From the category archives:


Mane Event

by Marinka on November 26, 2014

“Hey mom,” my son told me the other day, “I’m going to be a tiger in the class play.”

“Roar!” I said, before I remembered that he was 13 and not 4.

And then he told me that he was going to wear his sister’s tiger costume and I congratulated myself on being the type of mother who had endangered species costumes around the house. (BTW, I just realized that I wasn’t sure if tigers were really endangered or if I just heard some propaganda on the issue, so I confirmed it with the World Wildlife Fund and now I’m depressed because some species are Critically Endangered and none of those species is the GOP.)

I was feeling pretty good until the next morning, when, as my son was leaving for school he asked me to pick up a lion’s mane for the next day.

“Why would a tiger need a lion’s mane?” I asked, suddenly concerned that I was dealing with the exception under the No Child Left Behind Act.

“Change of plans,” he explained. “I am going to be a lion.”

Now, I have no idea what kind of species-reassignment their class play underwent overnight, but I found it both immoral and un-American. I mean, one minute my day stretches out before me with nary a mane in sight, and then suddenly and without any reason, I am Googling shit like: LION MANE and LION MANE EZ-TO MAKE WITH NO SEWING OR TALENT OR EVEN HANDS FOR THAT MATTER. And what I learned after a few minutes, which felt like decades, of research is that: most lion manes on the market are for cats and dogs and the DIY lion manes are for a lion face made out of a paper plate. Since I birthed a child that’s neither a domestic animal nor is he part of the the disposable tableware family, I was shit out of luck.

“This is a tragedy of epic proportions!” I wailed on Facebook. And then someone suggested that I go to the local costume store.

I called them.

“Hello,” I said (after they picked up the phone). “I am in the market for a lion’s mane.”

“Hold on, please,” the phone picker upper said and placed me on hold. Someone else picked up a few minutes later.

“What are you holding for?” Phone Picker Upper 2.0 asked.

“Lion’s mane,” I said, wondering what the other people on hold were wanting to buy. What if there was a sudden rush on manes this holiday season? Maybe it’s a good thing I got a jump start.

“We have the Cowardly Lion mane,” the person on the other end said, “that’s $80 and we have a wig that can be styled into a mane that’s $50.”

Immediately, much like the youngest child at a Seder, I had four questions.

1. How is the Cowardly Lion Mane different from a run-of-the-jungle lion mane?

2. Why is the Cowardly Lion Mane so expensive?

3. Is “Cowardly Lion” the only time the word “cowardly” has ever been used in the history of the English language?

4. Who is going to do the styling on the $50 wig to make it mane-ish?

But instead I said “great! Thanks so much!” and then added a few lies about how I am definitely going to stop by to pick up one, if not both, of these bargains.

After I hung up, I thought some more. Maybe, just maybe, I could stop by the Minskoff Theater to see of The Lion King cast could spare a mane for the afternoon. I mentioned this plan to a colleague, who pointed out that despite its obvious merit, unfortunately there was going to be a matinee performance of The Lion King the very afternoon that I’d need the mane for. For a split second, I became very excited that my son had in fact joined the cast of The Lion King, but apparently it’s just one of those “coincidences” that the government wants us to believe.

“I don’t know where to get a lion’s mane,” I told my son once he got home from school and he reassured me that he no longer needed one.

“Are you going to grow one?” I asked and he shook his maneless head.

“Are you back to being a tiger?” I asked and he continued to shake.

“Where will you get a mane?” I was on the edge of my seat and also, coincidentally, the window ledge.

And he told me. He told me that his friend was going to lend him her tutu and he was going to wear it on his head, mane-like.

Don’t tell Julie Taymor.



by Marinka on August 5, 2014

In case you read this blog for all your breaking news, there is an Ebola outbreak going on right now. It’s mostly in Africa, although two infected American missionaries have been brought to the United States. Also someone walked into a NYC emergency room, feeling all Ebolaish, but the hospital spokersperson is telling us not to worry and inhale deeply, so all should be ok.

There is also no cure, so in case you’ve been sitting around trying to figure out what’s the next great thing to invent, I’d definitely give Ebola-Be-Gone a try.

Personally, I don’t like epidemics with no cure, but that’s just a personal preference, I can’t speak for everyone. What I can do is share a post that I wrote two years ago, because where Ebola is concerned, it’s pretty timeless.

* * *

As you may remember, this summer my daughter and I are reading The Hot Zone, Richard Preston’s account of the Ebola epidemic.

Obviously I’m reading it under duress and already have diagnosed myself with Ebola so I’m just awaiting the autopsy to confirm my findings.

But I’ve also learned a few interesting facts from the book and I’m going to share them with you here, absolutely free of charge.


1. There is a river called Ebola. It’s in the Congo, in case you’re still in the destination-shopping phase of your honeymoon planning.

2.The United States Army has veterinarians. They take care of the Army’s guard dogs, pigs, cows, sheep, horses, monkeys, mules and rabbits.

3. The United States Army seems to have a lot of animals. You’d think they’d feature it more prominently in their recruitment posters, but it’s almost like they’re not even trying to appeal to 9 year old girls.

4. The United States Army doesn’t seem to have any cats. I don’t understand how we can expect any of our stealth missions to succeed with this blatant anti-feline bias. Have we learned nothing from the Don’t Ask, Don’t Meow fiasco?

5. HIV is only a Biosafety Level 2 agent. Ebola is a Biosafety Level 4 agent, although after reading the book, I am going to start a petition to have it upgraded to Biosafety Level 8 kazillion. (By the way, “What’s your Biosafety Level?” is an excellent pick up line!)

6. The good people at the United States Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID)were reluctant to travel to the Hot Zone. “They did not care to do research on Ebola because they did not want Ebola to do research on them.” Finally, a sentiment I agree with. I wonder if it’s too late for me to enlist?

7. “The first line of defense against a hot agent is sticky tape, because it seals cracks.” I don’t know about you, but I am going to be buying a lot of sticky tape. And maybe a stapler, just in case.

8. Apparently, it’s very ouchy to lose the surface of one’s tongue. OMG, I’m losing consciousness just knowing that tongues have surfaces. I hope that doesn’t affect my chances of a career with USAMRIID.

9. When I tweet an educational excerpt from the book:

Screen Shot 2012 07 08 at 9.48.25 AM 300x136 EBOLA!

some First Amendment enemy will tweet this in response:

Screen Shot 2012 07 08 at 9.48.44 AM 300x152 EBOLA!

But I won’t be silenced, Stacey, I won’t be. Because silence=death. And Ebola=death. So my silence=Ebola. I believe the math and science speak for themselves.


Not Your Mother’s Vagina

July 31, 2014

I do not have a bucket list. Really, I don’t. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t have goals. Lofty, admirable goals. And one of those goals is to figure out which fucking Always pads to buy once and for all. Preferably before the onset of menopause. I’m racing against the clock here, people. Mona […]

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July 2, 2014

I know I’ve been updating less than usual for a while and it’s taking its toll on me too. Obviously the fact that I decided not to write about my divorce is a factor (although please rest assured, it’s all very boring and amicable, no War of the Roses here. Not even War of the […]

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Things I Think About When I Can’t Sleep

June 3, 2014

I love Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah but I have to be in just the right mood to listen to it. Sometimes I’m too fragile for it. And I don’t know what kind of secret chord David has although I’m definitely glad the Lord is pleased with it. Oh and you know what’s weird? Why is he […]

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No Comment

May 26, 2014

It took me a while, but finally I realized that the comments section on this blog is broken. At first when I saw zero comments on post after post I thought, “huh, no one is commenting!” and while that would make some bloggers despondent, I just took it to mean that everyone agreed with my […]

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What’s In a Name?

May 20, 2014

Recently I decided to kill both of our cats with my bare hands. Oh, you didn’t know that we had two cats now? Well, of course you know Nicki, the striped goddess that we love and adore. Nicki has been with us forever, ever since that moment when the kids begged and pleaded and promised […]

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April 16, 2014

I’m in Rome. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you, but I thought if I did, you’d get all clingy and start dropping hints about how you love Rome/always wanted to go and/or have a Prada purse. So I took the easy way out and snuck out behind your back, without alerting you. And there’s nothing […]

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