Category Archives: government

The right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury, and I would most totally win this, you guys

Today, I got what might well be the most exciting piece of mail in the entire world.

Ironically enough, I might be the only person in all of America who’s excited about getting this particular piece of mail.


When I was in my first year of grad school, and was working at a clothing store and taking a whole bunch of random lit classes because I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grow up (still don’t, just making it up as I go along), I got called for jury duty.

I was living in glorious Binghamton at the time. (I MISS YOU, BINGHAMTON!) I was SO EXCITED about this. JURY DUTY! I would be doing my civic DUTY! I would be making a JUDGMENT about a PERSON who was either GUILTY or NOT GUILTY! I would be watching JUSTICE IN ACTION!



So I told my job I needed some time off (which kind of sucked, because it was a part-time job, so it wasn’t like it had a jury duty pay policy or anything) and I dressed up in FANCY LADY CLOTHES (ok, I was like 21 or 22, so I think that meant I wore a hippie skirt and some sort of nice-ish teeshirt and not Doc Martens) and drove on over to the courthouse. The courthouse! Ooh, this was the big time now!

There were a lot of us, and we all sat in the courthouse and then the lawyers started calling up jurors and questioning them. I watched a lot of law shows. I knew how this all went down. Some would be DENIED! Because they were BAD NEWS! I anxiously waited my turn because I knew I would win jury selection. I mean, I was in my FANCY clothes. And I was MOST impressive. I knew all about law. I would be a very good jury member. Of course they would want me!

This guy got in wearing an Adidas shirt. I WORE FANCY CLOTHES, COME ON!

This guy got in wearing an Adidas shirt. I WORE FANCY CLOTHES, COME ON!

Well, almost twenty years ago is where I learned that teevee is very seldom like real life. No one got rejected in a dramatic fashion. The lawyers asked the potential jurors very softball questions, mostly like “Do you feel you can serve impartially on a jury?” And everyone was accepted. All twelve of them. The first twelve people they called. Leaving the fifty or so (I don’t even remember how many there were, it seemed like a lot) of us sitting in the courtroom anxiously awaiting our turn in the hot seat sad and forlorn. (OK, fine. Only I was sad and forlorn. The rest of those people looked like they’d won the lottery, because if you show up and you’re not accepted, you don’t get called again for like 4 years or something like that.)

I left very sad, because FOUR YEARS, you guys. That is a very long time.

Can I just ask – why don’t people want to serve on jury duty? I think it would be SO EXCITING. First, you don’t have to go to work, and you still get paid (at least some of your salary, if not all of it, depending on your job and its policies.) THEN, you get to go to a courthouse! And listen to a LIVE LAW AND ORDER EPISODE! And then you get to decide whether the person is innocent or guilty! I mean, seriously. Could this BE any more fun? Why do people get so weird about this and not want to do it? Is it because they don’t want to judge another person? Well, that person is given a jury of their peers, it’s the rule, if no one served, he or she couldn’t get what they were promised, and what they deserved, you know? Also, didn’t you see 12 Angry Men? I mean, seriously, don’t you want to be one of the angry men? WHY NOT?

Don't you want to be an angry man? I totally do. I would rock at that.

Don’t you want to be an angry man? I totally do. I would rock at that.

Fast forward almost TWENTY years. I have never been called for jury duty since. Not even once. Mom sent me a pamphlet that said “how to volunteer for jury duty” but it was unhelpful. Everyone I knew was getting called for jury duty. Some people like every four years like CLOCKWORK. This seemed very unfair. VERY unfair. Didn’t they know I would be the best on jury duty? Like, THE best? Is that why they weren’t calling me? Like, they were afraid I would be so much better than everyone else and they didn’t want to give people a complex?

Today, when I got my mail, it was a lot of crap. Coupons for something I don’t even buy (sigh); a flyer for a grand reopening of a store that never closed (confusing); a letter from my insurance company telling me they wouldn’t pay for ADHD screening for my children (sorry, Dumbcat and Newcat) and then…THIS!

What could THIS be, I ask you? FEDERAL COURT!!!

I know, the first thing you’re thinking is that I’ve been served. NO I WAS NOT SERVED!

OMG WHAT IS THIS?!?!? It is MERKA, you guys! MERKA!!! Well, on a small scale. NEW YORK MERKA! OK, not even all of New York. NORTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK MERKA!!!


Also, check out the middle there. “Northern District’s Master Jury Wheel.” I totally imagine all of our names on a big old Wheel-of-Fortune wheel and the Jurymaster spinning it with a devilish look in his eyes and saying “TODAY WE WILL CHOOSE LUCY’S FOOTBALL!!!”

I WIN! What do I win? JURY DUTY!

I WIN! What do I win? JURY DUTY!

So I talked to Mom tonight and I was all “MOM! MERKA! JURY! I WILL WIN THIS! I WILL MAIL THIS BACK WITH A POST-IT ON THERE THAT SAYS ‘PLEASE PLEASE PICK ME I WOULD BE THE BEST AT THIS DON’T YOU WANT TO MAKE MY WHOLE LIFE COMPLETE?!?!’ Mom was quite sure this would make them throw my survey away, as no one WANTS to serve on jury duty, so they would think I was a crazyperson. WHY IS THIS? I seriously don’t get it.

“Mom, I would be not ONLY the best jury member, I would be IMMEDIATELY picked to be FOREMAN of the jury, and I would be the BEST foreman. I would hand out PAPER and PENCILS and ask if anyone needed to see any of the EXHIBITS again and then POLL THE JURY to see where we STAND and see if we are DEADLOCKED and also I would organize our LUNCH ORDER. It would be the best. THE. BEST. Why haven’t they called me before this to see how the best I am?”

This would be me, only I would be so much better. SO MUCH BETTER.

This would be me, only I would be so much better. SO MUCH BETTER.

Mom changed the subject. I’m pretty sure that’s because she agreed how much the best I’d be.

When I told DAD, he told me the following story:

“I also got one of those questionnaires a couple months ago and it said you had to return it in ten days but it asked a lot of questions I wasn’t comfortable with the government knowing so I refused to return it even though your mother yelled at me. Then the other day they sent me another one, and do you know what it said? That they were going to send me to JAIL if I didn’t fill it out! To! JAIL! Well, if that’s not a sign of a government conspiracy, I don’t know what is!”

So Dad’s probably going to jail, so that’ll be nice, I’ll have to bake him a cake with a file in it or something.

So then I read the letter and it said I didn’t even HAVE to mail it back in. I could fill it out online! Well, that means they would get it faster. And I would be on the wheel of jury duty destiny FASTER. I’m completely cool with that.

So I answered all the questions. Most of which were things like “ARE YOU A WHITE PERSON?*” (*WE ARE NOT RACIST WE PROMISE!) and “Do you know English?” (since the questionnaire was IN English, I don’t know that I’d have gotten to that page had I not) and “Are you a dentist?” (Yeah, I don’t…I think that was a way you could get out of jury duty? I guess if you don’t show up to clean someone’s molars you might not get paid and that’d be bad? I don’t know.) I answered them with VERVE. And PANACHE. And MUCH JOY.

Now I wait, I guess.

Dear United States District Court (MERKA!):

OMG, this is so much Merka it makes my head almost explode with Merkaness.

OMG, this is so much Merka it makes my head almost explode with Merkaness.

No one wants to serve on your jury. I know you must be so sad about that. Like someone picked last in gym class. Like you’re a joke. I feel terrible about that, USDC (MERKA!) and therefore and happily volunteering my services. I love to vote! I happily do it every time I’m allowed! I tell others to do it in a haranguing tone all the time! And now I would be HAPPY to serve on a jury! For any sort of case! A large case (HATCHETMURDER!) A small case (JAYWALKING!) I don’t even care! I would be very good at this, USDC (MERKA!)

Also, even though I’m very chatty, I promise I will not talk about our super top-secret case online. I will only talk about it in the most veiled of terms. Think of how many people will want to serve on a jury once I tell everyone in the blogosphere how cool it is, USDC (MERKA!)

Also, I know now that fancy dressing is not a skirt and a teeshirt and whatever shoes are not Doc Martens. I totally have GROWNUP clothes now. I will dress up for you, USDC (MERKA!) I will dress up for you SO HARD.

Don’t leave me hanging, here, friend. You call me. I will be the best at this. I like to win. And I will win this for you.

Most sincerely yours, your future best juror in the history of ALL OF MERKA,


Rickets and sex: they are amazingly similar.

OK, so as you know, I’ve been very very busy. And my hours are never the same. Some days I’ll work days and the next day I’ll work nights and the next day I’ll work in the middle of the day. It’s like I’m the Sybil of the workaday world. And some nights, I have theater in the evenings (or something else, but mostly theater, I don’t have much of a life outside of theater or work) so the days get kind of long.

The people that suffer the most from this are:

  • me, because often I don’t know when I’m coming or going, and I overbook myself and say I’ll be in two places at once, and also I don’t always get enough sleep so I feel like I’m something scraped off the bottom of a really gross person’s shoe
  • Dumbcat, who makes the MOST SAD NOISES when I come home, like “mreoooooouuuuioooo!” and then attaches himself to my leg like he is a lamprey or perhaps a remora and I don’t have the heart to shake him off
  • and Dad, who enjoys talking to me and also enjoys me having a regular schedule, and often gets confused when I call him in the middle of the day and says “what is happening, WHAT IS HAPPENING, is it dinnertime?” because I usually call him at dinnertime.

So some days I don’t get to talk to Dad and that makes BOTH of us sadface. I enjoy talking to my dad more than anyone. He always makes me laugh. Well, except when we’re shouting about politics, but since the election we barely talk about that because he just sighs deeply. You see, WHAT HAPPENED THAT DAY WAS ALL MY FAULT. (You’re all welcome.)

I did this! Me! ALL MY FAULT!

But over the past week I’ve collected some very important Amy’s Dad-isms for you all because I know you probably have missed them.


Dad: What do you think about what your government has done now?
Me: Um. I’ve been working a lot, not really sure what you’re referring to. Is this about Elmo? The only news I know about is Elmo.
Dad: What? What’s an Elmo?

Me: Oh, the puppeteer that controls Elmo the Muppet apparently had a thing with an underage boy or something, I don’t know the whole shebang. I’m lucky I know a little of the shebang. Or, maybe unlucky, it’s all very scandalous and a little icky.
Me: Oh. OK. What do we care about today, then?
Dad: General Petraeus’ sex scandal. SURELY you heard about that.
Me: I don’t know who that is.
Dad: Sometimes I wonder whose daughter you are.
Me: Well, sometimes I wonder whose FATHER you are. How do you like THAT turnabout, mister?
Dad: I do not.
Me: Thought you wouldn’t.
Dad: Blah blah General Petraeus runs the CIA or something blah blah some sort of fancy military guy blah blah had an affair and wrote eleventy-billion emails to his lover blah blah she threatened some woman she thought was moving in on him but really that woman was just a family friend blah blah and then some other military guy was dragged into it blah blah then it all came out. (I didn’t pay a lot of attention to this. Sex scandals make me sad. Also bored. WHY CAN’T YOU PEOPLE KEEP IT IN YOUR PANTS. Also, if you are married, why don’t you take that shit seriously? That makes me angry. When Dad starts ranting about things like this I hear Charlie Brown’s teacher.)

Me: I don’t see how this is my government’s fault. This guy couldn’t keep his little MacArthur in his pants, I don’t know how that has anything to do with the White House. Also, what’s up with all those emails? They’re like teenagers. How old were these people? Were they using company email? That’s just stupid.
Dad: You don’t ever ask the right questions when I tell you things.
Me: There are right questions?
Me: Um. I don’t…I don’t know?
Me: Of what? Sounds like this Petraeus guy was the one that needed to cover up. That was a good one.
Dad: It negates a good one if you say “that was a good one.”
Me: Nothing negates a good one. And that was a VERY good one.
Dad: You really need to think more about what your government is doing in order to hide their actions.
Me: I’m too busy for that. Can I just think about something nice, like kittens or rainbows or maybe eggnog? It’s totally eggnog season, you know.

I LOVE EGGNOG. Not even with liquor in it, either. Just plain old eggnog. LOVE LOVE LOVE.

Dad: I’ll worry about it enough for the both of us.
Me: That’ll have to do. Thanks for taking one for the team, Dad.


Me: I was trying to call you for like an hour earlier. You were on the computer, weren’t you? SIGH DAD. We have got to get you real internet and not dialup.
Dad: I wanted to read that post about Michigan sauce you said you posted.
Me: I’m sorry. I don’t think I heard you correctly. You were reading my blog? YOU were reading MY blog? My “this is too long and life is too short and also sometimes you cuss and tell people too much about yourself I am never reading this again DO YOU HEAR ME NEVER AGAIN” blog?
Dad: Well, it was about Michigans.
Me: So? Did you like it?
Dad: We need to talk about this.
(In the background, Mom said “He was laughing a LOT, Amy. Don’t you even let him scare you.” That made me giggle. Also, Dad doesn’t scare me. He’s all bark and no bite. Well, to me anyway. I’m his beloved daughter, after all.)
Me: OK. Did you like it?
Dad: You said too many things. TOO MANY THINGS.
Me: I always say a lot of things. You know that.
Dad: You told people that you had rickets. You can’t tell people you have rickets. The government will come arrest you.
Me: For having rickets? I don’t think they will.

Oh, yeah, the government’s totally coming for me for this.

Dad: You don’t know. The government went after Petraeus for having sex. Rickets are like sex.
Me: I’m fairly sure rickets are nothing like sex. That seems faulty.
Dad: ALSO, you told people our secret sauce recipe.
Me: I did NOT tell them that. I said it was beef in spicy sauce. How are they going to make our sauce with that recipe?
Dad: You told them FINELY GROUND BEEF. They don’t need to know that. Also, they don’t need to know it’s spicy.
Me: What was I supposed to say to describe it, “it’s unidentified meat in some sort of liquid?” That makes it sound pretty appetizing, Dad.

Oh, yum. Liquid meat!

Dad: Also, you said I said the paper misspelled Albany. I didn’t even say that but your mother said I said that and I didn’t AND she wasn’t even home when we were talking about it.
Me: No. What you ACTUALLY said was “there are typos all in this article” and I made up the rest. To make it funnier.
Dad: Oh. Well, that’s alright then. Funny is alright. (yelling to Mom) I TOLD YOU I DIDN’T SAY ABLANY WOMAN. (Mom: “Whatever.”) Also, you said there was never a Jake. I TOLD YOU THERE WAS A JAKE.
Me: You told me there was a Jake THREE DAYS AFTER I PUBLISHED THE POST. How the hell am I supposed to go back in time and change that?
(To my loyal readers: there was a Jake. It was my great-uncle Gerald. His nickname was Jake. He actually was the one who created the recipe, then my great-grandmother perfected it or continued to make it or something like that. He died very young in a car accident and it makes my dad sad to talk about it.)
Dad: ALSO…
Me: Good grief, Dad, did you like it at ALL?
Dad: ALSO, you said “who the hell is Pecore.” I don’t think Pecore will like that you said that.
Me: Wait. Wait. YOU KNOW PECORE? Well? Who the hell IS Pecore?
Dad: It’s some lawyer. He’s fancy. He has your aunt make him ten gallons of sauce every year for that golf tournament.
Me: So the sauce at that tournament really IS our sauce?
Dad: Of course it is. Everyone knows that.
Me: I like that you think I know about things that I would have no way of knowing about. Why would I know that she makes sauce for some golf tournament every year? It’s not like I LIVE there, Dad. Or hang out with this fancy lawyery Pecore.
Dad: You know what was smart?
Me: Something was smart? Well, that’s pleasing, I thought we were going to tear the whole thing apart until there was nothing left. What was smart?
Dad: I liked that you said we are too poor to afford a safe. We really are. We can’t afford things like safes.

We aren’t RICH. We can’t afford SAFETY.

Me: I know we can’t. I’m glad you approve.
Dad: But I’m pretty sure after reading this people are going to come to your house and kill you even more than I used to think they were.
Me: Oh, probably not. But thanks for your concern.
Dad: You should probably save up for a safe! Then lock yourself in it. Ooh, or a SAFE ROOM. Like in that movie with Josie Foster.
Me: Yes. Yes, that good old Josie Foster. I’ll get right on that.


Me: So I watched the saddest movie ever. You like sad. You should get this.
Dad: I got rid of Netflix because I had seen every movie ever so I’m never watching another movie again.
Me: Hmm. You know they make new movies all the time, right? They’re not finite.
Dad: I got tired of “very long wait” for new movies. Netflix is dead to me.
Me: OK. This movie was about 9/11 and had Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock and was super-sad and there was this whole part about phone calls coming from people inside the towers and…
Me: Um. OK?


Me: This is a worrisome development, Dad.
Dad: I’m an old man and I’m going to go watch The Big Wheel now.
Me: You can call it Wheel of Fortune, you know.
Dad: Could. Won’t, though. It’s a very big wheel. It’s an apt description.

I suspect Ms. White might be a deciding factor about why Dad likes The Big Wheel.


Me: OOF.
Dad: What was that oof. Are you dying?
Me: The cat just jumped on my chest.
Dad: Well, you have COPD now.
Me: What? The cat is not giving me COPD. That’s not how COPD happens.
Dad: No, I saw it on a commercial. An elephant sat on someone’s chest and gave him COPD.

This hurts Dumbcat’s feelings. He only weighs twenty pounds. He wants you all to know that.

Me: OK, first, I think it was a METAPHOR for how the COPD made the person FEEL. And second, Dumbcat is not an elephant. He’s a cat. He’s a hefty cat, but a cat nonetheless.
Dad: You’ve got to get rid of that cat.
Me: Aw, no. That’s my good boy. He’s not going anywhere. I love him.

Me: He’s not really going to steal my breath. He only sits on my face when I’m sleeping once a week, tops. That’s a loss less than he used to.
Me: No. Just a spatially impaired cat. And very sweet. And soft. And filled with purrs. OW DUMBCAT I THINK THAT’S MY LIVER MY SWEET BOY.

There you go! All the Dad-thoughts. PAGES of them.

(When I told him I was writing this he was all, “DON’T YOU WRITE A POST ABOUT ME. That internet will come and murder me in my sleep.” But I assured him that no, you would all not murder him in his sleep. So don’t make me a liar, internet. Don’t murder my dad in his sleep. If he’s dead, there would be a lot less hilarity in the world.)

Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone…your vote is never lost.

Well, here we are. Election day. After today, will all the shouting stop? Or just get worse? At least all those political flyers will stop getting stuffed into my mailbox, right? That’ll be nice. There’s not enough room in there for all those flyers and I just have to throw them away anyway. Such a waste of treeeees.

Stop wasting us for GARBAGE!

I guess I don’t have to tell you I’m petrified about what’s going to happen today. Well, today/tomorrow. It might be tomorrow until we know who wins, I suppose. I didn’t know who won in 2008 until I woke up the next morning. Then I collapsed on the couch and wept and was almost late for work and then everyone I worked with was SO PISSED ALL DAY LONG because I worked with a billion conservatives. So I had to pretend I wasn’t in the throes of the biggest relief ever and maybe just coming down with the flu or something.

This year is WORSE. So, so much worse. If I thought I was scared of the what-might-be 4 years ago, I’m utterly petrified this year. I know I’m all jokey about going to live with Andreas in Finland but I can’t even imagine living in a country run by a Romney/Ryan White House right now. I don’t want to think about it. I do everything I can to NOT think about it. If I think about it too much, I start crying in strange places like the car or the shower and one time on the cat. So I’m not ALLOWED to think about it. If I start I have to tell myself NO NO NO. Please do NOT bring that PARTICULAR badness down upon yourself right now, you’ll have plenty of time to freak right the fuck out in a few days if things take a very dark turn. Well, what I think is a dark turn. I suppose some of you reading this might well think that the OPPOSITE outcome would be a very dark turn, and I suppose that’s what’s nice about opinions and assholes, isn’t it. How they’re so all-inclusive.

OK, this just made me snort-laugh. I like this chicken.

So, no. No, I’m not going to get more political than this, here. Other than, I’m going to vote today, and I hope you are, too, because I think it’s important everyone does. (Well, I suppose this is moot for those of you reading this in countries other than MERKA, but the sentiment still stands. When you can vote, please vote. It is something we here at Lucy’s Football feel very strongly about. And as always, by “we,” I mean me and Dumbcat, of course.) I will be schlepping on over to the local elementary school, even though I am very, very busy (which is, I think the huge excuse people use – “I’m way too busy!” – well, try being busier than I am, jellybeans, and I still get out the vote, you know?) and taking my sadly not-at-all fancy Scantron voting sheet into my foldy cardboard divider privacy booth and scribble in my bubbles for the correct people and then run it through the scanner and not even get an “I VOTED!” sticker because I guess my area doesn’t DO those. I’m going to do all that. Then I’m going to (depending on when I get time to vote, either in the wee small hours or right after work, because right after work I have to eat quick and then run to auditions) walk around all day worrying. You think I worry a lot on a NORMAL day? Well, wait til you see me until they announce who won the election.

These are our voting “booths” now. I know. QUITE fancy.

I have no idea who’s going to win. None. I don’t even have a prediction or a guess. I don’t know what way the national winds are blowing. Most of my people are liberals, so of course they’re all RAH RAH OBAMA. But there are a lot of people who just HATE the president. They blame him for everything from the lack of jobs in the country to their girlfriend breaking up with them to that stubborn nose-hair that keeps poking out all weird. The country’s very shouty and very divided. It makes me sad. Was it always this bad? Has it always been this bad, every election? I’m not old enough to remember them all, going so far back. I am the first to admit that I didn’t pay a lot of political attention until probably the last…oh, I don’t know, 12 years or so? Shh, I was busy. Doing what? THINGS, ok? ALL THE THINGS.

So, anyway. Go vote today. I will not attempt to bias you. You already know where my vote’s going and I would hope your mind is made up by now, anyway. I refuse to cast a vote for someone who thinks women and homosexuals (shit, not to mention people of color and anyone who’s on government assistance and probably people who don’t own a dressage horse) are lower-class citizens than straight white (rich) men. I know a lot of people are scared about the economy and are voting because they think the current government has royally dicked it over and anyone, ANYONE, would better fix it than Obama would; I get it. I do. I’m working, on average, 45-60 hours a week just to pay my bills and I’m still not doing great. It’s a scary, scary economy. But I don’t vote for the economy. What the hell do I care about the economy? Money’s been confusing me since I got my first allowance. (FIFTY CENTS, thank you very much.) I vote with my heart. I vote for social issues. Does that surprise you at all? I might pretend to be scary but I’m squishy as hell. I pay attention to which candidate most clearly aligns with me on the social issues, and then I give him (or her, please, her, before I die? Come on, Merka) my vote. I think you know which candidate that is.

Also, I enjoy the hell out of him. There. Hate me if you must, but I do.

Also, just in case: what does one need to pack, to move to Finland? Just in case. I like to have a contingency plan completely ready to go. I’m guessing…something warm? It seems like it would be chilly in Finland. Also, we’ll be on an island and I can’t swim so I think I’d need floaties. Andreas, is everyone blonde in your Finland? Am I going to stand out all weird? I don’t want to have to dye my hair blonde to fit in, Andreas. I make a terrible blonde. I tried to go there once and it was a disaster. I looked like a science experiment gone wrong. I am meant to be a wicked brunette. With a funny white streak near one temple, apparently. As if I saw a HAUNT and it MARKED me.

Also, Andreas, I am NOT going into a sauna. The internet seems to show a LOT of photos of saunas when I Google Finland. I AM NOT DOING THIS ANDREAS. And what is that last guy holding on this lap? It looks like a large hedgehog, or a holly bush. NO THAT’S NOT A EUPHEMISM.

Happy Election Day, my fellow Merkans. Whatever happens, please just vote, ok? We don’t get a lot of chances to get our voices heard; this is one of the ways you can shout. Go shout today, ok? Loudly. Shouting loudly is very, very Lucy’s Football approved.

Time for me to start worrying. I’ll be in the pots-and-pans-cupboard until tomorrow morning, if you need me. Send in some fruit punch every now and then so I don’t get dehydrated, ok? You’re the best, thanks so much.

(Title is a John Quincy Adams quote; it pretty much sums up how I vote every year. Nice one, JQ.)

Big brother is watching you. Or maybe little brother, it’s debatable.

What day is this. Thursday? Thursday. OK. Here we are, Thursday! Whoo! It’s another night-shift week at work so I’m all discombobulated. And maybe a little bewitched, bothered and bewildered, who knows. I am told that there will be day-shifts next week for me, so I might become a daytime creature again next week. We’ll see how that works. As is, I’m all switched around. Dad reminds me that all through my childhood, he worked these shifts and it only screwed him up PERMANENTLY, so, thanks for that, Dad. (No, seriously, he really did. He worked swing-shift my whole life. A different shift every week, rotating every three weeks. Days, 4 o’clocks, midnights. Every week something different. And he worked a lot of doubles, because we were poor and he got time and a half for doubles – and double time and a half on holidays. We had a lot of holidays at weird times because we waited until he got home from work. So in case you think I’m from fancy-fancy rich-people stock, you are sorely mistaken. Anyway, to make a long story short – HA HA AMY WHEN HAVE YOU EVER – I have no idea how he did this for thirty-some-odd years. This could explain why my father’s insomnia is legendary, even now. And why when he would call us from work he was SO SO CRANKY.)

Sometimes Dad would take naps under an abandoned desk. Oh, wait. NO HE WOULDN’T! Not my dad! Heh.

However, it is almost BIRTHDAY WEEKEND! so I have a thing to look forward to if I can only make it through five days of work. And by the time you are reading this, I’ve made it through two days, so only three more to go. That’s nice! That’s good. Only three more! I CAN TOTALLY DO THIS.

Oh! Oh, I have a NEWS FLASH from Dad for you all today. It’s IMPORTANT BUSINESS so it’s best you all listen up, yo.

Dad: You’re going to have to get off the Twitter.
Me: What? No, I’m not.
Dad: Yes. It was on the news today.
Me: What was, that Amy has to get off the Twitter? Well, doesn’t that make me feel famous. Oh, on this TV show I was watching last night, someone mentioned Lucy yanking away the football. I’m everywhere on the TV lately, right?
Dad: NO. Stop being FLIPPANT. The NEWS today said that the GOVERNMENT is WATCHING your TWITTERING.


Me: Oh, they’ve always been doing that. I’m not too worried. If they care about the adventures of Dumbcat or me talking books or euphemisms with my friends, I guess they’re pretty bored.

Oh, I’m going to the big house. Someone send me a cake with a file in it.

Me: What? Why am I going to be arrested?
Me: I think you might have misinterpreted whatever you saw on the news.
Dad: No. NO. You ALL need to get off Twitter. The GOVERNMENT is WATCHING you.
Me: Oh, Dad. They always have been. There was a report a while back that they were monitoring public Twitter accounts for mentions of terrorism, and they put all of our tweets, for some strange reason, in the Library of Congress. I’ve always known that. As I am not a terrorist, I am not worried. It’ll all be ok. If I was worried, I’d lock down my account. Or stop tweeting. Or not talk about terrorism online, were I a terrorist. Which I am not.

I always wanted to be in a library. Huzzah!

Dad: You are going to be sorry.
Me: I don’t think I am.
Dad: YOU ALL ARE! I want you to tell the assassin, too. And your nice friend I waved to when I was driving to Florida.
Me: Well, I’ll tell them, but I don’t think they’re going to stop tweeting.
Dad: I’m not visiting all you people in Guantanamo.

I hope you’ll all come visit me in Gitmo.

Me: Didn’t they close Guantanamo?
Dad: Your president said he was going to but it was LIES LIES LIES.
Me: Did you suddenly become a Canadian citizen? I don’t care who you voted for, he’s your president, too, Rabble Rouser McGurk.
Me: *long suffering sigh* OK, fine, Guantanamo is still open, but I don’t think they waterboard people for tweeting about The Amazing Race.
Dad: That’s what they all say right before they’re being waterboarded for tweeting about The Amazing Race.
Me: So, am I ok to be on Facebook? Or to blog? Or are those also forbidden?
Dad: I think it’s best you get off the internet altogether. THEY ARE WATCHING YOU.
Me: Big brother has always been watching, Dad. This is hardly news.

Dad: What are you talking about? You don’t have a big brother. Your brother is younger than you are. You’re so weird.

I attempted to look up what had Dad in such a tizzy but couldn’t find any recent Fox News stories about the government monitoring my Twitter account. (Yes, I know he was talking about Fox News. When Dad said “the news” he means Fox News. There IS no other news. There’s Fox News, then there’s “the government news” that lies to us and tells us what Obama wants us to believe. The smart people in the world who think for themselves watch Fox News; the rest of us sheep watch “the government news.” I wish this was something I was making up for funsies but this is TRUE FACTS, bub, straight from my Dad.)

I am currently watching the American version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. “I want you to help me catch a killer of women” still gives me the chills. Although it is fine, and I like the music very much, and the cinematography is lovely, this Lizbeth is not my Lizbeth. My Lizbeth will always and forever be Noomi Rapace, and my movies will always be the Swedish movies.

MY Lisbeth. The BEST Lisbeth.

I loved that I could listen to them in the language intended, and read the subtitles so I could understand them. (Also, I told Andreas this the other day, Swedish sounds like how I would imagine fish would talk. It’s all fast and liquid and kind of bubbly. I like Swedish very much. This came up because Andreas made me a recording of him speaking Swedish, and he a., sounds like a very distinguished famous movie star with this deep rumbly voice, and b., SWEDISH SOUNDS LIKE HOW FISH WOULD TALK and it made me giggle and clap my hands delightedly.) Anyway! This movie is fine. I just don’t see that there was a need for it. The Swedish movies were FANTASTIC.

Listen, here is a story about the Swedish movies, and the books. I read the first book and I was all “WHOA THIS IS AMAZING.” And I don’t usually like crime fiction, but I fell crazy in love with Lizbeth Salander because she was such a layered character. I love well-written characters. (Yes. The violence against women in the book was over the top. I know. I cringed and at one point I had to put the book down. I still loved it. Lizbeth was a fighter, and I related to her so, so much.) Anyway, my dad and I don’t like the same kind of books. And he doesn’t read much, anyway. But I thought, he would like this so much. So I said, hey, Dad, I think you should read this book. So I found a copy for him on and got it shipped to him and said, if you like it, let’s talk, there are two more of these in the series, I’m reading the second one now and the third one’s supposed to be published soon. And he called me a week or so after he got it and he was all “THIS IS AMAZING I WANT TO TALK ABOUT THIS RIGHT NOW. I like Lisbeth! She is a badass. I hate Bjurman! I want to punch him in the junk. Who do you think killed Harriet? Do you think Blomkvist will fall in love with Lisbeth?”

How often do I get to talk books with my dad? Not very damn often. Over the next week or two, we discussed it every time we talked. He would say, “OK, I don’t understand this…” and we’d discuss the pressed flowers Vanger was getting in the mail, or the Bible with the names and numbers, or the women Blomkvist and Lisbeth were investigating and how they all tied into the whole bigger mystery, and it made my whole heart glad. Then I went home for some reason (Christmas, maybe?) and he’d Netflixed the Swedish movie for us. And he HATES subtitled movies. He always says if he wanted to read, he’d read a book, not watch a movie. But we were TRANSFIXED. We were SURE the movie wouldn’t be as good as the book, but it was. It was wonderful. Good job, Sweden!

I also like that European actors don’t have to be all airbrushed-pretty. They look like real people. This pleases me a great deal.

We read the other two books together (well, separately, but discussed over the phone) and he actually came up to see me to watch the second movie in the theater with me, which was awesome. The third movie we didn’t see together – I watched it free from the library like I do and he watched it from Netflix. We both agree that the third movie was the weakest of the three because we don’t like courtroom crap and the third movie was mostly courtroom crap. But it’s one of my favorite Dad-memories, how we were both just completely wrapped up in these books and movies together for the longest time. I know a lot of parents are booky and get into literature with their kids, and my mom used to read to me a lot when I was little, but my dad wasn’t the reading type. He’d do it, but only when mom wasn’t able for whatever reason. So this was really special to me.

So, yeah. I appreciate the effort, Rooney Mara, and you didn’t do a BAD job, but you’re no Noomi Rapace. Noomi Rapace is, and will always be, my Lisbeth. And my dad’s Lisbeth, too. (Dad refuses to watch the new movie because he is having a feud with Daniel Craig because in an interview once, Daniel Craig said he was pro-gun control, and that’s a no-no in Dad-land. So if you ever meet my dad, and you’re pro-gun control, that’s cool. Just DO NOT MENTION IT.)

I feel Mara was trying too hard and Rapace just relaxed into the role somehow. What do you all think, anyone seen either and have any thoughts on the matter?

OK. Lunch. Work. Home. Sleep. Repeat repeat repeat. Happy Thursday, all. Week’s almost over! Get off the Twitter, the government’s watching you!

The infinity of the universe and human stupidity

Just a warning – this is going to be a trigger warning for some of you, and I’m sensitive to such things, so be careful and cautious today, my little sweet potatoes. Also, I’m pissed as hell and that means I’m cussy, so even if you’re not triggered, but you hate all the cussing, you might want to go look at the pretty pictures over at I Can Has Cheezburger or something today because I AM GOING TO BE RANTY. Plus this ended up a little longer than planned. As mentioned, ranty. OK. Warning given. Still with me? Great, grand, lovely, hi hi hi.

Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe. — Albert Einstein

Ah, Missouri. A grand state. The Show Me State! A state that yours-truly has actually visited. I rode a teeny-tiny elevator up high high high to the very tippy-top of the St. Louis Arch and looked out over the city and it was quite a sight. Very pretty. The site of the Missouri compromise! Home of the Ozarks! Home state of President Harry S. Truman!

What the holy fuck, Missouri, are you thinking at this exact moment in time? What are you thinking right now? No, I’m serious. I’m quite serious. I’d really like to know what was going through your head when you selected, from all of the people who I’m sure were interested in the position, Representative Todd Akin to run for U.S. Senate. Or – wait, I mean, I didn’t hear about this on the news, but did every other Republican candidate of the correct age pass away in a some sort of ill-timed industrial fire? I mean, that could have happened and gotten hushed-up by the government. My dad is always saying “THAT’S WHAT THEY DO” about things like this. So maybe Akin was the only one available and you HAD to put someone up, just HAD to.

Hiya, folks! Todd Akin, here! I know a lot of things! About a LOT of things!

I can’t think of any other explanation, honestly. I’ve been wracking my brain.

I know I have a lot of far-away readers. Maybe you aren’t aware of the latest bullshittery that’s gone on in the War on Women currently raging here in the good old US of Merka. (And Andreas, please let me apologize in advance. I know this is going to INFURIATE you. Things like this do. I wouldn’t expect otherwise, from my most-excellent Science Fellow. Please don’t get infuriated. Well, or, do, because it’s infuriating, but don’t let it get you all high-bloodpressurey. I like you too much and worry about your health.)

So, just to get you all up to speed:

Todd Akin is a member of the House of Representatives from Missouri who is running for Senate. I’m not really sure why you’d want to switch over. I’m kind of not good at such things. Someone better at government want to help me out with this? I just did a Schoolhouse Rock research session and from what I can tell, they’re just two branches of Congress, right? I guess the difference might be that there are only two senators from each state, so you’re one of two, while there are a random number of representatives from each state so you don’t get as much attention, like you’re a special snowflake if you’re a senator and just one of a gang of fellas if you’re a representative? I’m not really sure. I would ask my father but yelling happens whenever we talk about politics.

I didn’t get the channel with Schoolhouse Rock as a kid so I missed out on important lessons set to rockin’ tunes.

But that’s neither here nor there, at least not where this story is involved. Todd Akin is a Republican and a proud Tea Partier running against the incumbent Democrat for her Senate seat in the November election in Missouri. As such, he’s giving interviews. That’s what you do, when you’re running for a political seat. You give interviews. You can hardly hide in your closet, right? No one would vote for you if you didn’t put yourself out there. I take no objection to that. It’s what you do.

On a local show, our friend Todd was asked about his very hard-line stance on abortion. I think you can guess where the Toddster stands, right? He’s pro-life, of course. But he’s not JUST pro-life. He’s ALL pro-life. No matter the circumstances, no matter the case. The mother’s life is at risk? Well, that’s the risk she ran, getting pregnant. It’s incest? Well, damn, she shouldn’t have been so seductive to her daddy, he works so hard to put food on her table. Why make the baby pay for those things? The mother was raped? Well, first, was she? Was she really? Are you sure? Because if she was really raped, she wouldn’t be pregnant. Science says so.

“If abortion could be considered in case of, say, a tubal pregnancy [which threatens the mother’s life], what about in the case of rape?” asked KTVI host Charles Jaco, in a clip that was disseminated by Talking Points Memo. “Should it be legal or not?”

“It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” Akin said, referring to conception following a rape. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something, I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.”

The…I…well. I don’t even know what I can say about this. Oh, wait. Yes. Yes, I do.

  • “from what I understand from doctors.” Well, the minute this came out, THE MINUTE, “doctors” were all – EVERY ONE OF THEM – “um…yeah…no. He didn’t get this shit from me, yo. THIS IS NONSENSE.” This guy made this up. “From what I understand from doctors?” I could say this about ANYTHING. “From what I understand from doctors, I have a small green frog living just above my kidneys.” “From what I understand from doctors, it’s perfectly normal to eat a bag of Dove peanut butter chocolate candy every day the minute you wake up.” I can SAY these things, BUT IT DOESN’T MAKE THEM TRUE.


  • “really rare.” Well, it depends on what you mean by “really rare,” I guess. Per a 1996 study quoted in the article I linked to above, 5% of rape victims ages 12-45 get pregnant each year. There are approximately 32,000 rape-related pregnancies each year. (It doesn’t say whether those are nationwide or global statistics. They’re fairly low, comparatively, so I’m going to assume nationwide, only because rape is a lot more prevalent in other countries (some other countries – Andreas says to add “some” as it’s quite low in some and quite high in others, my apologies for the oversight) and also getting statistics from those countries would be difficult.) I guess 5% would seem rare if you were playing the lottery. But if you were a rape victim who got pregnant, that wouldn’t seem that rare at all. If you were a child of rape, one of those 32,000 children a year, that wouldn’t seem that rare.
  • “if it’s a legitimate rape.” A legitimate rape. As opposed to one of those other rapes. The kind we ask for, by going on a date with our rapist; by dressing provocatively; by walking in a bad part of town too late at night; by smiling at a stranger; by smiling at a friend; by laughing; by being female. One of those rapes. You know. Those non-legitimate rapes. Those lying whore rapes. Those rapes that we dare cry rape about, but really we’re just saying it for attention, to get revenge on the man for something he did or didn’t do, because we’re dirty lying women with nothing better to do. Get back in that kitchen and make me a pie and shut the fuck up, you asked for this when you came out of your mom without a penis.
  • “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down” – what are these ways? Do we send out sperm-killing ninja cells? Do we develop vagina dentata? Do our eggs develop an impenetrable shell when confronted with rapist-sperm?
  • “But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something” – yep, “or something.” You know what that “or something” is? Science. That “or something” is science.
  • “I think there should be some punishment” – well, thanks. That’s nice and not at all weak. Glad to hear it. Glad we have your approval on this.
  • “but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.” Without going into eel-infested waters of WHEN DOES LIFE BEGIN, here, I’m just going to say that no one having an abortion due to the fact they were raped is thinking about “attacking” the child. I think that’s the last thing on their mind. They’re not in attack mode. They’re in protection mode. They’re protecting themselves. THEY are the one who was attacked. And (until it’s taken from us, because ladies, unless we fight our asses off, it’s on its way to being yanked, don’t fool yourselves it’s not) we still have the right to choose whether or not we want to carry the child of our rapist to term.

In even more disturbing news, Akin is a member of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. You might want to re-read that sentence. The man who thinks we have magical powers in our vaginas that can differentiate between the sperm we want and the sperm we don’t sits on a governmental committee which names, among its goals, “enhancing long-term economic competitiveness through investments in science and technology.” YOU JUST MADE US A LAUGHING STOCK. You think we have MAGIC POWERS IN OUR COOTERS. You think we can STOP OURSELVES FROM GETTING PREGNANT USING MIND-BULLETS.


(The “science” behind the magic hoo-ha theory is that some super-religious weirdo about fifteen years ago published an article saying if a woman is forcibly raped, her hormones are “upset,” causing pregnancy not to stick. Nope, I’m serious. Here’s the article. Which I don’t recommend you read, because it’s full of blatant lies, mistruths, and skewing of facts. Religious-types, misunderstanding how women’s bodies work for MILLIONS of YEARS!)

And don’t you dare say legitimate rape. Don’t you even dare. Seriously, sir, if you were in front of me right now, I’d spit in your fucking face. Have you ever been raped? Have you ever been forced to participate in a sexual act against your will? I’m going to guess not. Because if you had, you wouldn’t say something like “legitimate rape.” It wouldn’t cross your mind. It wouldn’t even be a blip on your faulty fucking radar. Who the hell do you think you are to pass judgement on what’s legitimate and what’s not? Because let me tell you how it works. A woman says she’s been raped? A PERSON WITH A HEART BELIEVES HER. There are very few sociopaths who go around claiming rape when it hasn’t happened. Because who would want that stigma? Who wants the name “rape victim” hung on them when they’re not one? Especially with ignorant assholes like you, sir, walking around slut-shaming them for trauma they’ve gone through?

President Obama made a statement the next day, which I think it’s important we read. Let’s read what another man has to say about this issue, shall we? Let’s compare the two statements. Here’s Obama’s statement in response to the magic ninja vagina (or, I don’t want to get this wrong, it might well be a magic uterus, he didn’t really qualify where those ninjas reside) no one is ever really raped statement. Ladies and gentlemen, the current (and next) President of the United States:

“The views expressed were offensive,” said Obama. “Rape is rape. And the idea that we should be parsing and qualifying and slicing what types of rape we are talking about doesn’t make sense to the American people and certainly doesn’t make sense to me. So what I think these comments do underscore is why we shouldn’t have a bunch of politicians, a majority of whom are men, making health care decisions on behalf of women.”

Even more telling? FUCKING ROMNEY CONDEMNED IT. Oh, shit, Akin. Even ROMNEY thinks you’re an asshat. Romney doesn’t even know what doughnuts are called because he’s so fancy he probably eats nothing but croissants flown in fresh from the south of France every morning, but even HE thinks you’re a douchebag.

“Congressman’s Akin comments on rape are insulting, inexcusable, and, frankly, wrong,” [Romney] told National Review Online. “Like millions of other Americans, we found them to be offensive.”

He added that his view was “entirely different” and that Akin’s statement was “entirely without merit and and he should correct it.”

(Notice Paul Ryan didn’t have a statement. That’s because Paul Ryan also believes we have magical ninja vaginas and that we should all be up in that kitchen rattlin’ our pots and pans, but he’s savvy enough not to open his mouth about this issue. Or his handlers have him shut in a closet and have ever since Akin made this statement. In case you’re confused: Paul Ryan hates women, y’all. But that’s a blog for another day.)

Now, almost immediately after he made this statement, our old friend the Toddster was all, “a-duh, I misspoke.” MISSPOKE! No. You misspeak when you say “clap” instead of “crap” or something, you know? Not when you say “most rape victims are lying liars who lie and the reason I know this is because imaginary doctors told me their vaginas would fight off intruder sperm if it was, truly, sperm of a rapist.”

“In reviewing my off-the-cuff remarks, it’s clear that I misspoke in this interview and it does not reflect the deep empathy I hold for the thousands of women who are raped and abused every year,” Akin’s statement said.

Akin also said in the statement he believes “deeply in the protection of all life and I do not believe that harming another innocent victim is the right course of action.”

Also, this isn’t even an apology! It’s not an “I’m sorry, I’m a total douchenugget” but it’s a “my silly MOUTH, you know? Whoopsie!” statement! Plus, he throws in AGAIN how he’s pro-life at the bottom! WE FUCKING KNOW, YOU MORON!

Ha, whooooops! My bad! Don’t hate the playa! (What else do the kids say today, guys? Guys?)

Do I have any Missouri people reading this? I don’t think I have many Republicans reading this anyway, because I’m one of those shouty liberal chicks (and therefore probably a lesbian, and most definitely the enemy) but if I do, please don’t vote for this man. I mean, even if you believe in everything else he stands for – THE MAN DOESN’T UNDERSTAND HOW BASIC HUMAN REPRODUCTION WORKS. How old were you when you understood that? I had a basic idea when I got “the talk” at age 11 or so, then had health class in tenth grade with the charts and graphs and such so I understood it more then. But I’m pretty sure, at no point in my life, did I think I had any sort of magical powers in my cootch that could all Wonder-Woman intruder sperm. OUR VAGINAS DO NOT DO THIS.

Here’s some basic biology for you: you can get pregnant if you have sex right before, while, or immediately after you ovulate. You don’t always get pregnant – there are factors in play like biology, sperm speed, sperm volume, biological compatibility…if you want to research it, you can. Thing is, most of you don’t have to, because I think, as a human, you know how we reproduce. (Shit. Shit, shit shit. AKIN IS AN ALIEN. Oh, that’s it. That’s totally it. He’s an alien PRETENDING to be human. We caught him in a slip-up. If we cut him, he’s totally going to bleed green goo, you guys.) Anyway: you have the same odds of getting pregnant with anyone if you have sex with them during that approximately week-long window each month. Your boyfriend. The mailman. The pizza deliveryman. Your husband. The person who raped you. THE ODDS ARE THE SAME. Do you know why? Because the SCIENCE is the same. Science doesn’t change for politics. That’s why science is awesome. Science doesn’t take sides. Science doesn’t care if you’re a Democrat or a Republican or a Socialist or if you think the Rent is Too Damn High. Science just IS. And science says, if you have sex in that approximately week-long window, you have a decent chance, depending on biological factors, of course, of being impregnated – whether you want to be or not.

Look! A diagram! Of LADY-BUSINESS! But…where are the ninjas? There were supposed to be…ninjas? No?

I don’t care if this man apologized. I don’t care if this man’s being pressured to step down by 5pm today (sounds like he won’t, even though people want him to, because DAMMIT! He is a MAN! He is CORRECT! He did NOTHING WRONG! He just made an OOPSIE!) I don’t care about any of this. What matters here is: this is a man running for a position to help run our entire country. A man that doesn’t believe that violence against women really happens and a man that believes we have magic vaginas like Lieutenant Dan had magic legs, I guess. This is a man who votes on laws that affect me and people I love. And he obviously not only doesn’t understand women, he hates and fears them.

Magic legs! Lieutenant Dan, you got magic legs!

Missouri, you’re the Show Me state, right? So, show me. Show me what the hell you were thinking, allowing someone who doesn’t understand basic science to not only run for Senate, but to serve in the House of Representatives, representing your state. Please, go ahead and show me that. Show me the thought processes behind this man, who hates and fears women representing your state, which I can only assume has some women in it. Please feel free to show me this. I’d love to see it. Because I can’t wrap my mind around it, honestly. Completely at a loss.

I’m going to go have a legitimate popsicle because I’m legitimately hot under the collar. Well, at least I think it’s a legitimate popsicle. How can I be sure? A politician didn’t tell me it was and I obviously, being female, can’t make such judgement calls on my own.

Have a nice day, from me and my magic ninja vagina. Hi-ya!

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