The CNN Wolf Blitzer Drinking Game!

If you can’t get enough CNN in your week, and Wolf Blitzer with his monotone run-on sentences has you all alight, then you, friend, are the perfect candidate for the Wolf Blitzer Drinking Game! Jazz up your evening news-viewing experience, invite friends to join! After all, if you have to see Trump’s ugly mug on a nightly basis, you might as well not be sober. Let’s get Blitzered.

(And drink responsibly, without the driving afterward.)

Okay, the rules! Very simple: Take one drink (a sip or a shot) whenever Wolf Blitzer says the following:

  • “Stand By” or “Standing By”

  • “As it were”

  • Wolf makes a straight-faced bad pun (i.e. “Kim Jong Un-believable…”)

That’s it. Any more and you would die.

That’s It! I’m Starting a New Political Party: The Women’s Party of America

I am traditionally an American Democrat. I voted for Barack Obama. I voted for Al Gore. I even voted for John Kerry. Sigh. And yes, I voted for Hillary Clinton. But after this last election, I am disgusted by the Democratic party here in the United States. Shy of pure acrimony only for Wasserman-Schultz and the DNC, I actually have a major beef with Democratic voters.

I’m looking at you, tree huggers. Liberals. College students. Bernie Bros. Various racial and religious groups. Union workers. Parents. You all blew it. You didn’t show up to vote. Or you cast a “protest vote” for someone other than Hillary. Your Jill Stein vote or attempt to thumb your nose at “the system” by writing in Bernie’s name just meant that you successfully disconnected yourself from reality and responsibility. Good job. You and your principles left the rest of us holding the bag and a cold reality where we only had two choices this election. And you couldn’t pick one. Not even to save the Supreme Court. Not even to save your health care or the planet. Not to save your drinking water or prevent military escalation. Not to save Big Bird or Meals on Wheels. You and your principles took a vacation from reality and now we are all paying the price. Now we have the racist pussy-grabbing lunatic calling the shots and charting the course for all of our futures. Screw you guys.

The media and Democratic leadership sits around and tries to explain away the horrible loss by saying that us Democrats didn’t speak to “average Americans”. Screw you guys again. That isn’t what happened. We have always fought for the “average Americans”, to feed them, to make sure they have health care, to protect their drinking water, to make sure their kids get an education. To make sure they’re safe at work and they can retire comfortably after a long, hard career.

But the other party put out a loud message of FEAR. If you hurt, if you don’t have as much money as you want, if you don’t feel as safe as you want to, then there’s someone to blame–usually a brown someone and/or a Democratic someone. A lot of old, white Americans who are afraid of losing their identity and their privilege (the privilege they swear they don’t have in the first place) gobbled it up. Yes, someone to blame! And someone to stop the machine and turn back the clock. Screw hope! Why build when this demagogue is calling for destruction!

And what did we do in the face of this populism and fire and chaos? We brought a very moderate, plain platform to America through an extremely (intelligent and qualified) uncharismatic candidate who had been handing us the same message for the last 25 years or so. We showed up to a knife fight with a wet noodle.

Now, of course, our precious naive youth are trying (TOO LATE) to affect some sort of radical change of their own. Shame they didn’t show up six months ago, eh? I watch these well-meaning activists march and shake their poster boards, some of them sobbing with righteousness and desperation.  Most of them in silly costumes. And…I have no fucking idea what they’re fighting for. They’re still swinging wet noodles around, chanting mixed messages, and bringing forward no leaders.

Step One: Protest
Step Two: ??
Step Three: Bitch on Facebook
Step Four: Protest vote on election day

I’m done, Democrats. I’m out.

I’m forming my own party. The Women’s Party of America.

Everyone is welcome everywhere on the gender spectrum, but we’re going to do things the WOMAN way from now on. After all, we’re 51% of the population. Why the hell aren’t we in charge? We’re mothers, managers, executives, and laborers. We do it for less and we have to fight harder to do it.

Here is the platform:

Objective #1: Health Care

Health care for all. We demand a single-payer system that guarantees medical coverage to every single US citizen. This will be paid for through higher taxes (a little scary word for a chunk of money you were already paying as “premiums”–we’re just giving it a new label).  We are going to take care of everybody–including women’s services for reproductive care and cancer screenings.

Objective #2: Mental Health Care

People with mental health concerns aren’t going to slip through the cracks anymore. We, as a society, are going to pay for their treatment and their medicines, including state-of-the-art facilities, and better access to therapies and medications. This will reduce illegal drug consumption, crime, domestic violence, and even domestic terrorism. Mental health is paramount for a safe, healthy, civilized society. And right now, we have nothing. No priority. No help. This will change with women in charge.

Objective #3: Daycare Discounts and Maternity Leave

Children matter to all of us. Even if you aren’t a parent or a grandparent, children matter. You don’t want them growing up to be unemployable, ignorant, or psychotic. So let’s make sure they’re fed and taken care of. Part of doing this means significant subsidies for daycare, and encouraging more employers to set up in-house day care facilities.

And then there’s maternity leave. We demand 16 weeks of paid maternity leave required by law for all full-time employers. We also demand the same amount as unpaid leave, with job security, for part-time employees.

Objective #4: Education

We are going to put a significant emphasis on improving our schools to be globally competitive, through both increasing spending, and improving efficiency for every dollar spent on pupils. Because a college degree is now required to get most jobs that pay a living wage, public universities will now be tuition-free.

Objective #5: Infrastructure

In an effort to become more environmentally responsible and reduce our oil dependency, we will aggressively pursue mass transit systems throughout the United States where they do not already exist. This will support better access to employment, health care, child care, education, and culture.

Objective #6: Investment in Innovation

The only significant tax cuts that businesses will receive (aside from in-house daycare credits) will be related to research and innovation fields. We recognize that we cannot compete globally for manufacturing jobs in a sustainable way, so we will push for the best thinkers, innovators, and research jobs and projects to come to the United States. We will invest in training programs specifically designed to retrain workers without requiring a four-year college degree. In doing so we do not try to cling to the past of dangerous polluting industries and energies, but instead embrace the future and lead the way for the rest of the world.

It is Time.

These are our priorities. Not building up an even bigger military. Good news, we’re ladies. We have nothing to prove about penis size. And we are not interested in cutting help and protection for Americans. Us women, we are nurturers, innovators, thinkers, and fighters. We refuse to play by the penis rulebook anymore. Women unite!

Welcome to the Women’s Party of America!

 

Remaking Groundhog Day

I cannot explain it. I have been obsessed lately with the idea that the movie Groundhog Day needs to be remade. With Bill Murray.

There, let’s get that first detail out of the way right now before too many of you roll your eyes about 80s and 90s classics being remade with peppy new soundtracks and overloaded jokes about texting a Twitter to make it au courant. I in no way advocate for a remake starring Mark Wahlberg or Melissa McCarthy. No, we need the man back. The funniest goddamn man on this planet: Bill Murray.

With that in mind, just consider all the ways in which we could elevate a cute, schlocky early-90s comedy into one of the greatest films of all time. The plot is already there–it’s a classic tale of magic, human nature, and redemption. We just need to strip away some of the varnish, the bouncy 90s soundtrack, and all of Andie MacDowell’s vests. And Andie MacDowell, who seriously is just a terrible actress.

People, I have a vision. A grand vision about how this could be brilliant. But there are rules. And none of these rules can be broken, or my adolescence will be retroactively ruined (more than it already was).

Rule #1: It Must Star Bill Murray

The excellent news is that the plot is not reliant at all on him being middle age. As of this posting, he is 66 years old, and the story will still work just perfectly. No reason he can’t have late-in-life new love, right?

bill-murraycurrent

He is still pitch-perfect, devilishly handsome, and the only man who can pull of this role properly. I don’t even know why I need to lay out this argument.

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Tax Squirrel Explains: The Difference Between a Tax CREDIT and a DEDUCTION

It has come to my attention lately that most taxpayers don’t really understand the difference between a tax credit and a tax deduction. That’s perfectly okay; it’s confusing…and boring. I mean, not to me. But I think taxes are fun, so I’m clearly insane.

But you need to learn this because IT MATTERS. There are some politicians out there, including President Trump, who want to sell you on the merits of various deductions or credits. But a lot of the time, you’re secretly being screwed with your pants on!

Don’t get screwed with your pants on. Learn the difference. And then be the person who makes an educated choice at the polls, and shows off at dinner parties.

To help with this teaching moment, and because this is such a boring topic (I guess), I’m going to bring in the furriest little tax professor ever, my good friend, Tax Squirrel and his little squirrel friends.

tax-squirrel-credit-deduction1

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The Wars of the Roses in Pictures

A Totally True, Completely Authentic Retelling of History
(To be Enjoyed With a Butt of Malmsey Wine)

For nearly one hundred years in England’s history, a knot of noble families fought over the royal throne in a giant, messy multi-generational screw-you fest that history has dubbed “The Wars of the Roses”.

This title is a misnomer, of course. The murder, deception, and power mongering went far beyond any battlefield. So not simply a war.

And furthermore, though history tries to explain this era as being a battle between two families–each represented by a rose–that ignores a lot of historical context, and a whole lot of players from other families and other countries. So not really strictly about roses either.

Maybe they should have called it The Great English Stink instead. Eh, guess no poets were on hand to think of it. Shakespeare really dropped the ball on this one, eh?

wars-roses-smell-it
“You will smell the white rose! Smell it! Smellllll it!”

Anyway, it’s a rotten, stinkin’ historical mess that took forever to play out and is really damn confusing. So to understand this giant historical knot, you really need a proper illustrated guide. Right? And it ought to be irreverently blunt. Right? Yes, yes. Good, good. I think so, too.

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Game of Thrones: Why Bran Stark is the Super Villain No One Saw Coming

Forget Joffrey and his crossbow. Or even Ramsey Bolton and his dogs (and his knife, and his sausage, etc.). It could just be that the biggest, most monstrous villain that Westeros has ever seen is, in fact, Bran Stark of Winterfell. Bran, the climbing boy who was pushed out of a tower window. The boy who dreamed of being a knight. It just might be that he found a lurking inner darkness and heeded the call of his very sinister destiny.

How All Great Villains Begin

bran-climbing

Once upon a time, there was a boy who was shoved from a tower window. Until that very moment that the air whooshed past his flailing body, Bran was a sweet, innocent boy with a loving family and a promising and privileged future ahead of him.

Of course, this is exactly how so many villain stories start.

Then, in keeping with villainous themes, this tragic thing happens to him. He is nearly murdered by a queen and her brother, and is left crippled. Gone are his dreams of being a knight. Gone are his days scaling the rooftops. The bitterness sets in. He cannot remember what has happened to him, so he doesn’t understand why or how. He was cheated.

bran-in-bed

Let this mark the beginning of his darkness. TV Bran wants to hear only dark and morbid stories, and he despises his mother’s absence (another common villain theme). He cares not anymore about learning or caring for his father’s subjugates.

But, what of it? He’s an adolescent who has been crippled. Wouldn’t anyone’s mind be in a dark place? Absolutely. It’s what Bran does next that defines his character.

Bran Murdered Hodor

bran-and-hodor

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Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life Review

My eyeballs are still wide and the snack foods are still crusted to the plates from my binge watching of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. (Sorry, I skipped the Pop-Tarts and Red Vines, and went with a baked brie and some stuffing and mashed potatoes all left over from yesterday’s Thanksgiving.) But here it is. My review of the four seasons of A Year in the Life. And, of course, my take on the final four words. I am also going to go ahead and update my previous ranking of every single Gilmore Girls episode to include Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. (HINT: one of them makes it into the top ten!)

Please be advised, total SPOILERS ahead.

The seasons weren’t the only thread running through the four episodes that brought our girls back to us. Really, this “year in the life” was a throwback to season 4, during which all three Gilmore girls were struggling and, eventually, falling apart. Back then, Emily bought glass apples, and took up smoking in a silk robe. Lorelai ran out of a salon with wet hair and blubbered all over Luke’s shoulder. And Rory started an affair with Dean. Sigh. This time, as we travel through the better part of twelve months, we see Emily give away her belongings and wear jeans. Lorelai goes solo camping, more or less. And Rory has an affair with Logan. Sigh. Well, at least their characters are consistent in how they deal with life crises. This seems like a fitting place to pick up the story since we are witnessing the ladies violently evolve into the next phase of their lives.

Winter

winter

Oh, Rory. You’re 34 and that whole journalism thing never took off for you. I feel so bad for her, and a bit curious that she never got a position at a paper, but it also seems like Rory has trouble settling in one place. For the last thirteen years she has been bouncing from home to home, continent to continent, and (apparently) lover to lover. So this is probably mostly self-sabotage. Still, I feel her pain. I also went through a period in my life trying to scratch out a living in the writing field by jumping from project to project. Lots of irons in lots of fires. But by age 30, I realized that it wasn’t working and I wanted more stability. Let’s just call Rory a slow learner on this subject. Well, and let’s plainly understand that the girl is undoubtedly living off of a trust fund or two–hence being able to casually afford plane tickets back and forth over the Atlantic Ocean a few times a week, and a Brooklyn apartment that was never lived in.

The Paul schtick was cute and modestly funny, but a little out of place. Yes, this is typical of Rory to hang on and beat up boytoys that she is too cautious to discard. But two years? Ouch. Poor Paul. And how on earth did these two hook up un the first place? Sadly, I think Paul stands out too much as a walking, talking recurring joke. He might as well be wearing a sign around his neck that reads, “plot device”. Still, I won’t kibitz, as this is far from the most offensive sin of the reboot.

And then there’s Logan. Even as a person rooting for Jess (don’t make me say “Team Jess”, please), I couldn’t help but squeee a little when I saw her and Logan romantically linked again. I mean, it felt weird knowing that Paul was in the picture, and knowing that the whole “no strings” plan isn’t Rory. We’ve been through this already. She needs strings. She wants strings. She is the biggest Pinocchio in the world. So we know already that is going to blow up.

Around town, my Kirk-filled heart was not disappointed when I learned about his continuing romance with Lulu and his new pig, Petal. And Kirk’s Ooober business was a highlight for me. I mean, Kirk’s already dabbled in the transportation industry before (remember the first Stars Hollow pedicab ride), so this seems like something he would absolutely try.

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