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Friday, July 26, 2019

Flask Friday! A Bloody Mary 3 Way

I can not think of a better way to close out true crime week than with a bloody Mary recipe. And not just one bloody Mary recipe; I'm going to give you three bloody Mary recipes!

Ya know, if you say bloody Mary recipe three times in the mirror, you look really drunk.

Like most of my twenties, the exact origin of the name bloody Mary is unclear.

Some say it is named after Mary Tudor, Ms. Bloody Mary herself.

Others say it is in reference it was named after some 1920s drunk's ex-girlfriend.

We do know that the drink originated in a Paris bar during prohibition. The bar was an ex-pat bar called Harry's New York Bar. According to legend, bartender Fernand Periot came up with the drink trying and showed it to a patron who said it reminded him of a cabaret in Chicago called The Bucket of Blood....which is the grossest, weirdest, coolest name for a cabaret ever. Some accounts say that the patron had an ex-girlfriend who worked at the cabaret named Mary, thus the name Bloody Mary.


What is clear is that a bloody Mary is the most popular choice of hangover cure...although, it really doesn't cure a hangover as much as it just prolongs the inevitable.

But, hey- I promised you 3 bloody Mary recipes, so I can't waste all my time going on about the history of the drink, so let's get down to it.

Recipe #1: The traditional bloody Mary:
6oz tomato juice
2-2.5oz vodka (I used Absolut)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2-1 tsp of horseradish
3 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
3-5 dashes of Tobasco to taste
squeeze of lemon

shake ingredients in cocktail glass and pour

Recipe #2: The Caesar
You can thank our friends to the north for this one. In Canada, you drink a Caesar, not a bloody Mary

6 oz Clamato juice
2-2.5oz vodka
salt and pepper to taste
salt and pepper to taste
1/2-1 tsp of horseradish
3 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
3-5 dashes of Tobasco to taste
squeeze of lime
rim glass with celery salt

Recipe #3: The Bloody Dirty

A dirty martini with a bloody twist

2oz vodka
1oz dry vermouth
2oz tomato juice or Clamato
2tbs olive juice
blue cheese stuffed olives

shake all ingredients except olives in shaker with ice. Pour and garnish with olives.

And of course, I made another dumb video. Spot the Letterkenny references.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

True Criminals And The Women Who Love Them

My first was Aileen Wuornos. I didn't follow the media coverage, but I remember my dad telling me what he read about her in the newspaper that day. I was probably 12 and I was fascinated by what he was telling me.

I had heard of serial killers, of course, but in my mind, they were fictional- like Michael Meyers or Freddy Krueger. But here was my dad telling me about a real-life killer and a lady killer nonetheless. What???? And I'm not sure why he told me such detail about the case. Maybe he too was so intrigued by a female serial killer that he had to share. Maybe he saw a woman serial killer as less of a threat, so therefore he could recant the gory details to his preteen daughter??? Idk, as the kids say. Whatever the reason; I'm glad he did. It started me on my weird path of true crime fascination. And he also probably had a part in my goth phase as well.

My second was Jeffrey Dahmer. I was staying with my aunt and uncle in Chicago the summer of 1991 when Dahmer was arrested in Milwaukee, a mere hour and a half drive away. I remember watching the news reports on a tiny black and white TV, half sickened by what I was hearing and seeing but also completely enthralled with the details in that "I can't turn away" manner.

It was definitely not appropriate material for a 14-year-old to be consuming and I'm sure my Lutheran aunt and uncle did their best to shield me from it, but they also probably should have taken the TV out of the guest room.

The two things I remember from that summer were the Midwest humidity and reports of severed body parts in a Wisconsin apartment. Great material for a "What I did last summer" essay.

And here's the thing: my true crime love affair is not unique. Junior high slumber parties consisted of Silence of the Lambs, like every weekend. My first in-depth conversations with other likeminded girls during those awkward teenage years were about Ted Bundy and the Tate/LaBianca murders.

Up until fairly recently, I thought it was just my teenage friend group. As the quiet, chubby, odd girl in school, I assumed I just attracted other fellow popularity-challenged weirdos and we all just happened to be obsessed with weird shit.

And then came My Favorite Murder in 2016. If you are unfamiliar, then I'm surprised that you are reading this. I mean, how can you get wifi in that cave and/or rock you are living in and/or under?

If you know the podcast, hello fellow Murderinos! SSDGM! If you don't, then I will explain why MFM was such an "Aha moment" for me....and hundreds of thousands of others (it is regularly in the iTunes top ten weekly comedy podcasts. That's right, I said comedy podcasts. You should check it out).
My friend Rianna and I met Georgia and Karen. NBD.
What made the podcast "land" with me and so many others is probably because the hosts, Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, openly acknowledge their conflicting, yet overwhelming obsession with true crime. Hearing them "sit crooked and talk straight" brought me back to many a late-night Denny's conversation I had after leaving an all-ages goth night at a questionable "night club" with far too many over-age men. How the hell did we ourselves not become victims of true crime at that club night? All I can say is it was the 90s and The Sisters of Mercy must have had my back.

OK, back on point. What I'm getting to is this: Ladies Love True Crime. (Dibs on the rapper name LL True Crime!)

This true crime lady boner phenomenon is not just anecdotal. Women are the predominant listenership of MFM. And you could argue that women tend to enjoy podcasts hosted by other women. And sure, there might be that. You could also get into that shitty thing where men claim to find almost all women's voices "annoying" so that's why they are in the minority for the listenership of this podcast. Fine. I don't have time to pull at that thread.

But there's also this: according to a NYT article, 70% of true crime book reviews on Amazon are by women (80% of all war books were reviewed by men, by the way. I'll let you unpack that for yourselves). In addition, the website Crime Reads states that 80% of the downloads of ALL true crime podcasts are from women.

So why are we SO obsessed with true crime? I mean, we can't all be on our periods at the same time when reviewing books or downloading podcasts, right? Was it Elizabeth Warren? Is this one of her plans? Or maybe we can blame Hilary? Were those emails encrypted with facts about BTK?

There are literally dozens of articles pondering why women are so hot and bothered about murder-y things. Seriously, it was like page three of a Google search before I got to the super rando websites. And there are a lot of theories about why women are obsessed. Why are you so obsessed with us being obsessed?

But here's My Favorite Murder Theory: We do it for survival.

That's right; it's preservation, Baby! And it makes sense when you think about it: women are far more likely to be the victim of sexual violence (1 out 6 in the US, to be exact) and women make up 70% of the victims of serial killers. Oh...and who makes up the majority of serial killers? Men. White men, if you really want to get into it, but again....that's a thread to pull at another time. So many threads to pull, we are going to destroy Weezer's sweater later.

The point is, women are studying true crime to keep themselves safe. A 2010 study by Science Daily asserts that the primary motivation women had in reading true crime stories was to watch for real-life clues of dangerous situations and behaviors. While men are more likely to watch TV shows about surviving on a deserted island or how to beat up a grizzly bear or some shit, women watch Mindhunter to hopefully avoid the next Ed Kemper.

There are other theories, of course: identifying with the victims, facing fears, and as Janet Jackson would say, control; but I would argue that these theories are almost sub-theories of the survival theory. I do think, however, that these sub-theories are part of the reason that I love a certain true crime comedy podcast. By mocking the situations and the killers (never mocking the victims) there is a bit of control and facing one's fears in a much-needed, lighthearted way.

Another important thing that a good true crime book/movie/podcast does is give a humanizing portrait of the victims. The podcast The Murder Squad with Billy Jenson and Paul Holes (oh, he caught the Golden State Killer, btw. Swoon) does an exceptional job of giving a voice to the victims. One of my favorite episodes discussed the Netflix Ted Bundy Zac Effron movie. Instead of giving any lip service to the movie or the killer, they listed all the victims and read little personal facts about them. It was one of My Favorite Moments in podcast listening.

Look. Listen. I'm not saying that survival is the entire reason that women are into true crime, this is clearly a broad generalization and I can not speak for every person. And I'm not saying that it is a conscious reason for being into true crime. If you were to ask teenage goth me why I was into it at the time, I probably would have quoted Beetlejuice and said that "I myself am strange and unusual" or some sort of typical teen non-answer.

I am saying that the survival instinct is more of a subconscious reason that women are disproportionally more into true crime than men.

Studying true crime also provides other "rewards," like problem-solving, understanding human behavior, learning forensic procedures, comprehension of the legal system, and a glimpse at political machinery. Interest in true crime could also reflect our current pessimism. After all, a criminal is president right now.

In the case  of My Favorite Murder, I've learned there is a severe backlog on rape kits and that fellow Murderinos are now working together to donate to end the backlog. I've learned that victims of color have been, and in many cases still are, treated differently than white victims. I've learned to use the term "sex worker" instead of "prostitute." I've learned a lot about victim-blaming and that I have been guilty of it myself. I've learned that words matter.  I've learned to not be ashamed of taking medication for mental health. I've learned that we have to take care of each other and the importance of noticing what might be happening to someone around you. Most importantly, I've learned to "fuck politeness" and that I don't owe anyone gentility in exchange for my own safety.

For more great tips, you should check out Georgia and Karen's book.

Obviously, My Favorite Murder is not the only true-crime podcast out there and a true-crime comedy podcast is not for everyone.  If you like your true-crime "neat" then I can recommend the aforementioned Murder Squad, Serial, Criminal, Up and Vanished, and Cime Junkie, to name a few. I used to like Sword and Scale until I found out the creator is a creep and he has been canceled.

Bottom line, whatever your reason for loving the true-crime genre, you are in good company.

What are your favorite true crime podcasts, books, shows, etc? There are far too many to list here and I focused mainly on podcasts. I'd love to hear what fellow junkies are binging on right now!

And, as always, Stay Sexy and Don't Get Murdered.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Coffee Break Convo - The 10 Best British Procedural/Crime Shows, According to Me.

British Procedurals are so much better than American crime dramas. There, I said it. Fight me.
And before you even try to convince me otherwise with "whatabouts," I will grant you this: Mindhunter is great; True Detective (season 1) was fantastic; Fargo (season 1 and 2 only) was really good. Even the first iteration of CSI was enjoyable for its fact, it might have been my gateway drug into crime procedurals.

But those Brit Procedurals, though. They really got it down. And maybe it's because the Brits have provenance with detective stories. When you think about it, they literally wrote the book. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle? Agatha Christie? Mr. Bean? OK, maybe not that last one.

But it's not just legacy. British procedurals seem to have more dimension, more character backstory. Or maybe, I'm just a sucker for the accent. Or maybe it's the amount of Mini Coopers I see in every single one (proud Mini owner, btw). It doesn't matter; I stand by my opinion.

Practicing my confident, interrogative stare

That being said, here are my Top Ten favorite British Procedurals:

1. Broadchurch - Surprisingly, it took me a couple of times to get into this show; but when I finally started the series...Oh. My. God. Well, I put it in first place, so there you go. I really feel like it is one of the defining shows of the genre. It features complex characters, dark and labyrinthine story lines, and startling plot twists. Oh, and it stars the incomparable Olivia Coleman, two Doctors- David Tennant and Jodie Whittaker, (and guest stars one- David Bradley), as well as a few GOT cast members- David Bradley (Walder Frey), Jacob Anderson (Greyworm), and Susan Brown (Septa Mordane). It pretty much has it all.

2. Sherlock - I did agonize over this whole list, but Sherlock and Broadchurch in particular. I swapped these two several times for 1st and 2nd place. I ultimately placed Sherlock at 2 mainly because there are fewer episodes to binge. Also, Sherlock does not need my help in promotion. It stars Benedict Cumberbatch aka Benedryl Colorblock, Blindside Camouflage, Bumbershoot Chamomile (sorry, I've always wanted to participate in that meme). With great writing and Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman at the helm, the series really is one of the best out there.

3. Marcella - This series is fucking dark. Every episode should come with a trigger warning. It is hard to watch sometimes but made easier by the fact that the majority of actors in the series are very attractive and impeccably dressed in that oh-so-British way. The show is so good in that way that leaves you a bit broken after watching.

4. Luther - Two words: Idris Elba.

5. The Bletchley Circle - This PBS joint is exemplary of what I love so much about British procedurals: strong female leads. It takes place in post-WWII England. Four former Bletchley Park codebreakers are enlisted to solve a series of murders. It's so, so good.

6. Shetland - If for nothing else, watch this for the lovely Scottish accents. Also, watch with subtitles enabled. Also, watch for the beautiful landscapes. Mainly, though, watch for the well-written character relationships and the intriguing and exceptional crime-solving. And I should mention that when I say British procedurals, I mean Great Britain, of which Scotland is part of.

7. Happy Valley - This one is also a bit dark, but also oddly funny and sad at the same time. It stars Sarah Lancashire (one of my favorite British actors) and brilliantly utilizes her as the flawed but noble crime solver. Highly recommend.

8. The Fall - I'll be honest, it does take a second to reconcile Gillian Anderson's accent if you are used to her portrayal of Scully on X-files. Anderson shifts between British and American Midwest accents in real life and was born in the UK, so I suppose it's more justified than Madonna's weird accent. Anyway, once you get over the accent, the series is fantastic. This one should also have a bunch of trigger warnings, but done in that masterful way that keeps you watching even though it's tough.

9. Safe - Michael C. Hall headlines this one. And he is an American using a fake accent, so you will have to adjust to that as well, especially if you were a Dexter fan. But it is very easy to get over as the plot is both unexpected and emotionally engaging. Something about it reminds me of Gone Girl, but luckily sans any Affleck family member.

10. Paranoid - Strong female lead? Check. Appealing "Will they, won't they" chemistry? Check. Flawless British swearing? Bloody, fucking check. A GOT and Luther cast member? Check. (Indira Varma). Highly watchable and binge-able series? Check.

Footnote: I really wanted to include Killing Eve in the top ten, however, after exhaustive research (read: one google search) I landed on the decision that while it is an explosive series with plenty of "what the fuck?" moments, I would classify Killing Eve as a spy thriller. Also, that would bring my list to eleven... and Top Eleven doesn't roll off the tongue (or roll of the SEOs) the way Top Ten does.

Honorable mentions (in no particular order):
Ripper Street
Foyle's War
Death in Paradise

Have yet to watch:
Collateral (just started this one, though), Inspector Lewis, Midsomer Murders, Father Brown, Waking the Dead, Jack Taylor, The Five, Whitechapel, Prime Suspect, The Body Farm, Endeavor, Silent Witness, Grantchester, The Bodyguard, Line of Duty, and Life on Mars.

Most of the above unwatched-shows are not available on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime, so I would have to subscribe to BritBox to watch them. Can I justify one more streaming service? Maybe I could call it a tax write off? Of course, I'd actually have to make money off this blog to call anything a tax write off. Ha (sob) Ha.

What did I miss? Please only comment with British Procedurals (meaning a crime or detective show from the UK). It will not be helpful to suggest a non-crime show like Downton Abbey or a non-British crime show like Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries (it's Australian).

Or, what other lists of shows would you like to see? Drop a comment below!

Friday, July 19, 2019

Flask Friday! It's National Daiquiri Day!

"Woo! Daquiris!"

At least I think that's what I probably slurred one spring break in New Orleans. I probably said a lot of stupid things that week.

I survived to drink another daiquiri
Even the thought of those lurid Slurpee-style machines, churning out overly sweet boozy concoctions meant to medicate tourists makes me feel 21 years of bile climb up my esophagus.

A daiquiri hangover is only second to a red wine hangover. The worst.

But it doesn't have to be that way. In fact, the cheezy, TGIFriday's style daiquiri of today is a pretty far cry from its simple and understated ancestor.

Bottom line: daiquiris do not need to be trash. They can be class.

Before I give you the recipe for my take on the daiquiri, let's get into some history...because this is how I justify my weekly booze expenditures- it's for education!

The drink was named for the mining village from which it was believed to be created; the town of Daiquiri just outside of Santiago de Cuba. The widely credited inventor was an American mining engineer named Jenning's Cox, who was stationed there during the Spanish-American war.

At the time, it was believed that lime and rum prevented yellow fever, so Cox mixed the two ingredients and added some sugar to create a "medicinal" beverage for the mineworkers. So....maybe that's what I was doing that shameful spring break; preventing yellow fever. However, judging by the way I felt afterward, I'm pretty sure I came down with something- regret fever, maybe? 

Moving on. 

The daiquiri was introduced to the U.S. in 1908 when a naval officer brought the recipe back and shared it with the Army & Navy Club in DC.

The drink gained momentum and hit a full peak during the 1940s when whiskey and vodka were rationed during WWII. Rum, however, was easy to come by due to Roosevelt's Good Neighbor Policy with Latin America, Cuba, and the Caribbean; so rum drinks became quite popular, with the daiquiri being the favorite.

It's unclear how the drink evolved from a simple rum, lime and sugar cocktail over ice to the obnoxious day glow blended concoction seen up and down Bourbon Street and at most suburban key parties; but just like everything else, the old-school version is making a comeback in hipster bars in every upscale, newly gentrified neighborhood.

And with good reason: the OG version is good. 

I made a variation on the traditional recipe by adding muddled strawberries and rose simple syrup. It turned out to be pretty tasty; and this is coming from someone who swore off daiquiris since the late 90s.

The Knowgetter Daiquiri:

2-3oz of white rum
3-4 medium ripe strawberries
1 oz rose-flavored simple syrup (I found mine at an Asian/Pacific market)
Juice from 1 large lime
1 teaspoon of sugar

Muddle strawberries and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker. Add rum, lime, and ice. Shake.

Add 2-3 ice cubes in either a tumbler or tall cocktail glass and sprinkle the sugar over ice. 

Strain the pretty mixture into the glass and you are all set.
1940s Me enjoying a 1940s inspired cocktail

Fun fact: if you add grapefruit juice to the tradition lime, rum, and sugar recipe; it's called a Hemmingway Daiquiri, named for Cuba's most famous prohibition-era ex-pat.

And, of wouldn't be a Flask Friday post if there wasn't a humiliatingly stupid video to go along with it.

It was recently suggested that I add a bit more to my videos; you know, take advantage of effects and make it look less like a hostage video. 

Well, I took that advice and now I'm everyone's problem. I decided to introduce a new character: 1940s Me. Today Me and 1940s Me go head to head in this very odd tutorial. 

At around the 2:04 minute mark, shit gets really weird. I'm sorry.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Everything You Wanted to Know About Renaissance Fairs, and Then Some.

Dressed in a cute sundress, the wrong shoes, and way too much jewelry; I dragged my husband this past Saturday to the Colorado Renaissance Festival.

I haven't even left my backyard and my feet hurt already
I do this to him a lot. Once I made him buy me a $90 dragon puppet because I'm the worst. And truth be told, even though I'm the one insisting that we go to the festival, I'm not sure that I like it all that much. 

And I'm not quite sure why I don't like it as it seems like it should speak to me on a spiritual level: multiple alcohol options, pretty dresses, goats, and special attention when I tip ("Huzzah to the tipper!")

Maybe it's because I always wear the wrong shoes and usually twist my ankle. Or maybe it's because I always manage to pick the hottest weekend to go. But these are reasons to not like a lot of things, so I'm not quite sure why I always leave slightly disappointed.

But look; I am not here to yuck anyone's yum. In fact, I'm quite jealous of the fair-goers living heir best post-plague life. I watch in envy as elven costumed "playtrons" do their thing. 

A couple of "Mundanes."
And there's a name for people like me: Mundane. No, seriously; according to Urban Dictionary, that's the slang for people who attend renaissance festivals in non-festival garb. Mundanes. Ouch; but fair.

Or should I say "faire." Or should I say "festival?" Honestly, both terms are used depending on the city, so I will probably oscillate between both without reason as I am prone to do.

A Little Bit of History:

Amidst the "We accept Ye Old Credit/Debit cards" signs, the frozen margaritas, and the yakitori chicken kebabs of the modern renaissance festival, it's hard to imagine that the first U.S. renaissance fair was actually a historical teaching festival for children.

In 1963, school teacher Phyllis Patterson held a small renaissance fair in her backyard for her students. Her goal was to "trick" them into learning. Ugh. Don't you hate it when people try to trick you into learning?

But her students liked it and later that year Phillis and her husband decided to put a bigger version together as a fundraiser. They called it the "Renassaince Pleasure Faire." 

The word "pleasure" gives me pause. And sort of grosses me out. It's a word that a creepy 1970's professor would use to woo an innocent coed: "Why don't you swing by my bungalow for some chardonnay and pleasure?"

But the first renaissance fair was not a sex fair (we'll talk about that later). The first renaissance fair was meant to be a learning festival for both children and adults; and the displays, reenactments and tutorials were to be as historically accurate as possible. In fact, the fair was designed by The Living History Center to resemble an actual spring market fair of the period. All actors, vendors, musicians, etc. were expected to complete a course in period accents, costuming and the like.
Not Mundane.
The fair was a success and pretty soon after that, renaissance fairs/festivals started popping up all over the country. Eventually, the fairs started to lose a lot of the strict historical accuracy and began to focus more on entertainment and making that ye olde chedda'.

Most festivals are based around the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, but a few (like the Colorado Renaissance Festival) take place during the reign of Henry VIII. History nerds out there will most likely pick up on the fact that these fairs are actually closer to the medieval time period...but I guess "renaissance" just had a better ring to it than Dark Age Festival. Although, Dark Age Festival sounds pretty fucking metal to me.

Now for the Sexy Time:

Also different from the first fair is the amount of sex that is "allegedly" going on behind the scenes. According to this Vice article, a lot of threads on Reddit...and just what I've always heard; they have put the "pleasure" back into Renaissance Pleasure Festival. Granted, Vice and Reddit aren't the most credible of sources...but come on; we've all heard about the "after parties" at the festival. It's "allegedly" quite the bacchanal; unless everyone is lying to my Mundane ass.

Hey, man. Who am I to judge? Let your Fair Freak Flag Fly and get it, Wench.

Most importantly, whether you are there for the turkey legs or the "good time" (or both) just remember to bring sunscreen. It gets hot out there. 

Monday, July 15, 2019

Coffee Break Convo- Pride Festival in a Conservative Town.

Look, I'll be direct. Colorado Springs does not have a great reputation regarding LGBTQIA rights.

After all, it was the birthplace of Amendment 2;  a ballot measure that stated that laws couldn't be passed that would allow protected status to anyone based on sexual orientation. Basically, the amendment would make it so that homosexual anti-discrimination laws couldn't be passed. The amendment passed in 1992 with 53% of the vote.

The amendment was clearly one of intolerance and rights restriction; causing Colorado to be dubbed "The Hate State." Ugh. Not our finest hour.

After a hard fought battle that ended up in the Supreme Court, the amendment was struck down as unconstitutional in 1996.

I was in high school when the bill passed, and I remember the political climate at that time. I was a budding liberal and even though I wasn't even of voting age I knew that the law was complete hate-ridden bullshit.

It also didn't help that Focus On The Family, an extremely conservative religious group that gives Mike Pence a boner every time the name is mentioned, moved to Colorado Springs in 1990 and soon joined the advisory board on the amendment.

And even though the amendment was struck down; Focus on the Family is still headquartered in Colorado Springs and continues to spew anti-gay hate speech and fuckery. The Human Rights Campaign has a detailed breakdown of FOTF's shady doings here.

So, yeah; Colorado Springs has a pretty checkered past when it comes to supporting the LGBTQIA community.

Which is why crosswalk made me tear up a bit yesterday.

I'll explain; yesterday I went to Colorado Springs Pridefest and saw the rainbow crosswalk at Colorado Ave and Tejon St.

It got me in the feels, as the kids say.

I remember attending one of the first Colorado Springs Pride Parades in high school and seeing protesters with ignorant hate-filled signs that would give Mike Pence another boner. Oh, and there was a weird guy who dressed up as a grim reaper to symbolize that gay people are going to Hell, I guess??? His message was unclear. Perhaps the costume was on sale. Or maybe he was just a huge Blue Oyster Cult Fan.

Anyway, to see a pride festival to go from protesters and grim reapers to an actual rainbow crosswalk made me feel good.

And yeah- the rainbow crosswalk was temporary and was removed today, but to briefly feel like we were in the Capitol Hill section of Seattle was pretty cool.

And of course, sad old trolls had to weigh in on the crosswalk; bringing out the same tired old "whataboutisms" like "what about a pro-life crosswalk?"

First of all, what? What would that even look like? A bunch of babies on a crosswalk? Creepy.

Second; technically all crosswalks are pro-life crosswalks since it is their job to keep pedestrians from getting hit by cars.

Third; get out of here with that unrelated argument. A first-year debate student can tell you that unrelated arguments don't win you the mock trial. It's like asking why a list of the top 10 cat breeds doesn't include Corgis.

Oh, also; I saw 3 Corgis yesterday AND I got to rub one's belly. It was one of the most transcendent moments of my life.

But I am off-topic. My point is that for a town with such a sordid past regarding equality; the rainbow crosswalk just felt like a giant leap from the days of Grim Reaper yore.

Seriously though, why the Grim Reaper get up? It makes no sense because even if you've been "grim reaped" for being gay, that doesn't mean you are going to Hell. The reaper doesn't get to decide that. I really don't think that religious zealot fully thought out his stupid hate costume.

Anyway, I am the first to acknowledge that Colorado Springs has a LONG way to go when it comes to nurturing the LGBTQIA community, but that small yet beautiful installation was at least a step in the right direction.

And now to the convo part of this- I want to hear your fun and beautiful moments from Pride this year. Any LGBTQIA Pride festival in any city. Share your moments, because they are yours and no stupid grim reaper can take that from you.

Oh, and if anyone comments with some anti-gay fuckery, I will delete your comment. Trolls have no space here.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Flask Friday! The 1984 Wine Cooler Recipe

I know what you are thinking: wine coolers are disgusting.
Give this recipe a try. It will be a lot cooler if you did.

And you are right; the ones they sell in bottles today are disgusting. And you know what? Most don't even have wine in them. Whaaaaat?

And here's the other surprising thing: the history of wine coolers is somewhat of interesting.

Let's go back to the year 1981. You are on a beach in Santa Cruz. You've got your party polo shirt on and you are blasting some Yacht Rock on the AM/FM radio. Some guy named Michael Crete gives you a drink that tastes like Lisa Frank in a glass. You are enjoying the very first wine cooler.

Michael Crete worked in wine and beer sales; so on the weekends, he was the main party guy. He began to mix drinks just for fun. He put some pineapple, grapefruit, lemon-lime juices in a glass with some wine and a bit of club soda and he called it the California Cooler.

Later, he would team up with his old high school friend, Stuart Bewley, and together they began bottling and selling the California Cooler. At the time, there was a surplus of California wine from the central valley, so the drink had enormous profit potential due to the low price of wine.

By 1984, sales were in the millions. People loved the fruity sweet concoction. Women began drinking it, assuming it was healthier than other alcoholic beverages because it had "real" fruit juice. Apparently, they didn't know about sugar in the 80s.

1987 was the peak year for wine coolers.  Earnest and Julio Gallo, Seagrams, and Bartles and Jaymes were all selling wine coolers as well. Seagrams even got Bruce Willis to sling their wine cooler commercials. Fact: I still remember the terrible song to this day; and now I give that earworm to you.

I would not want to hang out on a porch with any of those dudes....except the dog. I'd drink a wine cooler with that dog.

Anyway, cut to the early 90s when the US raise the excise tax on wine. It was no longer profitable to use wine in the wine coolers, so companies started using malt liquor instead. The change in taste and the change in culture inevitably led to the downfall of the wine cooler. The only group still drinking wine coolers were the under-age drinkers.

Admit it; you for sure had a wine cooler or two in your pre-21 days.

But guess what? Just like mom jeans and conservative politics- wine coolers are back; only now some companies are making them with wine again.

But why are they back? Well, I propose it's because our current political climate mirrors that of the 1980s, so why not drink a beverage synonymous with the time? I mean, we had terrible taste in politicians then and we have even worse taste now.

Smiling through the end times.
And look, the wine cooler doesn't have to be gross. I put together a recipe that is actually quite good. Just don't drink more than 2; you will have a terrible hangover. I know this because I'm writing this post with a terrible hangover. I call this one the 1984 Wine Cooler cocktail to not only pay homage to the decade but also the Orwell book. Because we are living in a trash fire of a world.

The 1984 cocktail:

  • 6oz white dry wine (I recommend a pinot grigio; I also recommend that you don't use Franzia like I did)
  • 2oz of vodka (I used Absolut)
  • 3oz of peach juice
  • 2oz of hibiscus juice
  • splash of lemon juice
  • splash of club soda
  • garnish with lemon and lime.
And here's a video of me making the cocktail. I pretended to be a fancy 1980s lady and the voice I use is annoying as hell. Watch at your own risk.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Is Your Air Conditioner Sexist? The Knowgetter Investigates.

The New York Times came out with an article last week examining the possibility that American's are over-air-conditioned. Later, Twitter went- well, all Twitter- after The Atlantic writer Talyor Lorentz provocatively quote retweeted the NYT article, calling AC "unhealthy, bad, miserable, and sexist."

And guess, what; I agree. Kind of. Well, I agree that air conditioner temperatures are not inclusive to all that work in a workspace.

recreation of my office attire in July

Also, please know that I am not advocating for banning AC. I don't like to sweat. Ever.

I'm just suggesting in this post that we try to compromise and make work environment temperatures a bit more accommodating to all.

But, first- let's take a look at the history of Air Conditioning! Fun!

Humans have been using some form of air cooling since, well, the beginning of boob/ball sweat. The ancient Egyptians hanged moistened reeds in their window, allowing the wind to evaporate the water to create a cooling effect.

In 8th century China, Emperor Xuangzong had a "Cool Room" built in his palace, which utilized water powered fans.

Can we address the term "Cool Room?" If you have to say it's cool, it's probably not; dork.

But the advent of modern air conditing didn't come along until July of 1902, brought to us by U.S. inventor, Willis Carrier. Name ring a bell? Yep, the Carrier HVAC company is the very same company he started. So, this guy Carrier is the one to blame.

OK, so far this AC story has been far from scandalous, let alone sexist.

Well, how's this for interesting? Since day one, AC units released toxic, flammable gas...much like what comes out of Mitch McConnell's turtle mouth. And like Mitch, the gas was incredibly dangerous to anyone who came into contact with it if it leaked.

Cut to a guy at DuPont who invented a "harmless" chlorofluorocarbon called freon. Yeah...the same freon that is tearing our ozone layer a new one. I think you see where we are going with this: Mitch McConnel is an asshole. Oh, and air conditioners aren't great for the environment, to say the least.

And, also- we as Americans use way too much of it.  And it's not just the chlorofluorocarbons released from AC units that are fucking with Ma Nature, it's the amount of electricity (and therefore the powerplants used to create the electricity) that's killing us, Smalls.  In fact, according to The Guardian, the U.S. uses as much electricity just to cool buildings as the entire continent of Africa uses for all of its electrical needs.

So, AC is definitely not helping the environment. But how is it considered sexist, you ask?

Cool your jets, I'm getting to that.

But first, I want to put forth the issue I have with the use of the term "sexist." All the studies done on the AC subject are only addressing cisgender individuals. The articles I looked at do not include ALL people, meaning it doesn't address trans, non-binary, and two-spirit individuals. This is unfortunate as it only looks at the physiology of cisgender men vs cisgender women. Please know that even though that I have to address the subject only using the info that I've been given; I see you, my trans, non-binary, non-conforming, and two-spirit friends. 

Now, I usually have no problem calling out something as sexist- I call my husband sexist every time he buys the wrong coffee creamer- but I'm not feeling it on this one, as it actually excludes a number of individuals, not just women. I will say though, that the history with air conditioning is extremely biased toward one portion of the population, to say the least.

It all started in the workplace. In the 1960s offices were fitted with thermal comfort formula that took into account things like air temperature, airspeed, vapor pressure, and clothing insulation. That last part is important; and so is this: the formula to get to the "appropriate" temperature was based on a 40-year-old man weighing 154 lbs...and wearing standard office attire at the time, a wool or flannel suit.

See the problem yet?

And at the time, it didn't seem like much of a problem because the ratio of women to men in the office workplace was a lot lower than it is now. Also, women didn't wear the same attire as men. While women's clothing at the time had its own set of problems (girdles, pointy bras, the WORST underwear), the attire was not as insulated as the men's. Thus, the lower office temperatures.

But guess what? Women now constitute half the workforce, but many office temps still haven't been adjusted to include the comfort of all employees. Because, of course.

Big deal, you say- women should just wear less clothing. Ok, no. Perv.

Also, there is a physiological aspect to all of this. Science (ever heard of it) says that in general, women have a lower resting metabolic rate which means they generate less heat. So, even if men were to strip completely down (gross; don't do it, Perv) women would still retain less heat fully clothed. In fact, a recent study (illustrated in this NYT article) claims that the current model may overestimate women's heat production by 35%. So basically, women are already running 35% colder than men before they blast the AC.

So, basically, we have Don Draper to blame for the reason that I had to bring a blanket to work in July.

Oh, and guess what? Studies show that when a body is too cold, it is less productive. People are evolutionarily derived to try to conserve heat for survival; so your body actually starts to go dormant when it feels too cold.

This is a problem for, you guessed it, women. We are already getting 30% less pay, and now we are less productive because we retain 35% less heat. Fuck that.
at least this smug bastard is comfortable.
But what can we do? Um, it's pretty simple. Change the formula. Include metabolic rates of all workers, and factor in modern work attire, not the wool suits of yore. Oh, and the formula should include a wide range of ages...because guess what? AC can also be hella ageist, as bodies lose the ability to retain as much heat as they age. Oh, and also- it should include a range of abilities- because temp control in either direction can be ableist. And obviously, temperatures should be adjusted for the type of work done in the workspace. A retail environment, for example, will probably require a lower temperature than an office where the workers are, in general, a bit more sedentary.

And, I do need to mention that heating and "AC standards" are regularly updated by The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning. However, they recommend that building temperatures range from 67 to 82 degrees, which is a pretty wide range.  A broad study found that men prefer a 70-degree work environment and women like it at 75 degrees, but many offices have an average temp of 68 degrees, which is even lower than what both prefer.

Now, before you jump on me for spreading my Liberal Air Conditioning agenda; listen to this- in an article written by Fox News Network (yep, that lefty rag) they explain that a Cornell study found that the optimum temperature for productivity is 77 degrees.

*mic drop*

So, let's recalibrate the "norm" to be more inclusive. There's a pretty strong chance that the average office temp might need to be raised a bit in the summer.  Oh, and guess what Corporate America? You would save money on cooling costs. See, I'm not just a pretty socialist face; I got your back shady fuck.
imagined footage from the first ever Office AC Accords talk.

So, is AC sexist? Well, yes. But in a more accurate sense- it's really non-inclusive and biased.

And just like a Joe Biden supporter, you can maintain that AC means no harm and that it was a different time when sweaty middle-aged men could roll 3 bourbons deep into the office and give an inappropriate hug, but that doesn't change the fact that you can't continue doing the same damn thing and expect everyone to be cool (see what I did there?) with it.

What are your thoughts? Is your workspace too hot, too cold, or just motherfucking right?

I will reuse this photo if I ever do a post on 90s Grunge.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Coffee Break Convo- 10 Phrases Guaranteed to Insult or Annoy You

This weekend, I had a shitty interaction on Twitter; which is probably the majority of interactions on Twitter, so I know that I am not special.
Not here for trolls.

I deleted the comment because fuck them. I don't let trolls hang their terrible artwork on my wall.

But, it did get me thinking of the times I've been insulted or attacked for having an opinion; which has been often because I am a woman on the internet, after all.

And when I think back to the ways in which someone is about to unleash some fuckery, it usually starts with one of these 10 phrases below. Let's call them Fuckery Indicators. They are as follows:

1. "With all due respect," Means they are about to be super disrespectful.

2. "I'm going to play devil's advocate"...and waste everyone's time with some irrelevant bullshit.

3. "Well, actually..." Girl, you are about to be mansplained to.

4. "Don't take this the wrong way" You are 100% about to be insulted.

5. "I'm not racist, but..." They are going to say something very racist.

6. "Promise you won't get upset" You will get upset by whatever comes out of their mouth next.

7. "I don't usually like girls/guys/people who____, but on you..." They will then give you a backhanded compliment, in which you are expected to be flattered for having the quality that they dislike.

8. "Not to be that guy..." Absolutely going to be THAT guy.

9. "As a taxpayer," This will be followed with some Reagan-esque thing that your parents would say.

10. "Can I ask you something?" They are asking your permission to ask you something stupid or insulting.

What Fuckery Indicators did I miss? Comment below!

Friday, July 5, 2019

Flask Friday! How To Make The "Get F@cking Angry" Cocktail

Hi there! I hope your 4th of July was excellent.

Oh, also; there are kids in cages in this country. 

Usually, on Fridays, I give you a cocktail recipe. 

This is going to be a pretty easy cocktail today because instead of buying cocktail ingredients, I donated that money to the ACLU instead. 


Because there are children in cages.

And you can argue all you want about how and why they ended up in cages (the only correct answer to that is because Trump is a piece of shit), but "whataboutism" isn't going to change the fact that we have human beings detained in horrific conditions. Oh, and children in literal cages. 

If you need a refresher on the embarrassing history the U.S. has regarding immigration, you can read this previous post, but come back here as you need to make this drink.

I'm calling this cocktail the "Get Fucking Angry" cocktail. And the word "cocktail" is a stretch as this is just a shot.

Step 1: Grab a liquor or beverage of your choice.
Step 2: Pour as much as you want into that glass. If you are really angry, you should pour more.
Step 3: Think about the fact that human beings are forced to drink water from toilets at the camps.
Step 4: Drink the shot.
Step 5: Slam the empty shot glass down, like a badass.
Step 6: Take your chaser; in this case, your chaser is your action. Do something about this crisis. Donate, volunteer, protest, spread the word.

Here's a video in which I walk you through these steps. There's a Bruce Springsteen impression in it, so the video isn't a total downer.

You can go to this page of my blog to find out info on organizations fighting this fuckery.

I would love it if you would comment with what your "chaser" is. Let's get motivated together!

If you want some drinking music, I put together this Dissent Playlist:

Oh, and also, FUCK YOU TRUMP!

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

How To Drive Them Wild With Your Sexy Knowledge of Immigration

Continuing my efforts to get more eyes on an important subject, I've opted for the old adage that "sex sells;" and a Cosmo-style erotic guide has got to bring in those tantalizing clicks! I'm putting the "bait" in click bait. Sexy!
I did hot, hot research; looking like a sexy Bernie Sanders

That's right, I'm going to teach you how to get your partner all hot and bothered by talking about U.S. Immigration policy. Meow!

sexy space bar
And what's hotter than going down...south. Ohhhh. We're talking south of the border, baby; all the way to hot Mexico. Muy Caliente! Prrrrrr.

First, you want to sit your sultry consort down and slowly explain that the U.S. has had a wicked history with Mexico for *whispers* sooooo loooooong.

The sexiest explanations are done with glasses in mouth
Next, you'll seductively stroke your partner's chin and tell them that America has been bad, really bad.

Look into their eyes as you tell them that in 1846, James K. Polk declared war with Mexico and redrew the U.S. border to include now modern-day Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, California, Utah, Arizona, and Colorado; so Mexicans living in those areas were then considered "illegal" simply because of the new border.

Then, you will sensually murmur into their ear that in the 1930s Hoover would blame the Great Depression on Mexicans and would deport 1.8 million people, even those that were U.S. citizens. He called it "Mexican Repatriation." What a scandalous turn of phrase!

Slowly, tell your amour how the U.S. needed Mexicans back during World War II. They wanted workers to fill in for the overseas American soldiers and wooed them with an exploitive and shameful labor policy called Braceros, which resembled that of post-civil war southern sharecropping. It was a major blight on U.S. immigration history.

Lean in and tell your beloved about an even bigger blight: Eisenhower's Operation Wetback in the 1950s. Yes, that's the ACTUAL NAME. This policy detained and separated families and then deported them en mass. Sound familiar?
Making a correlation between past and present policy. So hot.
Presented without caption
Lick your lips and explain that post-Eisenhower, Mexican immigration could be described as having a circular flow. This means that migrants would come into the U.S. to work seasonal farm jobs, save up money and return home. This would repeat cyclically and undocumented immigration during this time was actually at an all-time low. Circular flow immigration was beneficial to both countries.

Now that you have their erotic attention, passionately tell them that "illegal" immigration increased dramatically, however, once Reagan, Bush, and Clinton enacted stricter border enforcement. The once benign circular flow of seasonal migration stopped, and now the migrant workers were stuck on the U.S. side of the border, afraid to return to Mexico. The drop of the Mexican peso pushed even more Mexican citizens to risk crossing the border in search of a better economic situation.

Your liberal lover is probably on the edge. Now is when you can cool them down by telling them that unfortunately, Bill Clinton had a part to do with the modern immigration debacle. Up until 1992, California was pretty red. Clinton won California, but was seeking re-election and immigration in CA was a hot button issue. He ran on a platform of strict border enforcement, hoping to further turn Cali blue.

Is it hot in here? Or is that the Sonoran desert?
Look into your partner's bewildered eyes and explain that the increased border security at major entry points (San Diego, El Paso, etc.) pushed border traffic to extremely rough terrain, like the Sonoran desert.

As your betrothed lowers their eyes, you can tell them that by forcing migrants to cross the sweltering unforgiving terrain, the death toll of migrants began to rise.

Massage their back as you explain that the U.S. was sadly ok with the deaths and according to an embarrassing Government Accountability report in 1997, this was seen as nature "doing the dirty work" and the government actually saw the rise in border crossing deaths as a good thing.

As you both start to weep, you then softly sigh and tell them that many of the bodies found in the Sonoran desert are beyond identifying because of the way that the hot, arid climate accelerates the decomposition process. Many will never know if their loved ones died in the desert.

Now that you are completely forlorn, tell them that the U.S. also has a long history of separating children from their families, starting with the slave trade, then the Native Americans, then Japanese Americans and now with Central and South American migrants.

As you shamefully look at your feet, remind your beloved that even Obama had a brief and temporary policy of family separation. While still shameful, it's not even a drop in the bucket compared to the Trump administration's zero tolerance policy.

Putting the "bothered" in hot and bothered.
Now that you are both reduced to withering piles of mortification, you can discuss how even if the children manage to be reunited with their families and are allowed their day in court to apply for citizenship or plea for asylum, the U.S. Immigration Court system is so fucked that most do not receive a fair trial; or even a trial.

At this time, you should remind your sad sex friend that  Professor Dough Massy explains in an NPR interview that crime is actually lower amongst immigrants in general, compared to native-born Americans. Undocumented workers also pay into social security, pay taxes and are not stealing American jobs. The majority of jobs performed by migrant workers are seasonal harvest jobs that American citizens do not want to do. In fact, under Trump's zero-tolerance policy, these jobs are now underemployed and employers are struggling to find workers.

Now that you are both drenched in the sweat of sadness, you can address the fact that under Trump, Border Agents are acting hostile towards members of Congress who are visiting these border detention facilities. This is all too similar to the actions of authoritarian regimes, with whom Donald Trump is very chummy. Strange bedfellows, indeed.

Feeling myself, my shameful and saddened self
As you slowly redress your demilitarized zones, you can share a sad cigarette knowing this dehumanization of migrants and their children at the border is the very same method that the Third Reich used to marginalize Jews and minority groups leading up to the Holocaust.

As you sob in the after glowering, realize that you need to take action. Sexy, action.

1. You can donate to the ACLU or the other organizations I listed in the this previous post. Hot!
2. You can participate in peaceful protest. Shake that sexy fist!
3. You can volunteer. I Loooove to watch you volunteer.
4. You can vote. Ooh, stuff my ballot box!

Looking like a politically active snack.
For more information about the history of border policy, I suggest you check out RadioLab's 3 part series on immigration and this episode of Adam Ruin's Everything.

Both resources provided me with the majority of the info for this post.

Flask Friday! A Bloody Mary 3 Way

I can not think of a better way to close out true crime week than with a bloody Mary recipe. And not just one bloody Mary recipe; I'm go...