Since my grandmother’s death, I’ve found myself wanting to immerse myself in nature for many reasons.
First, I want to escape my daily routine — to get out of my head, which has become a very manic place— and second, because I want to be surrounded by life. To hear the conversations amongst birds and prairies dogs. To watch the deer, and the bighorn sheep, and the elk scavenge for food, mate or relish the sun. To see the leaves turn from a morbid brown to a thunderous green. To watch the Western flowers burst from beds of dirt and parched grass.
This want has brought me all over the valleys and peaks of Colorado as of late, with trips to Rocky Mountain National Park, the Flatirons of Boulder, the mesas of Golden and the red rocks of Colorado Springs.
Leading up to now, my view had mostly been of hospital walls. My grandmother — my dear, beautiful second mother — had been ailing back home in Upstate New York, and I wanted to see her as much as I could. A broken hip in August (more…)
My beloved grandmother passed away recently, and my mother and I have been going through old photos. We rediscovered photos my grandfather took while stationed in Africa during WWII. Here are some of my favorites.
*As far as I can tell, these were all taken by my grandfather. I’ve tried to verify the accuracy of the photos as best I can. These photos were snapped with my iPhone, hence the added fuzziness.
This is my grandfather Carl. He was an airplane mechanic in the Army Air Forces during the North African Campaign of WWII. During the war, he had a pet monkey named Jocko, he was stabbed and he contracted malaria. Those were the only things he shared with my mother. He died in 1974, before I was born.
This is him with one of his favorite planes, 1943. (Possibly a B-25?) *I* wonder why it was his favorite…?
Here he is in the beginning of the war with some of his Army mates.
Here’s another. Grandpa is in the lower left corner. 1945.
I don’t remember the first time I truly listened to Joe Strummer.
It may have been when I heard “Clampdown” off the band’s seminal 1979 album, London Calling. The song warns young men of the inherit soul-crushing nature of capitalism and reminds them that they — not the government, not The Establishment — have control of their lives.
“Let fury have the hour; anger can be power — do you know that you can use it?”
That line was my driving force in 2016, during the height of the presidential primary cycle. At the time I was volunteering for Bernie Sanders, a self-described Democratic Socialist and agitator of the status quo. I found parallels between Sanders and Joe Strummer of The Clash: Both were champions of socialism and the proletariat, and both were vocal critics of injustice and the oligarchy.
Though The Clash became my soundtrack during that tumultuous political year, the band hung with me long after Sanders lost the primary, Hillary Clinton lost the general and Donald (more…)
While growing up, we didn’t discuss being Jewish. We practiced no religious rituals, and no family member went to temple. A Yiddish swear word or phrase of exasperation often spilled from my grandma’s lips, something she picked up in her youth, or an occasional Jewish dish was prepared for family gatherings, but that was about as tribal as we got.
Our lack of Jewish cultural identity was not decided for us. It was chosen by my Eastern European great-grandmother Sophie, who upon coming to America erased any trace of Jewish identity. As I’ve aged and attempted to connect with my Ashkenazi roots, I’ve had to check my frustration with this woman I had never met. Why did you erase your past? I often ask out loud to her. And why did you decide that your kin would never know the truth?
These questions I’ve searched for in public records, DNA results and photos and documents hidden in my grandmother’s house to little avail. What facts I have been able to dig up often conflict with one another — Was (more…)
However, I admit that I don’t know the correct answer to “Should we punch neo-Nazis?”
Therefore, this essay will have more questions than answers
And it’s not about the ethics of punching a neo-Nazi, or if a neo-Nazi deserves to be punched or not (they do), but rather a study on whether or not punching them is the best method to bring about positive change
P.S. I hate neo-Nazis
Inlight of the events in Charlottesville, I’ve seen a large uptick in support of punching neo-Nazis.
This support is coming from thoughtful, intelligent thinkers I respect on the left and it’s got me questioning whether or not we’ve arrived at violence being the only way to achieve peace.
But as a pacifist, writing the above sentence makes me cringe; it feels like the ultimate oxymoron.
How can violence be the answer to peace?
We hold up our non-violent leaders — Martin (more…)
When I say she’s become the center of my universe, I mean I’m obsessed with her. Like, people keep telling me I should have a baby instead and I respond with “NO WHY DON’T YOU HAVE A BABY?!” and they say “I do have a baby” and I’m like “Whatever. At least I can leave my cat alone for a day and she won’t die.”
FatFace is a remarkably low-key cat considering she spent her entire life on the street. Though she’s still skeptical of most humans, she will not bite or scratch when handled and our vet constantly praises her passivity. It’s because of FatFace’s chill demeanor that I decided it was a smart idea to drive her to 18 states of America.
So, I went to the Zappos Friends with Benefits Road Show a few weekends ago, and it was amazing. I got to watch sweet doggy after doggy get adopted out to new families—doggies like Princess!
Princess now has a forever home!
I also got to oooh and aww over adorable workout gear with dogs on them. Check out how awesome these shirts and pants are.
I’m so excited to have been a part of this event. Zappos adopted out over 150 pets by teaming up with Austin Animal Center, and they’ve covered over 16,000 adoption fees across the country! Make sure to check out their Friends with Benefits Road Show page to see where they’re headed to next.
And don’t forget: Sign up for Zappos Rewards Program where you can get free shipping, rewards, early access to sales and the option to buy sweet Frye boots like these. I’m in love.
P.S. Just a reminder that I’ll be donating $50 from this (more…)
(This is my first McSweeney’s rejection. Please enjoy! No, really. Please enjoy it.)
My dearest 2017,
Your predecessor was a challenging year for both me and my country, and I aim to put 2016 to bed like the bear I shot through the eyes on my last trek to the wildness of Wyoming.
In order to move forward on my goals for a robust and cheerful 2017, I’ve compiled a list of resolutions to heed.
These resolutions are as follows:
1. Challenge that mollycoddle Mr. Trump to a grizzly bear-wrestling competition. Whoever wins will earn the coveted title of President of Earth. (No need to worry: What I lack in height I make up for in sheer man girth.)
2. Personally protect every goddamn National Park with my militia of mercenaries known as the Teddy Bears.
3. Free climb Mt. Rushmore and draw a black ring around the eye of that pansy Thomas Jefferson.
4. Host a dinner for the current members of the Republican Party where I will smack each of their whiny derrieres with my “big stick” — especially (more…)
Two weeks ago, four of us decided to drive to Standing Rock and deliver supplies to the water protectors and protestors of the Dakota Access Pipeline. We raised $3,500 in six days and filled two cars to the brim with milk of magnesia (for pepper spray in eyes), firewood, propane, sleeping bags, face masks, construction helmets and other supplies our contacts at the camp said they needed.
During our time there, we learned a great deal, particularly on how to be the best ally we can be. If you’re thinking of heading to Standing Rock or would like to support the movement in other ways, please read:
Ask Yourself Why You’re Going to Standing Rock
If you are going to Standing Rock for reasons other than dropping off supplies or offering skills such as direct action, legal or medical aid, food preparation or construction for an extended period of time, your presence might do more harm than good. Why? Because there are limited resources (more…)