From the category archives:



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

by Marinka on 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 Lisa Vito had it easy in comparison. And I suspect there’s no Oscar in my future.

The other day I went to my local Rite Aid to buy some Always pads. (Btw, if I ever do make a bucket list, DO NOT EVER GO TO RITE AID AND STAND ON THEIR BREADLINE-INSPIRED-LINE will be at the tippy top with stars all around it. And not D-list, either.) Despite my inability to pick out the right pad, I am loyal to Always. It’s like their brand name hypnotized me into thinking that I must ALWAYS buy it. And it reminds me of this masterpiece, so how can I resist?

It always ends badly. I don’t understand the feminine hygiene product code-speak. It’s overnight and heavy and heavy with chance of thunder and light ultra light and phantom. If I were in charge, I’d label the pads “stuck pig” and “CSI” and “paper cut”. Because everyone knows what that means.

But I’m not in charge, which is why the other day I bought a package that read “ultra thin”, which I assumed (incorrectly, it turns out) referred to body type. Confusingly the label also read “JUMBO” but I guessed (erroneously, what are the chances?) that it was a nod to the savvy consumer who wanted to get more maxi pad bang for her buck.

When I opened the pad, I knew I was in trouble. Mostly because it seemed like a scarf.

“Come here,” I called to my daughter because I absolutely refuse to suffer alone and in silence. Really, I have no idea how martyrs do it.

“Whoa!” she said. “What is that?”

“This is a maxi pad,” I explained. I’m really good at this “teaching moment” bullshit.

“Who is it for?” She was confused. And a little scared.

“Well, that’s sort of what I was wondering,” I confessed. “Who would wear this? This is not your mother’s vagina.”

“Let’s take a picture!” she suggested.

“That’s a great idea,” I applauded her initiative. “But let’s photograph it next to something, so people can see the scale! Like maybe a dime? What do you think?”

“How about a ruler?” she suggested. She’s so mathy.

And we did.

photo 36 225x300 Not Your Mothers Vagina

And then we got more scared.

“It’s over a foot long,” she said.

“There are Subway sandwiches smaller than that pad,” she said.

Which is an excellent point. Maybe Subway should consider a feminine hygiene product line.



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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Helter Skelter

February 17, 2014

My son was unloading the dishwasher, under protest and duress, obviously. “Hey, can you sort the silverware more carefully,” I reminded him as he threw the forks and spoons around. “Not so Helter Skelter.” “What’s Helter Skelter?” he asked. “You know…Charles Manson..was listening to the Beatles Song? While he murdered people, I think.” “So I […]

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