Republicans Call ShareACoke Campaign Obama’s Latest Move Toward Socialism

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This summer, Coca-Cola launched the second season of its ShareACoke campaign, in which all of their labels were imprinted, not with the iconic logo of this all-American brand, but with a stranger’s name: Zach, Brandon, Makayla, and, more than likely, Hussein. The message here was clear: Although it was your hard earned $1.25 that purchased twenty ounces of that fizzing pop, although you broke your back to make that cash, although that patriotic one-dollar bill and that precious quarter are composed of paper, metal alloy, and your blood, sweat, and tears, it now belongs to someone else. In fact, it has their name written all over it. Who is the lucky recipient of your involuntary charity? Who is this individual with their hand out and their mouth ever so slightly ajar? Maybe an immigrant. Maybe a Muslim. Maybe even a Muslim immigrant. And guess what? That Muslim immigrant is making you thirsty.

Republicans demand to know who was behind this communist scheme, and they demand to know it was President Obama.

It’s no secret that President Obama is a slow-talking Marxist (and that he has big ears). What remains to be seen is how he got his socialist meat-hooks into this nationalistic corporation. What was once a chemical beverage emblem for the United States of America now promotes the very cyanide of our beloved capitalism: compulsory donation. These labels are not a suggestion. There are no question marks following those needy names. No ellipsis. It isn’t “Mom?” Or “Mom…” These labels are a firm declaration of false ownership. It’s welfare, personalized and carbonated.

They might as well follow the names with exclamation points.

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The Killer Lambs: And Other Norwegian Truths

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When we arrived in Norway, nobody told us to beware of the sheep.

The fjord region of Norway is a magical land; a combination of Ireland’s rolling green hills, Switzerland’s picturesque red houses, and Canada’s snow-capped rockies, all situated along endless weaving water inlets. Pick any spot at random, and from there you can admire at least two waterfalls. Sure, it’s cold. So cold there is a Norwegian saying: We don’t have a summer– only two months of poor ski conditions. So cold the setting of Disney’s Frozen is based on a real fjord village (Undredal: population 112). So cold, when we switched trains in the mountains, hail beat down on our faces– in the middle of June. But damn, was it beautiful.

We arrived by ferry in Aurland at 4pm. It was the first partly cloudy day after a series of wholly cloudy and rainy days, so we decided to take advantage of the rare peak of sunlight by going for a hike. We chose a short-ish route, estimated to take about an hour and a half. Although it doesn’t get dark in Norway until midnight, there was no need to be heroes. An hour and half was about all I wanted to invest before hunkering down with a $16 beer. (Oh yeah, dollars are about as valuable as Monopoly money in Scandinavia.)

The route took us along the shoreline, straight up the mountain, along a ridge, and back down the mountain to our bed and breakfast. A no brainer.

We nailed the shoreline walk. Not one mistake made.

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But after two and half hours of wandering the mountain forest, we accepted that we maybe-possibly-probably-okay definitely were lost. We made this decision after our makeshift trail ended at a fence so tall and wide we couldn’t circumvent it without serious Spidey skills.

We turned to assess our options, and that’s when we saw them.

The blood thirsty momma sheep, and her two creepy lambs.

They approached us directly, with intention, as if they knew us. As if we had slighted them. As if, in a previous life, we were shady car salesmen who sold them a lemon whose brakes failed and sent them over a cliff, and they’d waited two-hundred years for this opportunity for revenge. As if they were the wolves and we were the lambs.

The sheep charged. You might be thinking– what’s the big deal? They’re sheep. Just kick them away. But sheep are animals. Big(ish) animals. They have teeth, and cloven hooves for boxing gloves. At 250 pounds, they are pretty much Anderson Silvas on four legs. We froze. When the ewe was within eight feet, she growled. And when I say growl, I don’t mean a cute little baa-baa-black-sheep croon. I mean a wild dog growl.

(Don’t bother googling “sheep growl” in order to see what I’m talking about. You won’t find it. I’ve tried. The Internet will surface a video of an amenable woman getting shot in the butt with a hot dog gun (true and horrifying story), but it is completely devoid of any authentic sheep growl. I blame it on some underground mastermind sheep PR campaign. The same campaign responsible for the definition of the word “sheepish”. Lack of self-confidence, my potential-hot-dog-target ass!)

With small, hesitant steps–no sudden movements!– we skirted past them, leery of the drop at our backs and the possessed mammals at our fronts. But once we eased by them, they followed us– and snarled. So we retreated, and they cornered us against the fence.

“Are sheep dangerous?” I asked Phil from the side of my mouth.

“I didn’t think so,” he said, in a tone that implied he was now rethinking all his previously held beliefs about farmyard animals.

“What do we do?”

“We make a run for it.”

And we did. We sprinted past the sheep, up the very steep hill, aiming toward what appeared to be a road in the distance. I felt the breath of the brutes on my heels, and I couldn’t help but notice that Phil never once looked back to confirm I was not being torn to pieces by those woolly beasts (are we sure they aren’t descendants of woolly mammoths?).

Fearing the monsters at our backs, we never expected what lay beyond the hill crest.

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The monsters’ homestead.

“We have to hop the farm fence and get to the road,” Phil said.

“But what about the sheep??!” I cried.

He gripped my shoulders. “We have no choice!”

Phil cut himself hopping the barbed wire fence, and helped me over. Then we climbed up a hill so steep we had to claw at it with our hands. We fled with the ferocity of Dr. Grant running from the Gallimimus.

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The exertion triggered my asthma.

“I can’t make it!” I cried between wheezes. “I need help.”

The sheep were closing in. Phil extended his hand. “Come on!”

Since I am here to tell the tale, you already know we made it out of there alive. We did, and saturated with relief and gratitude for our escape.

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But the experience left us changed. For instance, I now wonder if, all these years, we’ve misunderstood that notorious childhood rhyme. Everyone talks about Mary and her little lamb like the animal was her faithful friend. Everywhere that Mary went the lamb was sure to go. It followed her to school one day, etc. After this experience, I’m pretty confident that lamb was stalking that poor girl, and when the children laughed and played, that was just an example of nobody taking Mary– the victim –seriously.

It’s time we finally listened.

Why Tina Fey Should Be The New Face Of The Twenty-Dollar Bill

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There are rumblings over Andrew Jackson’s impending termination as the face of our twenty-dollar bill, and I don’t blame America. I mean, as another Jackson so astutely questioned—what has he done for us lately (aside from having gloriously windblown hair and a forehead that goes on for days)? Since the Civil War, he’s barely offered his two cents, never mind twenty big ones.

So as we ponder his replacement, and as we consider tossing his ass aside for a profile with a little less Adam’s apple, let me state the obvious choice on all our minds.

Tina Fey.

Why Tina Fey for the twenty-dollar bill? Why not her? (Sit down, that was a rhetorical question.)

Tina is of Greek descent—born of the creators of mathematics and culture, and of a country whose economic state actually makes the United States look good. She is a native of Pennsylvania which, along with sounding like Dracula’s stateside address, is also one of the original thirteen colonies. This paragraph is about Tina’s patriotism.

As a renowned author, feminist, actress, producer, writer, award winner, philanthropist, and funny-bone tickler, she proves girls don’t have to go wild to be wildly successful. She is a woman who isn’t afraid of making strange sounds, or of wearing glasses even when contacts are a fairly easy alternative. She looks as stunning in a sequined gown as she does when proclaiming, “I can have it all,” around a mouthful of sandwich. She is an inspiration; a bra-wearing leader of men and women alike.

Was Andrew Jackson the mother of two? Was he the three-time co-host of the Golden Globes, alongside gal-pal Amy Poehler? Did he conquer a male-dominated profession? Okay, maybe he did that last one, but did he do it while having a uterus?

I want to slap Tina Fey’s face down on the counter the next time I purchase a tub of cheese puffs from that pimply judgmental kid behind the CVS counter. I want that coy smile tucked inside my purse the next time I interview for a position I wonder if I deserve. I want to see her image when my husband hands me a twenty from his wallet, because I didn’t get the aforementioned job and I’m a little short on cash.

And, as a bonus, if we photograph Tina Fey in a suit jacket, half of the country will assume it’s Sarah Palin and be happy. It’s a win-win.

So if you watch(ed) SNL, 30 Rock, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Date Night, Megamind, or This Is Where I Leave You; if you read Bossypants; if you’re a mother, a sister, or a friend; if you, too, are from Upper Darby, PA: Join me in a united, “Tina for the twenty!”

I suppose Harriet Tubman is a close second choice.

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Take advantage of the Kindle Countdown Deal this week for I Thought We Agreed To Pee In The Ocean!

Are Doctors Just Sweet Talking Us?

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Some women have terrible taste in men. I know– I used to be one of those women. Then I married a perfectly lovely man, and that must have thrown the universe off-balance. It’s since righted itself; I now have equally terrible taste in doctors.

You can read about my first bad experience here. But it wasn’t the last.

My new OBGYN seemed wondrous at first. Now I know– a little too wondrous.

Walking into his office was like walking into a best friend’s living room. Cozy and nurturing. It smelled like sunset on an orchard in autumn, and the lighting was warm and inviting– battery operated candles flickered on a coffee table amid a spray of women’s magazines and a zen rock garden. I had the impulse to pour a glass of wine and tell the receptionist my most embarrassing moment. I had the urge to giggle.

I settled into an overstuffed couch, inhaled the sweet home-baked smell of the place, and watched a few minutes of Ellen before I was called into an exam room. I reluctantly left the womb of the waiting room.

The exam room was outfitted with its own flat screen television. I sank into another overstuffed chair and the nurse handed me a cloth (CLOTH!!) gown. The fabric was so much more comforting than the thin crinkly paper to which I’ve been accustomed. Oh the luxury of cotton open at the front!

The doctor was a small balding man with a spunky personality. Kind of like Artie Bucco from The Sopranos before Tony burnt his restaurant down and he lost his god-damned mind. He asked questions about my career, my husband, and my hobbies. His wide-eyed response to all my answers made me feel downright fascinating. A writer? Wow! You play volleyball? Wow! Your husband is a math professor? Wow!

I liked this guy.

He finished the exam by speaking into a handheld recording device. “Alena here is a writer. How cool is that? I can’t wait to buy a copy of her book,” he said into the recorder. That sentence, the best sentence uttered in the history of sentences, was now a soundbite, saved for posterity.

I almost asked this man over for Thanksgiving dinner. I wanted him to meet my parents.

But like the bad-boys of my youth, this behavior was nothing but seduction with an ulterior motive. He was just courting me, wooing me with scented candles and claiming to also enjoy my favorite talk show host. He was flattering me with false interest (I should have known– nobody responds to “math professor” with “Wow!”)…. all so he could get into my pants.

And he did. On the first visit. At the time I didn’t feel shame. It was my annual exam–a warranted put-out. But then the reasons cheapened, while our relationship grew more expensive.

“Oh, I don’t give year-long prescriptions. You need to come in twice a year for medication,” he said.

“Really? My last OBGYN just saw me annually.”

“Too much can change in six months. All of my patients come every six months.”

I’m sick of hearing about your other patients. Stop comparing me to them! “But my insurance only covers annually.”

“It’s for your own good.”

Is it? Is it?

The fact that he held my prescriptions hostage, compelling me to visit every six months, was annoying, but I accepted him for him– flaws and all. (His waiting room is REALLY pleasant.) But now he’s taken it a step further.

I went in for my “six month” appointment yesterday. It was just a breast exam, an interaction that, if anything, he should have paid me $30 for.

After I tied my gown closed, feeling a little used, he said this: “You’re due for a sonogram, and our technician isn’t here, so we’ll need to make another appointment in three months.”

My instinct was to answer, “A sonogram? But I’m not pregnant.” But this seemed so obvious, I had to ask myself, “Wait… am I?”

Apparently he wants to ensure–every three to six months– that my uterus is in good health so that if I ever decide to get pregnant, there won’t be any problems. Kind of like viewing an apartment before you sign the lease and move in.

But since my lady parts AREN’T a five floor walk-up with leaky faucets and a crumbling facade (my facade may be soft–but I’m only 28 and, my god, not yet crumbling), this seemed excessive.

An appointment every three months? There are relatives I don’t see that often.

It was our break-up point. This man isn’t after my best interests. He’s just taking advantage of my insurance. To him, I’m just a friend with benefits. (Yeah, that happened.)

Well guess what, Doctor Wow! I’m not taking a day off work and paying another $30 copay so you can afford your house in the Hamptons and your granny smith Glade plugins and your fancy shmansy cloth gowns. Use paper like everyone else!

I’m giving my insurance to a doctor who deserves it.

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I Thought We Agreed to Pee in the Ocean

Now, with a brand new cover!

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5 Things About Women That May Surprise Me

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Women. You know the type. Walking into rooms, and then out of rooms. Saying things. Doing stuff. If one has short hair and you see her quickly in your peripheral vision, you might think she’s a man. But she isn’t. She’s a woman. You know?

Who are these strange creatures with their wider hips and functional nipples? What are they thinking as they sit across from you at the dinner table, their lips moving, making sounds. Do they have likes? Dislikes? Neutral feelings? What, for God’s sake, do they want?

1) Shiny objects

Women are like infants and cats. Not just because they cry and have claws, but also because they are distracted by things that sparkle. That’s why the trophy to mark their greatest achievement is a diamond ring.

Although, alternative engagement rings are beginning to trend: non-diamond, plain bands, and even finger tattoos. So maybe that ring theory has some holes in it. (Ha!) Plus, some women are shying away from marriage altogether. It’s like they don’t remember they come from male rib, and therefore belong tucked away beneath a guy’s arm.

2) Romance

The best way for a man to cover up his indiscretions is with romance. I don’t mean love or respect. Romance. I’m talking gooey Hallmark sentiment: flowers, chocolates, stuffed bears, and poems that definitively state what color certain flowers are. You may not read it in your high school biology book, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t science. Know this: women can’t resist a good wooing.

Although, I happen to be a woman (if I’m not, my gynecologist is really ripping me off), and sugar-sweet romance makes me uncomfortable. In fact, I tried to convince my husband to seal our wedding vows with our secret handshake rather than a kiss. So I guess all women don’t like romance after all.

3) Saving

If 90’s Disney taught us anything, it’s that damsels in distress are real (and that meerkats and warthogs make fast friends). Whether it’s killing a spider, reaching for that soup can that’s just too high, or reviving your gal from her glass box sleep, ladies love, and maybe even need, to be rescued.

Although, I suppose female police officers, soldiers, firefighters, doctors, etc. would argue they don’t want saving, they want to save. Damn it, why can’t women just all be the same??

4) Babies

Feet that fit into your mouth. Tiny itty bitty yawns. Cries that begin as these cute little goat bleats, and then continue on and on, expanding and sharpening as their vocal chords strengthen, screams filling your ears and drilling into your brain all night long, constant, ear piercing noise blaring and blaring until you can’t remember what silence feels like and you think you’re going insane.

5) Ice cream

….

 

Okay, yes. We definitely want ice cream.

iGirlfriend

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In honor of National Poetry Month’s close:

iGirlfriend

Slim. Smart.
All you need.
Hold me beneath the dinner table.
Caress me on the train,
in a pew.
i whisper in your ear,
shimmy into your pocket,
and vibrate.
Push my buttons.
Drop.
Recharge.
i light up your face.
No birthday presents,
anniversaries,
or mother in laws.
No Whys?
Whens?
How could yous?
i speak when spoken to.
No, don’t look up.
Look at me.
i take you anywhere.
You take me everywhere.
How did you live without me?
Shhh.
Don’t try to remember.

The Lonely Broken Road That Led You Straight To Me

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I’ve surpassed 2,000 followers. That’s like the population of a Manhattan apartment building! And judging by the search engine terms that brought you to my site, you guys are even edgier and more eclectic. Here are the strangest of the search terms, excluding the ones that are too strange (disturbing) to publicize. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Mouth pedicure slave: I think the phrase you’re searching for, sir, is dental hygienist.

Guy doing pedicures + slave: Now, is the guy ALSO a slave, or do you want a male to do your pedicure BESIDE your slave? Weirdo.

Stripper body odor: You’re into some strange stuff.

Adult bathing in a bucket: REALLY strange stuff.

Sexy elephant: REALLY, REALLY strange stuff.

Female without clothing: What an articulate and precise way to search for porn.

Order strippers to the Waldorf Astoria: Sounds like one classy bachelor party. Hopefully you figured out the whole stripper body odor dilemma.

What to do with my beauty: I suggest you use it for good, not for evil.

I knew I shouldn’t have shown off on the dance floor: Why?? What happened???

How to be fat and look good in a one-piece: I might be able to help you figure out the first part. The solution to the second part still eludes me.

Pee in the ocean today?: Eh, I don’t feel like it today. Maybe tomorrow.

Abandoned Warehouse: Hopefully you’re a contractor searching for a place to renovate into lofts, and not a serial killer looking for a place to dump bodies.

If buying a vibrator from Groupon, will it be in discrete packaging: Groupon will be discrete. I will not. You are outed, you fiscal pleasure seeker!

Count Munch and the Wicked Witch: What the hell kind of fairytales are you reading, and where can we find them?

Terrifying feathered dinosaurs: Yes! “Bird” is a euphemism. This is accurate.

Celebrities doing chores: I, too, would like to see this.

No pants subway ride tighty whities: Sounds like you were ready for some interesting images. I fear I disappointed you.

Authentic brawd: I’m flattered that I was the result of this search term. So flattered, maybe it’ll be the title of my next book!

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For you longtime followers, allow me to draw your attention to an added tab on the site: my Merchandise Shop! Here you’ll find T’s and mugs with quotes from my book. If you have a quote you’d like made into an item, feel free to submit a request!