that I don’t know your name, but you just gave me a softball question, and you didn’t have to, and I apologize for my shortness with you. *voice cracking* Bless you, my child; may you fly like the Eagles. Hey, Kevin? *gestures to one of his staff off-camera* can we get this angel some Rita’s gift cards, after? Great.

*silence, beat*

GOV. WOLF: Oh, sorry, the answer! Yes, takeout is permitted, both of food and alcohol, and outdoor dining is permitted subject to the standards of social distancing and masks, of course. Don’t you roll your eyes at me, front row, don’t you DARE. Yeah, you still have to abide by social distancing, why would you think you don’t? I’m sorry, was the masked waitstaff; who earn below minimum wage and must rely on you to tip them appropriately for risking their lives, by the way; walking around serving you and your unmasked stupid face because you absolutely needed to eat mozzarella sticks in the 89-degree-with-95%-humidity July air and making sure your Bud Light Lime never runneth dry, somehow not enough for your extremely privileged life? Look, I also love mozzarella sticks, but your server is playing Minesweeper every time they go to work, and you can suck it up for an hour. Your Margaritaville cosplay is not a priority here.

Dr. Levine hands up a stack of paper

GOV. WOLF: Speaking of Margaritaville cosplay, Dr. Levine has just handed me the most recent nationwide numbers, and the same states you keep hearing of with soaring infection rates are still in very bad shape. Our thoughts are with the citizens of these states, and we do not want to become Florida. We don’t want to become Texas. We don’t want to become Arizona. We have got to act now. We’ve done this before, and it worked, and we can do it again.

Wolf gestures to a raised hand towards the back of the room

PRESS: Governor, why do you continue to change your position on opening and closing the state? Why are you flip-flopping? Are you trying to make it difficult for business owners to make money?

Gov. Wolf places his hand over his microphone and gestures to one of his staff

the microphone continues to pick up some of his speech

GOV. WOLF: *sotto voce* is that fucking Dave, again, asking that dumbshit question? No? oh, it’s Carol, yes, of course, the two horsepeople of the apocalypse of ignorance, fuck me

clears throat

GOV. WOLF: As I said, it is certainly frustrating to have to close businesses so soon after being able to reopen them, especially for many of the counties in the southeast of the state, who were hardest hit by this disease and only recently went “green.” There are other states like us who reopened many businesses and had to close again, as a reaction to the current data. Because that data indicates a change in the current spread of the disease, and like an intelligent adult human who is in charge of anything, I am making my decisions based on the goddamn current FACTS, Carol. You know how in January, it snows sometimes, so the state closes down for safety and deploys snow plows? And then in August, there’s no snow, so the state DOESN’T close down, and there are no snow plows? Am I irresponsibly flip-flopping re: snow plows, Carol? Or am I adjusting course to utilize state resources efficiently and save lives? Jesus Christ. Here, you take the ship’s wheel for the Titanic, you clownheads. *mocking voice* ‘well, there wasn’t an iceberg there earlier, why is the captain flip-flopping on directing the ship?’ *normal voice* no, you’re right, Carol, I just absolutely hate businesses and my goal is to bankrupt my constituents.

staff member walks up to say something in Gov. Wolf’s ear

GOV. WOLF: *sigh* I have just been informed by my staff that I should indicate that my previous sentence was sarcasm, and that I do not hate businesses, and I would like my constituents to have money, because otherwise you will use that quote out of context and I’ll end up a meme.

the governor rubs his temples for approx. 15 seconds

GOV. WOLF: Now, back in the land of actual grown-ups, I want to address a few other specifics. For fitness centers and gyms, if at all possible, please prioritize outdoor fitness activities, and be vigilant about distancing. And as for private events, indoor gatherings of more than 25 are prohibited, along with outdoor gatherings of more than 250. And that 25 number applies to restaurants and other food service as well. I also need to mention, in my continuing lecture on “waitstaff are people,” that the 25-person limit includes staff, I cannot believe I just had to say that sentence, but shockingly people count as people for a 25 people limit! I know! Wild! What will our wacky governor think of next?! Okay, you right there, blue blazer, you’re looking at your phone so I regret this already, what’s your question?

PRESS: Sir, I have a question coming in from a Republican state senator: he asks, why is this new order statewide and not targeted? Why do you hate rural counties?

GOV. WOLF: *curls hands more tightly on sides of podium* This IS targeted, on INDUSTRIES, and geographically most counties are seeing an increase! Why do you think a crowded bar in north-central Pennsylvania would be less likely to be a source of infection than one in Delco? There are selfish dipshits all across the state who are traveling to Florida and holding barbecues for their six hundred closest friends and, I don’t know, holding coughing contests in Dave and Buster’s? Whatever you’re doing? Can you, y’know, stop doing that? Because it’s exactly those actions that are causing this resurgence. And it’s not like there’s some impenetrable wall surrounding each county so that the specific dipshit behavior doesn’t hop along from Schuylkill County to Dauphin County. It does, with your dipshit help. And I’m responsible for all of the counties, so let’s just all behave for a little bit and not die, please. I’m asking nicely. *pinches bridge of nose* I’m so goddamn tired, all the TIME I’m so TIRED

Dr. Levine eases Gov. Wolf away from the podium, gently pushing a large silver flask into his hand

DR LEVINE: The actions the governor and I are taking today are designed to be surgical and thus precise to prevent from repeating the cycle we saw in the spring. We have gained a great deal of experience since the start of this outbreak and have learned from best practices from other states as well as counties right here in Pennsylvania. No, it’s not fair that we have to restrict our activities again, but we have the tools and the structures in place, and if we all work together we can stop this increase in infections. Yes, you, in the green shirt? Go ahead.

PRESS: Dr. Levine, a question from Twitter from a user with the handle @libztearzPA69, they wish to know why they have to wear a mask when they go to the gym if they aren’t sick, since it gets really hot and they breathe hard?

Gov. Wolf enters abruptly from out of frame and aggressively seizes the microphone


audio cuts here

three more seconds of visual show the governor pushing over the podium and taking a swig from the flask

Jokes and Sass, Lawyering

I’m working from home and so is my dog

May 15, 2020

Friends, you are doing great, even if you are not doing great. I’m very proud of you. Many of you are doing things that should be impossible and that you shouldn’t have to do and you’re still here. I am not a parent, nor am I on the front lines of any healthcare operation, and our household still has incomes, and I’m able to do nearly all of my job from home. We’ve got space and good internet and we’re very blessed. That being said, yeah, of course we’re going a bit stir-crazy and are always somewhat-to-significantly on edge because the world is falling apart (well, I am; Andrew remains the coolest of cucumbers). A few weeks back, John Oliver mentioned in an interview that “it’s a suboptimal time to be a human being; it would be a great time to be a dog” and I agree with that statement. And if Bailey could understand it, I think she’d agree with me.

I love Bailey. So much. Just an absolute ton. But we are seeing each other nearly every waking minute of every day, and because she is a dog and doesn’t understand pandemics, she just thinks we are home to hang out with her whenever the mood strikes. This is especially true for me, because my “office” for now is at the kitchen table and she hangs out on the couch near it. She’s a 75-pound dog who isn’t allowed to say hi to other people or dogs right now so I am pretty sure she’s at least a little mad at me all the time. Stuff is weird, and your pets can sense tension and angst, and she’s a lot of dog.

Because I find myself amusing (and because everything hurts real bad rn find the light if you can) I have been referring to her as my coworker. Unfortunately, she has managed to be every bad coworker you’ve ever had at some point in the past two months.

Just to be clear: I love her, and for 95% of the day, she is a soft floppy pooch who is quiet and nice and I routinely schedule breaks in my day to go pet her because it is like holding on to a warm cloud that gives you kisses. At night she will cuddle up next to you on the couch and I get to pet her head and belly and I feel like the best pet parent in the entire world because she wants to be next to me. My dad has jokingly started calling her “Killer Dog” because nothing could be further from the truth. She is a big, scary-looking muscle-y block-headed black dog and yet she is sunshine and would only hurt you by stepping on you to give you face kisses. She eats spaghetti more delicately than I do. I would carry out a mob hit for her, but she would never ask, because she is the GOODEST GIRL. And again, I am exceptionally lucky and blessed to be able to work from home, to have not been ill, and to not have to take care of children. However, where is the fun in being satisfied with your lot in life; how could I possibly be inspired to write unless I am annoyed?

Therefore, The Night Is Dork presents: Bad Coworkers That Are My Dog

That one who sends an email and then comes to your office to tell you about the email

This punk will start whining about nothing (absolutely nothing, like the dog equivalent of someone sending a chain letter joke to the whole firm) while staring out the window, and if I don’t immediately say “Miss Bailey, what’s going on?” she will come over and shove my arm with her nose. I got your email, doggie. It isn’t urgent. Nothing is urgent. Time is a flat circle. Go back to your office, which is the couch.

The reply-all disaster

Oh, did a child outside accidentally scream so loudly that it reached everyone? And that bothered you? And now you are reply-all woofing to the reply-all to ask to be taken off the list? And now other dogs and children are replying-all? STOP IT. EVERYONE STOP.

That one who eats and drinks way too loudly

Breakfast is like, if your coworker had baby carrots and kettle chips for every meal. It’s so much crunching, dog, just, SO much crunching.

Can you, at your waterbowl, be like a thousand percent less? The slurping is out of control, our house is effectively an open office plan, and I can hear every sip. Get a Hydroflask or something, jeez.

The “whatcha workin’ on?”

“Hey there. Hey. Hey. Hi. Whatcha workin’ on? What’s that on your screen? Some emails? Wild, that’s so many emails. Is it a project? Do you need to focus? Do you mind if I sit right next to you as you work on it? Is that okay? Is this bothering you? Am I breathing too loud? Do you need me to go away-” BAILEY I SWEAR ON A THOUSAND TENNIS BALLS IF YOU DON’T GET OFF MY LAP RIGHT NOW

The one doing something very personal at their desk, something that should be done in private

Not even gonna discuss what you decided to lick right now, and stop biting your nails

The one who takes like eight servings of whatever is in the break room and meant to be for everyone

Bailey. You already had breakfast. I already gave you several treats. I already gave you a small amount of turkey while I was making my sandwich. You cannot have the entire goddamn sandwich. That is unreasonable. Stop looking at me like that, like you’re saying “is anyone gonna finish this?” before half the office knows that there’s cake. Even if you walk over there I can tell you took something WHY ARE YOU LIKE THIS

The thermostat of our discontent

Are you cold? Is that why you’re curled up like a donut? Are you too warm? Is it because you’ve been lying down with your belly directly in a patch of sunlight for two hours while still being very covered in very dark fur and now you’re panting because you overheated? Are you gonna flop down on the kitchen floor because it’s cooler than the couch? Could you pant any louder? Bring a goddamn cardigan to the office like everyone else the world doesn’t revolve around you

The one you always gotta be like “per my last email”

Yeah, just like ten minutes ago, when I said you aren’t allowed to chew on the blanket, that is still the rule and you still can’t chew on the blanket. I know you’re doing it because you want to feel important, but PER MY LAST EMAIL, PUPPO, CUT THAT SHIT OUT IMMEDIATELY.

The one who leaves their office door open while they take really long personal calls

I know. You have. A tennis ball. Or a bone. Or an itch. I chime in with a “haven’t you doggies ever heard of/ closing the goddamn door”

I’m glad you’re psyched to be chewing a bone but the scraping noises are starting to pinball in my brain and it is no bueno, poocho

The “always wants to go out to lunch, never offers to pay”

Instead of that kibble from home how about you go out and get me a steak and then a larger steak whoops my wallet must be in my other fur my bad I’ll get you next time I promise

The one who takes a walk at lunchtime 

Overachieving punk-ass

Congrats on your “health” or whatever

The one who emails something “urgent” and you reply and they don’t get back to you for 5 hours

Okay, you want to go out. Right now. Okay. I get it, right this second, it is an emergency, you’re very uncomfortable, and I need to get you on a leash and out the door immediately. Got it. I’ll just get your collar and your leash and head to the door and- why are you still standing at the top of the stairs? Why are you just LOOKING at me? You told me this was urgent you little twerp I swear you had better- oh good you ran down the stairs like a dozen bowling balls that’s not disruptive to everyone’s life at all, BAILEY

The one who looks like this

Okay doggie you can have whatever you want oh my word look at your FACE

Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire, Jokes and Sass

Things to Do While Staying Inside: Part 2

March 26, 2020

Here’s part 2 in “if you’re looking for stuff to do while being responsible and safe at home,” and while this one is obviously less new I can certainly recommend it still! Stay well, stay home, *stay home*, if you can stay home and you aren’t doing that I am upset with you.

Yep, you guessed it, I finally watched The Witcher a month or so ago and if you yelled at me to watch it and kept yelling I owe you an apology if I ever snapped at you because it is great, you’re great, and I am sorry to my bone marrow that I didn’t listen immediately. You were right it was marvelous. Andrew watched it almost as soon as it came out, and then rewatched it with me.

The big question gets answered here: nope, I haven’t read the books. (It’s not the big question, you don’t care, I’m just incredibly conceited.) For once in my life, I consumed a piece of media before having read the source material. It went against every smug cell in my body to not buy all of them at once and devour each so that I could act superior to everyone else. This was healthy for me, it really was. Personal growth. I’m better for it.

…she says to herself every night, while anxious, trying to tamp down the voices that say stuff like “can you really analyze something if you haven’t consumed every facet of its being”

I’m fine guys, really

And I loved this show. I loved it so much. I loved the silly names, I loved the White Cliffs of Dover that is Henry Cavill’s hair and being, I even loved “Toss a Coin to Your Witcher,” that song that everyone has stuck in their head. My dog has even gotten a version of the song because my interests are exclusively goofy fantasy shit and Bailey. (I lied; I also care deeply about the Fast and Furious 9 trailer we received that will now have to sustain me till 2021. #JusticeForHan)

The song in its entirety is below

*toss a treat to your Bailey, yes she is a doggie, she’s just the best doggie*

So remember how for Thrones eps I used to split things into stuff I liked and stuff I didn’t and I was polarizing as hell and emotional? Not really the case, here! There was some stuff I could have done without, and that’s all the stuff that made the show TV-MA. I don’t particularly love that one sword sliceyyy boi move that every show seems to have where you’re facing the person and you do a throat cutting move and there is an arc of blood and the person drops and then the hero person staggers away gasping for breath like that balletic weirdo move was all they had energy for and then looks around and there are no other enemy soldiers close by? You know what I’m talking about, don’t lie. I’d like less of that. Save some money on the blood budget and let people get sliccey’d less dramatically.

And this is me repeating myself, but I’ve never found a show enhanced by the nudity of the actors or a particularly detailed sex scene. Props to this show for not putting any plot points directly behind a butt or anything, and I know I’m a prude, but my brain is always kinda like “oh no way people wanna bang Henry Cavill? no way that’s absolutely shocking to me” and I ruin things for them. The world’s collective thirst for Charles Superman Brandon is not going to be tamed by his having unusual hair and eyes, and to make his appeal any kind of plot point is absurd. The show did not do this a lot, thank you show, but it did do it a little, and just… sigh.

Oh, I can also ruin most romance/sex scenes by thinking too hard about the details! For example, if people sleep in the same bed and then wake up and make out I want to die so hard oh my God you have medieval morning breath and no amount of Being Henry Cavill is sufficient to get past that go brush your teeth. Toss some Crest to your Witcher. I’m a delight at parties you should invite me.

Otherwise? Show’s good, guys. Watch the show. Toss a coin to your Netflix.

Some stuff I particularly liked:

No weird or stilted exposition

You meet these people and they just dive right the heck in to whatever stuff they were doing without pulling some “as you recall, it’s been 78 years since our queen, Aloysiaseus, was killed by the BeastMan, and an unstable regency rose from the ashes, and due to internal squabbling and assassinations the true power lives with the High Priest Marcellinavan who requires a sacrifice of ten thousand egarons or your firstborn child as a tax every ten years and the last tax was nine years and eleven months ago”

“indeed I do recall, how’s your horse feeling”

“she’s feeling much better thank you for asking”

Basically none of that! I love it! You might very well get a bit lost at the beginning and especially when they are throwing around proper nouns but I put on subtitles (again, here’s my requisite subtitles plug for everything always) and that helped a lot: I wasn’t thinking they said something I should know when they are just referring to something the audience hasn’t seen yet. There are unusual place and people names, but it’s never really thrown around as “nyah nyah nyah we know something you don’t know” it’s just “hey we’re going to [place name]” and then they go there. The one exception is referencing “the spheres,” but every fantasy story gets a pass for having some kind of event that was a while ago. It’s worked in fine, though, and you can tell it’s just “oh wow long time ago cool” and you can move on.

Second thing!

Realistic reactions to stuff

Geralt responding to things going badly with “…fuck” is amazing and should be in every fantasy show and movie forever. Yes, the ones for kids, too. They need to learn. I’m kidding. Maybe.

I’m not kidding

There is no character, especially a hero/protagonist, more real to me than one who can admit to themselves and the camera that boy, howdy, are we in the shit. I will never not love a Return of the King “for Frodo” moment and I will cry the whole time and love it and rewatch it unto forever, but for the every day plot moments, let me hear my characters note the garbage situation in which they are standing.

It’s mostly Geralt who does this, but the other characters also have a pretty good read on the pulse of things. And when they are being dramatic? They know it. “for Frodo!” does not require that the characters know they are being watched. In The Witcher, a character called Calanthe walks into a banquet still in her armor from a battle, with blood in her hair and dirt on her face. She knows she’s being extra af and it’s on purpose. It’s not the directors or writers trying to say “look how badass and dramatic she is,” it’s her trying to tell the room “shut up, fives, a ten is walking” and it kinda rules. Her smirk during the scene is A++++.

And in that vein

Actual humor and laughter and joy?

I think I’ve been absolutely bludgeoned into pessimism and doubt due to Game of Thrones but any time someone did a nice thing for another person on this show, I was like NO DON’T YOU WILL PAY FOR THAT LOOK OUT FOR YOURSELF YOU’LL DIE AT A WEDDING etc etc and yeah sure some people do not make it but the show lets characters (including Geralt! especially Geralt!) do nice things to help when they very could do no things and not help and those characters get to live. They are not Ned Stark chumps for being honest and kind.

One of the important characters gets taken care of by a stranger near the end of the season, and I kept looking at my spouse and asking “what is she gonna do to her oh God or is the nice lady in trouble no does the nice lady die” and he very kindly and calmly said that they are both fine, because not everyone dies for no reason, you Thrones weirdo. (Not that last part.)

There are jokes, and not Bronn bullshit, like actual funny scenes and lines and plot points and it’s great. There’s mud and death and pain and fire and betrayal and cruelty and blood, but it’s also a place you could conceivably be a good person and not die immediately. And Jaskier is a joy at all times. He sings the song. The song is fun and good and so is he.

This is a tough one to do without spoilers, but it’s also not like a show-ruiner if I say it, but I do want to give it praise, bleh, here, short thing

Really flippin’ cool stuff with timelines

Usually I am not a fan of flashbacks or things that trick the viewer. As always, I do not like it when art thinks it is smarter than me; it is probably true, but I don’t wanna hear it. But how they do it in this show, which is both of those things and neither of those things, is just good and cool and they let you in on the secrets steadily, at the right time, and without a sense of “a HA! we got you! we are so TRICKSY and CLEVER” because when people do that I just wanna scream directly into their eyes because of course you can trick us, you are making the damn show, you inherently know more things, that isn’t impressive at all, you twerps, no I’m not coughing Benioff and Weiss why do you ask

Just trust me, it’s pretty fly for a timeline, hang in there.

Oh and this is a big one:

Women done well

I really should change that subtitle, it makes them sound like steaks. They are not steaks.

They are great, though. You know that stereotype of “complex female character” that a lot of writers seem to think means “ice-cold killer with a revenge motivation?” It actually happens here. There are so many women in this show, everywhere, who are a mix of good and evil, just like real people are. They are motivated by real things, they are responding to cruelty and hurt in the way that people do, and every one of them who is on-screen for more than like a minute feels fully thought out.

And yeah, the bar is on the floor, in a basement, but there are no rape scenes, so it’s got that going for it. Hooray? Anyway, specific ladies.

Ciri, the blonde in all the promo stuff, is a mystery to us still, but she’s so interesting and smart and not smart and young but also acts old and she keeps it together during bad stuff but also doesn’t?? It’s great? I love her? I’m psyched for season 2 because we will get to see more of her doin’ stuff. She’s in some of those scenes with Calanthe, who I mentioned above, and just… dammit, I don’t wanna do spoilers. See me after class; class is Season 1.

There’s also the requisite “evil” witch, who is only kind of evil, and gets a back story, but also gets to be interesting in a non-*manic cackling* way. She also orchestrates the coolest magic battle I’ve ever seen on TV in the last episode, it just rules. We also have our teacher character to young women who is evil but not evil and cares but not always in the right way and she’s a mother to her students but also a bully and she’s proud of them and scared of them and just AHHHH. It’s a lot, I am a mess.

And then we have Yennefer, who is apparently somewhat polarizing among people who have watched the show, and I don’t get that at all, she is my queen and she can have my sword and my bow and my axe and my undying love. The show lets her be so interesting I could write a ten-thousand word post on the first three episodes. Yen goes through Some Shit, and then she also causes Some Shit, and her causes are sometimes for the good of others and sometimes for her own good and sometimes not even for her own good it’s just because she wants the option, and she’s selfish and giving and ashamed and confident and powerful and weak and admired and hated and just *makes fist* this is IT, kids. She’s great, I love her, she’s a messy mess who could also rule the world, watch the show so I can yell about it with you.

ANYWAY, TEAM, that’s all I got. Go watch it if you haven’t. This rec is obviously a little bit less of an insider’s tip for stuff to do while self-isolating, but I had most of a post drafted about this show and needed a reason to post it, so here we are. Be good to each other.


Things to Do While Staying Inside: Part 1

March 20, 2020

Hello friends from weirdly warm PA, where all non-life-sustaining businesses are closed and the announcement made it extra clear that this includes professional services like accounting and legal, and tbh I’m pretty sure they said that because we’d get all “but SURELY they cannot mean MEEEE” and then Governor Wolf is like “did I stutter” and it’s a whole thing. So yeah. Home and working from here and socially isolating because I’m a good citizen and also starting tomorrow morning it’s against the law.

Mostly, for this post, I just wanted to write about a show that I’ve been enjoying, but considering that many of you/us are working remotely, or asked not to come in, or simply just quarantined based on symptoms or exposure, here’s a show you can spend some of your time on. Post title reflects this. Stay healthy and safe if you can and watch this in your down time if you can’t or won’t leave the house. Holding you all in my hearts, and if you’d like prayer on something specific please do reach out. Any way, here we go.

I am not what you’d call a “car person.” The extent of much of my automotive knowledge is “that certainly is a car, wow, look at it go” and I can barely drive stick (like I *probably* won’t stall it instantly and I can get you from one end of a parking lot to the other). Loud noises stress me out. Danger stresses me out. The only thing I know about engines is that the War Boys in Fury Road did that V8 thing with their hands and also that V8 is a rarely-delicious beverage. Cars, to me, are get-my-body-to there-machines with some very needed padding. I know just enough about cars to not get totally screwed over by an unscrupulous mechanic (if you try to tell me that my 12-year-old Camry needs a new flux capacitor I will bid you an uncomfortable goodbye and leave the premises) but not more. And, sure, I’ve watched a decent amount of Top Gear and The Grand Tour but boy howdy do I zone out on the tech stuff big time. My expert analysis when they test out a new supercar is “wow fast” and scene. I still hear the awful Sascha Baron Cohen French accent from Talladega Nights say “Formula uuuhn” when I read it. Now you are doing the same thing, and I’m not sorry.

Anyway, all of this is the lead-in to “please go watch Formula 1: Drive to Survive right flippin’ now” because it is great and it is so great that I am now a person who cares about Formula 1. The first season of this show was released in March of 2019 and I watched it all almost straight through having had no idea about anything. Definitely go watch the first season, and then come along with me and watch the second season which I’m halfway through. And if you’re wondering, yes, it covers the previous year’s race season, so the first season covers 2018, and the current one covers 2019, and the 2020 season is, well, on hiatus. Races are postponed, and they are trying to set up a virtual race series, and I am getting way ahead of myself sorry ANYWAY

“Wait, what even is Formula 1,” I hear you saying. “I really want this lady with basically negative amounts of car knowledge to educate me on its finer points,” you say. I hear you; let’s go.

Formula 1 is the highest level of open-wheel (tires do the sticky-outie thing to the sides vs under the car like your Hot Wheels probably were, like the car is a lizard rather than a moose, I am incredible at automobile mechanics) racing in the world, and there is a bonkers amount of money in it. Throughout a season, there are 21 Grands Prix, and the goal for everyone is to win points at each of these races. There are ten teams, each with two drivers/two cars each, so there are 20 total drivers at any given time, no more. The championships for which they are competing are both the driving championship, and the manufacturers’ championship. So, for example, last year (and a whole bunch of years before) Mercedes won the prize for being the best car maker, and Lewis Hamilton, on the Mercedes team, won the prize for the best car driver.

The way they do that is by earning points, and you earn points for finishing the race fastest, and I can feel you rolling your eyes at me, it’s fine, I know, just give me a goshdarn second to explain details, okay? Each race has trials the day before, which is where you (either by yourself or with not as many cars) get to go around the track and try to set the fastest time, which earns you (stop giggling) pole position. That gets you the best spot on the track for the real race. You can also lose spots by doing dumb shit, like hitting other cars or cutting corners or not parking your yacht correctly (that one is only at Monaco and I think I’m joking but I cannot confirm). When that happens, even if you were fastest, you get knocked down some spots. It’s not impossible to win from a very far back spot, but it sort of ends up a self-fulfilling prophecy: you did worse at trials because you are worse so you start worse and you stay worse.

And the points available aren’t like 20 for first place, 19 for second, 18 for third, all the way down, etc. Nope. You gotta be in the top ten to earn any points, so if you zoom around forever and cross the line 11th, that is unfortunate and you stole Fizzy Lifting Drinks and you get nothing, you lose, good DAY, sir. And it’s not even a straight shot for those top ten places: you get 25 for first, 18 for second, 15 for third, then 12, 8, 10, 6, 4, 2, and 1. You can see how those podium finishes can just catapult you comfortably to the top and you can stay there. Sometimes the drivers’ championship is wrapped up with like 3 or 4 races still left in the season because no one can catch the guy in first. OH, and if you’re in the top ten and get the fastest lap, you get an extra point. It’s like a little extra bonus award but if you aren’t in the top ten you can’t get it because they don’t give points to losers. I’m kidding. I think. But seriously I think it is so that you don’t go careening off the track in an attempt to get the fastest lap? You are not here for my editorializing, it’s like the zoomiest guy can have a little a point, as a treat, no I cannot stop being Extremely Online sorry not sorry moving on

You get those points for you and for your team, so while each team’s best interest is to have two good drivers, the drivers themselves are frequently trying to edge out the other guy on their team since there’s a championship just for them. Like, sure, it’s good for Mercedes to have a one-two finish regardless of which driver gets which place, but it’s good for Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes to be in that first spot.

So yeah, the sport is fast cars and lots of money and very good-looking men (I genuinely don’t know if there’s like an in-writing requirement but a number of the drivers have model-level good looks and can you please leave some beauty for the rest of us, no really, go look up Carlos Sainz, he drives for McLaren and his eyelashes deserve a sonnet where was I) but why should you watch this show, specifically? Here, you can get some additional reasons that I like it, which are the correct reasons.

Cool thing number 1 about this show

The races are really, really cool to watch in the way that Netflix filmed and edited them. Really. And again, even if you are not a car person and the idea of watching a motor go around a track a bunch of times sounds awful, they only put the best and most exciting parts on-screen. Their film crew is amazing and the shots are all amazing and they ZOOM SO FAST, GUYS. SO FAST. It’s easy to like any sport when you only see the exciting stuff, and that’s what happens here.

You also have a lot of shots from the driver’s point of view, and while the film isn’t as high-quality, it’s still very much like you’re a screaming terrified passenger along with the driver for the race. That’s me, I’m the terrified passenger.

There are also aerial shots of these tracks and some are like, rolling hills and sunshine and some are twisty-turny streets and it’s like that joy you felt when picking a map in MarioKart in N64 that was a thing right sorry I only ever played at friends’ houses Monaco :: Rainbow Road I think

Cool thing number 2 about this show

It is multilingual as heck and yes a large number are European languages but there are also a bunch more (a few teams use Honda engines, for example, so there’s some Japanese) and it’s delightful to listen to and yet another plug for my using subtitles. It also just Smackdowns you to the floor re: your level of accomplishment and while that might not be your thing, it is mine!

It is a nice reality check for me/most Americans that we are absolutely atrocious with language. Leaving aside the gross nationalistic “speak English” stuff that your least favorite cousin does, we are so flippin’ lazy it is borderline humiliating, and basically every minute of this show is a strong reminder of this fact.

All these dudes speak at least two and sometimes three or four languages. The drivers from France and Denmark and Spain and Monaco and Germany and Finland and Brazil and Italy all do their interviews in English, and very good English, at that. The Brits and the Australians are kind of like us, so we aren’t alone in our monolinguality, but it is just comical to see these extremely talented people who are already so impressive at driving and managing the press also switch flawlessly between entire languages. I took like 8 years of French and my skills include “that fuckin’ r sound” and “saying French words really pretentiously in the middle of English speaking, i.e., Grands Prix.” Charles Leclerc, for example, is an infant who is allowed to drive a car worth a million dollars and can speak to Netflix about his emotions surrounding being partnered with a four-time world champion on the Ferrari team when at the Italian Grand Prix in English despite it being his third language after French and Italian.

It’s fine, go drive your little Hot Wheels or whatever, I’ll be over here resentfully pronouncing Lacroix as “lah-CWAH” and forgetting I’ve left the parking brake on

Cool thing number 3 about this show

The speed at which these drivers and teams do anything is also just staggering. Their average pit time is two seconds. TWO. SECONDS. I can’t even remember the last time I had a thought that only lasted two seconds, and these people take off one set of tires and put on another one in two goshdarn seconds. There’s a segment of the Mercedes episode where one of the cars is pitted for almost a minute, and the announcers are treating it like they’re announcing the Hindenberg crash. It sounds ridiculous until I remember that a minute is thirty times longer than the average, and that these races have gotten down to thousandths of a second, and a minute is basically the Hundred Years’ War being fought mid-race. Everything is fast, all of it, even these drivers with their little go-karts they drove as kids. When I was 12 I was an incompetent little doofus trying my best to not fall over when I got up from the dinner table. These kids get the keys to the rocket launcher.

Cool/mildly depressing thing? number 4 about this show

Not joking, they are all infants. Infants! One of the drivers that is winning all the time is 22 and he won the very first race he entered and he was EIGHTEEN. ONE. EIGHT. At 18 I tried to find a whole-ass cookout during college orientation and failed. This kid maneuvered a ground spaceship past 19 other ground spaceships in his first spacerace.

That kid I mentioned above, Leclerc? They have a scene with him and Sebastian Vettel, his Ferrari teammate, driving up to one of the races in the same car. Vettel, who is 32, my age, turns on music, and “Come Out and Play” by The Offspring comes on, and Leclerc has no idea who they are, and then I remembered he said his birth year earlier in the episode, and it’s 1997, and then I looked up the release date of the song, and “COME OUT AND PLAY” IS THREE YEARS OLDER THAN HE IS. I appreciated Vettel very much in that moment for lightly ribbing his teammate for not knowing anything because instead of a dried-up, irrelevant skeleton shouting “you gotta keep ’em separated!” I was a cool, relevant beacon of maturity like 4-times Formula One Champion Sebastian Vettel. And then I remembered that they were about to race against Max Verstappen, who made his Formula One debut at age 17, and then my decrepitude pulled me horizontal once again.

Yeah, watch the show

It’s interesting, it’s fun, it has soap opera levels of drama, it has guys you love to hate and guys you love to love, it has interviews, it has zoomies of the highest caliber, and you’ll be able to use it to make European friends, or something. I don’t know.

Stay safe, stay home, I’ll post another couple of things like this while we’re all trying our best.

Jokes and Sass, Nerding

Every single “Gifts for Him” list

December 6, 2019

I don’t know what convention was held in early 2014-ish, but apparently every retailer was invited and the entire thing was about how to market to people who buy gifts for men at the holidays. It was held in one of those bars where you throw axes and no vegetables were served for three days. This was the list they came up with.

Whiskey-infused leather wallets that you can put on the grill

Does your man like whiskey? Of course he does, he’s an American male! Does he also like leather accessories and grilling? Of course he does, id.! Does he frequently express a wish for an item that could combine all three of these things? No, of course not, he’s a man and they do not express emotions. But because you know your man so well, get him this wallet! It holds all the money he’s earning, and when it inevitably falls out of his pocket onto the grill (guys are so clumsy and silly like that, right?) it will smell like an encroaching forest fire because that is a thing that he inexplicably likes.

But wait, how can he get his wallet back and in his pocket? We’re glad you asked, because you can get him a

Set of grilling tools, yes, seriously, another one

Since Real Men have a different grill for every year of their life, you should get him another set of grilling tools. We don’t care if he says he has a dozen; he needs more. He’s not done until he looks like the goddamn Edward Scissorhands of grilling tools. Charcoal grill? Needs new grilling tools. Gas grill? Needs new grilling tools. Just a fire in a trash can? Sharpen up some sticks and rusty metal because even a literal garbage fire deserves its own set of grilling tools. And if he got a smoker? Ohhhh, you need like at least FIFTY new tools for all that meat he’ll be smoking. If he’s got a full rack of ribs on that smoker, you’d best believe he’ll need a set of tools for each individual rib. Keep going until you need to get a storage unit for the tongs alone. Each set comes with an apron that says “Ladies Love My Meat” so that you can kill yourself while he opens his gifts!

Speaking of heat, why don’t you try getting him some

Hot-sauce infused beer caps/sculpture

Does the man in your life ever sip on an IPA and remark “if only this could be more unpleasant to drink”? Does he frequently order his food as spicy as possible despite being very white? Then he needs this six-pack of Literally All You Can Taste Is Hops and Pain, a beer with hot sauce infused into the metal cap. Just have your guy turn the bottle upside down right before he’s ready to drink, and ka-POW, he’s got a nice, refreshing sip of capsaicin and regret. You know that all men think “if this isn’t extremely unpleasant, why bother drinking it?” and you’ve finally got the gift to match.

And if someone else already got him this gift, just ask yourself: does he like to collect garbage? And if so, you can get him this: a wall-hanging shaped like a monster truck because fuck aesthetics with a little space for each beer cap! He doesn’t have to limit himself to just spicy beer caps; regardless of the logo on his beer garbage, he can now store it in your home, displayed for guests, forever. He can reminisce about those beers while he stares at his wall sculpture and ignores your wedding photos right next to it. He’s basically like Ernest Hemingway except he can’t even write a greeting card.

Speaking of doing your best to ignore your family, if your man is just 100% checked out, get him

A tool that lets him watch The Game while at your daughter’s college graduation

Does your manflesh love to watch himself a great sports game, but the kids keep accomplishing things? Does he ever comment “if only there were a way for me to be less involved as a parent”? Are you one of his children and it has somehow become your job to manage a grown man’s feelings? We’ve got just the thing: we replace his cornea with a projector screen and put a satellite dish in his skull so he can watch any game at any time instead of paying attention to his kids.

Sure, he might have his first grader playing soccer literally four feet away from him, but he’s already had an interaction with this child this week; he’s tired. He can just switch on the dish, sit back, and stare blankly ahead until his kid cries. Give him the gift that combines his favorite things: sports, and avoiding responsibility.

Whiskey stones

This is a thing every man needs now no we won’t explain why just buy the alcohol rocks because fuck you


A necktie with the night sky as it looked on the day of the Immaculate Reception 

Help your man slide even deeper into the loss of his identity and allow him to abandon all other nuance and personality traits in pursuit of a soul that is indistinguishable from that of the sports team(s) he worships

This tie can be monogrammed!

Cufflinks with the date of your anniversary so he’ll never forget again!

During the month of December, practice your smile in the mirror, so that when he opens it and you explain what it is, the whitehot hatred of his cutesy attempts to placate you after he’s forgotten what a fucking calendar is for the 12th consecutive year despite managing to draft no fewer than 5 fantasy football teams and memorize all of the lines to The Hangover Part III will be hidden behind your pleasant twinkling grin and bright recitation of “next year, even if you don’t remember, you can always look at the cufflinks!”

He will not remember. He will not look at the cufflinks.

They come in two sizes, and the larger size can include your children’s birthdays and it ships with a complimentary thick pillow to scream into and definitely not smother him to death nope

Soap shaped like a grenade or a football or a stock exchange

No, we don’t know why basic hygiene is apparently a feminine thing, but we support you in your efforts to keep him clean!

And that’s not all! We’ve got everything and anything you could possibly want for that special boymanmaleguy who deserves the best

A DIY home beer brewing kit that talks to your wife for you

Some shell casings in an old bourbon barrel

A watch made out of bacon

Beard oil that smells like Yankee Stadium 

A whole bison carcass and a Bowie knife 

A minimalist wallet that is so minimalist it is just a square of microfiber with no pockets


Just enough confidence to try stand-up comedy once

The options are nearly endless. Be the best at gift-giving this year, and not just winning by default because at least one adult male has forgotten to purchase a single present. Happy shopping!

The heavier stuff

Pennsylvania voters and Marsy’s Law

November 4, 2019

This is an off-year in the election cycle, which is to say last year we voted for some Congress members and state and local officials, and next year we vote for President, but this year, at least in Pennsylvania, we vote for… not as much. Please do go ahead and investigate your local elections (school boards matter!) and take a look here if you would like an assessment on the judges who are running for appeals court spots (please read the text with the recommendation), and check where your voting location is in case it changed (mine did!), and just do the civic duty thing. I absolutely understand the general revolution-type feelings of “voting isn’t gonna fix stuff to any significant degree” but to be honest, it frustrates me, because it makes me sound like I can’t care about more than one thing at a time. Which isn’t true! If you know me, you’ll know that I can care about literally every single thing at once and worry about all of them! What was this post about! I don’t remember! I’m just anxious!


You should vote because it does matter, and it is an important right, and honestly because it annoys boomers when young people show up at the polls because then they can’t say “these young people don’t care about our elections!” We do care.

If you’re not here with me in Pennsylvania, you can stop reading, I guess, since you aren’t voting on this. There is a decent chance this topic will come up or has come up in your state, though, and also I’d really like it if you stuck around to read this both because I like to think of myself as important and because it is genuinely important.

If you’re here with me in Pennsylvania, we have one referendum on the ballot that is state-wide: the rest of our votes are for candidates, but this one would alter the state constitution. It is called Marsy’s Law, and its aim is to add a set of victims’ rights to the state constitution. And I’m writing here in an effort to get you to vote against it. Yes, really, against it.

When I began drafting this post in early October (*Baymax voice* I am not fast) this question was on the ballot and not in the courts; that is no longer the case. The ACLU filed to block the question from the ballot altogether, arguing that changes to the Pennsylvania Constitution must be addressed individually, and that this proposed law would enact many at once under the umbrella of “victims’ rights.” The question is currently still on the ballot, but the PA Supreme Court has granted an injunction blocking the law’s enactment should it pass, so November 6th isn’t going to be a huge cataclysmic change regardless of the vote. However, this isn’t any kind of guarantee, and I’d really like to see the state’s voters say no without needing the injunction.

It’s tough to start this conversation mainly because the amendment is for “victims’ rights.” Victims are exactly what they sound like: those harmed by the committing of a crime, and in certain circumstances, the victims’ loved ones. The law is named after victim Marsy Nicholas, who was murdered in 1983 by an ex-boyfriend who stalked and eventually killed her. Her family was devastated, and a week after her death, they saw her killer in the grocery store; he had posted bail and been released pending trial. [I owe you all information on cash bail and why it’s horrific, too, but that is for another time.]

I cannot begin to understand the pain they felt and continue to feel, and my heart reaches out to them, as they are grieving and trying to do good in the world the best they can. Her brother, Dr. Henry T. Nicholas, is a millionaire many times over, and his money has funded the campaigns for this law in many different states. His concerns are valid, and understandable, and I have to believe his heart is in the right place.

Unfortunately, this law is inadequate on several issues of justice, and horribly overreaching in others. All the good intentions in the world don’t change the fact that this is a bad law, and I encourage you not to vote for it.

My first argument for not voting for it always starts here, as it is perhaps the most accessible, regardless of your political leanings: Pennsylvania already has a Victims’ Rights law in place. It has been on the books for decades, and Marsy’s Law in PA as drafted has a significant amount of overlap with the current law. The Crime Victims Act of 1998 already states that “all victims of crime are to be treated with dignity, respect, courtesy, and sensitivity.” It includes many rights, including the right to be accompanied to hearings by a family member or victim advocate; access to information about granting or denial of bail; to not be excluded from proceedings in court unless absolutely necessary; the right to make a statement at sentencing; the right to be notified (when the victim requests it) of any filed appeals and their disposition; the right to participate in parole determinations; and to receive compensation for costs associated with the crime (frequently called “restitution”). That link goes to the law, and there are a whole lot of other provisions, and that kind of stuff is good and important.

“Wait, if we have a law already, what are they doing with this campaign?” Well, this law is drafted so that a “yes” vote would actually amend the State Constitution rather than update a law. Those campaigning for Marsy’s Law state that it is vital to add these provisions to the state constitution, as a simple majority vote could overturn victims’ rights laws. They say it must be added to the constitution so that no one can just vote and overturn it. I get it, but this point is spurious in the extreme: no lawmaker, however heartless, is going to vote to remove a victims’ rights bill. The optics would be terrible, and there’s no benefit to it monetarily: this isn’t a group of lobbyists pushing anyone. That law is staying put. It’s been on the books over 20 years and has not been substantially changed in that time.

“So why argue for a new law at all? Why not just work with this one?” That’s a very good question, and it hasn’t yet been adequately answered. If you need a short answer from me? Money. Money would help a lot. Like many other services for the public good, those who are most vulnerable frequently do not receive them. These kinds of things within the framework of victims’ rights can look like assistance to women testifying against their abusers, both emotional and financial. Victims’ rights can be steamrollered by something as simple as “the victim and witness did not have enough money to get to court on the day.” On my good days, I can understand Henry Nicholas’ desire to protect people like his sister from danger and terror by introducing this bill. On my bad days, I want to sarcastically ask him why hiring Kelsey Grammer to promote this bill on television was a better use of money than donating it to a Legal Aid office or women’s shelter. Laws are important, they are vital, they are the spine of many causes in justice, but they are not the roots; that’s money and effort.

Here’s where it gets a little more difficult as it’s no longer just about procedure.

“Who cares; these people are criminals, and the victims are *victims*, why wouldn’t you want to protect them against these scumbags? Why should criminals get more rights then the people they hurt?” Hoo boy. Okay. So. The first thing is that a lot of this process happens before a conviction: defendants are innocent until proven guilty, and that has to be a component of constructing victims’ rights. Our system is far from perfect because people have prejudices and they lie and there are no witnesses and I could go on for a week. But “innocent until proven guilty” is as good a standard as we can get; if we’re going to change a person’s life forever, we really should be sure that they did the bad thing we’re locking them up for.

And that’s why the phrasing of this law is so fundamentally flawed.

The amendment includes the wording that the rights of victims be protected “in a manner no less vigorous than the rights afforded to the accused,” and that should give you pause. The rights given to the accused, which you are at least familiar with from whatever crime procedural you watch, are important and numerous and guaranteed, and above all, they’re unique. From the point of an arrest forward, a defendant has the potential to be denied freedom, and that denial comes from the state. The government, the country. The most powerful entity nearly everyone will ever come into contact with. The state has the ability to lock you in a small area for the rest of your life. It can take money, it can take time, it can even take your actual existence. Victims are not placed in the same position in this process, and they never will be.

“But these animals are murderers, they do awful stuff, isn’t that a denial of life or whatever you just said?” Yes. It is, it absolutely is. Laws do what they can, but there are still those who will deny the rights of others. But we aren’t animals, and this isn’t the Punisher. That’s what civilization is about; regulating the bad parts of life with a recognition that the biggest powers could destroy everyone and everything if they wanted and it would be legal.

“Okay, but what rights are we talking about here? It’s not a bad thing to notify victims of the court proceedings, why would you oppose this kind of stuff?” A very good question, and there’s a few reasons! Yes, they should be notified of proceedings, and should absolutely be notified of the release of a defendant on bail if a bodily injury crime is involved. And I’m all in favor of many of those, as applied by the 1998 Act; again, it’s not that the laws aren’t there, it’s that they aren’t being used or addressed. I’m very much not in favor of two “rights” in this bill that are not so clear, and they have the potential to be disastrous.

The first is “the right to refuse discovery requests made by the accused.” On its face, this might actually seem just fine. For example, “rape shield” laws exist in order to prevent a defendant from bringing up the victim’s past sexual conduct to be used in a current accusation of assault, and there are certainly other times when particular information about a victim is completely irrelevant to the matter at hand. I, personally, am thinking of every example of an extrajudicial killing of a black person by the police. However, this provision of Marsy’s Law is not even based on relevancy; rather, it addresses the victim’s nebulous right to be treated “with fairness, respect, and dignity.” And if this is a right that is to be enforced “in a manner no less vigorous than the rights of the accused,” what is to stop a victim or their family from turning over crucial evidence or being deposed? There can certainly be objections to requests for documents or information or any other discovery, but you can object to them under the same standards currently in place. Say that they are irrelevant, or that their probative value is likely to be more prejudicial than helpful in the case, and allow an advocate or lawyer or family member to attend depositions. The answer cannot be that “victims’ rights” lets you reject a discovery request as being against “respect and dignity.” And I’m not saying that this doesn’t matter! I’m saying that it could not be more vague, and vagueness in laws gets people hurt or locked up for things they didn’t do.

The second issue that truly gives me pause is “the right to proceedings free from delay.” In my most charitable reading of this provision, this section is redundant, as the right to a speedy trial is already a guaranteed right for the accused, and the victim is involved in the same case. In my most bitter and skeptical reading, this provision asks for final determinations of guilt and to prevent appeals from reaching the bench. I can absolutely understand the frustration in appeals; my civil clients with relatively low-stakes matters are furious when the opposing party chooses to appeal, and I don’t blame them. You think the case is done and you can move forward, and then the other party appeals and you have to do this all over again. And these are very small civil matters; victims will have to relive some very awful things that happened to them, and I truly feel for them.

But that’s where I have to stop, because the rights of the accused still outrank any “victim’s rights.” Appeals are filed for a number of reasons, and many of them are important and vital. Again, we are a civilization, and if a sentenced defendant brings up the possibility that justice was not properly served, we have to listen. There’s no good way to do this without possibly hurting a victim, but it has to be done. If a conviction rests on wrong evidence, or flawed procedure, or ineffective counsel, the case has to be reopened. No one can sit in jail or live with a criminal record because it could hurt a victim to readdress the case. The number of innocent people released in recent years should give you pause; I don’t want yet another roadblock put up to correctly served justice.

Friends, this bill is at best vague and at worst dangerous, and the victims’ resources already exist. Let’s fund them. Let’s publicize them. Let’s drive people to their PSA hearings. Let’s eliminate cash bail. Let’s educate on internalized prejudices. Let’s alleviate poverty. Let’s not throw money and support behind a posturing law because it sounds good. We may currently be abandoning those in need, but they aren’t the people on the ads. Please vote against this constitutional amendment. Please vote “NO.”

Nerding, Personal

Beauty Trends for a Woman Who Doesn’t Wanna

October 15, 2019

Hey there! Have you wanted to participate in the newest beauty trends, or even just start building your Daily Look, but you don’t know what to do because you’re a swamp thing?

I can relate!

Not too long ago, I was just like you: puffy eyeskin, violently smeared mascara, concealer that isn’t my skin tone, hair that was housing a family of voles or at least looked like it, etc. BUT NOW, I’m even WORSE, I’ve just embraced it. And I’m here to share my tips with all of you!


Trend: using a shimmery, dewy highlight of makeup on certain portions of your face to enhance its appeal and its glow; popular sections include cheekbones, the bridge of the nose, and the hairline

My version: get an enormous cystic pimple on your cheekbone. pop it, and just fuckin’ walk around like that, you goddamn Creature from the Black Lagoon

Are you hoping to look like a dolphin who is also a Kardashian, but all you have is acne? Not to worry! Just aggressively dig at those bumps on strategic parts of your face in order to highlight where you’re an absolute mess and cannot even be bothered to put effective concealer on your zits. Or, for the advanced course, take time in the morning to apply concealer and then scrape it all off with your claws. You’re basically Dr. Pimple Popper with no medical license or appeal.

Matte lipstick

Trend: lipstick in long-wearing, satin and matte shades, which frequently comes in a liquid form and can be in unusual colors (forest green, cobalt, black)

My version: allow pieces of your meals to remain in your teeth for 6 waking hours

Are you wishing you could get that Cher Horowitz kind of attention drawn to your mouth, but don’t have a steady hand with a liquid lipstick in a deep green? Just eat a salad with baby spinach in it and never look in a mirror like a normal adult and then just walk around with a leaf front and center like a goddamn giraffe. Draw attention to your mouth. What dat mouth do? Inefficiently chew, baby.

Smokey eye

Trend: the original, the gorgeous – a combination of liner, mascara, and eyeshadow that creates a lovely array of darker shades around the eyes; perfect for an evening out, it allows your eyes to truly shine, especially emphasizing their color

My version: put mascara on, forget you have it, and then just rub your eyes exhaustedly because life is just really too difficult all of the time

Does your look say “exhausted,” but you’d also like it to say “trash-eating raccoon”? Just apply your eyeliner and mascara as usual, schedule an afternoon breakdown, wash your hands, and then dig those babies right into your orbital bones. Mortar-and-pestle the hell out of that eye makeup until Smokey the Bear has to show up to post a forest fire risk alert.

“Ow, this hurts, should we be getting the makeup in our actual eyes???” I’m sorry, is this amateur hour? Of course it has to go in your eyes. If you aren’t already crying, this will make it happen. You should be crying.

Highlight single section of hair

Trend: one white streak of hair like Anna from “Frozen,” or Richard Madden, or Stacy London from “What Not to Wear”

My version: use way too much dry shampoo and just refuse to blend it

Have you ever wished your hair could make a statement? Do you want that statement to be “depressed Bride of Frankenstein”? Look no further! All you need to do is fail to shower for several days, let your hair turn into a tumbleweed of grease, and then spray some stark-white shampoo on it. That’s it! No brushing required or allowed.

Spice this up by continually shopping for the “perfect” dry shampoo that absorbs all your oil without leaving the white cast on your hair instead of taking the fifteen goddamn minutes to shower. You’re right, maybe this travel-sized Batiste bottle (because God forbid you commit to anything enough to buy the full size, you disgrace) will be the one that can fool everyone into thinking you’re a legitimate participating member of society. What’s this one called, Blush? “Floral and Flirty”? Sure, just spray that directly onto your scalp like it’s holy water washing away your sins.

De-puffing your eye area

Trend: caffeine in serums, refrigerating skincare, jade rollers

My version: attack it coming from the other direction by just crying super hard and then sleeping

Do you watch the Will Smith masterpiece, “Hitch,” and wish you could look like he does during his allergic reaction? Not actually allergic to anything? Follow me into a wonderful habit called “crying so hard you think you may have come around full circle and made your eyes not puffy.” That’s right, if you use my deeply flawed logic and lifestyle, you can cling to the hope that eye puffiness is not a line but a circle, and if you get the water retention of the thin eyelid super incorrect it’ll just spin around like a metaphor in Inception and you’ll have de-puffed eyes. Be sure to do the hardest crying immediately before lying down to sleep. Optimally you will still have tears leaking into the pillow, but don’t worry if you can’t hit the advanced course just yet.

Trendy, unexpected nail polish and patterns

Trend: party nail, unusual neutrals, reverse French manicures, fun shapes, not being a cuticle-tearing piece of shit

My version: being a cuticle-tearing piece of shit

Do you want to try some new beauty trends, but you’re worried about your face looking silly? Just follow me, and ignore your face while gnawing your fingertips like a starved beaver eating corn on the cob until everyone won’t even notice your face because your hands look so terrible. Do you work a 9-5 desk job, but want to look like you’re a malnourished peasant child in January of 1840 working as an apprentice stone mason? Just put your fingers to your face and go to town. Moisturizer is for chumps and quitters.

Air-drying your hair

Trend: ease up on hairdryer, straightener, and curling iron use and let your hair dry over time; with still-wet hair, add a product designed specifically to use in air-dried styles and let your hair do its thing; don’t dry it aggressively with a towel as that will make it frizz, instead use a t-shirt as a towel and wrap your hair in it while you sleep

My version: do all of those things but just never leave your bed because you’re a sea slug

Does air-drying your hair sound pretty ideal because it doesn’t take much effort? Do you want to pretend to be “protecting your hair from too much heat, you know?” but really you don’t even own a hair dryer? Do you forget where you left your straightener because the last time you used it was probably during the Obama presidency? Do I own a curling iron? No, really, I don’t know?

Then go ahead and purchase a styling gel or cream that is supposed to be used on air-dried hair! There are plenty of options, and all of them will be about 75% good for your hair. Distribute the product evenly, grab an old, soft t-shirt, and wrap your hair with it. Make your way off to sleep, and when you wake up, you’ll be able to admire your natural-looking hair right before you eat a Pop-Tart and go immediately back to bed like the fragile, sad coral you are. Don’t go outside. Don’t take a selfie. Just vaguely pet your hair until slumber and malaise retake you.

Laser-hair removal

Trend: paying for treatments which zap the root of the hair so it cannot regrow and you don’t have to spend time shaving or waxing or anything

My version: sometimes remembering to shave while longing for colder months

Are you exhausted by shaving your legs constantly? Just stop doing that and wear more pants. Not as like, an aesthetic or political feminist choice, but as a lazy, barely-functioning person who likes smooth legs but finds effort difficult. Buy pants and aim for November.


Trend: maintain a fuller but precise eyebrow through regular waxes, tweezing, and microblading; fill out any patchy areas with your brow product of choice after combing the hairs

My version: *wheezing through laughter and sobs* I’m supposed to what??

I bought a Maybelline pencil and I try not to yank on my eyebrow hairs I’m basically Allure magazine


Trend: making an effort

My version: No


A more honest FAQ page of the FTC Equifax Settlement website

August 3, 2019

(Here’s the real one, if you’d like to read it)

This is definitely not advice in any way and things might change very quickly and no, I don’t know what you should do other than walk directly into the sea, which I personally have not ruled out as an option. Everything is bad, submit your claim or opt out or fake your own death and move to a wooded area, it doesn’t matter. I am grumpy and we should eat the rich and I don’t particularly like being a product, but I do like to write as a mediocre way to process my feelings.

I also realize that the FTC and Equifax are not one and the same, but there is their cooperation in this settlement and that in and of itself is yikes, but I do kinda wander around a bit with who I’m identifying in this post. Also of course this is not legal advice, a thing I shouldn’t have to say, but I’m saying it.


1.When will the claims process start?

It started already, you greedy punks. You’ve got till January of 2020 to file and get your stupid like, 21 cents of settlement money. Vultures, all of you. Why do you think you deserve to be compensated when the information from the breach hasn’t been found anywhere on the dark web? Oh, you say “right but I had to freeze all my credit and worry about things and my information still isn’t safe and the linear passage of time creates the possibility that my identity could be stolen and misused in the future”? It is goddamn a-DOR-able that you think we care even a little and frankly we zoned out after you said “information.”

2. When is the deadline to file a claim?

What, are you gonna file twice? You have till January, like we just fuckin’ said, but you definitely filed already, didn’t you, because you’re so desperate for that money to spend on PopSockets or avocado toast or whatever the hell you guys like now. In fact, write us an essay about what you’re gonna use the money for, and we’ll give you some if we like your answer. 500 word minimum, but we’re not gonna read past the second sentence.

3. When will I get my benefits?

When you pay for them. LOL, just kidding, not like last time. Totally different than when we gave you a free year of stuff and then tried to make you pay for it after that while also trapping you into binding arbitration. We’re the New and Morally Improved Equifax.

What was the question? Oh, right, when will you get the stuff you asked for.

*shrug* when they tell us we have to give them to you? It’s January 23, 2020, at the earliest, and you know that means “not January 23, 2020” so have fun waiting for that during the holiday season and whatever else you’re doing, we don’t care, not even a little.

4. How will I get my benefits?

Well, if you *snort* asked for actual money *giggle* we can send you a check that will be worth less than the stamp it required to mail it, or you can get a *wild laughing* debit card. Oh, my God, please take a selfie video of you trying to use that debit card, and the card not working, and everyone getting frustrated at you for trying to use a debit card with twenty cents on it.

5. I thought I could choose $125 instead of free credit monitoring. What happened?

Well, the settlement inexplicably set aside a total of $31 million for alternative (read: cash, which is apparently alternative now? words mean nothing) payments, despite fucking over half of America with this breach. If the fund did pay out $125 to each claimant looking for the equivalent of a decent pair of sneakers for the egregious loss of their most personal data, it would be empty before we hit 250,000 people. We have labeled this response “overwhelming,” because we’re fucking incompetent, and we don’t know how to do math or relate to people.

The free credit monitoring offers a much better value, if you don’t already have it because of the dozens of security breaches all of these institutions have suffered, and at least one source is saying it’s being offered by Experian, which is not Equifax, so you don’t have to worry there! And definitely don’t ask if Experian or anyone else is getting paid to do the monitoring ha ha ha who would do that

But yes! This monitoring! It will protect you and your information and your identity!

6. Wouldn’t the offer of a credit freeze be a much better way of accomplishing this protection?

We do not understand the question! Ha ha!

7. Why is it not automatically free to place a credit freeze?

We do not understand the question! You are guaranteed 4 years of monitoring at each of the three credit bureaus! 4 years! That is more than 3 years!

8. Right, but rather than a freeze, which is just a hard backstop against fraud unless you affirmatively unlock it, the free credit monitoring is a gamble on the consumer’s part that it works and actually catches an attempt to open credit that you didn’t authorize-

Why would ANYONE not want to continue to open lines of credit!!! We do not understand! The fact that we get money when credit histories are pulled is completely unrelated to our bone-deep dislike of credit freezes!

9. *enormous sigh* I’d like to change my claim to get free credit monitoring instead of a cash payment. Can I do that, or in the alternative, be permitted to punch one of your executives in the face?

Of course you can! That’s the spirit! You’re gonna get an email if you picked the cash and it’s gonna say “hey so what credit monitoring do you already have” and then you’re gonna say “I have a structured settlement, but I need cash NOW” just kidding that’s JG Wentworth just a little hip humor for you kids. Oh, and if you want to stick with the cash, you have to give us more information about your credit monitoring and we promise to be good with it and definitely not get hacked and then have to offer you more free credit monitoring like some monstrous financial ouroboros which you’ll endure until you die.

Ha ha!

10. How much of the settlement fund can be used to pay claims for time spent dealing with the data breach? Can I just submit a bill with my hourly rate, you soul-sucking profit-prioritizing complicit ghoulish assho-

Ohhhkay let’s stop you right there. But yes, you can submit a claim for time spent getting credit monitoring or dealing with a fraudulent charge or any of the myriad ways this breach could have screwed you. You will be able to get a whole $25/hour for this! If you spent more than ten hours though, we want proof. Oh, and if you paid for anything we will need receipts.

What was the question? Oh, right

Remember that $31 million? Yeah the hourly stuff and the stuff you paid for is coming out of that too. We will slice this pie so thin you’ll be able to see us laughing at you through it.

11. *sharp inhale* did ANYONE with ANY amount of experience or skill or knowledge of even basic fractions look at this settlement or was it thought up by vindictive, drunk toddlers?

This seems like a trick question! But, yes, toddlers. We didn’t let them nap, either, before they drew this up. We really, really don’t like the idea of people getting money.

12. Equifax literally earns money by selling our information. Your revenue in 2017 was $3.36 billion. And that new CEO you hired can get up to $4.5 million in salary and bonuses and has $17 million in stock options. You didn’t even double the value of his stock options for the whole cash settlement you planned to offer. Are we a joke to you?

Mostly, yeah.

13. *rubs eyes tiredly* I’m not sure I was affected by the data breach. How can I find out?

Flip a coin, honestly. It was half of you.

14. What else can I do?

There’s a whole other website with different FAQs, if you still have the will to live. It includes the very complicated process for doing literally anything else other than signing up.

Oh, and you could refinance. Or get a car loan. Or do anything that lets us back into your life to an uncomfortable degree. See you next time!