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The fourth book in my series, Lather, Rage, Repeat is the biggest yet, and includes dozens of my very best columns from the past six years, including fan favorites “Bass Players”, “Sex Robots”, “Lawnmower Parents”, “Cuddle Parties” and many more. It makes a killer holiday gift for anyone who loves to laugh and has been feeling cranky since about November, 2016.

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Also available at Chaucer’s Books in Santa Barbara, and of course Amazon.com

Unity? Nah. Togetherness? Yes, Please.

Big Thoughts from a Small Room While Awaiting My COVID Results

“Just keep looking straight ahead,” the woman said as she fed the cotton-tipped stick up my nostril, through my brain, and into my soul.

It was my first time being tested. I told her so before the prodding began.

Credit: United Nations COVID-19 Response/Unsplash

“It’s not fun,” she had warned me — and she spoke the truth. It was uncomfortable, it brought tears to my eyes, and it went on forever.

But the same could be said of the year leading up to it.

Continue reading Unity? Nah. Togetherness? Yes, Please.

COVID Drinking, Unmasked

Floating Through Pandemic on a River of Booze?

I’ve never been a big drinker. Up until March 2020, I’d sip maybe three small glasses of wine per week.

Since then, I’ve done shots with my 22-year-old son while standing in my kitchen. I’ve poured Bailey’s in my coffee at 2 pm on a workday. And I’ve polished off a Costco bottle of Malibu Rum. 

Never mind the amount. Malibu Rum, you guys. 

These are desperate times. And millions of us are hoping to float through them with a merciful little buzz on. One study found that by May, the average American was already drinking 27 percent more per day than in the previous year, and binge drinking had increased 26 percent. Numbers were highest in households with kids (which will surprise no one in households with kids).

Continue reading COVID Drinking, Unmasked

Screw Hope. Trust Tenacity.

How Hannah-Beth Jackson Beat the Drum for Women’s Rights

Photo of Hannah-Beth Jackson by Paul Wellman

It was 11:56 p.m. on her final day of her final term in office — and things didn’t look good. “I had ’til midnight to get this bill passed, and I’d been working on it for years,” State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson says of her Paid Family Leave Act, aimed at protecting the jobs of folks who take leave to care for family. It had passed the Senate but needed 41 votes to clear the Assembly.  

Fresh from a C-section, Rep. Buffy Wicks (D-Berkeley) showed up with her newborn to cast the 40th vote in favor. “We were running out of time,” Jackson recalls, “and I thought, We’re not gonna get there.”

And then (get this!) moderate Democrat Joaquin Arambula, who reps conservative Fresno and had publicly spoken out against the bill, voted in favor — tipping the ayes to 41.

A casual observer might call it luck. But anyone who’s followed Sen. Jackson’s career — her stint in the State Assembly from 1998 to 2004, and her two terms in the Senate, which officially ended Nov. 30 — knows it’s the result of the senator’s political mantra: 

“Never ever, ever, ever, ever give up.”

Continue reading Screw Hope. Trust Tenacity.

Oh, Yes, He Did

Forget the Issues; Here’s What Swing State Voters Need to Remember Trump Has Done

If you know any undecided voters in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania or Wisconsin, will you please share this with them — like today? Thank you kindly.

Dear Swing State Voter,

This isn’t a rant about guns, same-sex marriage, reproductive rights, or global warming. Those are issues — and issues are for elections with two qualified candidates of unequivocal character. I hope to have the luxury of debating issues with you again someday. 

What this is: just a list of well-documented things Donald Trump has done (go ahead, look ’em up) while overseeing the most powerful country on Earth. We joke about having become numb to the shocking behavior coming from the White House over the past four years. But today, as the electorate waits for you to fill in the tiny oval that best reflects your values — it’s worth remembering.

Continue reading Oh, Yes, He Did

Why Are So Many Folks Hankering for a Pandemic Pup?

Meet Ziggy. And say goodbye to my Mexican heather.

I Took This Quaran-tunity to Adopt a Furry Friend

Looking back, it may not have been the best idea to get a puppy right after replanting our entire backyard. In the course of managing COVIDoldrums, they both just seemed like smart, unrelated projects to occupy our time.

Even as I type this, though, there’s a muddy-muzzled, filthy-pawed, remorseless little furball on the pale rug beside me gnawing maniacally on one of the five plants she uprooted today and lugged into my office, dirt clods and all.

It’s not like we needed a puppy. We have a perfectly good adult dog already, and our life was pleasantly predictable. We could sleep through the night. We could open our front door without fear of any residents escaping. Our hands were not covered in lacerations from tiny, “YOW!”-inducing needle teeth.

But when it became clear that life outside of our wearisome walls would not be resuming anytime soon, we joined thousands across the nation and took this quaran-tunity to adopt a furry friend. 

Continue reading Why Are So Many Folks Hankering for a Pandemic Pup?
My columns are collected in three lovely books, which make a SPLENDID gift for wives, friends, book clubs, hostesses, and anyone who likes to laugh!
Keep Your Skirt On
Wife on the Edge
Broad Assumptions
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