Mass Destruction and Chaos in Wake of ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Where Do YOU Stand?

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In case you’ve been living in the land of orphan socks and lost pacifiers for the past month, you probably have some awareness of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. It has drenched the nation’s Facebook feed with videos of everyday people dumping ice water over their heads in hopes of finding a cure for ALS, a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. As of August 20, this viral phenomenon has managed to raise over $30 million for the ALS Association, compared to $1.9 million from this time last year. That’s a good thing, right?

Not so fast there, Skippy. While most agree that money raised = good, many out there feel that the manner in which that money was raised ≠ good, citing infractions such as environmental misconduct, peacocking, feigned altruism, narcissism, and imperfection. What we have here, folks, is a case of the age-old question,

“Does the end justify the means?”

The “pro-dumping” camp would say, “Yes. Money raised is money raised. It doesn’t matter how you do it.” But the “anti-dumpers” have made very convincing deontological arguments against this harmful and dangerous phenomenon. In the end, it just may not be worth all the pain and suffering. And I don’t know that we’ll ever reach a consensus, given that similar ethical dilemmas from the past still spark the ends-means philosophical debate to this day.

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So I had to ask myself, “Does the end justify the means in this case?” After reading some pretty compelling anti-dumping articles over the past few days, the answer has become pretty clear. This is a definitively a case in which the ends DO NOT justify the means. Many thanks to all the philosophers out there who have so valiantly taken to their blogs, Reddit, and the Twittersphere to help break down the argument for the rest of us. Raising unprecedented funds and awareness for Lou Gehrig’s disease has not been worth the mass chaos and devastation that the Ice Bucket Challenge has left in its wake. And if you have participated in the #ALSIceBucketChallenge, you are partially responsible for this mess. Here’s why.

1. YOU aren’t even donating money.

Does pouring a bucket of ice water over your head get us any closer to finding a cure? Unless this translates into some sort of donation or perhaps volunteering your time, it’s hard to see how this aids in enacting any changes. What it does do is help those participating feel very good about themselves and all the good goodness they’re doing.” 

- Kara Brown, Jezebel

With all this feeling good and warm fuzziness going around, it’s easy to see how people like Ms. Kara Brown may question how this movement has had an impact. I mean, the ALS Association has raised a mere $31 million in three weeks’ time. That’s right, only 1,600 percent more than the amount of donations it received in the same time period last year. This is a much lower increase than you would expect from Americans, especially since wages are having such a hard time keeping up with inflation and all.

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Are you one of the ones who selfishly took the time to dump ice water over your head? If so, then you, my friend, are the source of this problem. Since you were just doing it for the attention, you clearly did not donate, making you the reason the ALS Association has seen such a paltry increase in donations. I doubt any of your friends donated, either, since they all think you’re just a narcissistic asshole.

The viral nature of this almost hurts ALS due to the substitution of potential donations with a social post; internally, people think they have donated when in turn they’ve only posted.”

- Ben Kosinski, The Huffington Post

“Wait, wait, wait. But I DID donate money,” you may be saying to yourself. “I did, and everyone I know who completed the challenge also did. How else could they possibly have raised that much money?” That’s cute. I mean, I know you went to the ALS website, put in all your credit card info, and got an email confirming your donation… but if you dumped water on your head, you didn’t actually do it; you only internally think you did it. The anti-dumping spies are onto you and everyone else. (If only these spies would tell us where the damn money was coming from!)

What if the thousands of people who spent money on buying one or two bags of ice actually gave that money to ALS? It would be out of control.”

- Ben Kosinski, The Huffington Post

Yes, what if? What if every single person who posted, liked, or shared an #alsicebucketchallenge video donated? What if every single person who didn’t even watch one donated? What if everyone, magically, all-of-a-sudden, just decided to turn over their life savings and kids’ college funds to charities? And what if we all did it without telling anyone (but simultaneously had some type of tracking device so that our naysaying friends could keep tabs on whether we did or did not donate)? Hmmmm… what if…?

Well, next time, just don’t be such a slacktivist asshole. Instead of helping a good cause spread like wildfire, please sit  in the peace and comfort of your own home, donate the money, and tell no one about it. THAT’s how you bring awareness to an otherwise-ignored cause without pissing off the online curmudgeons. Fundraising 101, baby.

Congratulations! Not only have you contributed to a good cause, but you’ve done your part for the environment by conserving the energy and fresh water required to make and transport large bags of ice.”

- Will Oremus, Slate

2. You are all wasting water.

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I had no idea there were so many water conservation activists out there! And that I’m friends with a lot of them! It’s funny because I swear I’ve seen pictures of these guys up at the pool this summer, and those videos of “Slip & Flip” are all over my news feed. But their armchair activism clearly shows that they have a strong grasp on the environmental impact this is having, so to educate the rest of you idiots on how big of a problem this is, I have provided the following illustrations.

When you dump water on your head, it is not recycled back through the natural water cycle, as suggested in the convoluted illustration published by “experts” at NOAA. Instead of evaporating or being absorbed into the ground, it magically turns into a solid. That’s right. A solid.  “Ice?” you ask. No, no. This is a special solid that takes the form of a little paper airplane, flies to small children in third world countries, and reveals a drawing of the middle finger upon opening.

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And to give you some perspective on the impact your waste is having, that half-filled bucket of ice water you carelessly dumped could get you an extra thirty seconds in the shower! Once! Coincidentally, this is the exact amount of time it takes to really rinse off that stench of false martyrdom. It is also equivalent to a single flush of the toilet… for those times you happen to be really full of shit and need an extra flush to get it all down. It’s a good thing these anti-dumpers (no pun intended) are so clean and pure; otherwise they could unknowingly be wasting water, too!

To put the waste this campaign has caused into simple terms, let’s just assume everyone is using a five gallon bucket. Now multiply that number by the more than 1.2 million videos shared on Facebook since June 1. Based on that assumption (5 x 1,200,000), over 6 million gallons of water have been poured out in the name of Lou Gehrig’s Disease.”

- Jason Ruiz, Long Beach Post

(We’re ALL able to lift dump 40 pounds of water over our heads??? Impressive, America. That CrossFit phenomenon must really be paying off!)

But all is not lost. We in America love repenting and second chances, so here are some creative ways you can recoup that massive amount of waste:

  • Donate the 1 cent you spent getting that water from your tap to a clean water initiative in a third world country. If all 1.2 million people who shared Facebook videos do this, that will be enough money to ship 44 five-gallon jugs of clean, American water to Uganda. According to the EPA, that’s enough water to last an American family of four half a day! Think of the global impact you could be making!

  • Wash your entire car… except for the windshield. Just lick all those dead bugs off with your tongue (but don’t you dare take a sip of water to wash it off). Omigod you could piss on the windshield to clean it off and also save a flush!!! A twofer!

  • Don’t participate in “Slip & Flip.” I mean, do the Slip n’ Slide part all day long… just don’t drink the beer… because it’s made of clean water. OR you could just pee on your way down the slide and drink as much as you want!

  • Shave your head. That’s right. Do you know how little time it takes a bald person to take a shower?! Annnd then wait for your hair to grow back because you’ll recoup the wasted water with a single shower.

3. You just want to show off your hot bod.

There are a lot of things wrong with the Ice Bucket Challenge, but the most annoying is that it’s basically narcissism masked as altruism.”

- Arielle Pardes, Vice

We’re social creatures. We’re using the #IceBucketChallenge to show off our summer bodies.”

- Ben Kosinski, The Huffington Post

More than anything else, the ice bucket videos feel like an exercise in raising awareness of one’s own zaniness, altruism, and/or attractiveness in a wet T-shirt.

- Will Oremus, Slate

Given the soaring obesity rates, combined with the crippling body image issues many Americans are plagued with these days, it’s no wonder we all want to get in front of a camera in wet, skin-tight clothing, exposing every dimple and roll… and then share the video for all of the internet to see. I mean, have you seen some of these #alsicebucketchallenge videos?

Phoebe Cates opting for the dunking option (must be a water conservationist)…

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This male model taking one for the team…

Watch A Male Model Get Hit By Water Balloons In Slow Motion

Jennifer Beals borrowing a page from the Bill Gates playbook

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Oh, wait. You mean those videos are NOT promoting ALS awareness?!!! Ok, how about these guys?

 There are hot celebrities!

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And muscle men!

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And male models!

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Ooooh weee!!! Look at those sexy beasts! Did they say something important? Because I was too busy checking out those six packs.

4. You’re not even raising awareness about ALS.

“As for ‘raising awareness,’ Few of the videos I’ve seen contain any substantive information about the disease, why the money is needed, or how it will be used.”

- Will Oremus, Slate

Why the hell can’t you people just stick to the damn script?! I mean, you’re obviously spending precious hours in pre-production for this, doing things like putting on raggedy clothes, filling small vessels full of water and ice, and having your roommate pull his phone out of his pocket for a minute. If you’re going to go through all that trouble, could you please at least prepare and memorize a TED Talk so that the rest of the internet isn’t thoroughly confused about what you’re doing? Your jobs and kids and other responsibilities can hold off for a few more minutes.

“I walk away from these videos not really knowing anything more about ALS other than that it exists.”

- Kara Brown, Jezebel

Phrases like “raising awareness for ALS” and “please donate at alsa.org” are too vague and confusing. It’s not like we have fancy machines that we can just ask a question to if we don’t know the answer to something, and have them spit out the answer immediately. Also, please don’t let your kids in on the action. They’re terrible at explaining the exact manner in which the funds are going to be used, and they can’t even pronounce Lou Gehrig correctly!

Conclusion

“So maybe the next time you want to help fight a deadly disease, cut a check, volunteer your time, go to medical school—anything but this. Those Facebook likes aren’t really helping anyone.”  

- Kara Brown, Jezebel

That’s right, Kara. ANYTHING but this. It’s just far too costly. It costs an entire cent, sends all donations directly to the cause, takes a few minutes that could otherwise be spent playing Candy Crush, and pisses off the internet trolls and party poopers. And it barely even works! Do something better with your time and charity dollars, people! Go to a charity happy hour event, get some booze out of the deal, and get so hammered that you don’t even remember what you were doing there in the first place. OR go run a crazy color race, where 7% of your $50 entry fee can benefit some unknown cause. EVEN BETTER, get a group of friends together to pitch in for a $10,000 table at a charity event, buy a designer gown, eat a 7 course meal, and bid on overpriced, luxury items. Do ANYTHING but dumping a small bucket of water on your head. THAT’S the epitome of American excess.

So, in all seriousness, does the end justify the means?

You bet it does. Hell, the MEANS justify the means. People are having fun, doing no harm, and making the world a better place while they’re at it. If it bothers you that much, then you should probably spend a little less time on Facebook.

To those of you who have conceded that it’s doing good but that “we need to do better,” I suggest dismounting your high horse and stop demanding perfection from users of social media. If you see such obvious flaws with this campaign and have such great ideas, go ahead. Start your own movement, and see how well you do. Consider yourself challenged.

To learn more about ALS (aka Lou Gehrig’s disease), go here. If you’d like to donate to a number of other worthy causes, this Charity Navigator ranks each one so that you know your money is well spent. If you’d like to see something ADORABLE, check out these gifs of red pandas. And if you’d like to do anything else with your time (or money, for that matter), go for it. It’s none of my damn business.

Note: I changed the title of this post from the original “Destruction and Chaos in Wake of ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Where Do YOU Stand?” to “Mass Destruction and Chaos in Wake of ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Where Do YOU Stand?” I was seeing a lot of posts and comments about how this article completely missed the mark and that the challenge was actually doing a lot of good for ALS funding an awareness. Seems a few people didn’t *quite* read it before posting, so I felt I needed to lay the sarcasm on a little more in the title.

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The 10 Pregnant Women to Avoid (and Avoid Being)

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We have heard stories about them, we have witnessed them in action, we are friends with them, and we may even unknowingly be them. These ladies are the reason pregnant women everywhere have been getting a bad rap for decades. So let’s meet them, shall we?

1. The Condescending 180°er

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Remember that laid back, live-and-let-live, usually drunk friend of yours from your 20s? Well, I’m sorry to tell you that she has officially entered “mommyhood” and is now certifiably better than you. She casually drops phrases like, “I can’t even imagine what life was like before I was pregnant,” and “Someday you’ll understand…” You’re tempted to blurt out, “You’re four months pregnant, bitch. You’ve accomplished nothing yet,” but you know she’ll just give you that impenetrable look of pity that is now permanently stuck on her face. Don’t let it get to you; it will only get worse when the child is actually born and her life becomes busier and more rewarding than yours. Go ahead and file this friendship away with binge drinking, tube tops, and that appendix you had removed, under the “Things that used to serve a purpose but now just make you feel like shit” folder. Contrary to what she may think, you don’t have time for that.

2. The One Who Falls off the Face of the Earth

We get it. Pregnancy doesn’t make one feel like the most social person in the world. You’re forced to wear maternity clothes while your friends get to look hot, you’re significantly bigger than everyone else around you, and you have to put up with a bunch of drunks while stone cold sober (people who say they’re entertained by all the drunk people around them ARE LYING). So you may be inclined to skip out on a few happy hours… or at least pull an Irish exit after you witness the first tequila shot. But this bitch just flat out disappears.

“Hey! We need to catch up! Want to get coffee sometime?”

          “Sure! Sounds great!”

“How about Tuesday?”

          “[Excuse.]”

“Getting dinner with the girls tonight. Are you coming?”

          “[Excuse.]”

“Are you going to So-and-So’s birthday party Saturday night?”

          <crickets>

How much weight has she gained exactly that she doesn’t want to be seen out in public? Or does she just have really bad pregnancy acne? Maybe she’s a pregnant superhero, off to save the world from unsolicited advice and judgmental neohippies.

Well, say your goodbyes now… because once that baby comes out, you’re even less likely to get her out of the house. She’s either made new mommy friends or decided that her baby is the only friend she’ll ever need. Just don’t take it personally, and enjoy those tequila shots while you still can.

3. The One Who’s in Denial 

The first time you find out you’re pregnant, you’re in for a world of change—food changes, body changes, lifestyle changes— and if you’re not quite mentally prepared for them (and even if you are), you’ll find yourself wishing you could get some semblance of your normal life back.  Most pregnant women will adapt by seeking out ways to feel normal again, like sticking to their favorite exercise routine, drinking nonalcoholic beer during football games, savoring a glass of wine on a rare girls’ night out, or staying up past 10 p.m. just for the hell of it. But there are some crazy ones out there who will refuse to adapt to these new demands and stick to their usual tendencies just a *bit* too much. You still see her out at every single social event, living it up in her teeny tiny going out clothes, not seeming to notice that her exponentially expanding waistline is causing them to rip at the seam. She claims to be ordering soda water with cranberry, but you swear she is drunk, and you smell cigarette smoke on her breath. You start to get nervous that she won’t change by the time she actually has the child and pray that she snaps out of this massive denial pronto. You don’t even mind if she turns into The Condescending 180°er or The One Who Falls off the Face of the Earth… because anything is better than this.

4. The Skinny Bitch

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This annoying chick manages to maintain her kick-ass figure throughout the duration of her pregnancy, with the exception of a single, perfectly shaped basketball placed where her six pack used to be. It takes her so long to start showing that you’re convinced she’s telling the world she’s pregnant just for the attention. She knows she looks good, and she makes sure YOU know it too by posting “bump” pics weekly on Facestagram. You simultaneously want to publicly call her out on posting ab selfies and privately ask her what her secret is, but you dare not give her the satisfaction. If she’s pregnant during the summer, she’s the one wearing a skimpy bikini right up until the very end. Beware of swimming next to her because, although she only looks four months pregnant, her water could break on your leg at any moment. As a parent, the scantily clad pics will continue, only now there will be an unsuspecting baby involved. If using a defenseless infant as a cover to take duckface selfies isn’t reportable to CPS, it sure as hell should be.

5. The Only Pregnant Person in the World

You couldn’t be happier for this sweet mother-to-be… except for the fact that she has discovered this mysterious, uncharted world called “pregnancy,” and she’s here to document it for everyone. It was bad enough when she was the first person to ever get married, sharing everything she has “pinned,” making outrageous bridesmaid demands, and texting you the exact color of hydrangea she’s planning for her centerpieces. But now that she’s the first person ever to have spawned a Homo sapiens, you can be sure that she will take this opportunity to bring your education to the next level. The curriculum includes:

  • A forwarded copy of every email she gets from BabyCenter, including detailed notes on her own experience,
  • Pins that have inspired the baby’s nursery design, as well as pictures of every stage of progress thereafter,
  • Sonogram pictures with little arrows depicting the baby’s body parts,
  • At least three baby showers, at which you can learn all about each required baby item and its particular use in contributing to the successful development of a human being,
  • A live tweeting of her labor, right down to loss of mucous plug, updates on dilation/effacement, and whether or not she shat the delivery table,
  • And much, much more!

You’re tempted to explain to her how little you care, but you know it’ll just make her cry, which wouldn’t be so bad if it didn’t prompt yet another lesson on pregnancy hormones. As a parent, her valiant exploration into raising the world’s first ever child will continue, with status updates on each major milestone and fart. If you’re lucky, she’ll eventually go the way of the rest of her kind and become too overwhelmed to continue on at this rate. Then you can be friends again.

6. The Self-Important Fauxhemian

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She may worship Ann Coulter and vocally oppose gay marriage, but shove some semen up her hooha, and presto chango! You have a homeopathy-pushing, water-birthing, free-lovin’ earth mama. Well, except for that one obvious difference between her and your true hippie friends: this one shares every detail of her newly discovered lifestyle with the world, always accompanied by some judgmental hashtag to assert her superiority. Wonder if that kefir-drinking coworker is legit or fauxhemian? Here are a few examples to help illustrate the difference:

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As a mom, she will continue on in this fashion, though she will have even more material on which to judge the plebes. You’ll hear all about how she feeds her kids an exclusively organic vegan diet, uses cloth diapers, and refuses to vaccinate— because her wellness coach, who has a sociology degree, has convinced her that we should all naturally arm our children against polio. You begin to think the transformation is legit and even envy her for her discipline, until you spot her at CVS buying non-organic baby formula and bribing her kids with Skittles, a pack of disposable diapers tucked under her arm. You can’t help but smile as you fantasize about the hashtag you’ll use when sharing professional pictures of your sterile hospital c-section…

7. The Queen of Unsolicited Advice

It doesn’t matter if she’s done this five times before or if she is a single week farther along than you with her first, SHE is more experienced, and she will pounce on any given chance to declare her preeminence. She’s mastered the art of eavesdropping, interrupting conversations with sage advice such as “You really shouldn’t be eating that piece of chocolate cake. Do you WANT to get gestational diabetes?” or “Based on your nasty complexion, you MUST be having a girl!” When she runs out of real people to exasperate, she spends the rest of her time trolling pregnancy forums to dole out unsolicited advice to unsuspecting internet victims. This results in her vocabulary consisting entirely of douchey acronyms… things like LO (little one), SO (significant other), POAS (pee on a stick… not kidding), and EWCM (ready for this? EGG WHITE CERVICAL MUCOUS… you can’t make this shit up). You want to tell her that those aren’t real words and to “please speak to me in fucking English,” but that would just prolong the amount of time you have to spend interacting with her. As a parent, she’ll have a mommy blog full of open letters to her children, Pinterest-esque crafts, and educational shit she’s doing all the time that YOU should be doing too. This will annoy you for all of five minutes before clicking the “defriend” button. Good riddance.

8. The Helpless First Timer

Yes, the first time is scary. Yes, you have tons of questions. Yes, you find yourself seeking out advice more than you ever have in your life. But this young grasshopper takes helplessness to a whole new level. She WUPHFs everyone she knows MULTIPLE times a day with those really tough pregnancy questions she can’t possibly find the answers to anywhere else, such as:

          “Can I eat a corny dog?”

“What are you, five? Ummm… I think that might be on the no-no list, but you’re probably fine. The deep fryer probably kills anything that could harm you anyway.”

          “Do I really need diapers?”

“Yes. That’s, like, the one thing you do need. Unless you want to do shit laundry on a daily basis. And knowing you, you do not.”

          “Can I still eat Pop Tarts?”

“Have you asked your doctor any of these questions? And seriously, how old are you?”

          “Can I go on a walk?”

“Yes! Please! For the love of all that is holy, get out of the house, take in some fresh air… and leave your phone at home, while you’re at it.”

          “OMG just realized my pizza had pepperoni on it. Did I just kill my baby?!!!”

“Really???”

As a first time parent, this spaz will be just as clueless, lost, and unresourceful as she is pregnant, so it’s best if you arm yourself with the right tool now. Bookmark this link, and reply with it the next time you’re tempted to say, “Yes, you just killed your unborn child with that Cup-o-Noodles you already consumed. Sucks to be you.” http://lmgtfy.com/. You’re welcome.

9. The One Who’s Never Heard of Birth Control

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It’s impossible to miss this lady at the grocery store, since she’s accompanied by the loudest, whiniest rugrat who is constantly begging her for everything. You almost ram your cart into the back of her each time she makes a sudden stop to pick up something her child has knocked off the shelf. By the fourth or fifth stopping incident, you notice she has a toddler in the cart, who is currently seizing this moment of unsupervision to make a break for it. As the mom stands up to catch the diving child, you spot a giggling baby dangling from her chest like a marsupial, loving the ups and downs of the roller coaster ride that is a trip to the grocery store.  (What the hell is this lady thinking? She must be completely insane!) And just as you pull out your phone to schedule an appointment to have your tubes tied, you overhear the poor kangaroo mother say to her eldest, “You need to learn how to listen to your Mommy by the time baby number 4 comes.” (Another one?!!! She’s going to have another one of those little fuckers?!!!) And that’s when you run for it… just in case that shit’s contagious. 

10. The Knocked Up Kvetch

We all complain during pregnancy… to a certain extent. It’s just the nature of the beast. It’s new, it’s uncomfortable, and a good 35% of the population* can sympathize. But when you ask your average pregnant woman how the pregnancy is going, she will kindly give you a brief status update on how she’s been feeling and then quickly move on to topics you both actually want to talk about. (Phew, that was close.)  But when you ask this malcontent a simple, “How’s it going?” you unknowingly launch her into a 15 minute diatribe on her water retention and hemorrhoids. And since you’ve opened the flood gates, expect her to throw in how much her husband has disappointed her, while she’s at it. Once she’s had the child, don’t you dare ask her about her delivery, lest you want vivid details about foreceps, umbilical cords, and the current state of her vagina. You hope she lightens up by the time motherhood sets in; otherwise, every misstep that poor child makes will be shouted from the mountaintops. If you are a true friend, you will discourage her from ever procreating again, lest you have to endure this bitchfest for another nine months. “One and done,” you say. One. And. Done.

*This figure is entirely fabricated but likely not too far off. This guesstimate is due to the fact that when you Google “what percentage of women have been pregnant,” you get opinion pieces on birth control, abortions, and rape. Simmer down, Google.

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The First Trimester Really, Really Sucks. Here’s Why.

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So you just found out you’re pregnant. Congratulations! I’m sure you’re bubbling over with joy, already thinking of baby names, designing your nursery, and feeling super maternal. It’s a great feeling, isn’t it? Well don’t get too excited there, caterpillar. Because in a mere 2-3 weeks, you will be cursing yourself, your husband, your mom, and anyone else who dared tell you that it would be a good idea to procreate.

“Oh, I can handle a little morning sickness,” you say. “I spent most of my 20s fully functioning at work with a bitch of a hangover. I’ve never been so prepared for anything in my entire life!”

Well, I’m here to tell you that nothing, even previous pregnancies, can prepare you for the harrowing months that are the first trimester. If only it were just morning sickness. Hell, if only morning sickness were just morning sickness, it wouldn’t be that bad.

But don’t think that you’ll be given any sympathy from friends or coworkers. Unless you’re extremely brave or comfortably vulnerable, you can’t really tell anyone outside of immediate family and extremely close friends… that 15% chance of miscarriage in the first trimester is always lingering in the back of your mind.

And by the time you do start spreading the news, your memory is so shot that you cannot give an accurate recount of the past few weeks. Plus, the last thing you want to do is sound ungrateful- you know how fortunate you are to be in this position. So when people ask how you’ve been feeling, you’re most likely to mutter something about being a little tired and sick, but then you immediately perk up and proclaim that you’re feeling MUCH better now and that it wasn’t even that bad. You repeat this conversation so many times that you start to believe it yourself, and the rest of the world is left with this rose-colored impression that the first trimester is all about a little morning sickness.

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Lucky for you, I’ve been taking horribly misspelled notes throughout the first trimester so that I could paint a more accurate picture for you. There’s no candy-coating it. The first trimester really, really sucks. Here’s why.

1. You’re dumb. Dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb. You’ve probably heard of “pregnancy brain,” and let me tell you, it’s a real thing. But we’re not just talking about pregnancy here- we’re talking about first trimester brain, which is an entirely different level of dumbacity and ineptitation. You know that feeling when you go into a room to get something but can’t remember what that something is once you get there? Just imagine that being the norm, all day, every day. Here is a sampling of some of the dumbass things that I’ve documented over the past few weeks:

  • “I just ordered a decaf triple nonfat latte in the Schlotzsky’s drive-thru.”
  • “This morning I was getting ready and couldn’t remember if I put on deodorant or not, so I went to the bathroom to put some on. Five minutes later, as I was getting dressed, I couldn’t remember if I put on deodorant, so I went to the bathroom to put some on. Five minutes later, as we were out the door, I couldn’t remember if I put on deodorant, so I went to the bathroom to put some on. After I dropped the girls off at preschool, I checked to see if I had remembered to put on deodorant… I had not.”
  • Repeat the above incident, but substitute “putting laptop in car” for “putting on deodorant.”
  • “The lady sitting one table over just asked me how old my daughters were. She then proceeded to tell me how she always wanted girls but that God decided she should raise boys. My reply? ‘Are these your sons?’ ‘No, they’re my coworkers.’ She couldn’t have had them by more than 10 years. Dammit I’m such an asshole.”

2. You’re tirrrrreeeeddd. You really want to be productive and feel good about yourself, but you simply can’t keep your eyes open. You start mistaking anti-depressant commercials for pregnancy movies because you identify more with the lady in the bathrobe who can’t get off her couch than you do with Katherine Heigl. And if you already have kids, they probably think you’re just turning into a lazy piece of shit. But, once again, you can’t explain what’s going on… because those little f***ers innocent sweethearts can’t be trusted with a secret. (This is not an exaggeration, btw. The morning after we told our 4-year-old the news, she managed to tell her entire day camp, including the drumming troupe that was performing that day.)

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And don’t think that you can just drink a shitload of caffeine to compensate, one of the many pregnancy “no-nos”. But now that I think about it, if you do need a couple cups of coffee in order to do normal activities safely like DRIVE YOUR CHILDREN TO SCHOOL, you can at least do it without judgment at this point. Try ordering a fully caffeinated latte when you’re 8 months preggo. People will look at you like you just took a shot of Fireball with a heroin injection as a chaser.

3. You find yourself crying at EVERYTHING. Pardon my French, but pregnancy really turns you into a big pussy. I am literally crying right now watching the Lego movie. We’re talking commercials without Sarah McLachlan in them, national anthems of other countries, quasi-heartfelt endings to mediocre novels, Buzzfeed lists… everything. Now excuse me while I try to find a tissue… and my dignity.

4. You have to pee ALL THE TIME. Thought that the peeing all the time thing happened when the baby grew big enough to push on your bladder? Wrong! If only. Not only does your uterus start expanding from day 1, intruding on your precious bladder space, but those lovely pregnancy hormones increase blood flow through your kidneys, which in turn fill your bladder more frequently. The experts like to praise the kidneys for their “efficiency” during pregnancy. I like to curse them for their dickishness. The Piss Olympics strike most frequently during the middle of the night, so you better get used to falling in the toilet because your non-vampire-peeing husband left the seat up.

5. Being sick sucks. I know, I know. This one sounds like it should win the Isaac Fucking Newton Award for Brilliant Observations, but hear me out. This is not so much because you feel bad… you feel like shit and can’t get out of bed anyway, so you might as well tack an illness on there and get it out of your system while you’re still bed ridden. The primary reason being sick sucks during the first trimester is directly related to the previous ailment. Because your bladder is constantly on the brink of overflowing, and you’ve increased your fluid intake to speed up recovery, you now pee yourself a little every time you sneeze or cough. And if you ever have a coughing fit… well, suffice it to say that you may want to go ahead and purchase some additional underwear to get you through these nine months. On the plus side, you now have a use for that economy size box of panty liners you had just purchased from Costco before you found out you were pregnant (make that a box of Overnights if you’ve birthed children before). So if you are out and about and witness a pregnant woman sneeze, I want you to look her directly in the eye, say “God bless you,” and mean it.

6. You revert to eating like a child. Here is a list of acceptable sounding foods during the first trimester: toast, bagels, sugary cereal, waffles, graham crackers, ginger snaps, PB&J, and anything that has “high fructose corn syrup” listed as its first ingredient. Sounds awesome, right? You finally have an excuse to eat a bunch of crap! Well, kinda. Except that you’ve stupidly googled “nutrition during pregnancy,” and it pretty much tells you to eat the opposite of what you’ve been eating.

  • “Eat plenty of dark, leafy vegetables for iron and folic acid.” Ewww, vegetables! Yuck!
  • “Make sure to eat a wide variety of foods so that your body gets all the nutrition it needs.” Does switching from the honey graham crackers to the cinnamon ones count as variety?
  • “Avoid foods that are high in sugar.” Great, now I’m going to starve to death.

And since you know that YOU are the one responsible for the health of your growing baby, you can’t even enjoy the sugar diet because all you taste in each and every bite is guilt. (Get used to it, my friends. That guilt never goes away.) But I say fuck it. It’s the first trimester. It won’t last forever, and you’re lucky you’re able to eat at all. 

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Side note: I kind of feel that pregnancy nausea is your body’s way of adapting to the fact that you are now a fucking moron. It doesn’t trust you to remember all the new food rules you’ve just been given (e.g., no raw fish, no soft cheeses, no deli meat), so it just develops a taste aversion to all of them for you. For the really evolutionarily advanced, the body will reject all food just in case you were forgetful enough to break one of the rules. If you were physically sick throughout your entire first trimester, congratulations, you are adaptively superior.

7. You’re bloated, and your clothes don’t fit. And that’s putting it nicely. Despite the fact that your child is about the size of a peanut, you’re hardly eating, and you piss out your body weight on a daily basis, you still manage to feel extremely and undeniably fat. It wouldn’t be so bad if it was all in your mind, but the fact that your go-to ass-flattering skinny jeans now give you a Snooki-styled muffin top, you know it’s real. And you are made aware of your complete inability to control it when your yoga instructor keeps reminding you “mula bandha” (i.e., suck in your fucking gut) throughout the entire class. The only thing that will bring you any sense of reprieve is the day your body finally decides to “pop.” The inexperienced will feel a sense of superiority over others who may “show” early on… the knowledgeable know better: The day you “pop” and become visibly pregnant instead of portly will quite possibly be the best day of your entire pregnancy. And the sooner it happens, the happier you will be.

8. Your boobs hurt like a biiiiitch. It starts with a burning, tingling sensation in the early weeks then progresses to a dull, throbbing pain as the weeks go on. Ever wonder what it feels like to get punched in the tits whilst sunburned? Go get yourself pregnant. And don’t think that skipping the bra will help. Your knockers are getting so disproportionately large that they qualify as weapons of mass destruction. Harness those bitches, for Pete’s sake! And don’t worry. Soon enough you won’t think this boob pain is all that bad… because the first few weeks of breastfeeding are worse. WAY worse.

9. You are in a constant state of panic that something will go wrong. You cover the full spectrum of emotions in the first trimester, from joy to guilt to doubt to whatever emotion goes along with “tits on fire.” But the worst of them, by far, is the paralyzing fear that you are going to have a miscarriage. It’s real, it happens, and you don’t know if you’re strong enough to handle it should it happen to you. What’s even worse is the fear that you’ve already had a miscarriage and just don’t know it yet. This also happens, and I know this because I’m a fucking idiot and poked around on Google right before my 12 week appointment, when they measure the baby’s heart rate using a Doppler monitor. When the nurse couldn’t find a heartbeat for a few minutes, I outwardly smiled but inwardly freaked the F out. 

“It’s like finding a needle in a haystack this early on, dear,” she says.

Well, I just read that the fetus is the size of a lime right now, so why don’t you just find the fucking lime and go from there. Sounds like a really fucking small haystack to me… or a really big needle. Why don’t you just hand me the damn…

“Hear that? Strong, healthy heartbeat.”

Everything’s fine. You resume breathing, change the Overnight pad that you just relieved yourself in, and carry on with your normal life… until you read something else traumatic on the internet… or you stop feeling the baby kick as often… or you can’t hear the newborn breathing on the baby monitor… or until that first big fall…

So you’re an exhausted, bloated, nauseous, bitchy, nervous, brainless, emotional train wreck who soils herself. But it gets better (and then worse… and then better again… and then worse than before). And this pattern goes on and on until… well… probably forever. And as bad as the first trimester is, you know how lucky you are to experience it… even when you’re half a pint into Mr. Ben & Jerry, mascara streaming down your face, tears flowing down your aching boobs and landing on the muffin top that’s spilling out of your yoga pants, as you sit in bed watching Father of the Bride Part II for the tenth time. Congratulations. :)

Follow this blog to receive updates on new posts (e.g., <spoiler alert!> 2nd Trimester shenanigans, such as when I accidentally zip up my fat roll trying to squeeze into non-maternity jeans). If you don’t have a Tumblr account, simply add this RSS feed to your favorite reader: mommyhasapottymouth.tumblr.com/rss.

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How to Stop a Snorer in the Most Passive Aggressive Way Possible

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Because no one likes a nag… especially a nag who is sleep deprived.

If you’ve ever slept alongside a snorer, then you know the nightly ritual:

<mild snore>

Awww, that was kind of cute.

<more sporadic, mild snoring>

I can deal with this. It’s not that bad.

<more frequent, yet mild snoring>

I am the epitome of patience and understanding. I. Can. Do. This.

<it gets louder>

"Sweetie, you’re snoring again," you whisper softly as you gently stroke the unknowing offender’s back.

<it stops>

<it starts again 10 seconds later>

"Honey, can you roll onto your side? You’re really starting to snore," you say, gently but firmly, loud enough to wake them up.

<rolls over, snoring stops>

Hold me closer, Tiny Dancer. No, wait. Hold me closer, Tony Danza. Hahahaha, it’s still funny. Man, I haven’t watched Friends reruns in forever. The next time I have the TV to myself for more than 5 minutes…

<the snoring resumes>

"Dude, please stop snoring," you demand as you give the miscreant an arm squeeze hard enough to convey that you’re starting to get pissed.

<snoring stops>

<resumes immediately>

"Please. Shut. the Fuck. Up." You are now yelling. You start to wonder if "shaken grownup syndrome" is a thing. Because if so, you may have just caused some minor brain damage. And in this moment, you could care less.

"Huh? What? Was I snoring?"

You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.

This little routine may or may not go on until you manage to fall asleep with a pillow over your head… or until you resort to watching Friends reruns on the couch… or until you relegate the wrongdoer to the dog house. It’s their own damn fault anyway.*

You’ve read up on the best ways to handle a snorer… getting them to acknowledge the problem, encouraging the use of a nasal strip, reminding them to take their allergy medicine, citing studies that show that food and alcohol intake can actually cause snoring, rolling them onto their side mid-snore… but none of them takes. This is partly due to the fact that the offender is not conscious when the snoring occurs, thus making this low on the priority list of shit that should be changed in one’s life.

But I think the dismissal is mostly due to the fact that you sound like a fucking nag. This is what they hear coming out of your mouth, in a tone that can only be described as “Gilbert Gottfried.”

"Wah, wah, wah. You should drink less."

"Bitch, bitch, bitch. Did you remember to take your allergy medicine?"

"Moan, moan, moan. You were snoring again last night. When are you going to do something about it?!"

Thanks, sleep experts, but no thanks. There’s enough unsuccessful nagging going on in my life without your help, and I NEED TO GET MY SLEEP BACK.

And I want to help YOU get your sleep back, too. I have two words for all the snoring victims out there: Passive Aggression. They can’t accuse you of nagging if they don’t know they’re being nagged! Here’s all you have to do:

  1. Record them snoring, but do it with THEIR phone, and set it as their ringtone. Then call ad nauseam during the work day and *hope* that they are as bad about turning off their ringer at work as they are at the dinner table. (Why only be passive aggressive about snoring?) THAT should help them “acknowledge the problem.”
  2. Apply a Breathe Right® strip for them, right after they fall asleep. This way, you don’t need to be a nag, they don’t feel pestered, and you reap the benefit of silent breath all night long. HOWEVER, you don’t want to insult their adultness by treating them like a child who needs their diaper changed. They are big kids who can handle responsibility, too! So make sure to apply some black Sharpie or super glue to the back of the nasal strip prior to application. This will empower them to contribute by way of problem solving and strategic scrubbing the next morning. Nobody benefits from handouts, people!
  3. Buy ear plugs… but not just any ol’ earplugs. Buy the most expensive ones you can find. That way, when your significant other takes a look at the credit card statement and says, “Honey, I think our account has been hacked. There’s a charge from earplugsuperstore.com for $350,” you can reply, “Oh that was me. I was advised to purchase earplugs so that I could get a good night’s sleep… you know, due to the snoring and all.”
  4. Promote side-sleeping by placing uncomfortable objects behind their back. Experts recommend sewing a sock containing a tennis ball onto the back of the snorer’s pajama top, but that would require a needle and thread… and consent. I say take it a step further. Coax the offender onto their side, then gently place common household objects underneath them until they’re too scared to sleep on their back ever again. Things like pine cones, conch shells, cacti, live porcupines, whatever…
  5. Plant the idea of couples counseling by gradually going into a noticeable deep depression. This could take some time, but if you’re patient, the payoff will be huge. Once your partner becomes truly concerned about your mental well-being and urges you to seek out professional help, say that you’re too scared to do it alone. And when the therapist asks you in the first session your reason for seeking help, immediately reply, “It’s because of the snoring.” BAM! They just voluntarily put themselves in counseling for that shit without even knowing it.
  6. Let them volunteer to sleep in another room so that you can have an entire, quiet bed to yourself. You may be wondering, “How can I possibly get THEM to volunteer to move without me suggesting it?” Here’s how. Wait until your partner is in full-on snoring mode, then take off your pants and sidle up alongside him/her like intimacy is the first thing on your mind. Ignore the urge to punch them when they start making cooing sounds, and wait until they aggressively resume snoring. At this point, allow the urine to flow freely out of your body, saturating your partner’s side of the bed in warm, sopping piss. Roll back over, throw your back pants on, and pretend to be asleep. Your bed mate will inevitably wake up, assume they were the one who wet the bed, and (not wanting to disturb you) amble to the couch in shame. Wait once more for the snoring to resume, change the sheets, and enjoy that well-deserved bed to yourself.

I hope these super-passive aggressive tips and tricks will bring restful, sleep-filled nights to you and yours. Please share your snoring (or voluntary bed wetting) stories below and on Twitter using the hashtag #itsnotsmotheringitsapillowfight

* Let it be known that I do have a basic grasp of the English language. I understand that it is not grammatically appropriate to use “they” in the singular sense. However, to keep the post gender neutral (women can snore too, people), I really had no choice. No way in hell was I going to use “he/she” in place of every third person singular pronoun, nor was I going to use “it.” We’re not unborn children. We’re people. Ok that’s a little f-ed up, but you get the point.

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How to Look Like a Meth Head

So this happened yesterday…

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… and because I’m such a generous soul, I thought I would share how you, too, can look like a meth head with just a few simple household items! Bookmark this page for your next Halloween costume, practical office joke, or high school reunion!

Things You’ll Need

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Step 1

Place a busted pen in your mouth so that the ink leaks out, covering only one side of your mouth— asymmetry is key. Make sure to cover your gums, teeth, lips, and a little outside your lips for the full effect. If you can, smear some on your thumb for a “burn mark” effect. It *probably* doesn’t matter how the pen started leaking in the first place, but for a more authentic meth look, leave the pen in a hot vehicle for a couple years so that you don’t even notice when it starts to go south. This will add to the confusion and authenticity of the overall look. It should go without saying that the pen should be black. You want to appear as if you’ve been burned from heavy smoking of crystal methamphetamine, NOT like you’ve just eaten a Smurf.

Step 2

Let it dry. If you can, go somewhere in public and have conversations with people you don’t know very well while the ink is setting. This will help move the ink into your lip cracks and fine lines. Ideally, someone will alert you to the fact that you have something black around your mouth. Avoiding all eye contact with the informant, start rambling an incoherent reply about teacher thank-you notes, oral thinking habits, car heat, high school reunions… whatever comes naturally blathering out of your mouth. This will really help you nail that meth head look for the big reveal.

Step 3

Clean up the excess ink. If you skip this step, you may actually just look like a pen burst in your mouth, resulting in fewer probing questions from friends and bystanders. We’re aiming for, “Is she doing drugs?” and “I’m here for you if you need me.” It’s not funny unless you’re on suicide watch. Find some baby wipes (or a wet paper towel if you don’t have kids or major tatti problems), and pretend like you’re trying to rub off as much as you can. Don’t worry, your scrubbing will be fruitless and result in a perfect black stain on your lips, teeth, and gums. Whatever you do, make sure you do NOT use makeup removal wipes or rubbing alcohol or anything that is guaranteed to remove the ink completely. That would be entirely beside the point.

Step 4

Apply red lipstick over the entire lip area, including where the black ink “wandered” onto your chin, per Step 1. You may think, “Isn’t this going to cover up the ink stain and just make me look like I decided to add a pop of color and sass to my daily yoga outfit?” My answer for you is “NO”… because apparently, it doesn’t work that way. The red lipstick will actually act as a half-assed attempt to cover up something that you’re trying to hide, as the black ink will still manage to peek through. The asymmetrical application to cover the asymmetrical dye job will give the effect of having applied it with a shaky hand. And because you’ll be super paranoid about being seen in public, you’ll continue to subconsciously touch it and smear it, making it look like you’ve been wearing the same makeup for days and days.

Step 5

Take a selfie, and post it on all forms of social media, using the hashtag #BigBlackPenisBlownUpInMyMouth. Make me proud, and I’ll post it here. Five seconds of internet fame is waiting for you.

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The 10 Biggest Search Engine Let-Downs EVER

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#7 will shock the hell out of you!!! And don’t miss #8! Oh, and #3, duh…

Because this mommy’s potty mouth has nothing to do with bathroom porn.

Since starting my blog last year, I have become accustomed to casually checking (obsessing over) my stats whenever I post something new. Playing around with the functionality, I learned that I could see the search terms people were using that eventually led them to my site. Approximately 80% of these search terms are unavailable or private, for various reason, but the other 20% are pure entertainment.

Given the name of my blog and my liberal use of profanity, I started to realize that people were actually finding my site as they were looking for porn. This is my top 10 list of users who were sorely disappointed when they Googled “mom fucked at house party tumblr” (for example) and instead found a blog post about the Frozen soundtrack.

10. Mommy in toilet picture tumblr  (Philippines)

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Google, I think it’s pretty presumptuous of you to have “toilet” coded as an alternate word for “potty” in your search algorithm. I mean, I know they’re technically synonyms in the most literal use of the words, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone use the term “toilet mouth” when describing foul language. And I’m DEFINITELY certain that I have not once used the word “toilet” on my blog… with the exception of now… which would be four times and counting. Dammit. I’m about to get even more hits from these creepster latrinephiliacs.

9. Pics of moms solo in bathroom-tumblr  (South Africa)

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HAHA! Joke’s on them! Little do they know, moms NEVER get to do ANYTHING solo, including going to the bathroom. Even the internet search engines know this. (Bing is an exception. Bing knows nothing.) If you happen to find a picture of a mother in the bathroom all by herself, please feel free to send it my way. I need to know who this bitch is and how she did it.

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8. Potty from asshole tumblr  (Punjab, India)

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Potty FROM asshole? I don’t get it. Like, what does the potty look like from the viewpoint of the asshole? Because I’m pretty sure it would look like a gleaming beacon of hope for the colonic relief that’s about to ensue. 

7. Tumblr baseball mommies naked  (West Virginia)

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It should come as no surprise that this user is brought to us from the good ol’ U.S. of A. As we’ve learned so far, this search in most other countries would have been something to the effect of “tumblr cricket mommies naked toilet ass.” And because you’re a fellow American, I’ve decided to throw you a bone and introduce you to the concept of the “image search,” used WHEN YOU’RE SEARCHING FOR IMAGES. I just entered “tumblr baseball mommies naked” into the Google, clicked on “Images,” and voilà!

Drumroll, please…

Grady Sizemore!!! He came up as the first, second, AND third result. Nailed it! So sweet of you to search for naked images on behalf of all the mommy baseball fans out there. You’re welcome, West Virginia… and America!

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6. Moms that fuck themselves tumblr  (Tucson, Arizona)

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You know what? YOU, Sir (or Madame… no judgment), may actually have come to the right place… because I’m kind of the queen of fucking myself. Did you see that I broke my wrist at a black tie wedding a few months ago? What an idiot! Or read about the time the dumbass Target employee told her manager that I was looking for a banana hammock? OR when I was late picking up my kids because I was stuck in the fucking checkout line for 45 minutes at Walmart because I decided to save a few cents for once? I’m actually kind of offended that my site only came up as #9 on the search list… it should have been much higher. So I thank you for your patience and persistence, as you must have suffered through A LOT of porn before finally finding what you were looking for.

5. Tumblr mouth fuck work out  (United Kingdom)

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Now that’s a helluvan idea right there (my husband thinks it’s genius). Good for you for wanting to get in shape! I’m not certain as to whether you plan to be on the giving or receiving end of the “mouth fuck workout,” but I recommend you complement this exercise with some cardio and weight training. If you’ll be giving the “mouth fuck,” make sure to add in some extra core work to help take pressure off of your knees. If you are the one receiving, maybe try practicing your pelvic thrusts on the floor first. We don’t want you falling over! And congratulations on conning someone into thinking this is exercise!

4. Tatti in indian ass facebook  (Delhi, India)

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I just learned that tatti (or tati) is Punjabi for “poo”… and now, so have you. After today’s language lesson, I challenge you to casually slip it into three everyday conversations. Feel free to use the Urban Dictionary examples provided by our friend, Puneet, below.

Puneet

3. Tumblr fuck passed out ex wife  (Wichita Falls, TX)

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WAY TO REPRESENT, TEXAS! EX-WIFE RAPE? WHO COULDN’T GET BEHIND THAT?! If you could just leave a comment with your name and email, I think we can find some people to rally around your cause (if you know what I mean <wink> <wink>).

2. Women cornholing men pictures tumblr  (Muskegon, Michigan)

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Gross. And leave it to a Midwesterner to use the term “cornhole” when looking for porn. New idea for a Buzzfeed quiz: “What do your porn searches say about where you’re from?” Okay these are just getting unbelievable. Let’s wrap this up.

AND THE #1 BIGGEST INTERNET SEARCH ENGINE LET-DOWN GOES TO…

1. Toilet do girl’s ass In my mouth tumblr  (Mumbai, India)

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Hold on just one fucking second. Puneet?! Is that you??? Welcome, friend! Stick around for a while, peruse the blog, and don’t stop with the Urban Dictionary entries. They’re solid gold!

In conclusion, I think we’ve all learned a few lessons here today:

  1. People can be pretty disgusting.
  2. Indians seem to have some toilet-tatti-ass combination fetish. I’m still not sure exactly how that all works, but whatevs.
  3. If you don’t use an image search when looking for porn, you’re probably not going to find what you’re looking for.
  4. I predict that I’ll be getting about a gazillion percent increase in these “researchers” accidentally stumbling upon my blog, seeing as I’ve now added the words toilet, colonic, tatti, fetish, cornhole, rape, latrinephiliac, and Grady Sizemore to my posts. This one’s for you guys.

Follow this blog to receive updates on new posts like this one… because there will be more like this one. YOUR SEARCH COULD BE FEATURED NEXT (anonymously, of course)! If you don’t have a Tumblr account, simply add this RSS feed to your favorite reader: mommyhasapottymouth.tumblr.com/rss.

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The Banana Hammock

Me to Target employee: “Do you know if y’all have any banana stands?”

Target employee to manager: “Do you know if we have any banana hammocks?”

Manager: <speaking very slowly> “I’m sorry. I don’t think we carry any of those.”

Me: <with a straight face> “Thank you.”

<walks away, hides behind shelf, laughs ass off while updating Facebook status>

March Madness… Lessons in Preschool Bracketology

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I have always been a sports fan but am far from what you would call an “expert.” This is especially true for sports like college basketball, where there are a few hundred Division 1 teams that play a gajillion games each over a four month period. I follow my team(s) throughout the year… if they’re winning. I read up on big games and major upsets… the day after they are actually played. And by the end of the season, I know who the big threats are going to be in the tourney… because I make myself pay attention in crunch time.

So you can see that I am your average-to-below-average college basketball fan… I just don’t have the time or the will to give enough shits to sift through analysis of over 5,000 fucking Division 1 basketball games. And if you think it that way, there are just a handful of true “experts” out there… and the rest who claim to be experts are completely full of shit. But the morning after Selection Sunday (aka Better-Study-Up-Real-Quick-Monday), I have the same exact reaction as the experts, the “experts,” the average followers, and the bracketeers… Who the fuck is Wofford?! 

Grownup Bracketology

Given that I know nothing, and given that those who do still can’t predict what will happen in March (and <ahem> April), I have shamelessly employed the following methodology over the years to fill out my bracket:

  1. Did I attend that school? If yes —> they make it way farther than they deserve to go.
  2. Have I heard of that school? (looking at you, Wofford) If no —> they’re tossed immediately.
  3. Is the number beside their name closer to zero than the ones beside their opponent’s? If yes —> I’m no dummy.
  4. Did I happen to catch one of the games that they came back from behind to win/ crushed an opponent/ made national news because of a coach getting ejected? If yes —> I pat myself on the back for being super knowledgeable and advance them as far as I can logically let them go, given #1-3.
  5. Do I have positive associations with individuals who did attend that school or support that school’s sports teams? If yes —> they win out any matchups that don’t involve #1-4.
  6. Do I have enough upsets in the first round? If no —> go back to #2, dig up a couple of the schools out of the trashcan, and let them make it past the Round of 64.

And there you have it. You may be surprised to find out that I have never won a bracket challenge… no matter how big or small the pool has been. So I decided to change things up a bit this year and let my children do the picking… because it couldn’t possibly be any less scientific or effective than the approach I had used in the past.

Methodology

When I say children, I mean little, teeny, tiny, itty, bitty preschoolers, both girls, ages two and four. Their knowledge of basketball is pretty much limited to acknowledgement of its existence as a sport and possible correct identification of it when seen on a television screen or at a park. How were they going to choose? Should they just point randomly at the bracket and advance the teams on the other end of their finger? Or flip a coin and call heads or tails until they decide that they actually want to play with coins instead? Or assign teams to each child and hold 67 thumb wars until we determine a winner? The possibilities were endless! 

In the end, I chose what should have been the obvious deciding factor all along: Mascots. Despite the fact that my oldest has a pretty irrational fear of mascots in person, I knew that her judgy self would have a blast choosing between pictures, and the youngest seems to have a blast no matter what. The 4-year-old would be responsible for choosing teams from the South and East regions, while the 2-year-old would do the same for the West and Midwest regions. I figured the winner of the Finals would be determined by some type of tickle fight or dance-off… because nothing says family values like pitting your small children against each other in a competition they could care less about when they would otherwise be singing Let It Go on repeat in perfect “harmony.”

Preschool Bracketology

Want to know if your team is making it to the Final Four? Just take a look at your mascot and see if he/she meets my daughters’ selection criteria.

1. Could your mascot be described as a cute bird? Sorry, St. Joe’s and North Carolina Central University, the answer for you is “no.” Everyone else is pretty much guaranteed to make it past the first round. Congrats to Creighton and Louisville, you guys made it to the Sweet Sixteen! And that adorable Jawhawk advanced to the Elite Eight. Maybe there is something to this after all…

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2. Could your mascot be described as a super-creepy, non-animal with a stuffed human head? It doesn’t take a child psychologist to figure out that if your answer to this question is “yes,” then my children, without fail, chose the opposing mascot. I really just don’t get it. I mean, the Sun Devil looks pretty badass, but the rest of those guys just look like they rummaged through a costume box at their pedophile neighbor’s house. Seriously, Providence… WHAT THE FUCK?!!! 

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3. Could your mascot be a character on Barney? Because even though I don’t let my kids near that filth, at least he’s not the Providence mascot. I personally think there’s something a little (way) off about Wichita State’s… is that wheat?, but kids have liked weirder things… Florida Gators and Wichita State Shockers for the National Championship title. I shit you not, the mascot method put two #1 seeds in the finals.

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4. Are “rabid” or “mangy” common adjectives used to describe your mascot? If your answer is “yes,” then I hope you escaped your college years without too many lice incidents. Did the guy who invented Nix go to Weber State or something? BTW I just googled the history of the Weber State mascot, and apparently they used to keep a live wildcat at games until one broke lose and bit a cheerleader on the nose. I was joking at first, but rabies is a literal concern for you guys. And you’re going to get pounded by the Arizona Cat in the Hats in the first round. Pretty much sucks to be you.

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5. Did my husband, myself, or a close relative attend the school of your mascot? If so, then ignore all the previous criteria… because it seems that no one is immune to falling in the trap of picking with one’s heart… including preschoolers. They’ve been trained to say “Hook ‘Em Horns” from the day they were born, and they proudly don the beautifully feminine orange and navy when their daddy gets to them first in the morning. But unlike adults who stupidly bet their team will make it all the way, children know better. As the rounds progress, they can sense when you get far too excited about their loyal choices and will drop that ingrained loyalty just to fuck with you. Virginia axed at Sixteen, Texas and Cincinnati axed at Eight. And since I’m pretty sure they have no clue that I attended GW as well, those creepy Colonials didn’t make it past the first round.

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6. Does my dog, Duck, own a chew toy of the same name as your mascot to spite a good friend whose team beat up on one of our own at the same time we happened to be in Oregon to purchase such a toy? And do our daughters have an emotional attachment to your mascot because it bears a striking resemblance to their dog’s favorite toy? If the answer is yes, then congratulations, you’ve made it to the fucking Final Four.

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WuShock vs. Albert Gator. Sister vs. Sister. It’s game day everyone! Follow their progress on Twitter @HelenDammit #preschoolbracketology.

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And since ESPN is no fun and won’t let you have two winners, we went with the ol’ “Whoever Calls It Out First” method… meaning that the 4-year-old chose the winner and the score. She originally wanted it to be 89- 89 thousand million percent fifty five… but we talked her down to somewhere in the 60s or 70s. Calling it here: Florida Gators over Wichita State Shockers, 89-62.

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Tale as Old as Time…

“‘At that moment the spell was broken. In one magical instant, the Beast turned back into a prince, and the enchanted servants returned to their human forms. The castle came to life with rejoicing. There was no doubt that the loving couple would live happily ever after.’ The end.”

"Mom, that’s not the end."

"Oh, really? What happens after they live happily ever after?"

"They pee-pee on each other."

Who knew that Beauty and the Beast were into golden showers? Maybe because they’re French?

Dear Idina Menzel, Thank you.

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When I gave a last-minute plea for you to let your voice crack just a little during your Oscars performance of Let It Go to make the rest of us feel better about ourselves, I had NO IDEA that you would go above and beyond!!! I mean, you didn’t look comfortable up there the entire time, it was rushed, and you nearly passed out at the same part I always do! It was super sweet of you, and I really appreciate it.

What I’m having a hard time understanding, though, is exactly how you were able to receive my note in such a short amount of time. I mean, I posted it to Facebook no more than an hour before you took stage. And looking back at my stats, I don’t see any from the Los Angeles area. They didn’t move the Oscars to the middle of nowhere this year, did they? My best guess is that you have friends or family in places like Irving, Texas, Stafford, Virginia, and Eureka!, Kansas… and that they must have called you while you were warming up and dictated the whole thing to you over the phone. Please give a sincere thank you to whomever did that for me… for all of us.

I suppose there are reasons other than solidarity that could have caused such a performance. Maybe you were taking this opportunity to scout out potential partners, since you recently announced that you and hubby Taye Diggs were going through a divorce. I mean, what better place to see all of Hollywood’s eligible A-listers than from the stage at the Oscars?! Brilliant strategy, I must say, but it really could have thrown you off your game. Take my advice, and keep live television performances and your dating life completely separate. That’s why God created Tinder… so you can browse a menu of potential mates from the privacy of your own home like the rest of America. And trust me, Taye Diggs is way hotter than any of the other she-males who were nominated for awards this year. Stick to your gut, girl!

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Or maybe it was that Cate Blanchett was staring back at you from the front row, looking absolutely stunning in a dress that looked just like yours, only more beautiful. I know she has two Academy Awards and a super cute Aussie accent, but you have a Tony, so don’t let it get you down!

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But I think most people would claim that it was John Travolta’s complete butchering of your name that got you off on the wrong foot. What the fuck did he call you? Adele Dazim? I’m really, really sorry he did that, but there’s no way you were influenced by this nutbag, right? I mean, did you see Face/Off? Or The Punisher? Or Battlefield Earth? No one in their right mind would listen to anything that came out of this man’s alien mouth, much less let it ruin their day.

Whatever the reason, I want to thank you again for your shitty performance on the Oscar stage. It really, really did make me feel better about myself and my inability to belt the high notes. If I can’t sing it, then no one can… including the person who originally recorded it. So watch out, Texas, because this mama’s about to let it go and not hold back anymore! You can ALL thank Idina Menzel for that.

Sincerely,

Helen

Photo credits: Getty images

Dear Idina Menzel, I love you, but…

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… PLEASE GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY HEAD.

I grew up singing along to Disney songs such as Some Day My Prince Will Come, which Snow White sung in a pretty, yet squeaky and relatively unimpressive voice; Beauty and the Beast, sung by an aging (but always badass) Angela Lansbury; and Part of Your World, whose song pattern was all over the effing place but was still singable. We belted those tunes in our car, alone or with our friends, because we could sing along without doing permanent damage to our friends’ ear drums or our own egos.

And then we get to 2013’s Frozen, the songs of which are more along the lines of “Broadway musical” than “Disney princess.” Take Let It Go, for example. Your performance has been described as “powerhouse,” will “blow you away,” “anthemic,” and “show-stopping.” You know whose voice cannot be described by any of those words? Mine. I mean, I can hold my own… until you get to the bridge:

My power flurries through the air into the ground

My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around

And one thought crystallizes like an icy blast

I’m never going back, the past is in the past

And as you transition to the final chorus with the lyrics “let it go,” I simply can’t breathe anymore and just pass the fuck out. Keep in mind that I have two little girls who like to remind me, in the sweetest voices possible, that I “don’t need to sing because the song sings itself,” or “No, Mommy, no!” After attempting to sing along to the Frozen soundtrack in my car, I’m expecting that any day now they’ll resort to, “Mommy, shut the fuck up already!” 

And don’t get me started on For the First Time in Forever (Reprise). The part of Anna isn’t too bad, but as an icy older sister myself, I naturally end up singing along to Elsa. All the chord changes and yell-singing make it hard enough, but it’s the climb at the end, when you transition into your head voice and culminate in a fucking E5 as you belt out “Ahhhhh… I CAN’T!” that really gets me. You know what, Idina? NO ONE can!!!

So given that my kids keep shushing me, that I’m likely to pass out in the car whist driving them, and that I can’t even stand the sound of my own voice now, I have resorted to singing these songs exclusively in my head. And since we’ve seen the movie, own the soundtrack, and now have watched it on iTunes twice in one day, these songs never leave my head. And since the voice in my head still has a hard time with these ridiculous “sing-a-long” tunes, I have grown to hate that voice inside my head. So please, I ask you, for the health of me and my family, get the fuck out of my head.

Note that you’re about to sing it on the Oscars… seriously, in just a few minutes. If you happen to catch this post before then, would you mind doing us all a solid and just cracking your voice? I mean, just a little? Please? We would all feel much better about ourselves.

Thanks!

Helen

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