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Date archive for: June 2018

Oh, Say, Can You C-Word?

Notes on a feckless country

The word couldn’t have gotten more buzz if Trump’s stubby thumbs had tweeted it from his golden toilet.

The once-verboten, inarguably vulgar C-word has been on everyone’s whispered lips after funny gal/political commentator Samantha Bee hurled it at Ivanka Trump. The First Daughter earned the ire for tweeting a tender and utterly tone-deaf photo of herself snuggling her son during a week when migrant children were being torn from their parents at U.S. borders per her dad’s new “zero tolerance” immigrant policy.

Predictable reactions followed: 45 feigned offense, though we’ve all heard him refer with equal crudeness to the same body part and saw him welcome Ted Nugent to the White House after that courtly gentleman used the same epithet on Hillary Clinton. Bee apologized. A couple of companies pulled their ads from Bee’s aptly named Full Frontal show. And even liberal women who applauded her message mumbled to one another that the jab was uncouth.

But as the entire incident erupted at the intersection of my three favorite things ​— ​debating over language, insulting a Trump, and alluding to vaginas ​— ​I rather enjoyed it.

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Secrets of a Very Catholic Daughter

‘Hiding Out’ Author Talks Drugs, Deception, and Double Lives

He used to leap around naked in front of thousands of people weekly while touring the nation in Hair, a rock musical about sex, drugs, and draft-dodging. On my first day of 9th grade at a snooty prep school, my 70-year-old history teacher proclaimed to the class that my father had sat naked on her lap during a matinee in Baltimore. I never quite recovered.

But then I met Tina Alexis Allen and discovered I had it easy. Really easy.

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One Space. Period.

Foes of Formatting Want Us to Take
Double-Spaced Step Backward

For months on end, I’ve been watching in shock as seemingly impossible things keep happening: The most innovative nation on the globe elected an actual imbecile. Hooded Klansmen marched proudly in our streets. Regulations aimed at slowing our environmental doom were casually reversed.

Now researchers are making a scientific case for using two spaces between sentences in typed communication, instead of one. Two profligate, puffy spaces. Instead of just the sensible single space.

And this, my friends, is where my head explodes. This is where I say, By god, you animals, no more. No more will I stand idly by and watch barbarous, maniac-manned bulldozers ram at the pillars of our human progress. Feh, ye foes of formatting! We have come too far from the clomping Smith Corona Sterling and the humming, ham-fisted IBM Selectric dumping unsightly utilitarian gaps in the midst of our otherwise pretty paragraphs, to ever — nay, ever! — go back.

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A Requiem for Trolls Gone By

I’m Nostalgic for Nasty Online Commenters

For a decade, they plagued me. Called me bitch, boob, bigot. Speculated about my weight and marriage. Pronounced my children morons. They spewed countless frothy phrases at me from the online comment section at the end of my columns.

Now they’re gone.

In February, the Santa Barbara Independent joined the growing crowd of news sites shutting down their online comments. Reuters, CNN, Bloomberg, NPRNBC News, the Chicago Sun-Times — the websites of media companies are slamming their windows on the fast-flying fingers of the fractious fruitcakes who spend their days anonymously picking fights with writers, public figures … and, well, mostly with other fractious fruitcakes.

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The Call of Target’s Toilets

Do You Know About The Bull’s-Eye’s Bathroom Phenomenon?

A dozen years ago, despondent at the dearth of a Target in our town, I scrawled out a joke petition to bring the all-providing Bull’s Eye to Santa Barbara and emailed it to friends. Just for cackles ’n’ snorts. Turns out the entreaty expressed a longing that was shared deeply — and widely. Friends sent it to friends, and within a few weeks it had amassed thousands of local residents’ signatures, including the mayor’s.

For years after, developers tried in vain to bring a Target to town. This year, at long last, we finally get one! Well, we get a quarter of a normal-sized Target. Locals are all asplutter over the traffic and parking snarls they’re sure the store will spawn. And those of us who make pilgrimages to our merchant mecca in neighboring counties wonder how a 32,000-square-foot retail space can hold all of the throw pillows, jaunty Panama hats, diabolically soft jammies, decorative storage solutions, pink kettlebells, Boho goblets, chunky espadrille wedges, and Soap & Glory face masks with which a modern woman likes to deliriously overstuff her red shopping cart. How, I ask you!?

Even so, there’s another important issue that’s being overlooked as we ponder our new Target, and I want to call developers’ attention to it before construction begins: the bathrooms.

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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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