Category Archives: Posts that will get me hate mail

She’s much better at drawing cats now. About the same with Hitlers though.

I wrote this over a year ago but I never published it because it got lost in my draft folder, but I’ve been recovering from food poisoning and I’m at that woozy stage where I think everything is funny or horrible and I’m pretty sure this is both.  

Conversation with Victor (and Hailey):

Me: Did you see what your daughter made?

Victor: No, but I already resent what you’re implying.

Me: I haven’t said anything bad yet.

Victor: Well, you called her “your daughter”.  I see where this is headed and I don’t like it.  You only call her my daughter when she breaks something.

Me: Not true.  She’s my daughter when she sets something on fire, or when she runs into a wall that’s always been there.  She’s your daughter when she does things I’d never do. So guess what your daughter did?

Victor: She left the toilet seat up?

Me: Nope.  Genocide.

Victor: Um…what?

Me: Or “promoted” genocide, I guess?  I don’t want to jump to conclusions.  I’m just saying that it’s a slippery slope and I’m concerned.

Victor: No. Start over.  Make sense this time.

Me: Fine. Your daughter made this at school:

hitler and friend

Victor: A lunch-sack puppet?

Me: OF HITLER.

Victor: What…?  It’s not…  Well.  It does look a little like Hitler.

me: No, it looks a lot like Hitler.

Victor: Hitler doesn’t strike me as a waver.

Me: Maybe he’s Heiling.

Victor: What?

Me: Or whatever the active verb for “heil” is.  I DON’T KNOW THE VERB TENSES FOR THE THIRD REICH, VICTOR.

Victor:  Right. So did you ask her if it was Hitler?

Me: She said it was a man they read about in school but she couldn’t remember his name.

Victor: Why is there a cat glued on him?

Me: She said that he was lonely and that’s why he was so grumpy, so she made him a cat.

Victor: Well, that does sound like it could be Hitler.

Me: Which is why I’m concerned.

Victor: Did Hitler even own cats?

Me: Already ahead of you. According to the Internet he did have a cat, but then he ate it..

Victor: Hitler ate his cat?

Me: Well, apparently. I googled “Did Hitler have a cat?” and the internet said this:

I wouldnt put it past him

Victor: You wrote that answer yourself, didn’t you?

Me: No, and now I don’t like what you’re implying. Anyway, Hitler was a mass-murdering asshole so I don’t think it’s entirely outside the realm of possibility that the man ate a few cats in his time.

Victor: Hailey, can you come to the kitchen?

Hailey: Yep?

Victor: Is this Hitler?

Hailey: What?

Me: Answer your father, sweetie. Is this puppet of Hitler, and did you make him this cat to eat?

Victor: ENOUGH WITH THE CAT EATING, JENNY.

Hailey: That’s Mr. Putter. He likes trains and cakes.

Me: Cakes made of cats?

Victor: Drop it.

Hailey: I don’t know who Hitler is. That’s Mr. Putter from the Mr. Putter books. He doesn’t eat cats.

Me: Good. And you know it’s never okay to eat cats, right?

Hailey: Uh…yeah?

Me: And genocide. That’s frowned upon too.

Hailey: Huh?

Victor: Okay, I think that’s enough for today.

Me: Well, I think this is a teachable moment.

Victor: Well, I think she can wait until she’s nine to learn not to commit genocide.

Me: Fine. But just remember this if it comes back to bite us later.

Victor: Because she might dabble in genocide before she turns nine?

Hailey: What’s a genderside?

Me: Nothing important, apparently. I’ll just add it to the list of things to tell you when you’re older. “Menstruation and Genocide.” That’s gonna be one hell of a talk.

Hailey: You guys are weird.

And that’s how we decided (as a parenting unit) that we would wait until Hailey was nine before we taught her about genocide and why it’s not okay to eat cats.

Because, apparently, that’s just good parenting.

PS.  I just looked up this Mr. Putter character and apparently there’s a whole series of books about him.  And – I shit you not – this is one:

Full circle, y’all.

Bravery by any other name.

Last week I posted a video of me face-planting into the water.  I thought I’d dip my toe in but then I realized how cold it was so I tried to back out but the water was not cooperating because it was all “I’m a not solid, idiot.  You can’t push off of me” and I was like “JESUS LIED TO ME”.   (Turns out I just wasn’t reading that part of the Bible well enough and I guess only Moses and Jesus could keep from falling into pools.)

Hailey recorded my ridiculous plunge and insisted I share the video online, and since she’s always letting me post pictures of her it seemed only fair.

I tried to embed it here but it doesn’t work so you have watch it here.  Or here’s a series of stills if you can’t watch videos of children laughing at their parents:

faceplant

But what was weird was that someone called me “brave” for posting a video of me in a bathing suit.  First I thought they were just trying to insult me but then I realized that they weren’t.  I asked twitter, “Did we change the word ‘brave’ when I wasn’t looking?  ‘Brave’ is for saving orphans from a burning building made of bees.  Wearing a bathing suit to swim is ‘normal’.

Most of twitter agreed.  My friend Popehat added, “Honestly I think it was questionable judgement to house the orphans in the bee building in the first place.”

Other’s disagreed.  Like Justin Gibbs who countered, “Please use more realistic metaphors.  Everyone knows buildings made with bees are fire resistant.”

And then I went on to talk about diseased popsicles (later renamed Poxiclespatent pending) but later I was dragged back into the conversation by a few women who pointed out that to some, posting a video of themselves in a bathing suit would be much less frightening than running into a burning bee building.  This sounds a bit insane.

But they were absolutely right.

We all have weird fears.  Some of them are universal.  Some of them are odd.  All of them are valid as emotions even if they are irrational.  I don’t have a problem with a video of me in a bathing suit because I’m old enough to not care anymore…but I have an anxiety disorder sometimes makes me terrified to leave the house.  It’s completely irrational, but it’s me.  But sometimes the thing that gets me out of the house is seeing how easily everyone else does it.  They leave their room.  They talk to people.  They come home.  No one laughs at them.  They don’t think what they do is brave, but to me it’s inspiring.

So maybe that’s the way it is for some women in bathing suits.  I could tut-tut at them but being afraid of having your flaws exposed isn’t nearly as crazy as being afraid you might have to make small talk with the mailman, so I think we’re probably even.  We’re all a little crazy.  We’re all irrationally afraid of something.  We all project our own fears onto others sometimes.

So I’ll keep wearing my bathing suit if you keep leaving the house.  And maybe with time you’ll realize that posting an awkward faceplant into the water while your child video-tapes it and laughs hysterically at you is way more embarrassing than being an imperfect woman wearing appropriate swimming attire.  And maybe in time I’ll realize that strangers aren’t going to eat me, and that leaving the house is fun and good for me even when every molecule in my body screams otherwise.

Let’s go outside.  And talk to the mailman.  In our bathing suits.  And set bees on fire so we can rescue orphans from them.  Pick one.

We can work up to the scary ones together.

Toilet Leprechauns: Probably the Pandora’s Box of our Generation. (I added the “probably” so they can’t sue me for libel.)

David Sedaris once wrote that he often asks people waiting for his autograph questions like, “If you saw a leprechaun on the toilet would you run away or know that he meant you no harm?” and now that question haunts me.

Personally, I’d be pretty sure that anyone standing on the toilet meant to harm me because why else is he waiting to jump me in the bathroom, but I think I’d still stay because when else are you going to get the opportunity to hang with a leprechaun? Even if it murdered you it would be awesome. Not for you, I guess, but for your descendants. “DEATH BY LEPRECHAUN” it would say on my death certificate. I’d star in our family legends for decades.

The problem is that I don’t actually know what death by leprechaun looks like, and you never see a leprechaun fingered for murder so I suspect no one would know the magnificent sacrifice I made. My guess is that leprechauns just make your death look like a heart attack. We’re probably spending all this reasearch money on heart disease when really we should be focusing on leprechaun prevention.

In fact, my grandmother might have died from leprechauns. They said she died from hepatitis but who’s to say she didn’t get that hepatitis from a leprechaun? Who knows where diseases come from? Flu, hantavirus, yellow fever, leprosy, anthrax…we might have gotten the whole lot from infected toilet leprechauns.

That’s probably why my mom always made me put toilet paper on the seat before sitting on a public toilet. Because you never know how many infectious leprechauns just came out of it.

I’d like to think David Sedaris and I would be friends. Or that he’d put a restraining order on me.

Either way, we’d have a real connection, and that’s all that matters.

PS. Spellcheck is trying to tell me that “leprechauns” isn’t even a real word.  Nice try, leprechauns.  I don’t know how you infiltrated spellcheck but I’m not falling for it, assholes.

Why don’t we just call it “sauce”?

So, turns out I’ve been saying the word “ragoût” wrong for my entire life, but that’s fine because I’ve never actually said the word out loud until I had to help Hailey practice a million spelling words, and then Victor was like “Seriously?  Did you just say ‘rag out‘?  That’s not even a word.  It’s pronounced “ragú“.  Which seems insane, because I was like “No, that’s a brand-name” but turns out that “ragú” may have come from “ragoût” and they’re pronounced the same, which is just intentionally confusing if you ask me.

Anyway, today Hailey competed in her second spelling bee and she did fantastic. She came in 4th, and by round 20 she was the youngest person left and the last girl standing.  It was farther than I’d have gotten and we were very proud.

That's my kid.  She's a bad-ass.

That’s my kid. She’s a bad-ass.

The mom sitting next to me patted my arm consolingly when Hailey left the stage but I shrugged and said, “Meh.  It’s not her fault she didn’t know the word.  Frankly, I blame drugs.”  She looked a little uncomfortable, but in my defense, the word Hailey missed was “hydroponic” and I only know that word because of pot.  Maybe if pot was legalized in Texas she’d be exposed to it more and would have won.  After all, exposure to illegal drugs can limit your learning potential, but apparently so can a lack of exposure to illegal drugs.

I guess my point is that I blame myself.  And drugs.  And Texas.

PS.  Victor thinks it’s weird that weed is the first thing that comes to mind when I hear “hydroponic” so I asked twitter, and (aside from several people venturing “Water pony?”) most everyone else is saying “Pot.  Please share.”  Also, quite a few people are saying “DISNEYLAND” for some reason.  I suspect that means they’re high already.  Or very, very sheltered.  Much like my daughter, who now wants a water pony.

PPS.  I was just looking up “ragout” and wikipedia gives two recipes.  One starts with “Take a quantity of pig’s ears and boil one half in wine and the other water.”  The other recipe includes lamb’s testicles and boiled cock combs. It ends with the instruction: “Use it when called for.”  Who is purposely calling for this?  

An open letter to the Girl Scouts: UPDATED (AGAIN)

UPDATED BELOW:

My daughter, Hailey, has been in Girl Scouts for years.  I was never a big fan of Girl Scouts but I am a giant supporter of my kid and if she likes Girl Scouts then we will be at every damn meeting while I huddle in the corner of the room, smiling at the other mothers while unsuccessfully pretending my social anxiety disorder isn’t completely obvious to everyone.

And, for the most part, it’s quite lovely.  Except for twice.  One of those things I’m still working on and will write about soon because I can’t do it without screaming a lot.  The other can’t wait because girl scout cookies go on sale tomorrow and I have serious reservations.

I contacted the CEO who told me to email the social media team, but so far I have no good answers so I’m just going to put this letter on my blog and maybe it will cause someone in head office to say, “This lady is 18 kinds of wrong.  Let’s straighten her out right now, and make sure that we answer people when they badger us because they might be psychopaths with blogs.”  Or maybe it will cause someone in the head office to say, “YES.  YOU ARE EXACTLY RIGHT AND WE CAN DO BETTER.”  Or maybe they’ll say, “Your daughter is kicked out of Girl Scouts.  Good luck starting your own club, loser.”  And that would be unfortunate but I’ve promised Hailey that if it does happen I will help her create the “What-If-Doctor-Who-Went-To-Night-Vale-and-then-the-Zombie-Apocolypse-Happened Prep Club” and she was mollified.

Now, enough preamble…here’s the letter:

Hi there. My name is Jenny Lawson and I’m having some issues I can’t seem to get answers to.

My daughter is 10 and has loved Girl Scouts for years but there are a few issues we have concerning cookie sales and I’ve been unable to get a straight answer from anyone I’ve contacted. Two issues:

1. I’ve read on the Girl Scouts website that the current pension deficit issue will cause most local councils to see a 40% increase in pension expenses starting the day girl scout cookies go on sale, and a 62% increase over the next three years. According to the girl scout.org site “For many Girl Scout councils, this means that the pension expense will suck up money that would normally go toward operating expenses such as staff salaries and benefits, camp maintenance, outreach programs for at-risk girls, scholarship support for low-income girls, and general programming.

I know you’re currently trying to get congress to grant legislation to help you but I haven’t heard of any progress on that, so I’m under the impression that as it stands, cookie sales that previously went to scholarships and camp maintenance will now be used to pay pension debt.  I’m reading of many historic camps that are being closed or sold.  It’s a concern for many reasons, but particularly because the girls in our troop were always able to say that cookie sales help at-risk girls and support community camps. We haven’t been able to get any verbiage to respond to people who will ask why girl scout camps are being sold and whether the councils will be able to support scholarships as they have in the past.

2. The digital cookie sales that will allow girl scouts to sell online starting this year: From what I’ve read online, if my daughter sells a box of cookies to her nana online, her nana will be charged $4 for the cookies and $11.25 for shipping. So of the $15+ sale for one box of cookies my daughters troop will see about 60 cents. Is that right? Was that the most competitive shipping price available? Were there other bids?

Also, I’ve heard there is a handling fee of $1.25 if you pay online but have the girl scout deliver the cookies to you. Why is that, when the girls offer free personal delivery when ordering in person?  (I’ve also seen it called a “credit card fee” for girl scout delivery, but that number seems incredibly high if it’s a processing fee, and credit card surcharge fees are illegal in our state.)   Does the girl scout troop get the delivery fee?  Do people who buy boxes online but donate them to the official Girl Scout charity have to pay those fees as well?

I hate to be nit-picky but it seems like an extremely questionable business model and my daughter has been taught by the Girl Scouts to ask questions when you think something is wrong, and to make good financial decisions, so that’s why we’re asking you for a real response so we can make a decision on whether her time is best spent selling cookies, or doing something with a greater return to her community.

Hailey is currently working toward her Bronze Award, focusing on the Girl Scouts Journey which concentrates on stopping harmful gender stereotypes, and one of the inequities we’ve discussed ourselves is that, on average, women often accept and are paid less than their male counterparts. We looked at the breakdowns and agreed that this years cookie sales program undervalues her contribution, but we also thought it was important to voice our concerns, to work hard to make sure we understood the reasoning and facts, and to try to make this organization a stronger one by asking the hard questions. I hope that you’ll be able to answer us before cookies go on sale.

As always, good luck.

~ Jenny Lawson

UPDATED (day 2): First off, HAPPY NEW YEAR!  Secondly, thanks for the great feedback.  It’s both relieving and disconcerting to see that so many of us have the same concerns, but I think that’s a really helpful thing for the Girl Scouts to know.   The good news is that last night the Girl Scouts twitter account said they’d touch base with us after the holidays, and this morning the CEO (Anna M. Chávez) DMed me to say they’d follow up with us tomorrow.  Hopefully they’ll have a good response explaining the details, or expounding on how they plan to improve in either deed, transparency or communications. It’s not ideal, but it’s a step in a good direction and hopefully one that will make the organization stronger.

Also, Hailey has decided to pass on the online sales thing this year, but my sweet daughter will probably be one of those excited young girl scouts manning a cookie booth outside a grocery story because she loves being an extrovert (I suspect she was switched at birth) so please keep in mind that the little girls asking for sales are not privy to -or responsible for- all of these complicated issues and should never be yelled at for their excitement. It’s fine to say “Sure, I love Do-Si-Dos” or “No, thanks” but yelling at small children isn’t really kosher. I know I probably don’t have to say this out loud for any regular reader with common sense, but just in case this gets to someone who isn’t a regular, please remember that children are children and are affected by your interactions.

If you’ve read my book you’ll know that already because my dedication page reads:

jenny lawson book

In other words, that shit sticks, so be nice to small children. That’s just basic human decency.

I’ll keep you posted on what I hear.  Also, Hailey was extremely excited to hear how many of you were interested in the Doctor Who/Zombie/Night Vale Club.  She’s designing a logo right now.  No dues.  Requirements: Be kind to one another.  And always carry a towel.  (We just finished The HitchHikers Guide to the Galaxy.  ‘Nuff said.)

PS. Some of you are saying that the shipping is for a case at a time and that you can’t order less than 6 boxes at a time, but I just checked it myself and was able to place an order for one box of cookies.  It was $11.25 shipping.  Also, it looks like if you choose to have your local girl scout deliver it or if you donate the cookies to the USO you’ll be paying a “handling fee” for online orders.

Here’s the breakdown:

S&H

Click image to embiggen.

 UPDATED (Day 3):  So, I don’t know what to tell you.  I was told the Girl Scouts would follow up with us today, but when I sent a tweet reminding them that we were promised a response, the Girl Scouts twitter account (very sweetly) said their Chief Digital Cookie Lead had sent me an email this morning.  I searched everywhere but turns out she sent an email to some random woman whose email is nothing like mine.  I asked their twitter person to just forward it to my email but they said the Digital Cookie Lead would have to do that and “she’s out of the office on holiday but should follow up soon.”

My response to them:

“I appreciate the thought.  Honestly though, I’m so disappointed.  Hundreds of people who are involved in Girl Scouts are on my blog asking for answers and no one representing the Girl Scouts has responded to any of our concerns, and more keep arising.

At this point I have to assume that the lack of a good answer is our answer and that’s very disheartening.

Also, I realize you personally are not the entire Girl Scout Organization and your hands are probably tied yourself, but if you have the ability to pass this up to someone who will listen it would be nice to know that these concerns are at least known.  Responsive and effective communications, transparency, and dialogue are so important.

Also, as a suggestion: Perhaps next year the online sales program should not be launched on the same week that the Digital Cookie Lead responsible for it is off on holiday.

I wish you good luck and I hope that these issues can be resolved in the future. I know you’ll agree that our girls deserve that.”

If any real response ever comes I’ll pass it on here.  Until then I’ll be buying Thin Mints because I like the cookies and love to see happy kids giddy over making a sale, but not necessarily because I think its a good investment in the girls.

UPDATED (Day 5):  Just got an email from the Girl Scout Social Media team.  It answers a few questions very well, is vague on others, ignores some altogether, and a few of the answers seem questionable, but frankly I’m just happy to see that someone is paying attention and responding.  I’ve also invited them to come here to respond to your questions.   Thanks for hanging in there, you guys.  And thanks for pushing for answers.  At least a few of them are here, and that feels like a small victory for all of us.  :

Response from the Girl Scouts Social Media Account (January 5th):

Dear Jenny,

Thanks for reaching out to express your concerns and apologies in the delay in repsonse over the holiday.

As you know, the Girl Scout mission is to build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. It is a shared goal of our movement to maximize the dollars available to serve girls.

Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) made great effort over the past year working nationally with councils on two separate relief efforts to ease the financial burden stemming from the liability in the National Girl Scout Council Retirement Plan.

In April 2014, we were able to announce that GSUSA had officially signed an agreement with the IRS as fiduciary of the Council Pension Plan to extend the amortization period by more than four years. President Obama also signed into law H.R. 4275, a relief package unanimously passed by Congress that will smooth out council contributions over the next three years by allowing council pension plans to go back under the Pension Protection Act. Girl Scout councils and supporters nationwide united to contact over 100 Congressional offices, and wrote over 1,000 letters. The legislative support for the movement is truly historic—in fact, only 0.3 percent of Senate bills (three other bills) had such a high level of support. In addition to relief efforts, GSUSA included $1M in its Fiscal Year 2015 budget for pension assistance to councils participating in the National Girl Scout Council Retirement Plan.

To share a bit about our movement’s structure, each of the 112 Girl Scout councils have their own nonprofit status, budgets, operating models, camps, programmatic offerings, and cookie selling periods. Financial decisions such as whether or not to sell or close a camp based on usage, costs, and other camp property, are made by each local council.

The Girl Scout Cookie Program has been providing girls with educational and confidence-building experiences since the first recorded cookie sale in 1917. In keeping with tradition, the revenue from cookie sales will continue to benefit individual girl scouts. While a council may at times tap cookie money for core expenses like programming or staffing, the primary beneficiary is the girls, who decide how to spend their troop cookie money to reinvest in their communities and to have new learning experiences.

As Digital Cookie is a brand new initiative, we can understand that people need to become more familiar with the ins and outs. Shipping costs are in line with established industry standards from reputable companies, and comparable to what customers would pay to ship cookies. With time, we hope that the scale of sales through this part of the program will drive down the costs of shipping and handling.

We would like to assure you that Girl Scouts is committed to bringing girls a dynamic, exciting, and, most of all, FUN Girl Scout experience—one they cannot get anywhere else.

Thanks again for seeking clarification. We’re working to update our website and hope this note has addressed your concerns. Best wishes to your daughter, we hope she has a ah-mazing year with her troop!

And so there we are.  What have we learned?  We learned that the pension issue could have been answered a month ago when our troop first sent letters asking what it meant and then I wouldn’t have written this post in the first place.  But I did, and it was good because looking at the comments you can see real issues…some that we can change and others that we can’t.  We know that often the issues we think we struggle with alone are actually far-reaching, and are worthy of addressing.  We’ve learned that a large corporation cannot be all things to all people, and that the success of your troop depends almost entirely on the skills and choices of your specific troop, leaders, volunteers and local council.   We’ve learned that no one really knows entirely what is going on.  (I suspect we already knew that.)

But the thing I learned the most through all of this is that the woman who started the girl scouts was a bad-ass who looked like she would kill you and eat you if you messed with her or her girls.

Juliette Gordon Low

There wasn’t a commercial cookie program when she was around (aside from sporadic bake sales of homemade cookies) and I suspect if she was around now she’d be asking a lot of these same questions, and pointing to her 1917 quote on the importance of “Thriftiness” being taught to girl scouts:

“The most valuable thing we have in this life is time, and most girls are apt to be rather stupid about getting the most out of it….Money is a very useful thing to have.” ~ Juliette Gordon Low

Of course, this was a woman who found out that her dead husband willed all of his money to his mistress and she was like, “Aw, HELL NO.  LAWYER UP, Y’ALL, BECAUSE THIS BULLSHIT WILL NOT STAND.”  (I’m paraphrasing.  BTW…she won that half million dollar lawsuit, against the advice of friends who advised her to not make waves.)

But there’s another quote from her that probably fits better here, even though it’s a bit poignant for this sort of irreverent blog.

Juliette Gordon Low on Girl Scouting:

“I realize that each year it has changed and grown until I know that,
a decade from now, what I might say of it would seem like an echo of
what has been instead of what is.

The work of today is the history of tomorrow, and we are its makers.” 

This might not be what Juliette had in mind when she starting Girl Scouts, but I’d like to think that our work today to ask the hard questions and fight the good fight would have earned a small nod from her.  And possibly a raised eyebrow at all the cursing.

Probably both.

UPDATED: The Church of Bloggessianism. Choose your title, strangelings.

A few weeks ago I was accidentally made the leader of a church which doesn’t actually exist and now we have over 2,000 members.  I’m pretty sure than makes me some sort of Pope so please send me hats.

roundbloggessianism

More about that here if you missed it.

We decided that it would be nice to have some commandments, but “Commandment” seemed a bit pushy so we’re leaning more toward “Helpful Hints” or “Life Hacks”.  I came up with the first few.  The rest are a few of my favorites you’ve come up with.  Feel free to add your own:

Current Life Hacks for the Church of Bloggessianism:

  • Don’t be an asshole.
  • Extra gravy for everyone.
  • Two holy days of observance each month requiring Bloggessians to take the day off and watch bad tv or read in bed. We also get all the regular holidays off for every other religion because we’re incredibly open-minded and like to support other beliefs as well. This includes Talk-Like-A-Pirate-Day, National Donut Day, Deviled Egg Appreciation Day, etc. (FYI…today is National Sundae Day, even though it’s Tuesday, but it’s nice because you need to leave right now and eat ice cream for religious reasons.)
  • If you see a sloth you are given special dispensation to hug it. Present your official card to any zoo officials.
  • Here is your official I-Can-Hold-A-Sloth-Because-It’s-Against-My-Religion-Not-To card.
  • Mosquitos are now illegal.
  • Wearing slippers and pajamas in public is a sign of your faith and you’re allowed to kick judgey people in the knee if they question you. Togas are also acceptable if you are feeling particularly religious or if you’ve run out of clean clothes altogether.
  • Bacon at every meal. Chocolate dipped bacon for special high holidays.
  • Blessed are the pickles, for they are pickled.
  • Thou shall always ask for help when you need it.
  • Thou shall carry thy metal spork for all sudden stabby needs.
  • Thou shall glitter-bomb assholes.
  • Thou shall get your slow ass out of the fast lane.
  • Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s giant metal chicken.
  • Thou shalt not lick foxen, unless the foxen are into it.
  • Thou shalt not share things on facebook until thou hast verified their truth.
  • Thou shalt not throw co-workers under the bus.
  • Thou shalt not leave your cart in the middle of the grocery aisle and wander off to find tuna fish.
  • Thou shalt not talk to people who are less than 10 pages from the end of the book they are currently reading
  • Thou shalt not make commandments.
  • Thou shalt not shalt others. 
  • Honor the saints of Bloggessianism. St. Wil of Collating.  St. Jeri Ryan of Spatula. Nancy W. Kappes, Patron Saint of Chemical Substances.  James Garfield, Patron Saint of Taxidermy.  Etc.
  • Special dispensation from parallel-parking.
  • Pants are always optional. Always.
  • We brake for taxidermy. Also chocolate. And phantom Sasquatches.
  • Never stand if you can sit.  Never sit if you can lie down.
  • We all get our own pony.
  • Cadbury mini eggs are available year round.
  • And none for Gretchen Weiners.
  • You may decline on the gravy, or give your gravy as a charitable contribution to those less gravied.
  • Christmas is a mandatory onesie day.
  • No one leaves the house until all cookies are eaten.
  • All orphaned pygmy hippos will be adopted, and named George.
  • On the sabbath, excerpts shall be read from “The Phantom Tollbooth.”
  • Take care of each other.
  • Never take advice from someone with bad eyebrows.
  • The go-to phrase for asking anybody to hold something shall invariably be, “Hold my poodle.”
  • Everything comes with a side of pancakes.
  • No observances during the Zombie Apocalypse.
  • Whosoever believeth in me shall be confused all the days of their lives.
  • FOR CHRIST’S SAKE, LOIS. THIS IS CAMP. GET TOUGH OR DIE.
  • Depression lies.
  • Red dresses are sacred.
  • Bloggessians may be taxidermied upon death and kept in the family home. Keeping them fashionably dressed is a must or you may be haunted by them.
  • The only weapons we believe in are books and we believe in heavily arming everyone.
  • Mandatory Cupcake Monday
  • Taco Tuesday
  • Saturday is now Caterday.
  • Time is a “wibbly wobbly concept” and therefore deadlines are portals that must be avoided unless we’re okay with being trapped in a rift.
  • Bloggessians can decline social events without guilt for any reasons related to their heads getting in the way.
  • Celebrate the awkwarding.
  • Never let anyone be awkward all alone.
  • Remember that thou art as special and irreplaceable as the people you love most. 
  • Keep the Victor in thy prayers and do not succumb to the wrongness; forever and ever or until the gravy runs out.
  • Wine shall be an acceptable beverage at all hours of the day.
  • Everyone should be owned by at least one animal.
  • Naps shall be mandatory.
  • Members of the church can still be members of any other religion or lack-thereof, but membership into the Double Unicorn Success Club is automatic.
  • Spiders must ask permission before entering a home.
  • All members, male and female alike, shall have their own tiaras.
  • Inappropriate giggling is always appropriate.
  • Share your successes. Share your failures. Share your booze.
  • No icy cold weather allowed. But sometimes snow.
  • Our biggest tenet is David Tenant.
  • One can NEVER have too many towels.
  • Above all things, we strive to be furiously happy. If that doesn’t work, wine slushees usually will.
  • The official religious sacrament offerings are tiny cakes made for squirrels.
  • If a llama is within ten feet of you, then you can try to ride it if the llama is into it.  If you’re feeling extra religious you may wave a flag. (Pirate flag is suggested.)
  • Tithing is expected.  It is also expected that you spend all of your tithing on ridiculous things that you would never buy for yourself except now you have to because it’s a religious requirement.
  • (INSERT YOUR COMMANDMENT HERE.)

These commandments might seem contradictory, but that’s fitting because being contradictory is also part of our (dis)organized religion.

Everyone in the Church of Bloggessianism is given an official title when they feel they are ready for that level of responsibility.  “Strangeling” is the perfect beginner title for all neophytes who don’t yet know what unique title they want to settle on. Once you’ve decided that being weird is a good thing you are officially a Strangeling. Then, once you’ve eaten a good slice of pie, or watched a zombie move, or accomplished something a grown-up should have to do, you become qualified to choose any title that best fits your personality.  Right now I’m Jenny Lawson, Notorious Lion Whisperer.  I’ve already picked out my business cards.  Here’s a helpful chart if you need suggestions picking a title (or page down to have one randomly assigned).

choose your own title

Or if there are just too many options you can use this clever thing my brilliant friend made us:

The Random Title Generator for the Church of the Bloggessianism

(My randomly assigned title today was Dreadful Overlord of Ermine Canon.  I approve.)

If you’d like to commemorate your title (or bestow a title to a special someone) you can customize this card with your title.  The official I-Can-Hold-A-Sloth-Card is printed inside.  Any profits raised by the church will go to buying taxidermy and helping homeless children, but a basic tenet of the church should be “No helping homeless children if you don’t want to” so you have full permission to just print this out for free yourself.  (PS. The coupon code TISTHESEASON gets you 60% off that card this week.)

bloggesschurch

sloth

Now go out and be awesome.

May peace and gravy follow you the rest of your days.

Mama Paquita: “Why would a baby need a sombrero?” and other problematic questions.

This isn’t a real post.  It was a rambling email I was writing to my sister and then it sort of got away from me and so I decided to flesh it out and share it here because maybe we weren’t the only ones who were taught this song in school.  You can ignore it if you want.

When I was little there was this song called “Mama Paquita” that we’d have to sing in music class.  According to our music books, it was a 1930’s Brazilian Carnivale song but it was kinda fucked up.  It was about some salesman trying to convince a mom to buy her baby a banana, a papaya, some pajamas and a sombrero, but she was like “Who has infant-sombrero money in this economy?  Let’s go dancing!” (I’m paraphrasing, but only slightly) and I remember thinking, “Why would a baby need a sombrero?

(Side-note: I just googled” “Why would you buy a baby a sombrero?” and I got a lot of vaguely racist pictures, and also a link to a poem, which includes the lines “He had heard stories of a baby sombrero wrestler who would one day rule the world, but he had never thought that it would be his son” and “Hey, do you want to go get some soup, and maybe have a baby?” {Which might be the best pick-up line ever.  Or worst.  Depends on who you’re trying to pick up, I guess.})

Anyway, when I was in third grade I asked the music teacher why we didn’t just  sing the original Brazilian song, Mamãe eu Quero, (which I’d memorized from Carmen Miranda movies and old Tom & Jerry cartoons) but she shook her head disdainfully, saying only that there were “too many nipples in that song”.

I was confused about that for years, but in high school I told a friend that I knew the words to a risqué Brazilian nipple song, which I then sang.  She knew a little Portuguese, and she told me my song was about breastfeeding and that my pronunciation was atrocious.  Then I said, “Oh wait.  It gets worse” and I sang her the bastardized English version from my childhood music classes, and she was like, “What kind of racist bullshit is that?” and I said, “The extremely problematic kind taught to small children in the 70’s?”

Then she looked at me in confused bewilderment and I nodded in embarrassed agreement and said, “Honestly, I don’t understand it either.  I apologize on the behalf of white people.”  (Which is a phrase I should just put on a t-shirt because that shit needs to be said A LOT).  She gracefully accepted my apology and offered to teach me how to curse convincingly in Spanish if I agreed to never sing that song again.  Our cultural bridge was built on a shared love of profanity, and although I never mastered the accent to her satisfaction, I will forever treasure the phrase: “I SHIT ON EVERYTHING THAT MOVES!” which is easily the best thing to scream when you are stuck in traffic, or when the copier eats your overdue report, or when life is just being an asshole in general.

ishitoneverythingthatmoves

This was all before the internet existed so I had to take my friend’s word on the translation, but then my sister reminded me of that song again and so I decided to go online to try to translate the Portuguese version.

And here is the (probably horribly butchered) translation:

Mommy I want, mommy I want,
Mommy I want to suckle!
Give the nipple, give the nipple, give the nipple
Give the nipple so your baby won’t cry!

Sleep, son of my heart.
Take the bottle and join my dance party.
I have a sister, she’s called Anna.
She blinked so much she lost her eyelashes.

I look at the little ones, but this way
I’m sorry I’m not suckling.
I have a sister, she’s phenomenal.
She’s the boss and her husband’s an imbecile.

And now I’m even more confused, and I can’t get the fucked-up English version out of my head.  And (if you were also taught it as a small kid) it’s probably stuck in yours too now.

Awesome.

I am part of the problem.

PS.  Again, I would like to apologize on the behalf of white people.  Seriously.  White people fuck shit up for all of us.  Including white people.  It’s baffling.  I’m so sorry.  Let’s go get some soup and maybe have a baby.

Nancy Pelosi is extremely disappointed in me for destroying the Democratic Party. In my defense, I can’t even load the dishwasher properly so maybe it was a mistake to give me that much responsibility.

Yesterday my friend Laura and I decided we needed a break so we went camping (fine, glamping) and it was very relaxing until we checked our phones in front of the camp fire and realized that we’d gotten tons of frantic, distraught emails from the DCCC (Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee) who was using some fairly odd tactics to get us to donate cash to fund ads battling the ads that the Republicans were seeking donations for.  I’m not into politics so I’m sure I explained that wrong, but what I do know is that all night we were flooded with so many doom-filled emails that if the DCCC was a person I would have called the police to have them do a well-check.  I realize this is partially our fault, as Laura and I have each donated before, and that we could have unsubscribed if we wanted to, but at a certain point it became so insane that it crossed over into baffling entertainment.

Just a few of most terrifying:

From: Nancy Pelosi <dccc@dccc.org>
Date: September 30, 2014
Subject: we. will. fail.

We will fail to hit our goal tonight

Laura, we’ve tried everything.

— President Obama has emailed you.
— Hillary Clinton has emailed you.
— I’ve emailed you more than I can count.

But with this new Republican outside spending, we’ll still need 28,OOO more online donations to be able to compete.

It’s hard to see that happening with just 4 hours until the deadline.

We have a meeting set to figure out how we’ll slash our campaign plan. But for right now, we have to ask one more time:

Can you please donate to President Obama’s call-to-action, and help us limit the damage?

MIDNIGHT DEADLINE: All Gifts Triple-Matched!

Thanks, Nancy

Nancy’s disappointment in us was palpable and we suspected we would soon be grounded.  Then more letters flooded in from equally frantic DCCC members asking for donations and saying things like:

“We’ll be blunt:  We need help.  And we don’t know where else to turn”

“It’s just awful.”

“We’ve got nothing left, Laura.”

“YOU ARE ON NOTICE.”

“If we fall behind now, we will be past the point of no return. We will lose.”

 

The subject lines alone made me need xanax: “no time. just read.”  “PUMMELED.” “BEGGING.”  “we. will. fail.” “Please help!”  “TRAGIC Conclusion.”  You could almost hear them pulling their hair out and tearing at their clothes.  Honestly though, the “BEGGING” one did push me into action.  Here it is:

From: James Carville <dccc@dccc.org>
Date: September 30, 2014
Subject: BEGGING

I’m not going to sit by and let the Republicans buy this election.

Will you chip in $5 or whatever you can right now to turn this election around?

(If it helps, I’ll beg too.)

We’re still coming up short.

When we say we’re begging, we’re REALLY begging.

Control of Congress is at stake. President Obama’s agenda is on the line. And we’re in serious danger of falling short here.

If we can’t pull it together TODAY, we’re going to get demolished.

We’re begging, Laura. We need 13 donors from your zip code to answer President Obama’s call-to-action. Can you step up today?

MIDNIGHT DEADLINE: All Gifts Triple-Matched!

Sure, it was a little unsettling that our own party was sending us emails that made us feel like we’d all spontaneously explode that night, but in their defense, that terrifying email shamelessly entitled “BEGGING” was the one that spurred me into action.  Sure, I could donate the $5 they were asking for, but I’d already done that before and it obviously wasn’t enough to stem the hysteria so Laura and I decided to use some good ol’ DCCC tactics to raise morale and money:  Apocalyptic-sounding emails.

We replied directly to James Carville’s email:

Date: September 30, 2014
To: “dccc@dccc.org”
Subject: Re: BEGGING 

Dear James Carville:

I am begging you right back.

Please, please, please, for the love of God, send me a photo of yourself holding a Popsicle or other frozen confectionary by midnight tonight and I will not only donate five dollars, I will match that five dollars.

If the frozen dessert is an ice cream sandwich I will triple match it.

And I’ll use that photo to raise money for our party. Your gift can make or break us.

DON’T LET US DOWN, JAMES CARVILLE.

Unsurprisingly, the DCCC recognized the power of vaguely threatening emails and responded immediately.  They must have been confused though, because their email read like a form letter and began like this:

From: <dccc@dccc.org>
Date: September 30, 2014

Thanks for emailing us at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC)!

If you have a question or request, we want to get you what you need as quickly as possible:

1. Want to donate online to our campaign to elect Democrats?  CLICK HERE TO ACCESS OUR SECURE DONATION FORM…

We stopped reading at that point because they seem to have misread our initial email.  Suddenly I understood how frustrated they probably were.  It is awful when people ignore your histrionic emails.  But we took a deep breath and (following standard DCCC procedures) we decided to send another email explaining the severity of the issue and the level of shame they need to feel:

Date: September 30, 2014
To: DCCC
Subject: Re: Thanks for emailing the DCCC Membership Team!

Dear DCCC:

Thanks for emailing us at Laura’s laptop!

You said: “If you have a question or request, we want to get you what you need as quickly as possible” but the quickest way would have been to respond to my original response asking James Carville to send a photo of himself holding a popsicle (or similar) by midnight. Please see original email for details as it could be worth up to $15 to our party.

PULL IT TOGETHER, DCCC.

“1. Want to donate online to our campaign to elect Democrats?” Yes. Desperately. But I can’t help you until you help yourself. As Nancy Pelosi said to me moments ago, “I’ve emailed you more than I can count.”  (Twice, actually. So I guess I can count how many times. Sorry.  I’m bad at hyperbole.)  At first I thought Nancy was shaming me a bit much considering that we don’t know each other, but I understand her frustration now.

If we don’t get the photo of James Carville holding some sort of frozen dessert the Republicans will have already won. As you said to me a few hours ago, if we don’t have your cooperation “We. Will. Fail.”

YOU ARE NOW OFFICIALLY ON NOTICE. Your chance to get my donation TRIPLE-MATCHED will end at midnight tonight. Control of Congress is at stake. Please, don’t delay.

Also, that last paragraph was taken almost directly from the email you sent me moments ago but I don’t know how to do it in the flashing yellow warning letters like you did. Please know, however, that I am just as serious, regardless of font.

Shockingly, no popsicle pictures came.  Apparently the DCCC were just as immune to our threats as we were to theirs.

We checked on twitter to see if we were alone in getting these terrifying emails every few minutes.  We were not:  (You should see a box of tweets here that you can scroll down through when your mouse is inside it.  If not, just go to the link)

[View the story “I thought it was just me.” on Storify]

We waited for the whole hour(s?) for a follow-up after the midnight deadline passed, but all was quiet.  We had expected another email.  Possibly something with the subject: “WE. ARE. DOOMED. And it’s mostly your fault” with a picture of orphans and kittens and orphaned kittens being speared by gleeful Republicans making giant shish-ka-bobs.  Instead?  Silence.  They were serious.  It really had been our last chance to donate and be triple-matched.  We felt a bit bad and said a prayer for the people at the DCCC, who we hoped were being given sedatives by helpful nurses.

The next day this came from Nancy:

Date: Wed, Oct 1, 2014
Subject: we. fell. short. 
I was being dead serious when I said we’d miss our goal last night.

We fell short.

Despite emails from President Obama, Hillary Clinton, and myself…we just couldn’t get it done.

It was one of the most aggressive fundraising goals we’ve ever had. We even surpassed our initial goal of 1OO,OOO online donations in 5 days. But we were forced to raise our goal when we learned that Republican outside groups put in 12 million dollars at the very last-minute.

I’m not giving up. And you shouldn’t either, Laura.

We have one last chance to right this ship. To do it, we need 11 donors from your zip code to make a triple-matched donation by midnight.

TRIPLE-MATCH EXTENSION: (for donations made TODAY ONLY)

Chip in $5 immediately >>

Chip in $35 immediately >>

Chip in $50 immediately >>

Chip in $100 immediately >>

Chip in $250 immediately >>

Or click here to donate another amount.

Thanks,

Nancy

PS. For those of you who might be new here: This isn’t a political post.  It’s more about marketing.  Also, it’s a waste of your time to debate politics in the comments section because this community is fairly divided politically but united in the fact that you have the freedom to believe whatever you want no matter how wrong you are.  I’m a Democrat but I’m married to a Republican and we can both agree that there’s a lot of crazy bullshit on both sides.  If you can’t recognize that you probably need to seek help right now.  But first give me $5 immediately if you believe in America, or else all the American eagles will become so despondent that they’ll lay out in the middle of the road and just let you run over them.

PPS.  I wrote this yesterday but forgot to publish it.  This is exactly why I should never be trusted with deadlines, Democrats.

I’m just not going to talk anymore.

Victor and I are currently arguing about a large number of words which I apparently mispronounce, but I suspect that if those words are mispronounced it comes from the fact that I read much more than I speak, so (in my head) lots of words sound different. Victor says he agrees, if “different” means “wrong”.

For instance, I pronounce the word “homemade” as “wholemade” whenever I’m referring to something lovely that’s made from scratch, and Victor can’t stop correcting me.   But I think it makes sense because even though the word is spelled the same, there is a big difference between “wholemade” and “homemade” because (to me) “wholemade” implies that it’s wholesome and hand-made with love, but “homemade” is more like stuff you make at home but that you wouldn’t sell at a Farmer’s Market.  It’s the difference between wholemade bread and homemade bombs.

Example:  Most meth is homemade, but that doesn’t mean that it’s good.  It’s only wholemade if it’s wholesome.  That’s how words work.  Victor says “That’s how society breaks down” and I was like, “I agree.  Meth is a real problem” but then he explained that he was referring to me using the word “wholemade”, which I think is a pretty good indicator that Victor really needs to reexamine his priorities.

Also, spellcheck is weighing in by trying to change “wholemade” into “whore-made” and I don’t even know where to start with that because it’s so baffling.  I was like, “What the shit, spellcheck?” and I showed it to Victor and he said, “WELCOME TO MY WORLD.

I have a feeling I’m not winning this argument, but it’s become a weird tradition to do polls on Sunday, so here you go:

 

**************

And now, time for the weekly wrap-up:

sid

 


Shit I made in my shop (Named “EIGHT POUNDS OF UNCUT COCAINE” so that your credit card bill will be more interesting.):

Shit that I’m vaguely involved with on the internets:

This week’s wrap-up is brought to you by Chasing the Donkey, a travel blog that focuses on traveling Croatia like a local.  It’s written by SJ Begonja, an Australian expat who lives in a small Croatian village after she and her Croatian husband and son packed up their lives to go and rebuild the old house they inherited.   And now I want to go to Croatia.  Thanks a lot, SJ.

Worst named fireworks ever.

I don’t know how other States do fireworks but in Texas it’s all-or-nothing.  Literally.  Either it’s illegal to shoot off fireworks because of drought, or it’s allowed and everyone goes insane and shoots off shitloads of pyrotechnics while young children run through the yard stomping out small fires.  It usually involves booze, neighborhood idiots firing guns into the air, and the police.  Most of us leave the actual firework-handling to that weird uncle who once blew off a finger because we suspect he has a greater appreciation for the danger and also because he has less fingers to lose now.

This morning we went to our neighborhood fireworks warehouse to stock up.  This is the conversation we had with one of the firework clerks while Hailey was off choosing sparklers…

me:  These are the most insane firework names ever.  I like that they called this one “Scarface”.  Truth in advertising, you know?

scarface

Victor:  Do you have any Tinnitus M-80’s?

Clerk:  I’ve never heard of that.

Victor:  Do you have one called “The Burn Victim“?

Clerk:  I don’t think so.

Victor:  How about “Child Maimer“?

Clerk: I’d have to check in the back.  I’m not really familiar with any of those.

me:  Do you have any “Golden Showers” available?

Clerk:  We did have those!  But they aren’t making them this year.

me:  Wow.  Who would have thought Golden Showers would ever go out of style?  How about…um…”Hair-Fire Inferno“?

Clerk:  You mean the Flash-Fire Hair Braid?  For kids?

me:  Sure.  (cough)  For kids.

Clerk:  They sell those next to the cashier.

Victor:  And it looks like you’re all out of “Plumber’s Crackle”?

plumbers crackle

Clerk:  Yeah.  I don’t know why it’s so popular.  It’s not really that exciting.

me:  You said it, brother.  But you have a lot of “Juicy” fireworks left.  I don’t think I want my fireworks to be “juicy”.

Clerk:  It’s a weird name but a pretty good display.  We recommend pairing it with another firework in front.

me:   Ah.  Like a Juicy Plumber’s Crackle?  That makes sense.

Victor:  And your “Happiness Explosion”…  Does that come with a “full-release”?

IMG_4159

Clerk:  Well, if any of your fireworks don’t fully go off you can bring them back for an exchange.  If you want something awesome I recommend “The Saturday Night Special”.

IMG_4152

me:  And according to the box I assume it’s a bunch of loaded guns you heat up until they explode.  WHAT COULD BE SAFER? Add it to the pile.  And this “Ministry of Magic” set…does one of the fireworks turn into a skull and then all the Death Eaters show up at your barbecue?

Clerk:  No, but that would be cool.  I’d recommend some “Tomahawks” but I think we’re out.

me:  “Tomahawks.”  Seems a bit racially insensitive, doesn’t it?

Victor:  Look underneath.

big shot cracker

me:  Well, at least they’re keeping it fair.

PS.  As we were checking out we found what we assume was the “flash-fire hair braid…for kids”.   We were a little disappointed.  And relieved.

IMG_4162

Happy 4th of July, y’all.  Please keep your guns in your safes, your drunk drivers off the road, and your blown-off fingers on ice.

UPDATED: A small gif of the fireworks we set off tonight.  No one lost any fingers but there were the usual amount of minor burns and I think we managed to blow up half of the moon.

This one caused minor burns & @Maile_wilson's clothe... on Twitpic

Worth it.