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Author archive for: Starshine Roshell

The Day the Journalists Vanished

No One Fretted Much Over the War on the Press. Big Mistake.

It began that morning with an eerie silence: the sound of information-laden newspapers not landing on driveways across America. In the scattered towns where a daily paper still regularly plunked onto sidewalks and porches just after dawn, enlightened if not-yet-caffeinated citizens stumbled around their lawns scratching their heads, checking the time and wondering what happened to their goddamned news.

As the rest of America awoke, yawning and pawing at their cell phones to see what the day had in store, they found no alerts from news apps. Social media was flush with the usual mishmash of outrageous opinions, zany GIFs, and photos of Friends’ lunches at that new place downtown. Looks amazing.

But ​— ​no shared articles. No clips of last night’s sport events. No links to the latest in the Mueller investigation, Supreme Court dustups, or separation of immigrant families. There was just … no news at all. From Breitbart to Mother Jones, the normally traffic-jammed media highway was utterly, uncannily empty. Not a soul. Not a sound.

What the hell??

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Camping Sucks; There, I Said It

Done Apologizing for Detesting the Great Outdoors

I’m sitting 5,400 feet high in the Sierra Nevada mountains at the edge of a glassy lake that’s rimmed with fluffy pines pointing emphatically at the sky. I’m keenly aware that I’m supposed to feel blissish and perspectivey. But my legs brandish 13 bug bites of various dimensions and shades, there is dirt in my nostrils, and I’m dreading another torturous night on a foam pad punctuated by the random swish-swish of my son flopping around in his nylon sleeping bag.

I loathe camping, and I’m sorry about that. I really am. I’m comfy admitting that I hate other things I’m supposed to like: Green drinks. Michael Moore. Black Mirror. When you say you detest camping, though, people look at you like you’re broken, like you’re missing a crucial piece (the way your tent always is).

But I’m tired of being ashamed of my repugnance for roughing it. For the soggy whole-world-wetness of mornings in a tent. For the swarm of spastic mosquitoes around a fluorescent light in a camp shower at night. For the inevitable stench of raw sewage seeping from a septic tank when you were promised lungs full of alpine oxygen.

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Rage Is My Super Power

Hormonal Surges Fuel Temper That’s Uncontrollable — but Could Power Gotham

At my son’s summer camp, the kids get to know each other by answering the age-old question: If you could have any super power, what would it be? Flight and invisibility are popular answers. Some kids say teleportation or time travel.

I’ve never liked that question. While I have unwavering responses to the Desert Island Album question (Beatles, white) and the Celebrity Sex Freebie question (Harrison Ford, any age), I’ve never had a solid super power at the ready. Are you supposed to choose from powers that already exist in the comic-book oeuvre? Or be creative and say, “Parthenogenesis. You know, so I could make babies without male involvement”?

The question actually irritates me. But to be fair, everything irritates me just now. I have begun spasming in and out of what The Google tells me are fits of perimenopausal rage — defined as “outbursts beyond your typical anger level” brought on by “fluctuations in hormones that typically begin in the mid-forties” and which “can be unsettling.”

I mean, sure. You could describe it like that. Personally, I’d say it feels like Audrey II from Little Shop of Horrors and D’Artagnan, the Stranger Things Demogorgon, have mated and their bloodthirsty hell-spawn offspring is clawing its way out of my soul in order to tear the face off whichever human being had the misfortune of interacting with me last.

On the upside, though … I think I’ve found my super power.

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A Cart … Apart

Debate over Returning Shopping Carts Mirrors Political Divide

But in these polarized political times, I’m noticing how the stories we tell ourselves ​— ​or were told once upon a time and never bothered to fact-check ​— ​can have a profound impact on the way we carry ourselves through the world. And the assumptions we make about others.

You see it in the current immigration debate, as otherwise reasonable Americans shriek at one another, “They’re here to take our jobs!” “No, they’re criminals in the drug- and sex-trade!” “Nonsense, they’re asylum seekers escaping treacherous lands!” Surely the folks knocking at our borders include all of these archetypes and more ​— ​but our inner narratives, once written, resist editing. So the shrieking persists.

I saw this Story Scenario play out in another fascinating fracas recently. I happened upon a friend in the always-perilous Trader Joe’s parking lot. Having loaded groceries into her car and loath to lug her shopping cart all the way back to the store, she asked my opinion on the Age-Old Grocery Store Debate: Must we always return the cart?

Like … every single time??

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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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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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