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Jokes and Sass

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

JUST LEMME RAGE REAL QUICK ON THIS ONE

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

GOV. WOLF: OH REALLY YOU BREATHE HARD WHEN YOU WORK OUT AREN’T YOU FUCKIN’ SPECIAL WE HAVE A HUNDRED AND TWELVE STATE PARKS WHERE YOU CAN FUCKIN’ TAKE TO THE WOODS AND BREATHE HARD ON A FUCKIN’ DEER OUT THERE IF IT’S SO DIFFICULT TO MAKE IT THROUGH *SHOULDERS DAY* WITH SOME *FABRIC* OVER YOUR FUCKIN’ PERFECT *FACE*

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.

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

ALSO

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

Therapy

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!