Month: June 2013

3 Fun Facts About The Poor (per Paul Ryan)

Last week, the House of Representatives voted down a new farm bill that, among other things, would have denied SNAP benefits to poor people if they had a car. This week, Paul Ryan is making the news rounds lamenting the failure of this bill to pass. Ryan supported an amendment to the bill that would have shrunk the food benefits roster.

Beyond the $20 billion in cuts that will throw an estimated two million children, elderly, and disabled Americans off food stamps, millionaire Rep. Paul Ryan is pushing an amendment that would close the door to assistance for the vast majority of Americans. Ryan and Rep. Frank Lucas are proposing that categorical eligibility be eliminated and replaced with an asset limit. If an individual has $2,000 in savings, or a car worth more than $5,000, they will not be eligible for food stamps. –

Many were upset by this amendment and its inclusion likely played a part in its failure in the House. But c’mon, lazies, Ryan makes a point! If a person has a car, then clearly they can afford to do whatever else they want to do like paying their rent, gas bill, and eating all the time.

The GOP often uses this logic to explain why poor people don’t need benefits. If people are buying things like gas for their car, or a birthday cake once a year, or shoes, then obviously they’re flush and don’t need any help from the social safety net. This logic works perfectly because are some things that are true about poor people that aren’t true for the rest of us.

Poor people do not have friends or relatives who sometimes give them gifts. I have a pair of $300 boots. I cannot afford a pair $300 boots. But a roommate gave them to me because she had owned them for years and never actually wore them.

Now, while something like this happens to middle class me, it never happens to poor people. If poor people have something nice, it’s because they’re siphoning the dozens of dollars they get from the government into their luxe, lavish lifestyle.

Surprise! You don't get help when shiz hits the fan!

Surprise! You don’t get help when shiz hits the fan!

Poor people never keep things. If I lost my job tomorrow, I’d have a bunch of decent things thanks to the fact that I’d been employed steadily for a number of years. I’d have some dishes that I got at Target. I’d have those boots I just mentioned, I’d have my car, my cats and some jeans and sundresses. I’d probably want to keep as many of these things as possible so that I didn’t lose absolutely everything all at once and want to kill myself.

This isn’t the case with poor people. Poor people never hold on to belongings to allow for some semblance of stability. If you see a poor person with a car or something other than a piece of trash, then it’s definitely because they threw away all of their previous belongings and wanted for that fat welfare check to come in so that they could buy everything a new. Last year’s house—gross! Time to upgrade!

Umm. You lost your job. Why haven't you sold absolutely everything you own? You must not really be having a hard time.

Umm. You lost your job. Why haven’t you sold absolutely everything you own? Things can’t be that bad if you still have that 12year-old car…and your 12-year-old.


Poor people don’t need to look for jobs or run errands or go to the doctor. If I lost my job, I would like to keep my car as long as possible so that I can go to job interviews and visit temp agencies and take meetings and generally continue to look for work.  I’d also like to be able to visit the grocery every now and then or maybe to Office Depot to get some paper to print my resume on and then maybe to the pharmacy when the flu comes around. Selling my car the moment tragedy hits would only lead to more tragedy since I’d be stuck at home and/or relying on LA’s craptastic public transportation system.

Not the case with the poors. If the poors have a car, they 100% aren’t using it to look for work. They’re probably just using it for decoration or maybe pooping in it for kicks. They definitely aren’t using it for anything necessary to staying alive. And remember, if they have a car in the first place, it’s most probs not because they’ve had that car for years and see no need to ditch it now. Poors only have cars because of all that cash they’re taking from the rich.

Someone's about to bring this coffee table inside.

Oh this? It’s just decoration. We’re just waiting for that check so we can pick up the Maz.


Hopefully Poor Paul (read: rich as balls Paul) will be able to take his message on the road and get the support his party needs to pass legislation like this. We definitely need to do something about the bloated budget, so why not do it on the backs of people who can’t drive to Washington to protest!

 What was the last awesome thing you bought with your welfare check? Let us know in the comments!

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What’s In This? (VIDEO)

Last year, I officially became one of those Los Angelinos when I was diagnosed with a gluten allergy. (For realsies, they took blood and everything!)

I try to be cool when I go to restaurants, but sometimes, it’s hella hard.

Special Thanks to

Shilpi Roy, Anthony Chiappetti Khunz, Reena Dutt, Mollie Caselli, Curt Bonnem, Scott Narver and me!

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Born That Way

We all have super power (so say the Marketing kids down at Virgin Atlantic). Some of us will use those powers to have high-level jobs. Some of us will use our powers to serve the cool. Guess who gets to do what. (Also thanks to Sociological Images for their write-up on this commercial.)

You’d think they’d at least employ the girl with psychic powers to at least work in the control tower to prevent crashes or some such. Or maybe make the precog with outstanding reflexes at least an Air Marshall. But no, much better to keep those two serving drinks and handing out tissues (which you don’t need to have Dr. Xavier style powers to do).

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Cheerios Girl and The Art of the Awkward Interview

Once upon a couple of weeks ago, Cheerios released an adorable commercial where an adorable little girl uses adorable kid logic and adorably pours Cheerios all over her sleeping father to help him stay healthy.

Cute, right?  Haha! Wrong! At least to a good chunk of the online community, anyway.

Cheerios had to close the comments section under this video due to racism. And this week, the little girl at the center of the blended family controversy spoke out…ish.

While young Grace is not an Oreo Oreo (she’s mixed race, not in denial), she’s made of enough cutes to get an honorary mention. Plus, during her interview with NBC, she shows us some great ways to handle the awkwardness that comes when people see that you’re the one thing that’s not like the others.

So the next time you find yourself at the wrong end of an inquiry, remember what Grace would do and try the following:

Wear a jaunty cardigan. No one wants to trouble someone in a delicate sweater. So not only do the long sleeves hide the evidence of your melanin, you get bonus points because the warm fuzzy fabric makes everyone around feel warmer and fuzzier themselves.

Smile and stare in lieu of answering. Making someone ask the same question more than 2 times in a row usually draws attention to the how weird/unnecessary/obvious/rude the question in the first place. So instead of answering, allow yourself a little time delay. You’ll find you won’t have to say very much and maybe not even answer the question at all. If

Look as cute as possible. Delivering a blank stare instead of a canned answer might come across as rude in some circles. But not if you’re super adorbs about it! So rose up those cheeks (yes, guys, you can do this, too), dig in those dimples, shine up that twinkle in your eye and get ready to deflect.

Bring back up. When possible, surround yourself with at least two other people with more patience than you have. It helps if they’re taller and if maybe one of them is white. (What am I saying, Oreos? Haha ‘maybe one of them.’ Obvi, both will be!) You can always use a head-tossing giggle to throw the question to them, ask them to translate or just stand a bit behind them and blend into the background.

Start talking to yourself. When all else fails, just start having a conversation with yourself instead of whoever bugging you. They’ll leave you alone.

Watch the interview here and see these tips in action!


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Drivers’ Ed Confessions – Julia

You guys don’t know Julia, but trust me… it was ridiculous how rich she was. Her gated community was so gated that there was like a gate around each house. It was ridiculous how many horses. It was ridiculous how robust her household staff was. She could have reenacted the entire film The Help before the maid cleared the breakfast dishes.

And it was incredibly ridiculous that I even cared about these things because she was a 15-year-old girl and I was a 31-year-old woman who really should have had my life together.

I did not have my life together and that was why I met Julia in the first place. You see, thanks to a divorce and the recession, I had been demoted from being a normal, respectable human being and was instead living life as a drivers ed instructor.

I do not recommend living life as a drivers ed instructor.

First, you have to wear a uniform. And not a cool uniform like doctors or astronauts get to wear. This uniform is khaki. All khaki. It’s stiff and it’s hot and manages to make every person who wears it, regardless of their gender, size or body type, look like they have man boobs and lady hips.

The second worst thing about being a drivers’ ed instructor is that you’re BEING A DRIVERS’ ED INSTRUCTOR.

Sometimes even us experienced drivers take a wrong turn.

Sometimes even us experienced drivers take a wrong turn.

Considering how much was going wrong in my life at the time, I really shouldn’t have cared about Julia’s life. She was just some kid. But she was the kind of kid I had wanted to be was young. And she was living the kind of life I wanted to live now that i was less young.

She was a ballet dancer. And when I was her age, I loved ballet. But when young me told my mom I was interested in ballet, my mother told me in no uncertain terms that I was too fat to be a dancer but that was okay because “black people don’t get skinny anyway” and that maybe I should consider engineering. So not only was Julia a skinny dancer, her mom also liked her.

Julia had a nice new car…several, in fact, the driveway was lousy with cars. At the time, my car had been stolen. Rent controlled apartment – great! Being the only person on said block who wasn’t in the Canoga Park Alabama gang, not great.

Apart from not living in gang terror, Julia was popular. She had a busy social life. She had enough money for groceries. Her house had heat and at the time, I was huddling around my stove at night because that was the utility I could afford to turn on.

And just when I thought I couldn’t dislike her anymore, I made the mistake of asking her what she was going to do for the holidays. I had just made peace with the fact that I would be having Christmas dinner with the wait staff at Jerry’s instead of with family or friends, so I thought I could handle her answer.

“Ugh,” she said with an impressive Valley accent considering her family was from Manhattan. “We’re going to Hawaii. Again.” She said with so more disdain than I thought could possibly fit in her 80-pound body.

“Awww, you know, I’d love to be able to go to Vons without freaking out, much less Hawaii, so why don’t you just shut your ungrateful little face until you at least learn how to drive stick!!!” was what I wanted to say. But you can’t say something like that to kids, so instead, I said:

“Hawaii. That sounds nice. What do you like to do there?”

“Ugh. I’ve been so many times. I don’t even do anything anymore. I hate it”

What I wanted to say was: “Awww, you’re a horrible human being and I wish that I could drive this stupid car right into your community’s stupid gate and run over your stupid face!!!”

Hello on Earth

Hell on Earth

But you can’t say that to a kid. So instead, I said. “Ugh, sorry about that. What about the new year? Any resolutions?”

“Ugh. I just hope this year is better than last year.”

Now, I knew the girl had broken up with her boyfriend and that she was bummed out about that. But I was going through a divorce. I didn’t care about her stupid breakup that she was going to forget about by next semester. But you can’t say that to a kid, so instead, I said:

“Oh, you mean because of your boyfriend?”

“That,” she said. “And hopefully my back will get better.”

“What’s wrong with your back?”

And then she told me about that one time when she was almost paralyzed. About how her one dream, the one thing she’s wanted to do more than anything else in the world might be taken away from her before her sixteenth birthday.

 Julia had been dancing at an elite level since she was in elementary school. She told me about the hours and hours and hours of rehearsal every day, of top-tier competition and of show after show after show.

She told me about how earlier that year, she started feeling like her arms and legs were on fire. About how there were days when she just couldn’t feel her thighs. About how she danced anyway. About how she started downing ibuprofen like candy and strapped ice packs to herself all day long. And about how this one time after this one show, she laid down to relax and couldn’t get back up again.

It was a stress fracture in two of her vertebrae. And the doctors said that it was only because of chance and luck that she was still walking.

One more show, one more fall, a stumble on some stairs, a jerk from her dogs on the leash during a morning walk, a badly timed sneeze and the break could have been permanent.

“It’s all I want to do,” she whispered.  “I don’t know what else to be.”

And I got that. At that time, I didn’t know what I was going to be either.

When we got home that day, I looked at Julia’s mansion.  As gorgeous as it was, as many lovely, brand name, top shelf things as she had in there, as expensive as they were, they were worthless if they couldn’t give her what she really wanted.

But you shouldn’t say that to a kid. So instead, I told her, honestly, that I hoped she had an amazing vacation.


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There are Dumb Questions – Like This One About Hair

When I left work on Friday, my hair was about shoulder-length. It was reddish brown and cut into a nice little bob with bangs.

When I got to work this week, my hair stretched to the middle of my back and was jet black. Still have the bangs, though.

Some things are rocket science. This is not one of those things.  (source)

Some things are rocket science. This is not one of those things.

Basically, after straightening my hair since I was 8 (so you know, only like 13 years ago), I got tired of the chemical burns, I got tired of the dollops of hot grease dipping from the hot comb and I did what any self-respecting, professional woman would do. I learned to be content with who I was and love me for me. I decided that even though I can’t grow long hair, I can still buy it.

Beautiful silky waves of someone else’s hair have been affixed to my own. No heat. No chemical burns. Just an afternoon in the chair watching Miss Congeniality and The Proposal. I love me some Sandy B. (well, mostly)

It’s understandable that people would be surprised when they saw me. I look quite a bit different. I’m super excited about my hair, so I’m tossing it around like a child and I’m sure everyone in the morning meeting was wondering why I was grinning like I just won my first ballet recital.

Because of the change, there are plenty of perfectly reasonable questions to ask. This, however, is not one of them:

“Did you get extensions?”

That is a dumb question. Because by asking it, you’re assuming one of two things: that you just didn’t ever notice this extra foot of hair on me in the year to 10 years we’ve known each other; or that you live in a world where hair grows 12-13 inches over night all while changing color so the extra hair is just a biological possibility and not clearly the work of a scalp-centric intervention,.

If you didn’t notice me before, you don’t have to start now. And if you live in a world where hair grows that fast, please let me in!! I’ve been trying to get long hair since I was about 8. It’s never happened until now. And if there was a way to do it without also having to watch Think Like a Man (it was her salon, I could only ask for so much Sandy before she pulled rank) please let me know! I’ll move if it means I end up in a hairadise where long locks come easy.

Just in case someone else changes their hair and you want to ask something stupid about it, here are some alternatives to ask instead:

  • I was thinking of cutting my hair into a French New Wave blunt boxy thing, too. Can you give me your stylist’s number?
  • What does your boyfriend/girlfriend/pet sitter/mistress think of your new look?
  • Do you smell that?
  • Have you forgiven Sandy for The Blind Side yet? (spoiler alert: only kind of)
  • Holy s*it! Did you see GoT last night? (spoiler alert: I’ve never watched GoT)
  • Has anyone told you you’re like this office’s Joan Holloway-Harris?
  • I know you like your new do, but can you stop twirling around and give us the dates on your production report?
  • No really, do you smell that? It smells like burning.
  • I was thinking of a more efficient way of running these meetings, can I run it by you?
  • What are you reading these days?
  • Is After Earth really that bad?
  • Guys, I think this isn’t a fire drill, should we go outside?
  • Do you know where we turn in time cards?
  • How long after the wedding is it still cool for me to get a gift to the happy couple?
  • Do you mind not biting your nails so loudly?
  • Why wouldn’t I want to see another picture of your cat?
  • Seriously? You watched an episode of Splash…not Smash…but Splash?!
  • Fine you guys, I’m not taking my chances. Sure it might just be a bagel left in the toaster oven, but this meeting has been totally derailed anyway, am I right?

See, look how many options there are. We’re all adults and can make intelligent conversation without doing some Meisner exercise of stating the obvious.

The only reason you’d need to double check if long hair is extensions is if you’ve all been the survivors of a Lost-style plane crash and you need all the hair you can gather to make a rope to get in and out of the hatch more effectively or a sail so you can take your chances on the open sea. Outside of that situation, just use your best judgment and ask pretty much anything else instead.

What’s the dumbest thing someone has asked you lately? Or have you let a question slip that should have stayed inside your brain? And what was the big deal about GoT this weekend? Let us know in the comments!


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